Looking for a Teaching Position Requires a Leap of Faith

Looking for a full-time teaching job is difficult. There are so many things to constantly tweak and update on your résumé. I feel like I am constantly working on branding myself. Do you ever feel like your résumé is just perfect? I am constantly asking my co-workers what they think and make changes to mine. My supervisor even went over my résumé with me and gave me advice. It seems like an endless process and at times overwhelming. I have to admit with each tweak or update my résumé does look better. The suggestions are wonderful and extremely helpful. Naturally, with each change I hope I have nailed the ‘right’ look. Is there ever a right look? I created a teaching portfolio, posted lesson plans, and videos. I streamlined my teaching philosophy and I practice my interview questions and answers. I recruit my friends to interview me. I continue to take graduate classes to keep my skills current and I teach a variety of college courses. I am ever ready.

This year I took a leap of faith and quit two of my three adjunct teaching positions. I am concentrating on just one job while I look for a fulltime position. I decided that it was hard to look for a position when I was teaching at so many schools. I am hoping that my leap of faith pays off and I find that elusive teaching position. Therefore, this year I decided that every day would be a leap of faith I will do something to work on making myself a better employee be it training, practicing interviewing, applying for a job, or networking. I am committed to doing one thing daily to help me find a teaching position. I grew up in the military – we call ourselves army brats. A friend recently told me that the term sounded negative and she is right. It is these little suggestions that makes a difference. I have worked as an adjunct for at least 15 years and when I do find a job, I will certainly appreciate my position. I know like me that many of you are probably looking too and I say GOOD LUCK! I use a few sites to that I find help me with my job search that I hope you find useful.

1. Higher Ed Jobs https://www.higheredjobs.com/ this site in invaluable you can set up an account and receive emails daily about open positions.
2. The chronicle of education provides a site to store you credentials at https://chroniclevitae.com/ . You can even apply for jobs directly from this site.
3. I use Weebly http://www.weebly.com/weebly to host my web site with my teaching portfolio. I pay a small fee to own my domain at http://www.jacquelineklueh.com/ .
4. Dropbox https://www.dropbox.com/ is a great site to store all of your important documents such as your résumé, transcripts, cover letters, and copies of certifications. I use this as a backup to the vitae service.

The most important thing to remember when you apply for a teaching position is to send all the required material, check for errors and make corrections, and keep believing in yourself. It can be discouraging when you are looking for a position, but something will open up for you. I continue to work as an adjunct and apply for positions knowing that soon the right job will come my way. Don’t give up and don’t take it personally if you do not get a position that you applied for just remember competition is tough. Keep moving forward.

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The research paper: The end of the semester

The end of the semester is close and the students are getting excited about their summer vacation and for some their upcoming graduation. For me it is that time of the semester when I am reading and grading their research papers. I am always impressed with how hard my students work and the progress they make during the semester. At first, they are hesitant at the idea of a fifteen-page paper, but as we work through the writing process, they are amazed at their end products, a well-written research paper, with a solid thesis, introduction, conclusion, and all their arguments proved.

As I handed back the papers on Tuesday, I told one of my student s that his paper was great and he said to me that no one had ever told him that before. He asked if I was joking, and I said no, all the papers are great in this class, each of you write really well. Another student said she had never made above a C in English. It really saddens me to hear my students ever felt discouraged. How can a student write well if they have been discouraged and think that they are poor writers before they even start their papers?

I like to think of writing as a process and that if I look at what a student does really well and encourage them in the areas that they need to work on without discouraging them that they will learn and thrive in my class. I want all my students to succeed by positive feedback not by red pen mentality.

This particular class is an English Composition II class, so most of the students understand the writing process, but I teach other writing classes too. I take this same approach to encourage my students. For my GED students it means learning to write a well-crafted sentence, then two, and finally a whole paragraph. Before long, they are writing a solid essay, which is critical in passing the GED test.

As an adjunct, a part-time teacher, I am do not have the luxury of spending time in my office to work with students, so I strive to be available during my lunch, before, and after class. I am always pleased that many of my students will come and ask for a little extra help. I so love working with these students. I am always sad this time of year, the semester is ending, and I will have to say goodbye. I know that my students have learned and will go on to write excellent papers for their other classes. I hope my positive outlook on their abilities makes a difference to them; I know their positive response to me makes me smile.

On a Whim!

