Friday, April 14, 2017


I'm going back to work this fall. I'm not sure what I'll be doing or if I'll even have a job, but the kids are going full time and I'll be free to join the working class once again.

As much as I'm grateful for the 5+ years I've spent being home with my kids, I'm so ready (more if you count our Germany experience and sub teaching during my entire pregnancies with my two boys).

In fact, I'm antsy. I'm finding myself counting down the months until that will be my new reality. (I know, the grass is always greener and some people would kill to have my position!) I love my kids, I do. But, as they grow more self-sufficient, I find myself seeking intellectually challenging life outside the home. It could be that I'm also watching my husband in a job that he just loves and talks about how "fun" it is to work there and how it's more intellectually stimulating than his last two jobs. Gimme a piece of that. I'll take what he's having.

The thing is, I wouldn't take a day back of this full time mothering experience, despite knowing I'd be further advanced in my career and with options galore. Because what I did do when I chose to be at SAHM for those years, was shelf those advancements, pension... and contacts. I have zero recent or relevant networking to my name. All of my professional contacts are at least 4+ years old. It doesn't help that we've moved twice and plan to move once more before I officially find myself back on campus.

Teaching is an interesting career. It semi-favors parents, because you can leave and return with relatively little risk, but when it comes to switching states, that's not entirely the case. Each state, though "reciprocal" as they claim, favors their own. For whatever reason, the candidate who was educated through their system, attended their in-state university and student taught in their zip codes has the upper hand in the process. People, even at educational institutions, favor familiarity. It's more comfortable (and easier) to compare their needs, interests and even personal hobbies with someone who has been on their turf the longest. They're a presumed easier fit and even truer, an unlikely flight risk (which admittedly, I am).

It's been 11 years since I first interviewed for a teaching position. Recently, I went through the screener interview (with the only district I'll consider in Arizona). If I'm being honest, it wasn't my best interview. There were 12 questions and I aced 11 of them, but that 12th was a total brain drain for me. I drew a complete blank. I'm definitely rusty on the interviewing front and that was likely evident. (Forgive me, as I spend my days repetitiously reading the same Mo Willems stories.)

The mediocre interview was for the district my kids will attend school and frankly, I feel uncomfortable having my long-ago network of employers and colleagues writing recommendations for the laundry list of districts that exist. I'm a hustler, but I don't expect my retired boss from 2006-2008 to have emails blowing up her computer. I've chosen to stick with one district. If it means I'll be a substitute for the first year or so, great. Being an elementary teacher is one of the most sought-after teaching positions around and the shortages are in the least desirable positions. Perhaps I should've considered that when getting my degree in K-8!

For the record, I spoke with the hiring coordinator for the district and she assured me that contracts aren't due for awhile and she requested that if I did get a job elsewhere, to let them know so I could be removed from their list (which obviously means my totally bombed question didn't eliminate me from the pool entirely, but I'm not naive to assume I'm anywhere near the top of the list of those 60+ interviewees).

I guess substitute teaching won't be so bad, anyway. I will be able to make my own schedule for awhile, as my kids will have unique needs in the beginning of this new journey (i.e. early dismissal) and it will allow me to learn a lot more about the area, district, and create those networking contacts I desperately need to update. I'll just have to set my ego aside and enjoy the ride. I'm sure before long I'll be reminiscing about those carefree park days with my friends and lamenting having to pack lunches for the whole family every single day, except the husband, who lives the #dotcom life and has catered meals every day.


Sarah said... [Reply to comment]

I could have written a lot of this. Yes to intellectual challenges and being in the adult world! I hope that you are able to find a position you want without too much waiting.

I don't regret having this time with my kids, but I do get frustrated at how hard society makes it for caregivers to get back to work. I mean I took care of my kids; I didn't have a lobotomy (though it sometimes feel that way. huh?).

A Few Good Eggs said... [Reply to comment]

My fingers are crossed that you are surprised and get a job in the district you like. I bet you didn't bomb #12 as much as you think you did, but man interviewing is hard even when you aren't out of practice.

When we were hiring for my replacement (I'm a lawyer), it was astonishing and SO upsetting to hear the bias the men in my department had toward resumes of women who had been out of work for a few years. It was appalling and I gave them a lot of grief about it and we interviewed a few, but I'd never witnessed it firsthand in that way before. I'd like to think that in teaching this would be different -- because obviously they get the need for caring for children -- but maybe that is naive. I worry about this after only being gone for 9 months...

Is there another way you can find intellectual stimulation or something similar that you are missing this fall if a full-time position doesn't work out? I was just reading somewhere (I'll try to find the article and send it to you) about people re-entering the workforce. One suggestion was to volunteer so that you have recent experience and references. Maybe join a Board or volunteer for an organization you support? You didn't really ask for advice so I should just stop now :)

Heather said... [Reply to comment]

I have we need to talk. I have been considering going back to teaching and have put my application in all over the place, I haven't taught for 10 (TEN!) years but have been working in higher ed. Sometimes I get so mad at myself that I left because I would be making such good money if I just stayed. I actually have been offered a job but it's at a private school and the pay is low and there's no retirement. we are in the negotiation stage but I am not sure I will accept it even if they do offer more. I am jealous of your plan just to sub-- I am all over the place with what I want to do, and it's hard to walk away from a full time position even though I am unhappy there.