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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Job Hopping a Blessing?

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   As more and more teachers around the country are dusting off their resume and making sure their LinkedIn accounts are up to date, I am thinking back to my resume and how being a military spouse has affected my job searches over the years.

   I had always assumed that my resume was tinged or somehow inadequate because of all of the years of being a stay at home dad.  And, all of those various jobs teaching math and science at levels from 6th grade to college (in 4 states and 2 countries).

     But now I'm starting to see that I bring a lot of knowledge about the teaching profession to the table.   Many of the teachers I have taught with, over the years, are really, really good at their chosen profession.  A huge number of those have, inadvertently, made me feel less than perfect in the shadow of their awesomeness.   Some of those teachers are housed in the school I am in right now.  They really do have a gift for their craft.

     Now I find myself taking a step back and looking at how prepared these teachers are for starting fresh at another school or even in another profession.  That's what is happening to hundreds of teachers all around Texas and in my current town of Round Rock.   Have they taught the same subject and at the same grade level for a number of years?  Have they only been in one district their entire careers?  Have they ever moved to a different town, county, or state?  Dramatic changes to your life can and will cause an incredible amount of stress and are they ready to deal with that while looking for a job?

     Suddenly I feel ready to give them advice or, at a minimum, a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen to their worries and fears.   My resume includes some things that are not quantifiable.  I've said goodbye to great people with the standard "I'll be back" lie.  I've walked into job interviews knowing that, once again, I'd be teaching Algebra 1 (even though I would kill to be teaching Algebra 2 or Pre-Calculus) - if they hired me.  I've taken Pedagogy tests in every state I've taught in because I needed to transfer my certification.  Even though I had to take the National Teacher's Exam for my Master's degree. 
    
     I've also taken the state math tests for every level from 4th through 12th grades, depending on the state, and I've gotten certified to teach Middle School science for my first teaching job (8th grade math and science) and Physics (when a high school told me they may need me to teach Algebra and Physics).  I have never had to take a test more than once to pass them and assumed that it was the case for everyone until I was taking the math test in Florida and the guy sitting next to me was taking it for the third time - I always wondered if he passed that test.

     So as I sit here at 53 having taught off and on since 1992 I am realizing that this coming year may or may not find me in the classroom.  That's up to my school district.  But, I fully plan to exercise my right to be a good friend and a good colleague to those facing the difficult facts of being laid off in an environment where no one in Central Texas is hiring.  But, those willing to travel, will find work.  There are school districts hiring in this state.  There are school districts hiring in neighboring states.  And, there are schools hiring overseas.  I fully intend to guide those seeking a job to these job openings.  If you know of a district - anywhere - that is looking for some teachers leave that information in the comments section and I will pass it on to those looking for work.  And, hopefully, I won't be looking over that list for myself.