Monday, May 30, 2011

"Why You No More Teach?" ....And Where We are Now! Life Updates In the Past Few Weeks

Occasionally I wonder what my life would be like if I were still teaching.  And then those thoughts quickly go away as I reach a new milestone at work or in life.  I thought I would do a more personal post that sort of relates to job searching, recruiting and interviewing, but that also encompasses some more about my life!

So along with the new job came a new job for my husband, Jon.  And because it was a move away from property management and he gave short notice, our lease came to an end.  We ended up moving about 45 minutes away, but still in the metro area.   I haven't had the internet for a week!  Hence the really late post.  

Here's our new place!  

Our new 2-story apartment- albiet cluttered.

I'm sure Wally, our dog, was unsure if he was also accompanying us to our new house with all the chaos going on around him, but he is happy to be at home with us.

Now I've been at my job for about a month.  Although it is super varied, fast-paced and interesting, I cannot escape my teacher past.  And it is really interesting being out of it because people are almost too honest how they actually feel about teachers...until they find you have been one and then they back-track and apologize for what they have said.

The other day, I was interviewing a guy for a position and had to give him a skill test that a client wanted.  I happened to mention a few tips that are good to know about testing - the test is meant as a screener, usually go with your gut instinct, etc.  I then happened to tell him I had been a teacher, and he gave me the dirtiest look in the world.  I realized then that I shouldn't probably share that fact since most of the people I interview barely graduated high school and/or probably didn't have the best educational background-- not to say that's a big determiner for what kind of job you'll end up looking for, but if you end up hating to read, you probably aren't looking for something in an office setting. 

If looks could kill, his would have peeled my skin back like an acid wash.  I still will place him on a job, but it's interesting to see how many people can't hide their disgust for the teaching profession.... and just so you know, when you're in an interview, a lot of things don't get past your interviewer....the fact you haven't showered, dirty looks, hate for your past employer.  It all shows.

As it was said to me early on in my job search, "Job searching is definitely not an ego boost."  And so true.  During my unemployment, I literally put every hobby I had on hold, including writing, because I felt so zapped of direction and positive self-concept.  It's amazing what happens when a part of your identity is stripped from you.  In our culture, the tie to career as self-definition is very strong.  I'm learning to define myself in other ways-- writing, childish sketching, practicing the dance to Michael Jackson's Thriller in my living room, and volunteering with kids.  Here is one illustration I have made in my free time.
One of my illustrations of what my dog would look like with glasses. 

Another big hobby is playing with my 1 1/2 year old dog, Wally.  This is what he looks like every morning- ball in mouth, ready to play. I taught him to to sneeze, dance and army crawl during my months of unemployment.  
Who can resist this face in the morning?  Would you look at him and say to his face, "I can't throw that ball for you;  I don't have time"?
 Neither can I.

Besides the Crappy Job Market and my New Recruiting Job,  Why I'm Not Teaching.

I used to be very defined by my teaching career.  I loved saying I was one because I felt I was on my way to being what I thought a teacher should be: creative, lifelong learner, understanding, flexible, thoughtful, detailed, compassionate, and think beyond the traditional curriculum.

Since I quit my teaching job last summer to follow my husband's career track, I sometimes still feel plagued by thoughts I failed:
  1. I could have kept teaching had my school or subject area been varied a bit.
  2. I may have still been a teacher if I had found a job in our new area...and found a good school.

But I'm not...and in reflection, I needed a break for my sanity.

I feel as if all the characteristics that made me a great teacher are gone with the job-  that maybe people don't see me as any of those things anymore and when I talk about going back someday, the fear of my last year repeating itself that arises causes some unfortunate physiological reactions.  When teaching is brought up now, I avoid the topic, get clammy, and my heart races.  Filling out applications actually made me nauseous (and I did about 15 - 4 hour applications and 2 face-to-face interviews!)  And it makes me really sad because I know I was good at it because of who I am and what I know.  I haven't talked about it a lot on this blog-- but the short answer why I'm not teaching: teaching is a solo career during most of the day, but then to be in a specialization that has very little political support is very discouraging and incredibly isolating- (I taught ESL).  I felt alone even while I was with peers 95% of my day.  My only consolation was those sweet faces I saw all day and the few coworkers I connected with who were dedicated to improving education.  If teaching is like being on an island, then I felt I was on the tippy top of the mountain across a desert on that island like this...

EHHHH.... sorry for getting sappy on you.

And so, I am happy for this change in direction. It's something new and I'm slowly finding success in it day by day.  

From all of this, it just goes to show that no job is perfect, working in another field is gaining experience and broadening your knowledge, and just because I don't get the job I planned on in the field I thought I'd be in permanently, it doesn't mean that I did something wrong or am not who I used to be when I was in that job.  Most people work outside their degree and I can still exhibit teacher qualities in my new job.  It just might make me a better recruiter!  I'm where I need to be right now.  

Do you have any past regrets or "what if's" pertaining to choices you've made or directions you've gone?  What are your hobbies?

1 comment:

  1. Kaaren, I love this post and completely empathize with you about teaching. I'm planning a career move in the near future...let's get together when I am home and chat all about it. :)