The Dilemma

I have to decide whether or not to return to work full time for two years.

In 2008 I got my Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. My preliminary credential. The first two years in teaching are the most difficult. A good portion of teachers quit in their first three years. Here in California, they have the BTSA program to try to combat this problem. You teach full time for two years. During this time an experienced teacher attends some of your classes and offers feedback. It’s supposed to help make the first few years easier. Onca BTSA is complete your credential is cleared.

overworked2

My problem is timing. Note the year that I graduated: 2008. The teacher layoffs were just beginning then. Every time fellow graduates met the first thing we asked each other was, “Did you find a job?” I job hunted from April until September that year. I couldn’t find a teaching job so I started hunting for something, anything. I got lots of interviews but no job offers, even in banking, where I had nine years of experience. Finally I landed a crap job in retail in October. It was the best that I could find and that was extremely depressing.

I had originally wanted to wait until my career was set before having children. My college advisor had recommended waiting until I’d been teaching for three years before having kids. However, I wasn’t getting any younger and my career wasn’t advancing at all. The time never seemed to be right for having kids so we decided to just do it.

Flash forward a few years. I have two wonderful children, ages 2 1/2 and 9 months, but my preliminary credential is set to expire. I applied for an extension and even got a supplemental authorization so that I can teach agriculture. I really wanted a supplemental authorization in science to make myself more marketable, but I was informed that I need six more units in Geoscience. My extension lasts three years, but BTSA will take up two of those years. So in order to keep my credential, I have to get a full time job this fall or next fall and keep it for two years. Otherwise, all my hard work was for naught.

The thing is, I don’t want to work full time yet. My kids are still really young, and I’d like to have one more. But losing a credential is a pain in the ass. It looks like you have to retake all the tests and a bunch of the classes too. I need to think about my long term job potential, but I don’t want to neglect my children by returning to work too soon. It’s not just that I’d be working, teaching is a stressful job that you take home with you. Even something as simple as preschool involves hours of prep. I was a daycare/latch key kid and I don’t want that for my own children.

Cutting materials for Yoda hand puppets is time consuming.

Cutting materials for Yoda hand puppets is time consuming.

It’s a tough decision to make. I’m applying for jobs now. I’m both terrified that I’ll get a job and terrified that I won’t. There’s a job fair this Wednesday through the county that’s actually going to have credential Q&A, so hopefully I can get some more answers or learn about alternative options there. The CTC, like many government websites, is both informative and vague. It has a lot of information that you need, but not what you’re specifically looking for.

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