Does She REALLY Want to Be a Classroom Teacher?


Arlene writes:
I have been a speech and language specialist for over 15 years. It was not my chosen field but I felt I would always be able to obtain employment because it is so specialized which has certainly been the case. I also have an elementary teaching certificate and two English-as-a-Second-Language teaching certificates. I took a leave of absence from work in 1988 for personal reasons and began to study acting my true first love. I took part-time jobs while my husband was terminally ill until he passed away. I eventually became employed in the public schools again as a Speech Therapist; however I found that I was extremely unhappy in this position and in the second year of teaching at this particular district I became ill. I quit before the end of the first semester. Then I decided to substitute teach and have been doing so ever since. I now find I need to re-enter the workforce full-time.
After job-hunting for some time I have felt in every interview that I have had with the schools that the administration and teachers have a difficult time seeing me as a regular classroom teacher because I have done speech pull-out programs for so long. I have applied to public private and charter schools with no success. Are there any suggestions you have for me? I really do not want to return to speech therapy. It has been very unfulfilling for me. I might add that I am 57 years old and that their may be an “underground” age discrimination aspect to this as well.


The Career Doctor responds:
Do you really want to be a classroom teacher? As you point out this is
not a good time to be seeking that kind of job with all the budget
cuts states face.
What jumped out at me with your acting background is corporate
training. This is not the greatest time for that field either as training
is one of the first things that gets cut in a weak economy. Still it’s
worth considering.
You might also look into motivational speaking/professional
presenting. Could take awhile to build those up but maybe you
could pursue that path while doing something else.
As you point out there could also be a issues with your
resume and cover letter especially if they expose you
to age discrimination. I’d suggest you get a professional
to critique them for you and if necessary revamp them them
to position you for the kind of job you seek.


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