Friday, August 27, 2010

When being awesome isn't good enough, be better

I just $52.50 to prove I'm STILL not a crook. I think I got ripped off. Up next are more fees to renew my TB and who knows what else. I know yesterday I was all "I'll jump the hoops" but today my bank account feels pretty empty. I'm not going to lie.

Meanwhile, I'm spending the afternoon completely revamping my resume and cover letter template. I did it at the beginning of the summer but I can't help but think maybe I could make it better.

If you had to write about one "hot" topic in education in your cover letter (e.g., differentiation, equity, management, assessment) what would you pick? Why? Or would you nix hot topics all together and give them a business cover letter that highlights what your resume does not explain/cover?

Maybe I should just say, "I think walking down the aisles at Staples is relaxing and the teacher supply store is better than Toys R Us. I want to be a teacher because I like writing on the white board and I still think I can change the world." 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The why in "why I still bother"

Having the summer off and enjoying not working makes a slippery slope down the path of "is it worth it" and "why even bother". Yesterday I started to dig deep, but realized my reason for bothering has been right at the surface all along. 

As you know, I began the hoop jumping to start subbing for a chain of charters in the inner city, c/o Big City, USA. I filled out a crazy detailed online application, showed up for an interview, wrote some essay questions on the spot, got grilled about best practices and my views of guest teaching, and got selected to join the limited guest teacher (re: sub) pool for the 8 locations k-12 in the inner city neighborhood that this particular charter serves. I paid a total of $42 to have two different official transcripts ordered and tomorrow I'll pay another $25 for a fingerprint & background check. Next week I'll attend a mandatory orientation. I don't want to talk about gas or minutes spent in traffic but at least no one can hear my singing in the car.

Why the hoops? Is it because, as it seems on the surface, that I'm so desperate for a job that I'll take anything that comes my way? Is it because I'm so pathetic I can't do any better or get hired in a "good" district?

Let me tell you why. And this is the real answer--not the interview answer, not the essay question answer, not the friendly polite dinner conversation answer. I'm not trying to be cute or coy or even, for once, awesome. It's just the truth.

It's because I think the only way to change the world is to teach our children to ask questions. 

I believe that so strongly I'm willing to put it on my sleeve or nail it to my door with a sword. So when I drove to my interview yesterday and saw graffiti on every flat surface and poverty and hunger, and saw babies with babies and teenagers with gang tattoos, I didn't think "how sad." I didn't think "welfare kids" or "I can save them!" or "they need help" or "am I safe here?". I didn't even really think about difference or privilege or agency or equity or any other hot topic that often keeps me awake at night.

I did think "I wonder if anyone is teaching these kids to ask "why" or "how".

So yes, I will jump the hoops and fight upstream with the thousands of other teachers who believe we can change the world. And if that means subbing or working part time or driving in traffic or paying for another stupid transcript or background check (I'm still not a crook!) then I will. Maybe I never will have my own classroom. Maybe I will get hired next week. Maybe I'll stop working when I have kids. I don't know right now. But right now, I sure as hell am going to keep bothering with the hoops, because kids need to be taught to ask the questions that grown ups are too afraid of.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mrs. Awesome Subs Again

Apparently I had the right answers, or else the interview was a formality, or I'm doomed destined going to spend my life swimming in the sub pool, because I am going to be hired into the sub pool for the network of charters where I interviewed today.

Also, apparently, I hate myself, because I told them I would sub any grade, and when he found I had taken college level calculus, he wrote "math, 7-12" on my paper. Uhhh does anyone remember the panic attack I had when my spring sing was at a high school campus? I think involved lots of forcing myself to walk by rows of lockers and being convinced the teenagers were looking at me.

Well... what's done is done. For now I'll keep applying to whatever positions I can find, and plan on getting my fingerprints, etc. done before sub boot camp next Friday.

Sub pools for the great recession

How do you prepare yourself for a job interview? What if that job interview was to join the sub pool?

