The Real World

by SarahRook

Apologies for disappearing for months! Here is my current dilemma, in all its glory.

As of last August, I was frantically looking for a teaching job.  I found my current job right before the school year started; my kids had actually already started (or never stopped, depending on how you look at it – lots of my parents use the school as a daycare) when I stepped into my role.  The transition to make the class mine took a long while.

I have sitting on my floor a copy of ‘The First Six Weeks of School’ (that I really need to return to the EMC – oops), and while I could feel some significant shifts in class behavior towards accepting me as the lead teacher by the end of six weeks, it took longer than that.  I still don’t have perfect management of the class – I’m not perfect, some of my kids are still in temper-tantrum stage, they’re going through parents trying to get them back from foster parents, and there are days where it feels like I’m holding the class together by the skin of my teeth.

Still, my class is mine.  Not to be possessive or anything, but… I am, a bit.

I know I want to be working with older children.  I love my kids, but they’re pretty much babies.  Wanting to be independent, to act grown, to be able to do everything, but needing help with the snaps on their pants and sharing jump ropes at recess.

So I started the job search again in January.  It’s not my favorite, by any means, though there’s much less pressure.  I know that I can stay in my current position as long as I want.

I submitted my resume to a bunch of different places.  This wasn’t problematic until about a month ago, and again right now.  The Philadelphia School District gave me a call and offered me a job.

Okay, my first thought is “Sweet!” and my second is “OhDratItStartsRightNow.”  Middle school science:  yes, please.  Older kids, hypotheses and laws, weather and volcanoes and plants and animals.  I loved getting to design and work through science lessons in my student teaching (though I was, admittedly, thankful, that I didn’t end up teaching the human reproduction unit!) but it is a lot different than science lessons are now with my current class:  observation, sometimes itsy bitsy experiments.

I am torn.

The pros:

  • uh, in this economy, it’s a legitimate teaching job!
  • older students
  • triple my current salary
  • super-interesting environment (85% latino, 12% African American, 18% ELLs, 20% Special Ed)
  • 2 7th, 2 8th grade classes, 7th grade homeroom (the 7th grade is better than the 8th grade, evidently)
  • not an opening because of disciplinary problems (their teacher went on paternity leave)
  • a guaranteed job for next year

And the cons:

  • starting in the middle of the year – I like having my own class, getting to set it up and move things around and have them the way I want them
  • starting over with classroom management
  • students used to a different teacher – learning not only school policies, but the-teacher-before-me policies
  • more students – 4 classes to learn the names of, learn their strengths and foibles, differentiate more widely
  • “challenging” students (though this is unclear whether they are specifically challenging, or fall into the teenage-North-Philly batch of challenging)
  • leaving my current kids, classroom, routine, way of doing things
  • jumping from 3,4,5 year olds to 12,13,14 year olds… when I’m 22
  • leaving my school stranded most of the way through the year without a certified teacher to take my place
  • I may have a guaranteed job for next year with the district anyway?  The recruiter’s trying to get me a letter that says I do… we’ll see.

I need to make up my mind tonight.  I don’t think I’m going to take it – going to stay with my littles for a full year before I move to bigger kids.  But I’m still chewing it over, and really wish that decisions in the real world were as easy as deciding what to write a final paper about in an education class.

(Sometimes the real world is scary. Exciting, but also scary.)

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One Comment to “The Real World”

  1. What a hard choice! I hope you feel comfortable with your decision. Sometimes, you know, it’s okay to be a little selfish and do what is best for you. The kids will really be all right. Lisa

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