For those who say the graduates of 2014 will find a tough job market, they’ve got nothing on us survivors of 2009! I received a Master’s degree in Public Administration in May 2009, just in time for hiring freezes to set in. In the end, I evaluated my personal skills and experiences and decided that my best route would be to earn a post-baccalaureate teacher certification. While working as a substitute teacher, I finished my academic classes and student-teaching and received a secondary teacher certification from Texas Tech University.
In retrospect, I had made a mistake the first time around, when I was on the job hunt before and immediately after receiving my MPA. I had not been honest with myself about the strength of my resume in terms of the jobs I was seeking. While I had a college degree in one area, my innate strengths and work experiences better suited another. Those approaching college graduation and plotting their job search should take an honest look at whether their resumes complement the jobs they are seeking.
Unlike my initial career aspiration, which was federal law enforcement, teaching was a good fit. It took only one year of full-time work to earn a post-baccalaureate teacher certification and I found a job that summer. Having to jump into creating lesson plans for that fall, organize a classroom, and learn the rules, regulations, and operations of a high school was similar to my previous role of graduate student: It involved research, planning, and organization.
The pros of going from graduate school to teaching were that teaching was relatively familiar and therefore a manageable challenge, teaching was a field where I could exercise my love of reading and learning, and teaching in a public school offered decent job security. Recent college graduates are likely to enjoy teaching as a first job because teaching is a field that is familiar, recognizes and supports education, and strives to keep experienced teachers in the classroom, meaning good job security. Other jobs for new college grads may be very unfamiliar from the entrenched routines of school, may not respect or support formal education much, and may not have good job security.
The cons of going straight from graduate school to teaching high school primarily involved having to be in charge of classrooms full of students who were less than ten years younger, meaning lots of stress.