How uncommon is my situation? And, how detrimental is it?

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by Tek, Feb 17, 2012.

  1. Tek

    Tek Comrade

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Messages:
    259
    Likes Received:
    5

    Feb 17, 2012

    I'm an aspiring teacher, but my story is a little different from your average seeker, in most cases.

    I graduated from the grad program and completed the elementary ed. program in June 2008. 7 days after graduating, I got a part-time after-school teaching job where I would teach self-contained classrooms of no more than 12 students. I figured I could take my first year off and just build up more experience, as I wasn't entirely satisfied with my student teaching. I felt like I had so much more to learn, and I figured I could take a year off and teach part-time.

    And I don't mean to get spiritual, but since it's a huge part of my story I have to mention in 2009 I found Christ and became very involved in church life/community. I went to Africa for a mission trip. I led a small group of fellow young adults for a short season. I've been in 3 huge plays (acting has always been a side passion of mine) which over 45,000+ collectively have seen.

    All this time I've consistently taught at my stable after-school part-time teaching position.

    Earlier this year I decided to attempt to finish (or continue) what I started... and that goal is to become an elementary school teacher. I know the odds are against me, because I took a 3+ year "break" (even though I have been teaching part-time). I imagine if I'm interviewed I will asked about this gap. I plan to tell them the truth of what I've been doing the past several years.

    If it helps, I'm a male teacher. Although I don't know how important that is today as opposed to 20, 25 years ago when male teachers were extremely coveted.

    I know it's probably an uphill battle, as schools will probably be more enticed by fresher and more recently trained graduates, but I know it isn't impossible either. Any words of advice or encouragement given my situation? And has anyone been in a similar situation or known of teacher friends who have been?

    In some ways I regret not seeking a full time job right out of the grad program, but in more ways I'm glad for everything that has happened the past 3 years, to be honest. By the way, I've been told I may want to look into private Christian schools, since they would give "someone like me" more of a chance than a public school would. One friend even told me my best bet is to start with a private Christian school, build up my resume and maybe after 2-3 years teaching full time at a private Christian school then I can think about a public school.

    I'd prefer to teach at a public school, though, although a full time position anywhere would be nice. Just want to get my foot in the door...
     
  2.  
  3. bison

    bison Habitué

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2012
    Messages:
    874
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 17, 2012

    Since you have been teaching part-time, I wouldn't call it a "break." You've been a teacher, just in a different setting.

    Male elementary teachers are still in demand where I am. All you can do is give it a shot. Don't bring up the religion in interviews for public schools though, although you can say that you went on a mission trip to Africa if you choose. It's just not appropriate or relevant. If you don't get a job this year, you can try subbing for a while until you get your foot in the door. Good luck.
     
  4. Tek

    Tek Comrade

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Messages:
    259
    Likes Received:
    5

    Feb 17, 2012

    Thanks for your thoughts, bison.

    Hmm, would it be worse to talk about religion, or would it be worse to be vague with a comment like "I've kept myself busy these past 3 years..." wouldn't they inquire further what "busy" is, or if they don't, wouldn't they knock it against me so to speak that I'm not being more specific? Unless religion is an absolute no-no in an interview setting, I'd rather be specific than be vague. And if I do mention it, I'd do so briefly and respectably, as I know it's often a touchy topic.

    But yeah, I'm subbing right now and would not mind subbing for a whole year if it comes down to that. Right now I need to get more accolades for my resume.
     
  5. bison

    bison Habitué

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2012
    Messages:
    874
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 17, 2012

    I can only speak for my area in CA, but it's generally considered inappropriate to discuss things like "I found Christ" or whatever it is in the workplace, particularly in education. I think you'd do better with something like, "I've been highly involved in my church community and participated in a mission trip to Africa" followed by some experiences you had or skills you learned that would benefit your teaching ability. Again though, I wouldn't call it a break. You've been teaching!
     
  6. HOPE-fulTeacher

    HOPE-fulTeacher Comrade

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2010
    Messages:
    263
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 18, 2012

    I would just tell them your experiences...that you taught for an after school program for 3 years, that you've had experience leading groups on mission trips or Bible studies, etc. I don't think you should be afraid to mention the mission trip part of it...it's legitimate leadership and teaching experience. As part of my resume and interview answers, I would say that I was a camp counselor. It was a Christian camp, and in my resume description, I said that part of my job was to care for my campers physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I would talk about my experience as a camp counselor in interviews. You can mention Christian experiences without "getting all religious".