Recently a co-worker who is a teacher at the high school I teach at stated that he felt teachers that majored in a content area and not in Education wanted to teach on a whim. I did not speak up as I often keep my thoughts to myself in the work place. But I wanted to respond, I wanted to speak up and say, I am not teaching on a whim if I were the whim put me back $40,000 in school loans. I purposefully choose the classes and two degrees that I have to be a well-rounded teacher of the Language Arts.  I majored in Literature of the Humanities at American Military University. The major is built on “The Great Books” philosophy. I read many classical pieces of literature and wrote lengthy papers on each book. I completed a 50 page thesis and took an 8 hour exit exam. I received an MA degree for my hard work and effort.  I earned a MLS degree from Fort Hays State University with a concentration in teaching Reading and English. I write a 50 page research paper on teaching students with learning disabilities how to read using the latest information. In addition, I wrote a 350 page text-book based on teaching developmental reading to high school and college students. I am presently tweaking this book in hopes of pitching the book to Pearson for publication. Lastly, I earned a graduate certificate in Composition and Rhetoric from Indiana University East. I did all of this because I wanted to share my love of Reading and English with students. I also had to pass several Praxis I and II test – which required hours of study and were rather expensive.

I know I should have spoken up when my co-worker made his comment which clearly he made without knowing how difficult it is to become a teacher through alternative methods. David McCullough an accomplished writer of Historical Novels stated on 60 Minutes that some of the best teachers are teachers that major in content areas that become experts on a subject and go to the classroom ready to share that knowledge with their students. I was so impressed that Mr. McCullough shared this opinion with the audience. I wish my co-workers shared this opinion. I face many comments and low opinions from my co-workers about my not being an Education major. They have no idea that I have taken well over 40 hours in Education classes with my work on teaching Reading and Composition and Rhetoric.

Perhaps I should become more vocal in support of my co-workers that are teaching via alternative routes. Teaching on a whim – hardly! Teaching is a difficult job. I rarely see a teacher that teaches on a whim. I do see teachers that are burned out but they soon move on. Teaching can be difficult due to the push for common core with few dollars to support the transition, outdated classrooms and technology, students that are hungry and tired. Teaching takes long hours of planning, preparation, and then grading; I love to teach – I just wish all teachers could appreciate each other and show support than making unkind and not well thought out remarks.

Teaching full-time is it possible anymore? Yes and no!

I originally wrote, “Teaching full-time is it possible anymore?” in November of 2011. At that time, I had recently graduated with a second master’s degree in Literature of the Humanities built on the philosophy of the “Great Books”. It was a very tough major but rewarding. My first master’s degree is in Liberal Studies from Fort Hays State University with a concentration in English and Reading. Since the time of writing my blog, I have completed a graduate certificate in rhetoric and composition from Indiana University East. I still teach part-time at Vincennes University in the Reading and English Departments and at Frontier College for the Study Skills Department teaching GED classes. I am now teaching Language Arts full-time at a local high school. I have earned endorsements in Language Arts, Teaching Reading, and Technology Education. I still love the students I serve and all of my supervisors – they are all wonderful. I feel blessed to teach full-time at the high school a part-time at the two colleges. While I always dreamed of teaching full-time at the College or University level, I have concluded that just will not happen. I recently interviewed via phone for a position in the English department at one of the colleges that I teach at but sadly, I was not recommended for an on campus interview. I was heartbroken though I know there are many qualified applicants. As an adjunct instructor, I do not have my foot in the door so to speak which it sad. Many people teach as adjuncts all hoping that one day they can teach full-time I wonder how the institutions that they teach at feel. Do they like to promote adjuncts or do they prefer selecting candidates that are not local that often move on within two or three years. As for myself this is my home, I work here, I pay my taxes here, I have raised my children here, and I will remain here. I hope for all other adjuncts that they are promoted to a full-time teaching position or like me make a new dream and teach on the high school level. I continue to work as an adjunct as I enjoy working with college students and with GED students. I know I am blessed and I am very thankful for every one of my blessings.

Teaching full-time is it possible anymore?

I recently graduated with my second master’s degree and am finishing a graduate certificate in rhetoric and composition. There was a time that when you finished a degree you could count on finding full-time employment. Today the promise of full-time employment is elusive. I teach part-time at Vincennes University in the Reading Department and at Olney Central College for the Study Skills Department. I also tutor learning disabled students for the STEP program at Vincennes University and run the reading lab two nights a week. Working 4 part-time jobs is exhausting. I work 54 hours a week between the four jobs. I love the students I serve and all of my supervisors – they are all wonderful. I am blessed to get to do what I want to do for a living. Sadly though I have to be realistic and find a full-time teaching job with retirement and benefits, after all I am not getting any younger. I have loved Vincennes University since I was a small child playing on the campus. We had a neighbor that when I was little worked in the historical buildings on campus and would take me with him to work. I always dreamed of teaching at the University. I am thankful to the University for this Dream, as it kept me motivated to complete my degrees. I have expanded my job search to across the United States and I know I will love my new home but I just love the history of Vincennes Indiana and the life I have here. I hope all the graduates across the US find their special job just like I hope I do. When I get where I am going I will write about the journey.