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.


  1. (So now we know what those chickens are for. Just kidding).

  2. Reading this entry does indeed evoke some quixotic melancholy. But glad to see you feel it is a calling and you won't give up even if you're temporarily set back.