Dear Prospective Employers,
I need your help. I’ve been working at this goal of becoming a teacher since I was 5. I’ve always worked hard in school, I graduated high school with a 4.234 GPA, was in National Honors Society and spent 2 years in the Teacher Academy where I became the first student to earn a perfect score on a Praxis portfolio. (This portfolio you create in Teacher Academy that Praxis III assessors and National Board Certified Teachers score, so it’s hard to get a perfect score.)
I went to college at Bowling Green State University. Sure, I slacked off a little bit and only graduated with a 3.87. But I didn’t want the 4.0, I found out in high school that was too stressful and I wanted to make sure I did things outside of class.
I thought that Praxis Content Knowledge Exam scores also showed that I’m fairly competent in my field. I scored a 186 out of a potential 200. This earned me an ETS Recognition of Excellence which means that I performed in the top 15% of anyone who has ever taken that exam.
So. What did I do outside of class that caused me to slack off enough to only get a 3.8, you ask?
I joined a local church and became a part of the campus ministry. Second semester my freshman year, I joined their leadership team as the Membership Outreach. With my campus ministry I volunteered on campus, in the community, nationally and internationally on mission trips. I even chaired the organization my junior year, and learned how to play guitar which I played at the large group gatherings. I also joined a bell choir at my church and helped out with random things going on.
I developed close friendships with people that I will call some of my best friends for life. I enjoyed having them over for Rock Band nights or going to sports games with them. Living with my best friend since I was 3 for two years was awesome. We had talked about that growing up, but were actually surprised that it came true. I met the man who I’m very likely to spend the rest of my life with. (No, I didn’t go to college to get an MRS degree, it just happened to work out well that I would meet such a great person)
Teaching related activities? Sure, I did lots of that too.
I peer facilitated during the Fall semester of my sophomore and junior year. That means I worked as an upper class mentor for about 35 freshman students in history classes. I helped them adjust to college life, led study groups, and one professor even let me lecture.
I also participated on a Fulbright-Hays Group Project Abroad in July 2012. I was the youngest on the trip that had only three undergraduate students. While there, I got to see another part of the world that is so different from my culture and lifestyle. That trip changed my life and forever influenced me as a person and an educator. This trip also turned in to my honors project which allowed me to graduate with University Honors.
I even showed my teaching skills are transferable outside the classroom when I worked at a local TJ Maxx one summer and they made me a Mentor who is allowed to train new hires.
I also worked as a university tutor for half my senior year. And that might sound like a common thing for a education major to do, but here’s the catch. I was tutoring someone who was in the same class as me. University policy doesn’t allow that. There had to be a special exception made to the rule for me to do this which the learning commons happily did. They were very excited to bring me on as a tutor because of my academic record.
Student teaching? Yes, I was pretty successful in that as well. I taught three classes of 10th grade modern world history. And this was at a private, college prep high school. Now that was a lot of pressure for a student teacher. These kids have parents who are paying for their child to get top notch college prep schooling and these kids are very smart and use to good teachers who know a lot. I’m a student teacher with no experience. These kids were use to my mentor teacher who is absolutely brilliant and all the kids love. I gave it my all to try to seem as competent as him and get those kids to like me. Most of them came around as I established rapport and learned how to teach them better, but I’m still no replacement for my mentor.
So college is finished, I graduated Magna Cum Laude, University Honors, have a Fulbright under my belt, and I’m ready to go. Then what do I find out? The Ohio Council for the Social Studies has chosen me for the James J. Sheehan OCSS Award for Pre-Service Social Studies Educators in Ohio. Each college that certifies social studies teachers in Ohio can have one student who gets that award. I got it for Bowling Green State University.
At the time of writing this, my applied school list has grown to 43 now. 43 schools. I’ve had 5 interviews. One school only gave me 45 minutes notice back in April to get there in time for the interview. I still haven’t heard a reply.
I’ve had two schools now who have acted like they were going to hire me. One copied my license right after the interview when they had told me in the beginning they only wanted it if I got the job. That was the job I had to leave home at quarter til six in the morning to get to on time. They then forgot to tell me I didn’t get it until I followed up with them a week after they said they would contact me.
Then there was today. The principal and the other teacher seemed so excited about how creative my lessons were. It was my best interview so far, they saw that I have a lot of great ideas and plenty of potential. I felt so good after. Then I get a call three hours later saying that I didn’t get it and asking if this was my first interview because I seemed nervous, but they liked my creativity.
So here I am. there are barely two weeks left until most schools start. And I am so confused at where I went wrong. I’ve had interviewers act like they’re impressed with me and then reject me. Where did I go wrong? I look at all that I’ve done and can’t see where I screwed up for no one to want me. Should I have not slacked off and gotten the 4.0? Should I have found even more teaching related part time jobs in college? Should I have spent my summer studying more about teaching and act like I know the answers to all the teaching problems?
Prospective employers, please enlighten me, where did I go wrong? I thought that I had done just about everything I possibly could to prepare me for a teaching career. Just tell me what I’m doing wrong and it will be fixed. I’m so confused. I’ve spent practically a lifetime preparing to be a teacher, giving it everything I have, and suddenly I’m failing. I just don’t understand. Please explain for I cannot figure it out.