Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Job Frustrations

It is getting to be the time of year that I begin to panic about summer employment. I KNOW that it is the first day of March, but spring is the fastest season in my opinion and then summer descends with all of it's sticky heat and money making opportunities. And as much as I love daycamp, I think that this summer might be calling for something different.

I really don't have too many concerns about finding a summer job that will be both appropriate and enjoyable. I am over 21 years of age, I have reliable transportation, and... oh wait... a college degree. That's right.

So it isn't summer I'm worried about this year. It is fall.

My current frustrations include the fact that the political choices of people who know nothing about education are slowly but surely whittling away my chances of finding a job.

Additionally, I'm really tired of being taunted by the recruiting strategies of all these fantastic residency programs in cities and states all over the country. Most major cities have a residency program that leads to a Master's Degree in education... but you are automatically disqualified if you graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in education, or hold a teaching certificate. I understand that these programs are designed to get people to teach in cities with a failing public system, and encourage the committment of mid-career professionals to a field of giving back. I really do understand this. But when these programs are NOT filled year after year and when they are begging for applicants, it makes me want to scream a little inside. I'm well trained! I'm experienced! I'm a perfect applicant for your teaching job... except for my teaching degree.

Most of my current applications are going out to charter schools, because these guys are the ones currently posting jobs. However, I did apply tonight for a new network forming in the 5 burroughs of New York City. Let's hope some of these answers get me somewhere:

Why do you want to teach in a high-need school in New York? What challenges do you think you might face in New York schools that you might not face in other schools, and what experiences have equipped you for these challenges?
For a very long time, I knew that I wanted to work with students. I was passionate even as an adolescent about the growth and development of children, and I found teenagers to be fascinating. This desire eventually manifested itself into a career as a teacher, but it was not until a sociology class I took in college that I realized exactly what kind of teacher I wanted to become. The course was an Honors seminar with a focus on poverty, and we spent hours reading and discussing different elements of poverty in the United States. The more I learned and developed in my understanding, I began to come to the opinion that education is the only viable answer for so many of the social problems faced by the United States, poverty included. I am educated as an educator, and I have skills, techniques and resources that allow me to teach and train students in a variety of disciplines and life skills. I could do this anywhere, but I feel that teaching in a high-need school is the absolute best use of my training and talents. I understand the challenges that urban education systems face, from problems with motivation for to language issues, transient students and sometimes overwhelmingly difficult struggles in the home. However, I feel that my research into the subject, desire to learn more, and my experience student teaching in a Chicago public school have equipped me to face these challenges. I believe in the ability of every student to learn and to succeed, and I believe that I have a responsibility to help facilitate the growth of every student in my care. What better way to give back, to honor the opportunities and experiences I have had, than to serve as a teacher in some of the most difficult circumstances?

Briefly describe a time when you achieved a goal in the face of challenges (or while balancing multiple responsibilities). What specific steps did you take to ensure you would meet your goal, and how did you know you were successful? How will you apply that experience to set goals and measure success in your classroom?
In the summer of 2010, I decided that I was too young to start my “real life” and career, and spent some time pursuing teaching opportunities abroad. I knew that I was equipped with the necessary skills to teach abroad, and I wanted an international living experience. Thinking back to past travel experience, I eventually settled on a teaching job in Romania. I had traveled to Romania before and encountered a people and a culture that fascinated me, so I soon had a contracted position to teach English at a public primary school in the capital city of Bucharest. This experience has been filled with more challenges than I could have imagined, and it soon became clear that my very basic goal of teaching my students well would be difficult to accomplish. I was faced with a language barrier and a lack of contact that can be incredible isolating and makes everything difficult, from basic classroom management to simply going to the grocery store. I have over 640 students to teach, with grade levels ranging from first to eighth. I plan lessons, assessments, and projects for twenty-one different classes a week, and develop my own curriculum for the first and second grade students. The school does not have a printer or copy machine, and many of my students do not have textbooks. Regardless, I was determined to succeed. Pouring all of my energy into creating lessons and teaching in a manner to maximize education, I began to accommodate my strategies and techniques. In some instances it required modification of planned activities, and in others it requires personal sacrifice and commitment on a level I could not have imagined. I have realized many things about myself and grown tremendously as a teacher in the last year, but the thing I am most proud of is the way my students want to come to class. They are excited about learning, and I think that if I can create such an environment in such difficult circumstances such as these, I will be able to apply such success in any classroom.


  1. The first thing my mom said to me when she came home from work was to tell me more bad news about what's going on with some of the school districts around the country. People are dumb if they think a classroom teacher can go from teaching 23 kids to 60! This is why I sent you an angry message about Bill Gates.

  2. Gahhh I'm having the same problem. Schools are cutting even more music programs this year, and most of the jobs I've seen so far are part time. I'm also not so sure whether I'm even going to look for a summer job, because as much as I'll probably need the extra cash, last summer schools kept calling me at the last minute with something like "I know you live out of state, but we're conducting our interviews tomorrow. Can you come?" So, having another job during the week will probably screw up my chances of getting hired in the fall. Schools are just wonderful, aren't they?