On a colorful rug inside a classroom at Mount Eagle Elementary, a group of students sit quietly in a circle around Mr. Consolla as he reads aloud from a book. The students are attentive and hanging on to his every word as he finishes the chapter.
“All right it’s time for recess!” he says. “It’s not too cold outside but you might want a jacket.”
Mr. Consolla helps the students get their coats and line up by the door. The smooth transition to the playground appears to be the work of a seasoned professional teacher. But Mr. Consolla is actually a college student making some extra money as a substitute teacher for FCPS.
Julian Lawson Consolla is a junior at the University of Louisville in Kentucky. Like many college students, he returns home for winter break and has several weeks with a wide open schedule. His mom, Jean Consolla, who is also the principal of Mount Eagle, encouraged him to apply to be a substitute teacher. He was drawn to the flexible schedule and good pay, which ranges from $17.79 to $23.91 an hour, depending on level of commitment.
“The hours here are 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.,” Julian explains. “After about 3:45, I’m done for the day and I can relax. And I get weekends off. The schedule is similar to college. So for me, it works well.”
As the son of a principal, Julian was already familiar with his mom’s school and has always enjoyed working with kids. For him, it was an easy decision to apply. But he knows other college students may not be as comfortable working with young children. Still, he encourages everyone to give it a try.
“It can be a little intimidating at first,” Julian said. “You’re the only adult in the classroom and you have to learn to command the room. But you quickly realize, even though you’re new, the students respect you. The teachers leave notes about how to get the students’ attention. I have a little bell I can ring. And once you learn their names it’s much easier to communicate with them.”
Principal Jean Consolla says it’s the perfect opportunity for college students. Her school is struggling to find subs, as are all FCPS schools. This job opportunity helps college students make good money on their own schedule, while also alleviating the substitute teacher shortage.
“My son is calculating how he can make over $1,000 in 11 days, and still have time to see friends at night and on the weekends,” Principal Consolla said. “It’s a win-win for us.”
Julian is continuing to sub until he goes back to Kentucky in mid-January. He also …….