Making the Right Decision

life is sum of all decisions determined by priorities

My previous post discussed the frustration of having to interview.  For the most part, I feel I interview well.  I may come on strong, but I think it’s because I am not shy.  I don’t hesitate to answer questions and I try to come off knowledgable.  Most of the time, I feel this is accurately conveyed.  Fortunately, it was today.

Today, I interviewed for a 5th grade position about an hour away.  I was hesitant about the location but figured interviewing couldn’t hurt.  Practice makes perfect and it’s important to be open-minded.  At the very least, maybe I would make new connections that could lead me to where I am meant to be.

While driving home from the interview, I received a phone call asking for permission to contact references.  Of course this was a good sign.  The principal did not hesitate to call all three references and got back to me within an hour or so.  As you have probably assumed while reading this, I was offered the job.  Despite my gut instinct, I asked for time to discuss this over with my husband and get back to her which she had no problem doing.

I rarely ask for opinions on Facebook.  However, I put it out there to get feedback on if an hour drive is a crazy commute.  I think it’s good to have different opinions and perspectives (in all areas of life) as it allows you to see things differently.  It pushes you to evaluate your priorities and has you question how best to represent yourself and your morals.

Driving an hour there and an hour back adds up quickly.  However, I would get to have my own classroom and do something I’m truly passionate about.  I’m eager to perform well and learn as much as I can – and I could do that here.  But the man, who would be my co-teacher, specifically said he is hoping to find someone who will be here and commit to this family of teachers.

The most popular response on Facebook suggested that I take the job, and if something better comes along to turn it down.  Although it is true this is just business and this happens a log, it makes me uncomfortable.  I don’t want to burn any bridges and I don’t want to screw anyone over.  I would hate to leave them scrambling at the last minute to fill the position.  At the same time, it’s a job – I could love it.  It would help bring in money so we can finally have the funds to adopt a child of our own.  Maybe it won’t be too bad if I find podcasts and music and use that time to decompress.  However, in the winters the roads are horrible…. and this mental debate goes on and on and on and on….

I think at the end of the day, when making a decision like this, you have to go with your gut instinct.  Despite needing the money, I think it would be unfair to take the job.  I can’t commit to being apart of the community long-term as I assume after a year or so that drive would eat at me.  I would much rather have a job close by and I think I need to have faith that it will all work out how it’s supposed to.

For me, it’s important I walk away feeling good about how I handled the situation.  Hopefully, the principal will appreciate my honesty and maybe even pass my name on to someone in my area.  I need to just trust that it happens for a reason, and the job I’m meant to be in will fall in my lap – even if the school year is inching closer and closer.  My priority is being with my family, holding up a good reputation, and finding a job that I want to be in for years to come.  Therefore, I think I have concluded this isn’t the best fit and I will need to respectfully decline the offer.

Silver lining: At least I’m in a position to turn down an offer.  At least I have an offer.  At least I had an interview and hopefully there are more to follow.

To Know Me is to Love Me

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I adore teaching.  It is truly something I am passionate and I feel lucky to have found it.  I was so excited last year because I found a school I fit in, a team I loved, a community I loved, and best of all… I wouldn’t have to go back to job hunting.

Early in our careers it seems like all we do is interview.  As a new teacher, it is normal to get bounced around from school to school.  Maybe you were a long-term sub, maybe they didn’t have the FTE to keep you, or maybe it just wasn’t the right fit for you.  Whatever the reason to be, that probationary period really sucks.  I hate that time of not being 100% sure if there is a job for me next year, if I will get renewed, if I’m doing all that I can be doing.

So naturally, that is where life has led me. Back to the interviewing stages.  The worst part of this process, now, is that today everything is done electronically.  Although it makes it more convenient, it’s hard to stand out from the 100s of applicants that are applying to the same job.  As my mother has always said, “To know me is to love me!”  And it’s true! I personally make the best impressions, at least professionally, is to meet me in person.

I remember my first interview right after student teaching.  I was asked about RTI (response to intervention) and didn’t know the acronym.  I was so nervous and right before the interview itself, my husband had accidentally taken my keys along with his to work.  So I was stranded.  Which left me knocking on my neighbors door in a panic asking awkwardly if I could borrow her car.  I left that interview knowing instantly… “Welp, didn’t get that job!”

