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Can Beggars Be Choosers?

Things are looking up and I should have a job locked up by next week! Now the question is: Is it the right job for me?

I’ve spoken to enough teachers to realize that change is a part of any young teacher’s career. Switching classrooms, switching grades or switching schools seems to come with the territory. Still, after two years I’ve gotten pretty comfortable teaching in a 4th grade general ed classroom. I’d hoped that whatever changes my new school will bring come September, my teaching position would remain a constant.

When hunting for a job, is this attitude too stubborn? Should I take whatever I can get? If I hadn’t been excessed, I’d likely still be facing some sort of change in teaching position next year anyway.

Every teaching position has its own challenges and benefits. The pros and cons I’m currently weighing are those of a cluster position. Cluster teachers have the benefit of focusing their lesson planning energies on fewer lessons per week. There’s loads less paperwork as well. On the other hand, classroom management can be almost elusive for cluster teachers I’ve seen. It’s hard to enforce accountability for behavior, and also difficult to maintain a classroom-home connection. As far as I can tell, it’s also hard to have the same sense of ownership of a classroom community when you’re shuffling 150 kids a day.

I’ve been given some time to think about this position, as well as a 5th grade CTT position. And while I had hoped to build on my successes as a 4th grade teacher, I have nothing but excitement for these other opportunities. If you don’t have an open mind, the NYC school system probably isn’t the right place for you. Still, while I’m more than ready to take on new challenges, a slight part of me wonders if there’s any reason to keep trying for the job I really want.

So, there’s the excitement and relief of a new job opportunity, but some nervousness about the details. In the end, I’ll be happy as long as I’m teaching, whatever subject or setting that turns out to be. If you’ve got advice in the meantime, be sure to share it!

Ruben Brosbe just finished his second year teaching in the Bronx. He is writing about his experiences looking for a new position after being excessed this spring. He also blogs at Is Our Children Learning?

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