To recent college graduates:
I’ve wanted to articulate this post for a while. I have been trying to process through the fact that I left college with a negative view of charter schools in comparison to getting a job at a public school. I don’t know where it came from. I tried to think back through my classes, when I sat down and let my thoughts settle, a charter school job was like a piece of toast (ok), but a public school job was like a toaster strudel (really good). I’m still not sure where along the way I started thinking like this, because it was was causing a conflict inside of me that I couldn’t put my finger on.
Get out there and find a job, send those applications out, take whatever interview you can get. These were the instructions I received before I left Central Michigan University having graduated from the Music Education program.
But I was struggling on the inside with this pubic vs. charter thing. Where do I want to work? Maybe I fell asleep in class when we talked about all this but I do not feel like I know a ton. I seem to remember this;
Public School ( Good job ) = Good pay, Good job security, Good retirement
Charter School ( Bad job ) = Low pay, No job security, Bad retirement.
So I took a job at a charter school. Along with a lot of support, I got a lot of these comments in response to my decision…
“That’s a good stepping stone job..”
“That will be ok for a couple years.. then you can get a real job”
“Did you ever think maybe they offered you the job because you were the only one that applied?” (seriously, I actually didn’t think about that! haha)
Some of them kind of surprised me! : )
Once I started teaching I finally got to process through why this separation existed. By the way, everyone was about 90% right regarding the pros and cons of Public vs. Charter. I teach in a school with low pay, low job security, and bad retirement.
But when you take into account the pay, job security, bad retirement, etc. All those have to do with your comfortability. But what about your values, your ideals. Don’t lose them.
Just because there is more competition for public school jobs, doesn’t mean they are better, it is just more valued by the culture as a whole.
But for you, Listen close and let me tell you a secret. If you are a recent college graduate, read carefully. If you are able, why not put your comfortability on hold and take your dynamite teaching skills to a place where no one expects you to go, where you might possibly be the only person that even interviewed for that job. Where everyone else looks at your job as a stepping stone, you turn your class into a cornerstone for your kids. Believe me, there are teaching jobs, just a lot of jobs people are not willing to take. Go for it!
Charter schools and Public schools should both have amazing teachers.
Does this mean I won’t go for a public school job someday? No. I have nothing against them. I have great friends who teach in public schools and do an amazing job. Every kid needs a great teacher, charter and public alike.
I’m getting married soon, I’ll have more financial and relational responsibilities, I’ll have to manage my time differently, I’d love to raise a family someday and I don’t know if my charter school salary will support that, but I can look for another job that pays more when the time comes.
For now, I am happy having the opportunity to be where I am at, with the teachers and administration, and serving the community I am a part of.
For you, during your job search, challenge your own views on where you would be willing to work. Maybe you could open yourself up to some enriching opportunities.
Happy job hunting.