Archive for July, 2009

Getting things rolling…

July 29, 2009

Not too much happened today.  I finally have my computer accounts (including email active).  It would have been nice to have had this when I was sitting through technology training.

I signed my lease today.  Tomorrow I will have electricity.  I will have cable and internet next week.  Only a few more nights left at my parents.

That is all.

-J

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Summer Institute…

July 28, 2009

I am officially a teacher as of today.  This afternoon, I was finally able to sign my contract since I was approved by the school board last night.

This week is Summer Institute.  It is a week full of professional development training sessions.  I have been in classes with the other new teachers going over different things that we need to know.  When I first found out about it, I was not looking forward to a week full of training, but it has been good so far.  The information has been really helpful and I am learning things that I need to know.  The good thing about Summer Institute is that I will get a large portion of my required training for the year out of the way.

I have learned that teachers go through a lot of training, which is something you don’t realize when you are a student.  This training is very beneficial to both the students and teachers.  I am a little worried abou teaching, especially since I did not student teach, but this training will help me out a lot.

My district has a lot of resources available to teachers.  Each school has an instructional coach who helps all teachers succeed.  My instructional coach is going to be an excellent resource and will is ready to help me with whatever I need.  My district also has a lot of technology resources available.  I am really excited because I really want to be able to integrate technology into my teaching.

Yesterday I got to look at my classroom for the first time.  It really wasn’t as exciting as I thought it would be, but I was glad to see it.  It isn’t anything special, but give me some time to work my magic.  The teacher who had my room before left a lot of posters, so I won’t have to buy as much, but I did go to the teacher store yesterday.  This was not planned to coincide with seeing my classroom.  I made my first classroom purchase: a set of the presidents.  This was the one thing I really wanted to have up; after all, I am teaching US history.

I will have more updates soon, since I have a lot coming up.

-J

Why I am happy to have a job…

July 20, 2009

I read this article today and it is not easy to get a teaching job this year.

“Many school districts in North Texas are not hiring as many teachers as before, due to the depression.  School officials in Arlington only expect to hire 200 new teachers, half of their usual number.  Ft. Worth officials only plan to hire 1/3 of their usual 900 new employees.  Districts are making cuts because of leaner budgets, and many teachers are staying in the classroom, due to other family members being laid off.”

Best wishes to those still searching.

-J

Source: http://www.kcendt.com/?p=14063

How I got into teaching…

July 20, 2009

Don’t be confused. I am not entering teaching as an experiment.  It is an experiment insofar as any job is an experiment: you try it out for a while and if you don’t like it, you find something else.  I am not entering teaching because I felt it was the only job I could get based on my qualifications, the economy, etc.  It is not a second choice to anything else.  It is something that I genuinely want to do.  Let me explain how I got into teaching.

I graduated from undergrad in three years.  When I switched my major to history (and later added political science), I never knew exactly what I wanted to do.  I had always considered teaching, but at a later date.  So when it came closer to graduation, I still had no idea, so I applied to grad school.  I found a program that I liked and thought I would be able to find a job related to that.  I loved my time at the Bush School.  I really enjoyed (most of) my classes, but when I looked around at jobs, I never really found anything that fit.  I interned with the State Department last summer, and although I enjoyed it, I knew it was not what I wanted to do.  The thought of teaching was still there and I began to explore it more.

Over the summer, I looked into certification programs, including Teach for America, but I still wasn’t sure if I wanted to teach.  I decided to get a job working as a substitute teacher.  I subbed throughout the school year at different levels and really enjoyed it.  I was mostly interested in high school, but I enjoyed middle school a lot more than I thought I would.  While substituting, I began to see teaching as something I really could enjoy, so I entered a certification program in January.

Although I wanted to become a teacher, I still looked for and applied to other jobs related to my major.  Because I didn’t know if I would be teaching or not, I did not tell a lot of people.  It is not that easy to get a teaching job as you would think.  I also had several things against me: I was in an alternative certification program (not the standard way most people become teachers) and I want to teach social studies, which is very low demand, especially since a lot of social studies positions are filled by coaches.

I hope to one day teach US government, which would be much more relevant to my graduate degree, but right now I am in 8th grade and I plan to stay there for a while.  My future plans are up in the air.  I have considered going into administration, but that is farther in the future.  I am so glad to have a job and we will see how things go.

-J

On starting a new job…

July 17, 2009

Ever since I got my new job (all of 36 hours ago) I have been very busy.  There are a lot of things that come with starting a new job.  Of course there is all the paperwork.  I had 10 forms to fill out today and I still have payroll forms to fill out later.  I also have to gather all sorts of things, including transcripts and reference letters.  Soon I will need to start packing and looking for a place to live (if I don’t move home for a few months first).  Now I am dealing with all the craziness of getting my teaching certificate.  Soon this will all get sorted out and I can focus on the other things, such as actually figuring out how to do the teaching thing.

