April 21, 2012

I Need Your Help!: Job Search, Part 3

I have some very exciting job search news!  I will write a full post in a couple of days sharing ALL of the details, but I got two job offers this week: one to teach sixth grade in Denver and one to teach 3/4 multi-age in my current district, working for my former principal.  Also, I am waiting to hear back on Monday about my status as an applicant to teach in the Marshall Islands for a year through WorldTeach (although I am fairly confident about my prospects with them).  I need to make a decision by Monday.    YIKES!

There are pros and cons to each of these opportunities, and I am so torn.  The opportunity here is a good school, a grade level that I've been dying to get a job teaching, and with a principal who I trust.  The team seems great, I already have an apartment here, close to my parents, could finish my masters program, good pay, almost tenured, yadda yadda.  When I interviewed there, I could see myself working there.  The only problem?  It's here.  Same town, same district, same same same.

Colorado was not really on my radar for jobs...I actually sent in maybe 3 apps to CO months ago on a whim, then kind of abandoned the idea, focusing my search on Boston.  But then I got this call, interviewed on Skype, and got an offer almost immediately.  The school is low-income, similar demographics to my current job.  The location would be great--the school is in a suburb just 20 minutes (if that) outside of Denver, so I could live in the city.  I've been wanting to live in a city for a long time, but the commute to my current school in the suburbs from Chicago is just too long for me to do that here.  Also, Colorado is gorgeous (or so I hear...I haven't been there since I was a little kid!).  And it's an opportunity to do something completely new and different.

Last, WorldTeach.  When I didn't go into the Peace Corps after college, I thought my opportunity to do somehting like that was over.  And now I might have another chance.  I can totally see myself packing up a suitcase and moving across the world to teach English in a hut in the Marshall Islands.  I know it would be amazing. 

My biggest worry, I guess, is regret.  Will I regret leaving my family for a city I've never even BEEN to?  Will I regret spending a year abroad, only to come back and deal with this job search mess again in a year?  Or will I regret, a year from now, still being here?

Here is where I need your help.  Obviously, this is a big decision, and I am the only one who can make it, but I would so appreciate any words of wisdom or thoughts based on your own experiences that you can share to help shed some light on this.  Please.  I'm desperate.
This time a week ago, I had convinced myself that I was never going to find a job.  And now I feel so blessed to have options.  No matter what happens, life is good.  Life is good.  Scary, but good.  Thanks in advance for your help and support...honestly, hearing your thoughts would mean the world to me!


  1. This is random because we've never talked, but I started following your blog a couple months ago. Like you, I was cut from my current school this year (and I am also 14, vegetarian, and a runner... weird... but I teach middle school).

    Anyway, I just wanted to say good luck on making a decision! I just accepted a job teaching at a low income middle school in Colorado Springs, which is just one hour from Denver. (I already lived in Colorado, though -- moved out here two years ago a week after graduating from college). Colorado is a BEAUTIFUL state, and there is SO much to do here, from the big city stuff to the wilderness hiking and whatnot. I've never met a single person who regretted moving to Colorado.

    Good luck! :)

  2. Amt: There are few things more important for educators long-term than to continue their education. It's a fact for nearly every one of them that getting a masters degree earlier is easier than waiting until later - when there are more unknowns, changing relationships and family responsibilities, etc. In my opinion, staying in your current district with a principal you're already familiar with (solid knowns) is much more advantageous in the long run than moving to a new community to teach in a district that you may not know a lot about (multiple unknowns). If it's Aurora, then the decision is easy... do not, under any circumstances, take the position without visiting the actual school first. I'm serious.

    The bottom line is, if you stay in your current district long enough to finish your masters degree, then you can still move to Denver in the near future and have far more opportunities in your field with a higher degree.

    Don't get me wrong, I happen to love Denver. But it's like any other big city that comes with a lot of challenges and you want to best position yourself for success as you take on new challenges. That's why the higher degree is so critical.

    Only you know what you'll be comfortable with. But there are risks and then there are calculated risks - and you need to look out for your long-term future as much or more than just the next school year.

    Best wishes.

  3. Amy: My attempt to be personable was thwarted by a typo that resulted in me calling you Amt. Sorry.

  4. As a mother of 2, with a husband and so many other things that must be considered with any personal decision, I say go with the adventure....Later on in life all decisions will not be made with just you in mind. If you want to experience something outside of your home state, do so now while you can pick up and move easily. If you are unhappy, you can make changes again later. It seems like getting a job won't be that hard for you, so go for it. Todd does make a valid point about finishing your master's degree and also visiting the actual school. Could you finish your degree online? I'd definitely visit the school before reaching any decision. Good luck on this great adventure!

