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13 July 2009

Positve Thought in the face of frustration & fear

I'm new at this, I admit, but I find the process for securing a teaching position a bit odd to say the least. I mean, we agree for the most part that teaching reflects a calling to guide the leaders of our future through the process of learning to think; to think critically, reflectively, to be innovative and dynamic. Given that, why then do we have teachers post impersonal resumes and screening questions online and via email in an effort to secure a teaching job? Sure, districts might weed out the few who cannot write a coherent sentence or paragraph, but what do they truly know about the mass of candidates they refuse to consider? Why do we allow the choice of those placed in a position to guide and instruct our youth rely on an insider network type of system?

I know how to sell myself, how give an authentic answer that truly reflects my views, to convey my passion for both teaching and learning. I do not, however, know how to break into the 'old boys' network' so to speak. I do not know how to catch the attention of a non-entity the other side of my computer screen, and I designed web sites for businessmen and corporations utilizing the internet for sales and marketing! I recognize the danger of relying on written, online based, any inflection can be misread , communication.

Three times I received emails inviting me to answer a set of screening questions from which the principal planned to select applicant to interview. I spent a healthy chunk of time reflecting on and writing my answers, and designing the lesson indicated. I sent my responses to several current principals and teachers, receiving enthusiastically positive feedback. Nary a call did I receive, not even a thank you for your time, but we've chosen to go with other, more qualified candidates. Seriously? Regardless of the number of candidates applying for a position within the companies I've managed and owned, I always responded to each, if only to provide a sincere thank you for your time. Does the field of education preclude the presence and use of professional ethics and courtesy?

Underlying this consternation, I sense an epic battle for control of my psyche. Think positively, the universe is honorable screams one subset, whilst the other bemoans the ever looming possibility, No one wants to hire me, and I'm not going to find a job! I know what I put into my education, what I continue to put into my work with children and schools. I know, internally, that I am a good educator, that my heart is in this 110%, and any school that hires me stands to gain and excellent employee with whom they are quite satisfied. How, though, do I convince them of that fact? How do I even get my foot in the door? The system, archaic though it may be, is the system in place, and I must contend with that fact. Perhaps my efforts towards positive thinking are best placed on finding the answers to those questions, and less on finding an actual job. I do not know. I only know that with each successive lack of contact, every refusal to acknowledge my existence furthers the ferocity of the battle raging within. It's a wonder anyone enters and stays within the field. And that, is perhaps the saddest fact of all.

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