Tuesday, March 16, 2010

What's Next?

It has been a while since I posted my last blog, so I feel as though I owe everyone an update.

Over the past couple of months I have been tediously searching for a new job. My search consisted of (but was not limited to) special education jobs, teacher assistant jobs, elementary teacher jobs and preschool teacher jobs. Of course, my education was meant to prepare me strictly for elementary and middle school teaching positions, but I was trying not to let myself get too picky in today's horrible economy.

In order to find jobs, I mostly used Edjoin, Craigslist, CareerBuilder, Indeed, Jobs, and other such websites. I also asked my boss to keep her eyes and ears open for me, and I asked a few of my teacher friends in the area to let me know if they heard of any arising opportunities.

After dozens of resumes, cover letters, emails, and rejections, I finally got a bite. My current boss approached me with an email address and information about an elementary school in Milpitas. The school is owned by the same company that I currently work for, and the principal happens to be my current boss' very good friend. That same night I emailed "Quinn" to inquire about openings in her staffing pool for the 2010-11 school year. To my luck, she responded by telling me that she was looking for a 3rd grade teacher and she wanted to schedule an interview with me ASAP. After several emails, we finally agreed on a Friday morning "casual meeting".

To me, the phrase "casual meeting" did not sound the same as a formal interview, so I did not prepare myself as well as I should have, but I still did not skimp on my attire or attitude. Once I sat down with Quinn in her office, she began asking questions like: "What sort of activities and interactions would I see if I walked into your classroom on a random day?" and "How would you deal with a struggling student and a gifted student during a lesson?" or "Why do you want to teach in a struggling economy, where your income will be significantly lower than other jobs?" This was when I realized that by "casual meeting" she really did mean "interview". I felt so stupid for not preparing myself more thoroughly for those questions! I answered them in the most honest way possible, but I would have added and changed a few things if I had a bit more time to collect my thoughts.

After our conversation, we toured the school and I was able to meet several teachers and students. Everyone seemed very welcoming, but shocked because they had no idea that the school was hiring a new teacher. I felt confident that Quinn really liked me, but I was still unsure about the way I answered her questions. We ended our "meeting" on a positive note, and I had a wonderful feeling in my tummy for the rest of the day!

My feelings changed after several weeks went by and I didn't hear anything from Quinn. I tried emailing her a few times, then one day she responded by telling me that she was interviewing other teachers for the position and she would let me know soon if the job would be offered to me or not. My heart sunk when I read this email because during our interview she had told me that she usually hires teachers based on experience, rather than credentials and education. After hearing about other teachers being considered, I knew that I had no chance of competing against other experienced applicants, and that my dream of being a 3rd grade teacher was crushed.

I decided to give Quinn another week or 2 to tell me the bad news. After two weeks, however, I was so nervous and tired of waiting that I emailed her one last time. In my email, I tried to detail my good qualities one last time, and I wished her luck in her search. The next day, the unexpected happened.

I was teaching in the 3-year-old classroom at my school when my current boss walked in and asked if she could talk to me. She told me that she just got off the phone with Quinn, who was emailing me at that moment with her decision. Sherry (my boss) basically told me that I would be starting at Quinn's school in three weeks! At first I didn't believe her, but when I got home and checked my email that night, sure enough, Quinn had made me an official proposal!

It did not take me long to accept, even though my attempts at a pay raise were shot down, due to the "economy and inadequate justification" for me to earn more than the other teachers. Although I won't be making any more money in the first months at my new job, than I do now, I will be starting a "normal" salary when I take over my own classroom in August.

All of this news came so suddenly to me that I could not handle it any other way than to cry. When we were falling asleep that same night, I began to cry in the arms of my baffled boyfriend, who could not understand how I could be so unhappy at a time like that. It wasn't that I was necessarily unhappy, in fact, it was quite the opposite. I was ecstatic to have such a great adventure ahead of me, but I was also terrified. I was afraid to leave my roommates, my family, and the comfort of my small town in beloved Sonoma County.

Now, several weeks later, my current job is winding down and I have already begun to move my belongings to South Bay. I have the full support of my loving family, who only want the best for me, because they understand what a great experience this could be for me. I have the best boyfriend in the world, who is not afraid to push me out of my comfort zone if it means I will be a better, stronger person in the end. He has also been my solid, emotional rock who is always there to calm me down when my nerves get the best of me.

I have nothing better to say than that I feel so blessed with every door God has opened for me because I know I do not deserve such amazing opportunities in my meager life. Now, all I can ask is, "what's next?"


Антон said...

This is a good story! I have read it with big interest because you probably write it for yourself mostly, "as is". Good lack in new job!

Julie said...