  5. My first thought was finish your Masters and get that all taken care of and then maybe explore the world. Especially if you are close to finishing.

  6. I agree with two comments above: finishing your master's is important, and actually visiting the school is vital. I'd stay put if I were you, but I am also not a risk taker at all.

  7. From reading your blog, it sounds like you have a great support system at home. So why not try an adventure [I'd say take the biggest adventure-- World Teach, go big!]. So if you decide your new adventure isn't good for you in the long run, you have your family to fall back on for support.

    My family lives right outside of Denver, and I've visited many times. It is definitely gorgeous! But like the people above said, visit the school if you can. It might not feel like "home" to you, which would make that decision easy [or even harder if you like it, lol]

    The practical person in me would totally stay put with my old principal. I'm sure that's why this decision is so hard for you. But no matter what you choose, you will still see change. Even if you stay in the same district, you will meet new children, new coworkers, etc who might change your life for the better!

    I'm all about taking risks, as long as you have a "fall back" plan! Good luck on whatever you decide to do!

    Third Grade in the First State

  8. I vote adventure and listening to your heart. I bet, deep down, you know what you want to do. DO THAT! :)It'll all work out.


  9. If I were you, I'd finish the masters degree - you'll have time to go abroad or work in the mountains later, but you're already in the middle of your degree- why not finish what you started?

    Marshall Islands does sound cool though. I represented them for model UN in high school (though all I remember about the country is that their #1 political issue seems to be preventing global warming - if the water levels rise too much, the whole place would be under water)

  10. I would stay and finish the masters and work for your old principal. Esp. If its a grade level you are interested in. It's harder to come back to a place you've left.

    Good luck deciding!

  11. I am also not a risk taker and would go with the home town thing I knew. More senority? Pay? Although I think living in Colorado would be awesome so that would tempt me for sure. I"m currently teaching 3/4 so that appeals to me.

  12. I vote for adventure! There is only so many times in your life you have opportunities like that. Also- CO is gorgeous. I grew up here, moved away for 8 years and lived in several other states during that time and then hurried back to CO as fast as I could =)

  13. A year ago I packed up my bags and left a life I had never known for adventure. I moved from a small town in Michigan to the big city of Orlando, FL. I was terrified!!!! I went with my gut at the time and my gut so go live life! I have had an amazing year- theme parks, beaches, meeting new people, and tanning in December which we all know doesn't happen in Michigan. I am going back home though. But I am so happy I got to live my adventure. I took a big risk and it was fun and I am glad I will have no regrets later on. As others have said take risks and have adventures and then go back home!

  14. Oh gosh, 10 years ago when teaching jobs were plentiful and all was green in the teaching pasture, I'd say go.

    But as you know, it's not that way right now.

    If it means a continuing contract, and seniority, at this point in the teaching world, I'm not sure you should go. Of course we don't know all the details of your contract to stay, but I'd assume that you'd keep your years and add to them, nothing to shake a stick at ;)

  15. I still have my job at the school I have been teaching at for the last 4 years, but I have felt like I need a change. I understand the "same, same, same" thing. I have thought about moving...looked at places to go online, but I'm a huge chicken. I think the opportunities you have would be so exciting! Good luck with whatever decision you make!

  16. I have no idea what to tell you because that has to be SO SO difficult! I wish you luck in whatever you choose. Go with how you feel!

  17. I found a website about teachers abroad. This link is to an interview with a guy who worked for WorldTeach on the Marshall Islands.

    I haven't had a chance to read it, but thought it might be helpful as you make your decision.


  18. I have no words of wisdom for you...because I don't even know what I would do if I had that decision to make. But congrats on having 3 wonderful options to choose from! I think everything will work out the way it is supposed to no matter what you choose. Good luck with the decision!

  19. Obviously no one can really give you the right answer here, but my vote is...somewhere new! Experiences like the ones you are presented now may not come again, so take advantage of them!

  20. I have no idea what to tell you. I will tell you this: I will pray for you. :) Does that help?

    I hope that the decision you make is the one that will fill your heart with the most happiness and satisfaction. :)


  21. I honestly don't know what to advise, but am thinking of you and am so glad you have so many options!


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