It can be a frustrating experience – especially when you know personally how good you are.  You have been told from administrators, parents, students, and other colleagues.  I by no means am perfect.  I’m still very new and have no problem owning my mistakes.  I have a lot to learn.  But I want to learn.  I’m eager and willing to learn.  I’m passionate about teaching and want to grow as a teacher.  I want to be that teacher students look back over the years and think to themselves, “Man, that Mrs. B really made an impact on me.”

I just went through my first interview experience while living in Michigan now.  I loved the  team.  The superintendent acted very befuddled when I entered the office asking me, “Are you sure you’re in the right place? Who told you to come here? What position?” Which left my heart beating and me in a panic knowing my interview was in 8 minutes.  He then cut himself off, ” — hahah I’m just kidding! They’ll be right with you!”

The community is small.  I like that.  The people were nice.  The superintendent was involved and made connections.  Unfortunately, I did not get the position.  But that is not to say I didn’t make connections I could use in the future.  They gave me a lot of positive feedback and it just came down to best fit.

My husband reminds me that it all happens for a reason.  I believe that.  I have to believe that.  But it still doesn’t make it any less disappointing or frustrating.  Time will tell.  It always does.  And I know I will look back and be like, “Isn’t it funny how things worked out?”  Now that I’m settled and I at least got one interview under my belt, it’s easier for me to stay positive.  Hopefully that perfect job is just around the corner.  Until then, I’ll keep chugging along! 🙂

Keeping an Open Mind

For the last two years, I have been a 6th grade teacher.  I’ve coached middle school volleyball and soccer and really found my groove.  Middle school is where I felt I belonged and I was committed to the idea.  The fact that most people couldn’t imagine the idea of working in a middle school further confirmed the fact that I was someone who was right for the job – that I was someone who could truly relate to the kiddos and make a difference.

However, transferring my teaching license in Michigan has been quite frustrating.  In Colorado I was licensed K-6 for elementary school.  In Michigan, elementary school is defined as K-5.  Despite the fact that I passed the Praxis test and was endorsed in secondary Language Arts, Michigan doesn’t care.  They will not simply accept a passed test but rather expects you to complete a program and either major or minor in the topic.  I already have a Master’s degree, so having to go to school for the same thing I’m already endorsed in (assuming I am committed to secondary education) seems silly to me.  Lastly, I have to pass two Michigan state tests in order to receive an official teaching license – one of which has three subtests.  Needless to say, I have been quite disappointed finding out all the hoops I have to jump through to be able to do what I love.

Because Michigan only approved me to teach elementary school, I’ve had to adjust my whole mindset.  It’s something I am no longer used to and have to just start accepting that I could still love teaching elementary.  After all, I have worked with kids of all different ages and have loved it.  I went to school to teach elementary school because clearly I enjoyed that age as well.  I think I just have forgotten how much fun that age is too.

I did a practicum in a preschool, I’ve done a practicum in a 2nd grade classroom, I student taught 4th grade, I taught for part of a year 5th grade, and then have done 2 years in 6th grade.  I loved 4th grade – in fact I thought for a while it was my ideal grade.  I loved the 2nd grade practicum – the students were cute, they felt safe with me, and I wanted to take them home as one of my own.

So despite the fact that the idea of teaching little ones scare me, I think it’s because I’m nervous I may not be as strong as I once was teaching those topics.  However, I have an interview for a 1st or 2nd grade position (it may have changed now so I’m not entirely sure) and I need to start getting excited.  There are a lot of benefits to teaching elementary school as well – particularly less grading.  Regardless of what I teach, as long as I have a good team and I have a sense of confidence teaching what I’m teaching, I know I’ll be successful.  I know I’m a good teacher.  I’m passionate about teaching, and if that enthusiasm continues, I know I will only grow to be a better teacher and hopefully become a major asset to any school I’m at.

For right now, I need to go with the flow.  I need to keep an open mind and just embrace where life takes me.  God has a plan for me and I need to relinquish any control I’m trying to hold on to.  Let’s be honest, I really don’t have any control.  I make plans and God laughs.  So keep your fingers crossed because one way or another, I will have a classroom of my own once again!