I think it's fair to say 90% of my mental energy and free time has been related to finding a job for next school year. Of course, I don't just want a job. I want to find the school that will be a great fit for me as a teacher and mother, ideally a place I can stay for the next seven years. The school needs to be a place I want to send all four of my children.
I have been on several interviews and been offered multiple jobs, but I have yet to accept a position. I have also been rejected from job offers, which is a new experience that stings. It's getting a bit ridiculous at this point to continue asking friends to watch the kids while I go off on interviews. One of my friends even asked why I interview at a school if I don't want to work there. The problem is, most of the positions are simply K-5 positions, meaning it could be any grade. Also, statistics on the NC School Report Card will only tell you so much about a school. I learn much more from the interactions with staff and touring the school.
Here are the factors that influence my decision in selecting a job:
Position--This might be unrealistic, but I'm looking for a position where I don't have to take home a ton of work. That's not because I want to be a slack teacher. It's actually because I want to commit myself fully to teaching. I don't like doing anything half ass, but I know it's going to be a learning curve to balance teaching and parenting four children. I'd rather find a 4th or 5th grade teaching position that departmentalizes so I can focus on one or two subjects vs every subject. Or a job such as facilitator or specialist that keeps me challenged during the instructional day but doesn't have grading or parent conferences. I know any teaching position will be time consuming, but I'm really hoping I can find one that is less demanding than my previous school.
School that makes growth--I don't have to be at a school that is necessarily high performing, but it's important to me that the school makes or exceeds growth. I don't worry about a school that has a C or D rating as much as I worry about a school that doesn't meet growth. I think Jackson will be fine in a lower performing school that is making growth, because they do more progress monitoring, small group instruction, and interventions. I have to be willing to send my kids to this school.
Commute--My previous school was an incredibly stressful commute on three different interstates. It frequently took over an hour to get home. I refuse to waste two hours a day in a car when I could be spending precious time with my kids. There are several schools that aren't far when you look at mileage, but would be a stressful commute.
Time--I would rather not work at a late start school. With Jesse being the one responsible for picking up the trio from their school, they won't be home until at least 5 every day. It will be my responsibility to have dinner ready, help Jackson with any homework, and keep up with laundry. If the school day doesn't end until 4:15 for students, the earliest I would get home is 5 pm. A late start school isn't a deal breaker if everything else is great, but it is certainly less preferred.
Diverse Student Body--I've really struggled with this one, since schools in Charlotte are so segregated. One of the schools I applied to had 11 white children in the entire school. It was 95% African American. I've had a hard time recognizing my slight discomfort over Jackson being the only white child in his class or even grade. I'm equally bothered by the kids attending a school that is 95% white. Charlotte is a diverse area, but that is not reflected in the schools.
Technology--Not having a SmartBoard/Promethean Board or at least a projector is a deal breaker for me.
Low Teacher Turnover Rate--I'm not even applying to any school with high teacher turnover rates for consecutive years. If so many teachers are leaving the school for multiple years, there's a reason why.
There are several other things I've considered, but those are the most important. I haven't found any dream job, and I'm becoming more aware that my dream job is staying home another year. Our checking account requires a compromise, so I'll be making my rounds at the CMS Job Fair this Saturday. Wish me luck!