When I chose to do a degree in Primary Education I thought I was making a safe choice. I thought to myself ‘this is one career where I am sure to secure a job as society needs teachers and plenty of full time jobs will become available soon as all the old teachers are going to retire soon’.
Well, fast forward eight years and three teaching based degrees later and I still haven’t had a permanent job. Ironically I should have probably pursued my to other choices of acting or palaeontology but I decided not to go in that direction as those jobs are hard to come by, and teaching is a “sure thing”.
Now I’ve always had work as a casual or temporary teacher, so it hasn’t been a complete disaster but after applying for over 100 jobs ( I use to count my applications, but I stopped counting when close to 100 as it got a little depressing) one does get a little disheartened. I have had one-to-one sessions with various deputy principals and attended webinars on how to write good teaching applications, so I know it’s not a case of writing bad resumes it’s just really hard to get a permeant job in primary teaching unless you are targeted straight out of university, are male (most of my male friends never had to apply for a job they were just offered positions) or know someone. I’m not saying it CAN’T be done; I’m just saying it’s bloody hard and if you secure one of these jobs that’s amazing, and you should be very thankful.
Lately, I’ve been wondering if it’s time to throw in the towel on teaching. My experience of teaching hasn’t been the best. I’ve worked mostly in the more difficult schools (low social economic areas) and as I’ve been mainly a casual or temp I haven’t been treated very well. Do you remember how your class treated the casual teacher when your teacher was away? There are exceptions but for the most part, casual teachers get “special” treatment from the students and not in a good way. I’m not saying I can’t handle it, I’ve handled it for eight years, but it’s exhausting being tested by the students day in day out. Respect is not very high these days unfortunately.
My temp blocks have been a blessing as it means constant work for a while, but most of these have happened towards the end of the year or in a part-time or RFF (relief from face-to-face) capacity which means I get a lot of “your not my real teacher” attitudes. I would love to be the teacher starting day one term 1 for a change so I can establish more of a rapport with the students, make the class rules together and not constantly be told off by students about doing things differently from their previous teacher.
Now before anyone says anything I have done every behaviour management strategy in the book (I’ve even bought and read an actual book on it). I try to be positive and constantly reinforce positive behaviour, but I’m getting tired of it all being about the discipline as I became a teacher to teach. If I wanted it to all be about the discipline, I would have become an army drill sergeant.
I’m not down on kids (although I may sound like it from the above). I always try to find something about each child I like and often they are all quite nice as individuals.I have had the privilege to work with some genuinely incredible kids and I know deep down I have made a positive impact on many lives ( or at least that is my sincere hope). It’s just that showing off pack mentality that upsets me and not caring about the awards or punishments.
So I’ve made the decision to apply for a few more teaching positions that appeal to me until the end of the year and if I don’t get any of these positions I’m leaving the profession. I really thought I’d have permeant work by 30 but unless that mythical job presents itself in the next four months that’s not going to happen. I think that if teaching was what God wanted me to do, I’d be doing it now. Maybe I’m meant to go down a different path.
I am always genuinely happy for my friends successes but at the risk of sounding petty I do wonder ‘is it my turn yet?’ It seems I’m still on square one of my career while others are getting promotions in their respective careers. I’ve tried so hard. I thought teaching in the outback would help but although it was a valuable life experience it hasn’t helped me secure that job. I thought doing the extra TESOL certificate would help but although it helped me get a few temp jobs I still am in want of permanency. I’m just sick of having no security.
Who knows? If I either by some miracle get one of the teaching jobs I’ve applied for I might have a job before 30, but I feel that’s very unlikely. Maybe I will get a permanent job in a completely different field before that dreaded age? Not all hope is lost!
Keep your fingers and toes crossed for me please.