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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

How to Land a Dream Job


How to Land a Dream Job
Subtitle: How to Stay in School Forever, Get Summers Off and Harass Children for the Rest of Your Life
Step 1: Start Early. The key to having a successful career in teaching is to plan ahead. Way ahead.  At age three begin lecturing to your stuffed animals. At age seven start a ghost club in which you declare yourself president and spend the first fifteen minutes of each meeting educating the group on local ghost phenomenon.  At age twelve make sure to answer those stupid interest inventories that you take in middle school in such a way that the outcome is always: teacher. 
Step 1A: While you are at it, do well in school.  Seriously, this is not a speech for a PSA, but you need to think of it like this:  In life, we have crap we don’t want to do.  We have crap we DO want to do.  For example, I like to run and write. I don’t like to grade papers (By the way, if a teacher ever says they do they either have issues or are totally lying) Sooo.... I grade papers first, get it over with so I can spend the rest of my day running or writing (or dreaming about Daniel Jackson/Michael Shanks.  I am seriously challenging myself to mention him at least once a post now for my own personal amusement). The life path can look something like this:
Do well in elementary school → Cool trophies and your mommy and daddy love you → Wanting to do well in middle school so they will let you go to a dance with a boy → Realizing that when boys like you they buy you things so decide to play this out → Getting your first bad grade and crap no more boys unless grades come up so back to good grades → Hating school → Wait, if I do really good they let you skip grades and get out of here → And colleges like me better and give me money → Wait, I can skip grades here too and save money and be in hot roomate’s grade and take classes with him... Well, we all know where that led right? If not, see Entry #1.  
Step 2: (Yes, it took that long to get to step 2) Start working with children at a young age.  It is vital to becoming a teacher that you master two very important things very early: A) The Look and B) The Guilt.  By getting a job as a babysitter, camp counselor or life guard, you will find that the look and the guilt will magically become a part of your overall composition as a person.  This is also quite effective when you become a parent. Before we go any further, let’s take a moment to explore these two critical skills.  
  1. The Look - The look is just what is sounds like, a look.  However, it is a cold, emotionless look that would make Darth Vader pee his little breathing suit or would make the Eye of Sauron look away.  It does not include a wicked smile or a horrifying frown, it is quite simply a look with no expression.  You may cut your eyes with this look, but not heavily. The key is to look at the person, or large group of children, with a look so utterly empty they are confused in terror.  Try it on your cat.  If you can get your cat to get off its fat butt and leave your bed with just the look, you’ve got it.  
  2. )The Guilt - The guilt is a bit harder to master as it takes a combination of the look, a superior vocabulary and a good temperament.  The guilt is used when you look at a room full of screaming children, give them the look, maybe with a touch of sorrow and say something like “I had really hoped you guys would enjoy this activity...” IF you have established yourself as the authority figure and as an overall nice person this will CRUSH them.  And then they drop to silence.  Or they may cry.  Crying is good.  
Step 3: Do NOT major in Education.  Now, this little tidbit is serious.  Yes, majoring in Education seems like what you should do, but trust me, NCLB (No Child Left Behind) is not going anywhere folks.  And there is a nice little clause in that that discusses “Highly Qualified” teachers.  That is Education speak for “if you were too lazy to major in Math we are not going to let you teach it moron.” Which is good, because I am fairly certain that some of my teachers in high school knew more about football then whatever they were “teaching” us (by teaching I mean slapped up an overhead while they watched the game in the teacher’s lounge). 
Step 4: Come up with a good reason you want to be a teacher.  I’m not talking about the reasons I have listed above (although trust me, harassing children is SOOOOO much fun); you need something really good for the interview because a lot of people are intrigued by the summers off thing so there will be some stiff competition.  Here are some suggestions of things you may say to an interviewer and will still be telling the truth: 
  1. I really feel a desire to help mold the children since they are essentially our future (What you really mean is : I am so tired of dealing with idiots that if I make sure one of these fools can at least signal before changing lanes the world might be a better place)
  2. I feel a connection with children and I feel I can use that connection to share my knowledge. (Translation: No one will play X-box with me anymore so I need to make some new friends) 
  3. I feel that school is a sanctuary (which I spelled wrong like 5 times - you would think being an Amanda Tapping fan I could spell that word...) for many students and I want to be that person to guide them. (Or really: I was the youngest in my family and I was tormented.  Time for some pay it forward...) 
Step 5: Harry Wong.  And if a certain friend of mine is reading this, I will take a moment for you to stop laughing and compose yourself.  (Jeopardy music....) Finished? Really? Still laughing? Come on.... Thank you.  As I was saying, here is the part of my blog where I shamelessly plug a book that I will get nothing for plugging, but here it is: The First Days of School. In fact, here is the link to it from Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/The-First-Days-School-Effective/dp/0962936022 . DO EVERYTHING THIS BOOK SAYS.  Now, after your first year you will NEVER have to do it all again, but you will figure out really quick what works, what doesn’t and it will help you master THE LOOK and THE GUILT while you try.  
Step 6: Know when the last day of school is. Remember those chains of construction paper rings your mom made when you were a kid to count down to Christmas.  Make one.  It will be about 180 rings long.  Rip off a ring everyday.  Color code by month if you need to.  Make sure to even rip off that last ring the very last day before summer break.  
Step 7: Go get a margarita.  If you make if through your first year teaching without killing a child, getting gray hair or an ulcer, you deserve more than the Spanish wine you should have been using every Friday to just recover from the week. You deserve a margarita.  Top shelf :-) 

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