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Today’s Career Thoughts

After 3 aimless, expensive days in San Francisco at a job fair and 3 hours this morning spent getting to, waiting in line for, and getting home from a job fair (without getting an interview), I’m feeling pretty down on the entire education job search process.  I’m used to working in a meritocracy where skills and potential impact matter more than years of experience, but no on in education seems to care about that.  The only question is how many years I’ve taught; as a new teacher, few people are even willing to sit down with me.  Those who have sat down for a real interview have tended to be impressed…but told me that their boards won’t be happy if they hire a new teacher.

Running alongside these frustrating experiences is my internal questioning of the match between my career goals and my personal goals.  I want to be in an elementary classroom, but I’m terrified of limiting my social world to women and young children.  Unfortunately, that’s not a gap that can be bridged.  Men simply aren’t in elementary schools, and if they are, they’re not single.  So if I’m entering my 30s and thinking about finding a partner and starting a family, how does teaching elementary school line up with that goal?

I spent a lot of the 5 hour wait in the San Francisco airport reading Penelope Trunk’s blog.  She writes about the intersection of life and work, with a focus on women and 20- and 30-somethings.  Throughout her columns she stresses that a career will always be there for smart, talented people, so you shouldn’t put your personal life on hold for your career goals.  She talks a lot about moving in and out of careers as circumstances change, and it has me wondering: should I spend the next 2-3 years working for a big company, getting paid a lot, and being in a mixed gender environment, then come back to teaching?  My teaching certificate, as dad pointed out, doesn’t  go bad – in a good economy, I should be able to be hired, even if I haven’t worked as  a teacher for several years.

I’m not sure how this whole search will end, but I’m going to try to keep an open mind and see where it takes me.

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