Tuesday, June 8, 2010
teaching, tilting at windmills
Introspection and explanation.
It's been a year and a half since I left a corporate/technical job to pursue teaching. My timing turned out to be quite bad; the economy immediately tanked and the teaching market constricted mightily. School districts like Richardson have quit accepting applications altogether from alternative certification folks like me unless one is in a high needs area (Math, Science). I'm not. And I can't get into a high needs area without getting a certificate in my non-high needs area first. This in spite of recent findings that there is no particular edge that traditional hires bring to the table.
I promise this isn't a whine or a complaint. My mood is one of acceptance and reality. A new alt cert applicant asked me the other day if the job market was depressing or scary. "No," I replied, "depressing and scary was about a year ago." I should point out that she asked me this during a 30-hr block of Saturday classes I'm having to retake for TEA because I didn't get the internship before the 18-month limit timed out. And I wasn't the only one like that in the classroom.
I tell you that to tell you this: I just filled out my first application for a non-teaching job. The market may pick up soon but subbing doesn't pay enough to keep me from burning through my resources: savings, checking, retirement, eBay/craiglist-able nonessentials and credit line. Subbing every single day (no days off, no cancellations, fully booked) yields a max of about $16k/yr. I figured I'd sub until I got a teaching job or ran out of resources, whichever came first.
If I do not get a teaching job for the Fall it's safe to say it's over. Neither the mortgage holder nor student loan officer will accept good intentions or dreams in lieu of cash, and I don't blame them. I gave the public school system first right of refusal and they exercised it. Fair enough. But I do feel a tiny bit like a fellow who had his proposal turned down on the jumbotron at the ballpark, or a volunteer the Peace Corps wouldn't accept.
I continue to email, hobnob, apply to ISD websites, look at 40+ ISD/charter/private school job listing pages each day but it appears the die has been cast. I'll keep trying to get a teaching position right up to the point I get hired to do something else.
Edited to add: even if I get a non-teaching job I'll continue to teach on my own time and my own dime. It's a vocation, and finds its way to the surface like St Francis preaching to the birds. Maybe I'll teach the chickens in the backyard.