Career Advice Opinion

Reality Does Not Always Match Perception

By AAEE — April 12, 2016 1 min read
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Reality does not always match perception. I would have missed out on a life changing teaching job if I had followed my perception. New teachers should see the opportunities that are out there before settling on a school or district.

When I was interviewing for my first teaching job, I was sure I was going to teach where I grew up. My mother was a teacher in the district, her principal and my elementary principals was the director of personnel for the district. When I saw him at the college teacher job fair, he assured me that I would get a job in the district and told me which principals to contact for opening in my certification area. I was set.

On my way out of the job fair, I stopped by the booth of a larger neighboring school district. I really wasn’t interested in the larger district. I had no connections to the district or the schools there, plus this larger district was lower performing in the state rankings. I gave the representative a copy of my resume and agreed to apply on the districts website, thinking it would be a fall back in case things didn’t work out with my home district.

Two weeks after the job fair, I got a call from the principal of one of the larger district’s magnet high schools and reluctantly agreed to interview at the school. When I arrived and saw how the school operated I was amazed, it was like a mini-college. I never knew anything like it existed. The district I grew up in only had traditional schools. I also connected instantly with the educational philosophy of the principal. At the end of the Interview, I was offered and accepted a position. It was a perfect fit from the start. I even moved into the larger district’s attendance zone so my children could attend schools with unique programs. I have never looked back.

While interviewing for positions, new teachers should keep an open mind. If I had not stopped by that booth on my way out of the job fair or agreed to interview, I would have missed out on a great experience and my true best fit. Sometimes the reality of a school district is very different than an outsider’s perception. I urge all new teachers to meet principals and visit schools because you may not know what great experiences are out there until you see for yourself.

Shaun Feinberg

Assistant Principal

East Baton Rouge Parish School System

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