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Courtney Langton

Courtney is an aspiring high school teacher. Her teachables are History and English, but she's happy to teach anything that doesn't involve numbers or formulas. Her particular interest is in promoting gender equity and anti-oppression both in and outside the classroom. She writes a detailed To-Do list every morning, and enjoys nothing more than a good book and a plate of bacon on a rainy Saturday.

Jonathan Wong

Jonathan's primary interest is moral education. His teachable subjects are English and Music. He encourages critical thinking and hopes to teach his students to recognize, and strive for, what is truly important to them without forgetting to be compassionate, tolerant, and open-minded along the way. He likes making analogies and his favourite is one that compares life to jumping on a trampoline.

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ARCHIVES: June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 March 2010

The Job Hunt - Part One of Many
Monday, June 22, 2009

Today is not a great day. It's days like this where I wonder how I'm ever going to have the energy and courage to go to school and explain to worried kids what's going on in the world. But that's a post for another time, when I'm feeling less... hopeless and overwhelmed and disappointed.

Part of this, I admit, I brought upon myself. I had some free time today and decided to start checking out the job market, both internationally and in Canada. I did this knowing full well that now is not the ideal time to find job openings, and that I haven't really learned about the ups and downs of job applications and interviews with school boards. I knew all that, but I looked anyway, so my anxiety is pretty much all my fault.

Instead of bringing this worry down on you, our few dear readers, Jon and I decided to harness our uncertainty about the future and come up with some tips for alleviating that gripping feeling in one's stomach that comes with the realization that real life is about to begin.

And because I adore a good list, my contribution will be in list form. Get used to that.


Things To Do When You Start Worrying About Your Post-B.Ed Job Prospects:

1. Take deep breaths. If you're anything like me, anxiety about the future won't just go away because you will it to. But to avoid a full-on meltdown, make sure you're attacking this problem at least marginally calmly.

2. Make a list. (See how meta I am? I advise making lists in my list!) Write down everything and anything you want from your first job. Some things to take into consideration might be location (do you want to be near family or friends?), job expectations (will you be ok with extra-curriculars every night of the week?), or salary (forget about being rich now and you'll save yourself a lot of grief).

3. Narrow down your list. Pick 3 things that you absolutely need (or don't need) in your life. Whether you decide that you're not flexible on changing your grade level, staying in the country, or teaching in a traditional public school, it's important to know who you are and what you want so you don't end up wasting time or worse, accepting a job that makes you miserable.

4. Reach out to those in the know. Especially at Queen's, administrators are experts and always happy to help. Pick a quiet time in the day (not lunch!) to make a call to the Careers office at your University. Ask them about resources, stats for recent grads, tips for getting ahead. It will do wonders to have a reassuring talk with someone who's seen it all before, and it never hurts to make those kinds of contacts.

5. Use your resources. Take this time to get familiar with the school boards' and job-searching sites' systems. If you eliminate the new-user confusion early, it will be a lot less stressful when you're actually applying.

6. Channel your energy. Instead of sitting worrying, build your portfolio. Go volunteer, join a club, read some education journals. Do anything you can to develop yourself professionally.

7. Remember your strengths. Revise your resume, think about who will be your references, ask for recommendation letters. Not only will you get essential stuff completed ahead of time, you'll get a boost of self esteem too. Because after all, you're awesome! You can do this!

8. Think of a back-up. If teaching fell through for some reason, what would you do? Personally, I have a background in event planning, and in the worst case scenario I have that to fall back on. If you can't think of anything you could do besides teaching, it's not a bad thing-- you now have the reassurance that you won't give up until you get that job in education.

9. Explore non-traditional jobs. Unless you marked it down on your "non-negotiable" list, think about a teaching job that you wouldn't normally have considered. Look at the HR departments of interesting companies, adult education, museums or art galleries, and non-profits. Even if you'd rather make a career of teaching in a school board, taking a different job that's still related to the field will give you a huge advantage when you go to re-apply.

10. Stay positive. Do whatever it is you have to do to keep from wallowing. Remember that the most invaluable assets in a teacher are patience, perseverance, and a sense of humour.

And on that note, here's a tiny something to make us all feel a little better.



And commenters, we would love to hear your tales of joy (or woe) with regards to finding and getting a job in the big wide world of teaching!

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