-J

I got a job today…

July 15, 2009

I got a job today. I will be teaching 8th grade US history in the Ft. Worth area.

Not too long ago, I decided that I wanted to start a blog to chronicle my first year of teaching (assuming that I got a teaching job). This is my first attempt at blogging, so we shall see how this goes. Hopefully, I will update it regularly, including working on the appearance of the site. I hope to share some of my stories as I begin my career as a teacher. If you have any questions for me, let me know and I will try to address them in future posts. My next post will likely be how I got interested in teaching and what I did along the way. However, I want to start off by telling you about my crazy week and how I got this job. So, here we go…

Throughout the summer, I had several interviews, but no job offers, but this week was busier. On Monday, I had an interview with a charter school in Bryan. This job looked promising and it was my second interview with them. I did have a few concerns, the main one was that I would be teaching multiple grades. I was a little uneasy about being a first year teacher with no teaching experience having to plan for and teach multiple subjects. I also wouldn’t have any teachers teaching the same classes to help me with lesson planning and the like. The biggest plus for me was that I could stay in Bryan. I was told that I should hear something within a week, although last time they said I would hear something within two weeks and it took at least three or four.

After that interview, I went to my parents’ house in Arlington for the night, because I had an interview on Tuesday morning (at my new school). Things didn’t go too well before the interview. I left my undershirt, belt, dress shoes and socks in Bryan. Luckily I found a white shirt and dress socks in my old room. I borrowed some dress shoes from my dad, although they were a little big. As for the belt, with a suit jacket, no one knew the difference.

The interview went very well. I was interviewed by the principal and four other US history teachers. I felt very comfortable during the interview. I liked the school and wanted a job there. The principal told me that I did very well in the interview, especially for someone without teaching experience. Unfortunately, they were also interviewing some experienced teachers and the position would include teaching ESL students. He said that they were trying to get the hiring done as soon as possible and that I would hear either way within a week. So I left and headed back to Bryan.

It had been about two and a half hours since the interview and I had just turned off the frontage road into my neighborhood when I got a call. It went something like this:
“We would like you to come in tomorrow for a second interview.”
“Ok, what time?”
“Nine.”
“Ok.”

However, things were a little complicated. That night was my roommate’s birthday dinner and party/more of a small gathering after dinner. His birthday wasn’t until today, but he has a test tomorrow, so we were going to celebrate early. I had to decide if I wanted to drive back to Arlington or stay for the dinner and celebrating, which would require me to leave the house by 6:30am. He is my best friend, so the choice was easy: I was going to stay in Bryan for the night.

I managed to get to bed early and wake up early. I even got to the interview early enough, so I stopped for breakfast. At the interview were the same teachers and an assistant principal, since the principal was on vacation. They said that I did very well yesterday and that they had narrowed it down to two candidates and wanted to ask us a few follow-up questions, mainly on classroom management. The interview lasted for about ten minutes. On several occasions, someone told me that they liked the answer that I had just given, which is always a good confidence booster. At the end, one of the teachers said that I should hear back by Monday. So it was back to Bryan for me.

As I was driving back to Bryan, I was hoping for the best. I didn’t want my two trips to DFW in two days, including five hours of driving today, to be fruitless. It is getting late in the summer and I really wanted a job. I was about an hour from Bryan, between the bustling metropolises (is that even a word? spell check isn’t arguing) of Marlin and Calvert when I got a call. It was a job offer and I accepted it. I was very excited and tried to call my parents, but didn’t have service, but I finally got through.

When I got home, I expected the birthday boy to have already left for class, but he was still home. I was planning to tell him the news before I told anyone else, so he could hear it from me first. As he was leaving, he asked if I got the job. I didn’t know if I was going to have time before he left. I paused and went for it. I said, “I don’t want to ruin your birthday, but I am moving out. Happy birthday!” Have you ever made someone cry on their birthday? Well, he was wearing sunglasses, so I will never know if I have. I’m sure there will be more chances for that.

After that, I told my other roommates, made some calls, wrote some emails, and sent some texts. There were a lot of close friends that I had to inform. I hope no one gets offended if I didn’t tell you personally. I had a lot of people to inform and I couldn’t call everyone.

Later in the afternoon, I checked my email and had some new messages. One was from HR with a lot of forms for me to fill out, oh the joys of starting a new job. I also received an email from the first district I interviewed with. They said that they were updating the applicant pool of their strong candidates and wanted to know my employment status. Although this was one of the districts that I was very interested in, I can proudly tell them that I have a job.

-J