Monday, March 9, 2009

Charter school job fair

I went to the charter school job fair at Columbia U. on Saturday. It was crowded! But we're all certified to teach in different areas, so I wasn't in direct competition with at least half of the other candidates, or so I kept telling myself! Only one woman from one of the schools was snotty. I purposely approached her table because there was no line, only to have to wait a couple of minutes for her to finish her extremely important conversation about the new diet she's on, and how it's about being healthy, not losing weight, unfortunately, because wouldn't that be nice if it happened, blah blah blah. When she finally stopped talking and acknowledged my existence, we talked for a minute and she said, "Well, we are looking for a special education teacher but only for kindergarden and first grade." Then she took my resume, looked at it, and said in a snotty tone, "Wow. This is really confusing." I had talked to people from half a dozen other schools by then, and none of them had said my resume was confusing. Humph.

But most of the schools were very nice. One Brooklyn school in particular said they definitely need special ed teachers for the fall, that they give resumes from job fair candidates a higher priority, and that I should expect a call soon. Yay!

The only problem is that many charter schools have extended school days and extended school years, to give kids who are behind more learning time. I tried to avoid those schools. Am I a terrible person?? It's just that, for me, teaching is difficult and draining and challenging enough when you have a 6 hr and 50 minute school day, 180 days a year. When I taught 8th grade in Texas, the kids' school day was 8:05 AM - 3:35 PM every day (7.5 hours!), and I would be grading and planning all evening and on weekends, and I STILL never felt like I ever caught up. I was 23 years old and could barely do it. I just don't think I could do it now. One of my friends from when I did Jesuit Volunteer Corps was visiting NYC over the weekend from California, where she's now teaching 7th grade. She said she grades and plans every weeknight until at least 9:00 PM, but she's made a rule that her weekends are her own. She's a lot smarter than I was when I was her age! I didn't make that rule and therefore completely burned myself out. No more.

I will re-do my resume yet again, though. It's just so tough for me to organize a resume in a way that makes sense, because my experience is wildly all over the place: teaching kids, publishing, teaching adults, administrative assistance, fundraising, tutoring. The longest I've ever worked anywhere was 2 years and 5 months. Not the most typical career path. But it hasn't been boring, that's for sure!

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