Friday, August 24, 2007

Why not take the job?

Ever since Sarolta commented on my earlier post about not wanting to take a middle school teaching job because it would just be a job, I have been meaning to respond. Guess I am finally going to do it now.

Sarolta couldn't understand why I didn't take the job if it was offered and I needed one. It sounds simple, I know. But to me, at least, is isn't.

First of all, I have temporary work which keeps the bills paid for now. And my husband works. So we aren't destitute.

More important, though, is the other aspect Sarolta mentioned: that I could just leave this job if a better one came along. In the US, public school teachers are under contract. We cannot just walk away from a job as you can do in other countries. Now, I know people here do it all the time, but I come from a time when you honored a contract.

So that makes the issue more complicated. If I take a teaching job now, I am committing to it until June. No matter what else comes along. That makes it hard for me to want to take a job just to have a job. Of course, I may have not pursued this job and still not get offered anything closer to what I am looking for. That is a gamble I have to take. But I would rather take a job at a bookstore that I could walk away from with two weeks' notice than sign a contract that I would be tempted to break.

So, I don't think it is entirely a cultural issue, as Sarolta suggested, but it is tied more to the differences in conditions of employment. Either way, I am still looking for a job. But today, at least, that is OK.


John said...

Since I can't really understand your situation, I would be strongly tempted to take the job and fulfill the one year contract. But I have children, which is why I can't quite pull off the trick of understanding your situation.
In your position, you seem in less than desperate straits, so I think you have made a good decision for you. It takes some courage to not go for a full-time job and be honest about your reasons. Kudos for such courage.
I find your blog a a place where interesting mix of technology, education, and the real world meet in a refreshingly honest fashion.

Sarolta said...

Dear Nancy, I appreciate your honesty just like John. And thank you for taking my comment that seriously.
It is partly a cultural thing though - in my part of the world you have to get a job this time of the year - 99% of jobs in education are advertised between June and August. There are almost no chances that another opportunity comes along the way before the school year is over. I too take contracts seriously and have never walked out on an employee.
It is partly a personal thing which is conditioned with my own situation. I agree with John's comment that it is difficult to understand somebody else's situation thoroughly. Not that we don't want to! Blog posts are usually too short for readers to grasp a blogger's situation regardless how much empathy they have for someone.
We all come from different backgrounds and situations. I too have young children and a husband with a job, but with one paycheck it would be difficult for my family to make ends meet. I guess that explains why my comment was what it was.
But what really matters, Nancy, is the fact that you realised that you are not that desperate to get "a job" and that you can afford to wait to get "the job" you want. And that's good news. I'm glad and I keep my fingers crossed for you.

teachagiftedkid said...

The contract. I totally understand your point of view. I signed a contract with Rainard to teach until June. I was taught to honor contracts and commitments as well. After being out for an entire year, getting used to being at a job for 8+ hours a day is taking some getting used to.

I'm remembering that it isn't the 'contract' but the children that will hold me there. So far, my new job is great in that area. I reserve judgement with all other aspects of the job.

Anonymous said...

Athough, we all want jobs it is teaching is too important of a job to just take what you can get. It has been my experience that when I have taken a job to have a job that the ones who loose out are my kids. For some reason, I wasn't able to give it all and couldn't get excited.

I respect your decision. Doing the right thing isn't always easy!