March 28, 2012

To Teach, or Not to Teach

(This is Part 2 in a series. If you haven't read the first blog post, click here.)

While searching for jobs, I began thinking about what I would like to be doing if there were no preconditions to me getting it. Becoming a high school history teacher has always been a thing for me. As I happily read through inches thick volumes (for fun) of true stories of people's lives, typically from the American Revolutionary period, I imagine to myself the excitement that most people miss because it is the ever boring subject of "history." I could be the person who changes their lives with what I have to offer.

I have absolutely zero formal training in the art of teaching. What I do have, however, is volunteer experience teaching high school and college students in a church context for more than ten years. I get teaching, I enjoy teaching. But how could I make the transition into a classroom?

I began looking for methods where one could move into a teaching job without having gone to school for it and stumbled upon an organization called, "Teach for America." Simply stated, their goal is to transform schools across the nation by training recent college graduates (from any background but demonstrate certain leadership traits) and placing them into underperforming schools.

I had found it. Leadership, non-traditional, and their big goal of combating poverty in the US. My heart for kids living in poverty suddenly became awakened in a new way with the realization of the need here in America. The significant need. It all seemed to make sense.

I decided to apply. I was already a bit older than their standard demographic. Additionally, being married and having a daughter really put me outside the norm. With their acceptance rate at below 15%, I knew it'd be an uphill battle, but this seemed to be my ticket to Colorado via a teaching job. I was confident this was it.

I had to tone down my teaching experience and my degree in religion since this was not an organization that might necessarily appreciate that sort of thing, but I balanced it quite well with my employment experience. I had to write a letter of intent which I spent several hours on and it turned out to be quite excellent. I submitted the application with great expectations.

A few weeks went by, and I received word. A typical "Thanks for your application, but...." email sat in my inbox and I was quite disappointed. I had thought this job was it. I was excited about it. But no, this was not to be. They had two checkbox opportunities for them to share my contact information with similar type organizations and faith-based ones so they could contact me with information about their opportunities. I figured I had nothing to lose at this point, but I just felt that this path wasn't the one for me. I was just enough outside the standard demographic of these types of programs, being eight years after college with a family, that I just wouldn't fit.

Back to square one. A dream job not to be.

So now what? I wondered.

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