Magic Jewball

all signs point to no


The last night of the fair

Filed under : Student Life
On March 16, 2011
At 12:10 am
Comments : 6

When I was in college, I didn’t really know what career I wanted. I liked marketing because I read Brother1’s marketing textbooks while he was in Business School (that made me about 12) and found them fascinating. I thought about teaching, because it seemed the thing to do with a History degree. But you know, I didn’t go to any career fairs and I honestly don’t remember any. Does Johns Hopkins have no career fairs? Or was I just too depressed to notice any? Maybe I considered Sam Goody a fine career in itself (always possible!). So I went to my first one last week. Actually, first two. All I can say is, it’s just like speed dating, except you hope to see everyone again.

I played the job fairs like I learned to play Monopoly with my friend around the corner every Saturday as a child: buy everything you land on. That is, I stopped at every booth that had no line, then swung back around to hit the tables I had missed the first time (some still had lines, others were better), and I gave my resume to anyone who would take it. The only places I didn’t talk to were cities I absolutely, positively would never live in, like Houston or Mumbai (no offense to my readers in Houston and Mumbai). But I went as far north as Albany and as far south as Northern VA. The thing is, with my specialization, it’s hit or miss as it is. If you’re an English teacher, people either need you or they don’t. They don’t say things like, “wait, so what exactly is it that you do?” or “we just started last year and right now we’re K-2. We will definitely think about adding that in five or six years.” Uh, fab, but who is going to pay my mortgage now? But the people who get tech really get it and so I talked to them wherever they were. And walking around selling yourself, you get your elevator pitch together pretty fast so that by the last person, you’re blurting it out like the homeless guys do on the subway. I am not a drug addict I am sick and lost my job and home could you please spare some change so I can eat today thank you god bless you all.

Sadly for me (and society), most of these people who understood and believed in what I do represented well off sorts of places like private schools and expensive suburban districts. That’s not exactly why I left the music business, to help the children of the executives amongst whom I used to work. So I’m a bit conflicted. Today I had two interviews with two night-and-day different schools. The interviews were by phone and back to back. The first was with a fancy Manhattan private school of which you may have heard. The second was with an inner city charter school in Washington, DC of which I’m sure you haven’t heard. The positions were both great and challenging and the schools both had philosophies which I support. But that was pretty much where the similarities ended. Certainly one reason I’d be more inclined towards the private school is that I wouldn’t have to move (as much as I’d like to be back in Baltimore, I’d still rather stay here) but the other school is really more appealing to my original mission Now, the private school would be a dream job, for sure, and I would be delighted to have it. But I’d still feel I was betraying something. Of course, there’s a good chance that neither job will be offered to me, but I can see it’s a decision I may have to face down the line. Unless I get no job, in which case it’ll be easy-peasy!

And luckily I have my homeless gal speech all ready to go.

Title comes from:
The Smiths – Rusholme Ruffians


6 Comments for this post

  1. sarpon says:

    For the first couple of years you’ll be learning how to be what you are, so it may be more socially responsible to practice on kids whose parents are going to do whatever it takes to perpetuate their place in the overlord class.

    I read this the other day and trembled for you:

  2. Becca says:

    Good point! And yes, that article was all the rage over at the Urban Baby Schools forum, where I encourage you to go if you want to see the textual representation of so-called adults clawing each others’ eyes out over which schools are top-tier versus second or third tier. I have honestly never seen anything like it in my life, and you know I have experienced what seems like the nadir of message board insanity before (*cough*). Can’t wait to meet them all in person!

  3. Beth says:

    I love Sarpon’s point. My brother applied for a million jobs, and ended up checking the little box on the Chicago Public Schools application that says “I’ll work anywhere, yes even THERE”. What he ended up with is a job at a school that is part charter, part neighborhood school. And it’s even more wonderful than he thought it could ever be. Every time you post about your future, I imagine potential future conversations between you and my brother and I smile. 🙂

  4. Elena says:

    My friend’s daughter taught at an inner city charter school in DC–maybe it’s the same one!!! She hated it and has since given up teaching. Not that you would–she was so young and innocent going into it. And you are, well, not.
    Hope you hear some good news before long.

  5. tami says:

    I don’t envy your decision. It really comes down to how much do you want to affect change? Also, how much freedom do you want to be able to have in your teaching. At a pish posh private school, I can almost guarantee your hands will be tied to do exactly what the parents want you to do and say. Bonus though! You’ll have the resources to do them. The more you move down the educational line, the more freedom you have to lead the children in the direction YOU think they should be led. Negative? There are a lot. But, mostly in your area would be the resources to do what you dream for the children.

    Of course this is just one lowly little teacher’s humble opinion. I care about you. You know that. I can’t wait to see where your life take you.

  6. Becca says:

    Beth, yes, that’s what I’m looking for! That’s so great for him. Unfortunately, not as many of those schools are looking for staff in my certification area and the independent schools all are. But the hiring season is young!

    Elena, charter schools are the new trendy thing so there are probably as many there as there are sprouting up here. Could be, though. And thanks! But how can you say I’m not innocent? 😉

    Tami, I totally value your opinion! There are definitely some private schools which are more progressive than others. And the public schools have their own restrictive culture. I think I just have to have bring that sort of thing up in the interview and try to parse how much freedom I would have.

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