Well, the economy is in the tank. If we aren’t in a Great Depression, capital letters, I think the populace of the US is currently depressed, small d. Every day there is more bad news. This is not good for a variety of reasons. Namely, that I want a teaching job and teachers tend to hold onto their jobs when times are tough, economically. Not to mention that in Oregon, our education funding is on its usual horrible slide downward due to a crappy tax system that no one in our state has the courage to overhaul. There is talk that thankfully, they might only have to cut a week from the end of school, instead of two weeks or more.
What’s a girl who is tired of being an Admin Assistant to do? Thus far, become gloomy like the rest of the country. However, I realized today that I need to start the job hunt now. So here goes.
Weekly, I will post my progress of what I have been doing to become a middle school math teacher. I am thinking Thursday will be the day, as that is a day I tend to get some time to blog.
Here is what I am doing now:
- I have given up on the idea of becoming a Social Studies teacher. It does not seem to be valued at the middle school level in the Portland Public School (PPS) District, being combined with Language Arts. Then, only Language Arts teachers seem to be hired. At the high school level? They are looking for coaches. Of athletics. Not me. I’ve done my mourning and moved on.
- I have instead decided to focus on my love for middle school students and my healthy appreciation for math and become a math teacher. Not to mention that math teachers are in much more demand than social studies teachers.
- I have enrolled in the Graduate Certificate in Middle School Math at PSU. I am currently working on class 2 of 8. I will be done after Winter Session of 2011.
- I have been putting in many hours studying for Praxis 0069 which I will take March 14. Passing this test will qualify me to teach math at the middle school level.
- I have read a bit about some of the remaining middle schools in PPS and have identified a few that sound like great places to work.
- I am currently reading books about teaching.
- I have started yet another blog to keep track of my learning as a soon-to-be math teacher and to eventually market myself when I begin applying for jobs.
Well, that sounds like a good amount of things. I just listed them there to reassure myself that I am working towards this goal. Those things are sort of ongoing right now and part of the Patricia-as-student phase. Here is what I will do to start the job hunt which will lead to the Patricia-as-employed-educator phase.
- Craft a message. In my last, endless job hunt, I learned from Vicki Lind** that everyone should have short statement that succinctly answers the question, “Oh, you are looking for work, what kind?” I think that last time mine was, “I’m looking for a position where I can use my organizational and communication skills to further the education of children and adults.” It came in handy and the job I have now pretty much fits that statement. So now I need one for the next job I’m looking for. I will have a few statements to play around with next week.
- Start my “student teaching.” I work full-time right now, so actual student teaching isn’t possible, but luckily I work in a school. I’m going to see if I can take a little time to observe fourth and fifth grade math classes with my ultimate goal to teach a unit or two. This will give me some current teaching experience to put on my resume. First step: ask my boss if I can take some time to observe.
- Start the informational interview process. Groan. I hate this. HATE IT. But I think where my teacher job hunt really failed the first time around was partly due to the lack of schmoozing on my part. So I will go and talk to current teachers (ideally current middle school math teachers) about their thoughts on teaching and the best ways to get a job. I will contact at least 10 people in the next week asking if they know any current teachers I could meet with.
- Kick up the blog posts on the teacher blog. I am aiming for three a week. They don’t have to be long, they just have to be there. I would like for two of them to be “things to learn more about.” In my reading about middle schools, I’m coming across unfamiliar jargon. And I really need to master the jargon. I think my disdain for learning the jargon also didn’t help the last go-round. So for this week I will remember what my math blog name is, the password and post three posts.
Okay, so I have plan, I have goals and I’m on it. Do I still feel the process will be long, arduous and not fun? Yep. Do the goals help? Yep. Wish me luck.
**Vicki Lind rocks. If you live in Portland and are frustrated by the job search process, go see her. She manages the wallowing and the kick in the pants perfectly. She also has a book called Finding a Job Worth Having that I really liked. And, she has a job club that was everything I needed at the time.