I have been applying for work all over the region, but was not getting any traction, and I thought, perhaps, it was the document, the piece of paper that reduces me and my experiences to a few salient points, that was standing in my way. I hadn’t really thought about updating it for a while, but as I’m trying to make a go of remaining here in Portland, with the hopes of getting back into the classroom on some level, I figured it was time to see if that was what was stopping me up. Though I pretty much loathe the entire idea of putting one’s entire working life on one sheet of paper, and that how you say what you’ve done has a huge impact on how someone perceives the kind of person you are, it is a step in the process, and at this point, I will do anything to feel like I’m moving forward.
I contacted a friend of Caleb’s who is a principal here in Portland to have him examine my resume. I wanted him to give me a reaction to it that was from the perspective of someone who could be looking for a teacher in his school. I’m glad I did, because he explained to me that the central office basically farms off all of the resumes they get to the various principals in the district, and gives principals the authority to do all of the hiring for their schools. In short, I’d have to get face-time with a principal if I am going to get anywhere with my teaching career here. That meant, really, that my resume would have to be a quick, sharp, focused snapshot of who I am, what I’ve done, and what I can contribute to a classroom here.
He also told me that because of this system, principals can receive hundreds of resumes in their e-mail inboxes, and that they don’t have a lot of time to sift through things that aren’t really clear or make much sense.
I listened with intent, and we discussed some of the ways that I should make changes, and though I felt a bit beaten down, I’m glad I took the time to totally re-do this career document. Now, instead of shoving my experiences outside of education since returning from England to the bottom of the document, I have made that work seem more relevant to the pursuit of returning to the classroom. I have organized my credentials in a way that makes the most sense to scan over, and I’ve reduced the document to one page. It’s lean, mean, crisp and clean, and I’m feeling very secure in the way I’m presenting myself now.
We also discussed some of the various roads into the teaching profession up here that are open to me. One of these, which was my Plan B upon my departure from Denver, is to register as a substitute teacher for the districts of Portland and the surrounding communities. It’s not glamorous, and it’s not a guaranteed paycheck every week, but it is face-time with faculty and staff (including administrators) in the various schools around town. Because of the way hiring works here, substitute teaching will give me a way to meet quite a few people who make decisions and make the case for myself as a teacher by the impression I leave with the classrooms I work with. It’s not the easy path to teaching, but it is a path, and at this point, I just need direction.
Now, I have one. This is my plan going forward. I’m thankful to this principal for giving me the insights he has. I’m thankful that things with Caleb and I are where they are at so that I can afford to do this and not have to worry about a roof over my head. I do have a little breathing space. I do have a chance, and I am going to make the most of it.