It has only been this past week or so that I have been looking at ATR blogs and have read the various comments submitted by other excessed teachers, and I must admit, the picture looks awful. Time after time, excessed teachers write that they (myself included) have been religiously checking the open market for available positions, sending out emails, letters, and phone calls. Each and every time the response has been negative: usually, not even a call back or an email acknowledgment of communication. It is no wonder that the word "disheartening" is heard over and over again. However, a typical comment in response to this situation is: "...but what, after all, are you upset about -- you have a job, right". Yes, we continue to have a paycheck, but that is really not a job and certainly not part of what I would consider a career. Teaching is not a vocation you happen to fall into; it is usually a calling that fulfills a true desire to inculcate a love of learning. To think that the person who spent years of study and training in order to be a quality instructor would be just as happy and fulfilled pulling a check by simply sitting in a classroom without purpose calls for a depth of cynicism that I am not willing to entertain. Now, that is not to say that some teachers in the ATR pool do not take up that mantle. I have read comments that reflect the attitude of "...hey, they put me here, without purpose, if they want to give me a paycheck to have me sit and do squat, then so be it...I can outlast them". Everyone knows that it is really, really difficult to do nothing. I would certainly rather deal with a double period of my worst class from last year than be in a situation where I sit and watch the clock tick away in a room full of empty desks, as I wait for my only assignment of the day -- lunchroom duty. Really, how much more satisfying it is when you even try to engage your students in a worthwhile project or assignment. At least it is a challenge and certainly a more worthy challenge than trying to beat the clock.
So, this leads to to what I need to do for the remainder of the summer. Instead of searching for more websites like "surgery squad" ( virtual surgery - attn: science teachers), I can spend the time fruitlessly milling about the "open hiring system", perusing Craigslist for entries under Education Jobs, Part-Time or Etc., or just fretting and anxiously waiting for my ATR assignment. Disheartening? Yeah, I would agree.