Recently discussion in the Florida legislature has been scary for teachers - such as teachers losing their teaching credential if they can't show student gains on tests (that haven't been written yet) in 4 of the 5 preceding years; prohibiting pay recognition based on years of service, advanced degrees or National Board certification; hiring all new teachers on a one year contract with an administrator's ability to terminate at any time without cause; and not allowing teachers to enter DROP which is a financially life-saving program for teachers at retirement age. With absolutely no job security, it makes me wonder why our young talented students would choose teaching! However, regardless of how the legislature tries to destroy the profession, there will always be those of us who are called to teach and simply have no other choice.
Even in this tough job market that includes pink slips for many teachers, many second career professionals are looking to teach and so are those young hopeful, often ill-prepared, teachers coming out of our Colleges of Education. In such a tough job market, what does it take to get a job these days? I have to tell you about one enterprising college graduate who interviewed at my school earlier in the year. Actually she had me at the interview. She was out-going with a top notch resume for a beginning teacher. She is teaching in our Extended Day program now until she can get a job teaching!! REALLY, she had me at the interview but earlier in the year the Interview Committee decided to go with a more experienced candidate... Of course, that hasn't stopped this positive pro-active candidate. Like many that we interview, we each got a really nice e-mail from her after the interview, but she didn't stop there. On the 100th Day of School she sent each of us a 100th day candy bar (really, she had ME at the interview!)
Each day this week, new things have arrived at the front counter as we begin to enter the interview season. First an adorable cupcake on a plate hand painted with stars saying that she would be our star teacher if she joined our faculty with a newsletter about all the reasons we should hire her- showing lots of technical skills! Today the cutest little flower/ Easter Egg arrangement arrived with flower pens, which will be used at the front desk. The cutest thing is that when you pull up a flower to write, there is a picture of the candidate that says "Pick me!" This "teacher" has shown creativity, persistence, and a sense of humor - so many of the qualities that we look for in a new hire at the Creek. I don't know if she will get a job here but she certainly deserves an opportunity to teach somewhere!
I can remember the days when we had very weak candidates interviewing at Chets Creek. The word was out that we worked too
hard and were "required" to put in too many hours over and above
the teaching day. None of the rumors were ever true but they were
funny when we heard them. Over the years, however, the job embedded professional training and collegiality of our faculty has become the rumor and we have had more and more people interviewing - really top quality candidates. I don't know if the Florida legislature will chase off our most talented students (get ready Georgia- right across the border- to take some of our best), but I am enjoying the lengths to which teachers will go to teach in a school that has a reputation for expecting your best and taking care of its own. Can't wait to see what comes next!
Courtney, you're looking for a job for next year (last to hire, first to go)... You might take some hints from this young teacher. All the "extras" probably won't get her the job but it's sure hard not to pull her resume out of the pack and give it a second look!