    I don't think the fact that you didn't go into regular classroom teaching right after school would be a detriment...you've shown through experiences that you still have an interest in teaching and education, and you are able to say that your experiences after grad school have made you a stronger, more well-rounded candidate.

    Good luck to you!
     
  7. Tek

    Tek Comrade

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Messages:
    259
    Likes Received:
    5

    Feb 18, 2012

    Love the way you phrased it! You're right, "I found Christ" is a little heavy. Some tweaks and it's so much more effective. I don't have to say it "directly" is the point. The experiences will speak for themselves. And you're right, I have been teaching!


    Thanks, good luck to you too, Hopeful-Teacher! Great thoughts. True, it's all about how you sell or advertise your experiences. And you're right, I can absolutely do that without getting religious. Your post really encourages me as I do believe I'm more mature now than I was when I first finished grad school (though there is ALWAYS room for much more growth! We never stop growing!). I honestly probably couldn't have handled a full time teaching position in 2008. Maybe I'm ready now. All I know is, there's only one way to find out!
     
  8. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    6,751
    Likes Received:
    1,711

    Feb 18, 2012

    If I were interviewing you for a job, I would be impressed with your life experiences. I agree that you may want to temper your "found Christ" phrase, though. It absolutely would not offend me as a hiring person, but I don't know how others would feel.
     
  9. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Messages:
    4,964
    Likes Received:
    1,156

    Feb 18, 2012

    agreeing with what everyone else said. don't view it as a break, view it as a consistent part time teaching experience for 3 years. The fact that you stuck with it and they kept you for 3 years speaks volumes of you.
    The religion part - just like everyone else said. I think the main point is that if the interview panel sees that religion already peaks into your interview conversation, you might bring it to the classroom. If they ask specifics, then you should provide it, but they should see it that you view your religion as a private matter, and would never mix it with being a teacher in the classroom.
     
  10. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Messages:
    7,946
    Likes Received:
    4

    Feb 18, 2012

    Since many (public) schools around here do not shy away from expressing spiritual things (religious-laced musicals, prayers for students, and so forth), I would say many administrators would actually be impressed by your choices. :)
     
  11. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2006
    Messages:
    2,735
    Likes Received:
    5

    Feb 18, 2012

    You never left teaching, you were only part time. I would eplain the gap at an interview, but carefully. It will either work for you or maybe against you. Who knows, maybe a principal would be inspired by your missions trip to offer you the job. A missions trip is very selfless, and nothing to be ashamed of!
     
  12. meek0033

    meek0033 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2012
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 22, 2012

    You should be proud of your life experiences. Many principals want to hire candidates with diverse experiences. The fact that you volunteered your time in Africa to lead a youth group speaks highly of your motivation to help others- which is what teaching is all about. You don't need to specifically say that you "found Christ," but don't be afraid to describe your experiences with the church in detail. It is part of who you are and shows what kind of a person you are- someone who wants to improve society. It also shows that you can work with a diverse range of people.
     
  13. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Messages:
    8,565
    Likes Received:
    1,683

    Feb 22, 2012

    You've worked with young people all over the world. You've been on stage in front of thousands of people whose attention you kept. Those are MAJOR assets to bring to the classroom. A school that is looking for a teacher who brings a fresh perspective would be incredibly lucky to have you join their ranks.
     
  14. Tek

    Tek Comrade

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Messages:
    259
    Likes Received:
    5

    Feb 24, 2012

    Wow, thank you everyone for your encouragement! I never stopped to look at it that way. I always just saw the huge 3-4 year gap... but you are right I *have* been teaching and have gained some invaluable life experiences. I feel empowered by all your encouraging responses. Thank you!
     
  15. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2007
    Messages:
    17,362
    Likes Received:
    46

    Feb 24, 2012

    I totally agree with this post!

    Good luck!!
     
  16. sizzla_222

    sizzla_222 Companion

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2011
    Messages:
    237
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 24, 2012

    or work at a christian school like your friend said. Then you can say whatever you want. It will actually be a question in the interview - how did you become a christian etc.

    I teach 4th grade at a christian school and am also male.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. Gerald Peterson
Total: 171 (members: 2, guests: 150, robots: 19)
test