I need to decide what I'm doing next year, and I have to do it by Thursday at the latest. I have four job opportunities in front of me that all have some red flags and some benefits... Current position, 6th grade teacher Pros are that I already know and like the curriculum, I have a great team, I'll probably be the team lead for next year, and it'll be an opportunity for some continuity. I also love the kids here, and have already built some relationships with the rising 6th graders. This would be the easy choice, except... Con: I'm currently taking courses towards my PhD at a campus about twenty minutes away from my school, with courses starting at 4:30. The problem is that my contract runs until 4:20 each day, and getting out and getting to school on time requires me leaving by 3:45, while dismissal doesn't actually start until 3:50. That means every time I have class, I have to get my kids packed up and separated well before dismissal, and it puts quite a burden on my teammates. They've expressed to me that it's no big deal, but I recognize the unfairness of the situation and don't know if I want to put them through that again. Thus me applying to and interviewing at other schools. Opportunity 1: Elementary advanced academic resource teacher Pros are that I know the curriculum already and trust the team. The same time problems would exist, but me leaving early wouldn't inconvenience anybody else. I'd effectively create my own schedule, so I could just schedule my own planning time on class days for 3:45-end of day. Cons are that it's an insecure position. I could very well be destaffed after one year. I'd be guaranteed a job somewhere, but I wouldn't be able to guarantee what it would be. It could be anywhere within my certification area. Going to a new school then might make me look like a job-hopper to anybody looking quickly at my resume. Opportunity 2: Middle school Special Education teacher Pros are that this is at the largest gifted center in my district, and my future dissertation is going to be related to 2e kids. I probably couldn't find a better school in the state to be at for my dissertation. While I wouldn't be directly working with the center much, I'd still likely be serving as case manager for any 2e kids. The time situation also works out nicely, since my contract day would end at 2:45. That would let me not only get to class on time without feeling rushed, it would let me get in a quick dinner or snack first, plus review readings for class. Cons... it's science. They'd have me teaching team-taught and self-contained science. Granted, I enjoy science just fine, but I'm not certified in middle school science and am not sure how confident I'd be in the curriculum, particularly on day 1. Virginia allows teachers to get add-on endorsements by passing a Praxis, and I'd like to hope I could pass a middle school science Praxis if I needed to, but I'd still have difficulties considering myself an expert. Opportunity 3: Middle School Math Teacher Pros are the time thing again. They also want me as a department chair, which includes a modest yearly stipend (although also the extra work commitment of being a department chair). I have a math endorsement, and feel like I could go into this one with confidence as an expert, even though I've never worked above sixth grade before. I also had really good rapport with the administrator overseeing the math department, and think it would be a school I'd enjoy. Cons... well, this school is in a rough part of the county, to put it nicely, and they tend to have high teacher turnover. The AP interviewing me said she hoped whoever she hired would commit to staying for at least three years, though she knew she couldn't make that anything formal. The problem is that I'll be eligible to get my administrative credentials in December 2020, and will be making a big push to get an administrative job once my credentials clear. There's nothing saying I'll get an administrator job then, of course, but I'd still be actively looking for a new job just a year and a half after coming in. The kiddos at this school need (and deserve!) a teacher willing to give a long-term commitment, and I'm probably not able to make that commitment. I'm going back and forth, and will probably keep doing so until next Thursday, but it's just so stressful, and right after school let out, too.