So, in another weak attempt to find a new job, I’ve spent the past 4 hours applying for teaching jobs online. YAY!!! I finished a whole 2 applications. Every year, around Christmas time, I start the same boring process. I pull up a map of Chicago & its suburbs on googlemaps. Then I start in the upper left-hand corner of the map, apply to every district in that town (both middle and high schools), cross it out, and move on to the next one. Every application takes about 2 hours if you have to start from scratch. If you can import the application from another similar district, it takes only about a half an hour per application. The thing that gets me the most isn’t the pointless and endless clicking/entering information/boring entering & re-entering of your references names. It’s not even the ENDLESSLY boring essay questions (that I doubt that anyone reads), but its the fact that when you finish & hit submit – you have NO IDEA what is happening to your information. You get this generic ‘Thanks for applying to our district’ form email. But that’s it. There’s no confirmation, no list of dates that decisions will have been made by, NOTHING. So you have no idea what black hole your meticulously filled-out work has fallen into.
The professional world has gotten so UNPROFESSIONAL that I can’t believe it. I mean as a teacher candidate (or any corporate job-applicant for that matter), you are expected to call off of work to come interview, you are expected to figure out the awkward situation of asking your boss for references, you are expected to SEND A THANK YOU NOTE to people who have the courtesy to interview you on THEIR OWN TIME, yet what professional courtesies do you get as an applicant? Do you even get a 2-sentence email that says, “We’re sorry but the position has been filled”, or “We have gone with someone with more/less experience”. I mean it’s better to RESPOND somehow than to ignore someone’s very existence. As a matter of fact, all of the big ‘how to get a job’ companies talk about how important it is for applicants to send thank you notes, well I’ve spent at least $250 in postage on such notes over the past 10 years, so I think a little reciprocation would be the professional thing to do? I mean check out this site that tells you how important it is:
People seem to think it’s easy to get jobs as a teacher. Not to brag, but I’m really a top candidate. I have experience at various grade levels, a great performance history, awesome references, and am a super hard worker/award nominated teacher. Just to show how far that gets you – in the 10 years of my career – I have had exactly 5 interviews. Every year, I put in about 95 applications to different middle and high school districts. So out of those 5 interviews, thankfully I have gotten 2 jobs. But if you don’t even get the interview, how can you get more experienced with the interview process? Every teacher that I’ve talked to in Illinois has a similar story. If you can’t get the interview, how can you get the job? Who is getting the interviews? I believe that the answer is simply who you know. If you network and know people in the district/went to school in the district it gives you a distinct advantage. I know this because at my own school, I have put in good words for people & have watched their applications go to the top of the list of 900+ applications. So since I have a small family/set of peope that I know – does it matter how awesome of a teacher that I am? I’m starting to think it doesn’t matter at all. I’ve seen who gets hired and who teaches in some of the most amazing districts in Illinois. And a lot of people that I know/have worked with/myself are way better teachers – but we get stuck where we are unable to advance our careers or move out of the expensive city-limits because of who we DON’T know. It’s frustrating. And with the current attacks on teachers in the media/government, jobs are being cut everywhere. In Detroit, they’re firing all of the best/most experienced teachers, hiring a bunch of doe-eyed first years, and putting them in classrooms with 60 kids. Watch the story here: http://youtu.be/EARW3xblguY
While I do appreciate my job, I do know that my school has issues that I don’t know if I feel like dealing with for much longer. I’d like to be doing my job to the best of my ability and be able to focus on only that while I’m at work – not the things that are going on behind the scenes that make me sad. But if I can’t get an interview, then I can’t get a job. However, every year it seems like I get a little more interest in my resume. Of the 5 interviews I’ve had in the past 10 years, 3 of them have been within the past 4 years. Maybe things are finally picking up. I’d better get out my thankyou letters.