Would you practice getting your pulse taken? Or take it more seriously, and bring in samples of daily summaries, prepare a list of curriculum you're familiar with, and be ready to explain/discuss management issues through the lens of a guest teacher? Would you wear a suit? Prepare a sample lesson... just in case they see how incredibly awesome you are and change their mind and decide to hire you full time after all? 

All year last year when I subbed people would say "well hey you have a pulse!" but apparently having a pulse and passing a background check is no longer the minimum qualification to be a substitute teacher. In fact, most of the districts in Big City, USA will not even accept new substitute applications right now because their sub pools are full of teachers who were laid off last year.

Welcome to 2010, teachers.

I did manage to land myself a bona fide job interview... to join a sub pool for a chain of charters. I did also apply for a classroom position with the same charter but no bites there.

While I'm still actively applying for the few job postings that I can find (and thinking about seriously revamping my cover letter & resume) I'm also wondering how I'm going to continue my career. As a planner by nature, my 1, 5, and 10 year plans get changed almost weekly as my career prospects dwindle. Am I a lifer in the sub pool? Will two years post teacher ed without my own room kill my classroom teacher potential? Can I still consider pursuing my special ed credential next year?

Or will I not even get picked for the sub pool? If that happens I may as well grab my green apron and go knock on the window at Starbucks and promise not to steal too many SKVLs.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Life, differentiated

I finally have internet at my new apartment. And by finally I mean it's been three days since we got our keys. Addicted doesn't even begin to describe it. I'm hoping to get back in it to win it soon and get things like twitter up and running (my new phone should arrive soon!) and potentially update my blog to include links to all the awesome teacher blogs I've found this summer.

This move have been as much symbolic as it is physical for Dr. Awesome and me. We spent just over five years in Small Town, USA and we both earned our degrees there. We're officially moving on from being graduate students and moving on to the next part of our lives. Small Town, USA is where we got married and grew from undergrads into the people we are today (when we figure out who those people are we'll let you know.) Although neither of us particularly liked living in Small Town, USA, we felt kinda sad leaving it, as it is where our marriage began and grew and where we solidified the permanence of "us". Also it's where we decided to stop being lame and start being awesome instead.

Now we're in Big City, USA, though perhaps GIANT City is a more appropriate name. Our apartment is tiny, we're both having car troubles, I haven't had one single call for a job interview, and we have to move again next year. But I already love it here.

Right now I'm closer to my sister-in-law for one year, during the exact year that my brother is deployed. Right now we have a small apartment when our little family of two + kitties is the smallest it will ever be. Right now we have car trouble but we don't have to make car payments. Right now I'm planning on going to some amazing concerts and visit some really rad attractions because they are in my neighborhood, and I can, and because I don't have to go to work. I love the way people drive here, order coffee here, and most of all I love that Dr. Awesome is here with me.

Is this my life, differentiated?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sorry for the hiatus, but then again, who needs to apologize for summer? I just wanted to let the blogger world at large know that I'll be back and blogging again soon(ish) but in the meantime, you'll have to go outside and play.

Here's a quick list of things I've been up to.

Vacation (is there anything better?)
Packing/moving (is there anything worse?)
Applying for jobs (putting my name in sub pools...)
Sending my brother off to Afghanistan (I'm a proud Navy sister but damn wars suck)
Attempting to catch up on my classics (started and am actually enjoying Bleak House by Charles Dickens)
Alright, our moving truck comes tomorrow so back to packing it is! Good luck to everyone setting up classrooms, meeting new kiddos and parents, interviewing for last minute openings, and generally starting off a new year!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Tweet Tweet

I decided to join the world of twitter. I'm brand new to it. I don't even have a personal twitter account so there will definitely be some learning involved. Also this may or may not lead to a new phone purchase, as my current phone flips AND has a retractable antennae.

So are you on twitter? I'm @mrsawesomeblogs so watch for me as I try to figure the whole thing out. It can't be that hard.