Demoralized After Teachers Job Fair

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by AprilMay4, Mar 21, 2019.

  1. AprilMay4

    AprilMay4 New Member

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    Mar 21, 2019

    I went to a huge teachers job fair today in Texas at the college I graduated from (where I got an undergrad in Education with a focus in Psychology and I'm now working towards getting an alternative teaching certification for EC-6). I'm hoping to teach kindergarten. We had a lot of different districts from all over the state and I talked to most of the district representatives, but I kept getting demoralizing responses. Most of the reps asked me about my classroom management style and what inspired me to be a teacher. My response was usually something like this:
    "As someone who grew up in foster care, I know how much of a difference one teacher can make in your life. Because of the instability in my life, I was diagnosed with ODD and ADHD when I was 4 years old. While other adults just labeled me a "bad" child, my kindergarten teacher saw me as a child that needed support, stability, and coping/communication skills. I ended up in her class for two years, which was the biggest blessing in my life because I learned resilience, empathy, and a love of learning that pushed me to grow no matter what else happened in my life. All it takes is one teacher to make a difference and I want to be that teacher like Mrs. Bullington was for me...As for classroom management, I follow the Conscious Discipline method, which is heavily based in child psychology. I come from a place of recognizing that children need to be taught skills and that, when they are in an unstable environment, their survival state kicks in and an adult needs to teach them how to identify and express their emotions, while also creating a school family that helps them feel safe and connected." I listed ways I would achieve this: having a feeling/calm/conflict resolution center, where skills such as emotional regulation are taught. I talked about how I would focus on sparking a child's natural curiosity through engaging activities, encouraging children's individual strengths, providing a variety of teaching methods (kinesthetic, auditory, visual, etc). I would have classroom jobs and stations that allowed kids choices to encourage independence and a feeling of community. I mentioned that I thought it was important to involve parents in activities and work with them when kids are struggling.

    The responses were generally unenthusiastic, sometimes dismissive, and no one seemed at all interested in my ideas. I even had a couple of people just tell me bluntly that they don't run schools like that and I should just move on. They said that kindergarten is the new first grade and I need to be preparing the kids for testing. I feel so disappointed because I have worked so hard, coming from a background of abuse, to understand the best ways to communicate with, support, and teach children. I really feel called to make a difference in kids' lives. But it seems like no one is really interested in my style of teaching. Does the teaching profession still provide that opportunity? Or is it overrun by testing standards and bureaucracy?

    When I got to the job fair, I was full of excitement and passion, but I left feeling demoralized and like I don't belong in the teaching realm.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2019
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  3. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Mar 21, 2019

    Human resources professionals and district officials have a whole different job description than a principal or teacher. When you are in a classroom, your experiences will absolutely matter, but when going through the first stages of the hiring process human resources are going to worry more about the basics. That includes: are you licensed, are you able to keep a group of students on task and learning, and are you aware of current educational standards and lesson planning methods. Depending on who you talk to, many hiring people won't know the difference between Conscious Discipline and any other method. I think your answers are coming from a good place, but that information seems more like the type you'd share later on in the hiring process or even after being hired.

    But also... Do know that standards and testing are absolutely overrunning schools right now. You will have to be okay with that on some level. Some schools will have a heavier focus on social-emotional skills than others. Even if you get hired at a testing heavy school, your approach will be useful, but you are going to have to fit it into the school's box/vision to some extent.

    Have you looked into any alternative options, such as charters and private schools? You might find a better fit if you look outside the box, so to speak.

    I hope you find what you are looking for! Students do need someone who believes in them. Just know you might have to take some good with some bad when you're finding the right place.
     
  4. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Connoisseur

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    Mar 22, 2019

    As someone who went to many job fairs in Texas, unless you are certified in high needs area like ESL Math or Science you can not get a job or interview at a job fair. Also if you go to a job fair just don't stand in line at the big school that everyone else is in. Go to the little schools around the area. Or even think outside the "box" so to speak look into relocating. I got my current job sorta through a job fair. There was a rep from the school that I talked to and kept his card. About 6 weeks later I applied and and not more than 5 minutes later I was making arrangement for an interview for later on that week. Needless to say I got the job, moved across Texas and have been happily ever after. You are right job fairs are demoralizing. But dont give up if teaching is truly what you want to do.

    ps We need teachers badly in west Texas if you are interested in relocating let me know I can send you my districts info!!!
     
  5. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Fanatic

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    Mar 22, 2019

    I can see you have a big heart. I can understand you wanting to go into an interview and tell it all. I have found that you have to be as wise and sly as a fox. If you get too specific, you won't get the job. For example, I told a friend how I told principals in interviews how I would implement Classroom Management and other things, and I was so incredibly specific in the interviews. My friend was blunt and told me to stop this and she helped me to be more careful what I said in an interview. I changed my tactics and got hired for my first teaching job. I do the same now in the school I work at. I am careful to get to know people before I share my creative ideas on how to help students. Then, I close my door and do my own thing. With testing, I never like it, but I find if I teach creatively, they still do fine on the tests. Sometimes I have to give in a bit, but I'm okay with losing a little battle, to win the big war...teaching in a way that makes a difference to children. Play your cards right and carefully and think long term. Once you get good, you can also be more choosy about the school you are at. I purposely moved to a school much more similar to my philosophy when the time was right. Good luck to you.
     
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  6. Preschool0929

    Preschool0929 Cohort

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    Mar 23, 2019

    I teach in a different state, but in the largest district in my state. It’s extremely academically focused and, really, most principals want to know that you can manage a classroom and produce results. Of course when you get in the classroom, your approach and relationships you build with students and parents will be important, but you’ll also be expected to fit into the mold of whatever school-wide behavior system there is.

    Have you thought about public preschool instead? I teach public preschool/sped and have a lot more freedom to focus on social emotional skills than the K-5 teachers at my school. I use conscious discipline and second steps and many of my students come from trauma backgrounds that benefit from the strategies im able to use.
     
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  7. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Mar 25, 2019

    You would be a wonderful fit and much more appreciated in alternative education
     
  8. ChildWhisperer

    ChildWhisperer Devotee

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    Mar 28, 2019

    It sounds like you would do better in a preschool setting, because unfortunately, kindergarten is a lot more academic now, and with everything you said, I was picturing a preschool classroom.
     
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  9. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Mar 28, 2019

    Your specific story was more than the representatives needed to know. If you are going AR into teaching, you would be better served to give them specific named classroom management styles, and be somewhat less personal in your narrative - you feel that you missed your calling when you picked your major, but you are grateful to have the chance to fix that mistake by putting in the hard work to become a successful AR candidate. Less is often more at job fairs, where the districts may speak to multiple candidates in a short period of time.

    In your case, I would have mentioned that perhaps you would be interested in pursuing a SPED certificate once you had your certificate to teach elementary ed. You have experience in how it feels to be labeled - you may have a future in SPED that you haven't considered yet.

    These are, of course, just my opinions. I did, however, enter teaching through AR, but already had a graduate degree in my content specialty. Yes, I did earn a few other certificates along the way - being a lifelong learner is one of the best traits any teacher or teacher candidate can have.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2019
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