My White Whale
The last full-time job I had I lost. I was a Project Manager for a software development company. After an 11-month unsuccessful job search, I was encouraged by friends and family to consider teaching. I needed something more fulfilling in my life. I wanted to make a difference, but I wasn’t convinced that I would like or even be good at teaching. Working part-time as a Para-professional was a necessary step in helping me determine if I wanted to take this leap of faith, but I also feared how I was going to financially survive. I think as a Para I was making around $10 an hour compared to $55,000 a year at my private sector job, which I no longer had and my severance would soon be ending. Reflecting should have told me I was ready to be a teacher and I was burned out on chasing the almighty dollar.
When I entered education I would not have dreamed that I would still be looking for a full-time teaching job. It’s been 13 years since I worked as a high school Para-professional. I’ve been told various reasons by various people why I’m still underemployed. It’s my age. I’m over educated for the amount of teaching experience I have, which is none. Either way, it doesn’t matter. I read somewhere that “you either get bitter or work to get better.” I chose the latter and stayed in school to pursue additional graduate degrees. But I haven’t given up on that elusive teaching job. It’s become my white whale.
Calls for interviews have never come, which has convinced me over the years that my level of education has never been enough. My education has only seemed to be enough to adjunct teach. I’ve been adjunct teaching for two community colleges for six years and substitute teaching the last 12 years, but neither has helped me develop my teaching or my pedagogy.
So two years ago I decided a second master’s degree would help. It certainly couldn’t hurt. I have an English endorsement but felt that an MA in English would further develop me to teach English. I pursued and was accepted into the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Graduate Teaching Assistant program, which has allowed me to complete my master’s while getting paid to teach and further develop my craft.