Future Plans

It looks like I’ll be substitute teaching in the foreseeable future. Don’t feel sorry for me or wonder why I don’t have a job, because I am actually really okay with subbing! Here’s what happened in my job search saga…

Let me tell you, I worked really hard to get a full-time job. I applied for over 40 positions in 8 states, and I had 5 interviews. I actually had calls about 7 opportunities, but I was turned down for those before the interview was scheduled because I didn’t have the proper certification for that state and because of my Guard commitment (which is discrimination, yes, I know). My interviews kept getting better and better, and I felt more confident after each one. Yes, I’m disappointed I didn’t get chosen for any of them, but I know I could not have interviewed or taught sample lessons any better. I did my best, but I realized my best just wasn’t right for any of those positions.

Which was heartbreaking. After my last “sorry, you impressed us very much and you’re very qualified but it was very competitive” phone call last week, I was sad for a long time. I questioned a lot about my teaching ability, my content knowledge, and everything that I’ve worked towards the past 4 years. It’s been really tough on my pride, especially – I have always worked hard and have been proud of what I’ve accomplished as a music teacher. Being denied from jobs made me feel unworthy and unwanted.

I could keep applying for jobs – I know there are still jobs out there – but I am making the conscious decision to stop applying, at least for a month or two. I am sending in my sub apps this week, and I feel very at peace with my decision. God is telling me to wait for my dream job, and wait I shall.

I actually made a list of all the reasons why I should sub for a few months. I know I don’t owe anyone an explanation or need anyone’s approval because it’s my life and my decision, but I want to share anyways. I started this blog to keep track of my teaching adventures, and this decision to substitute teach is part of that journey. So here goes:

1. I will have free time.

It sounds selfish, right? Well, it totally is. Because the last 4 years of my life I have given up hobbies, sleep, time with friends, and much more. Which is okay! That’s the nature of getting a music education degree. And I know that being busy is the nature of being a music teacher, and I knew that going into this field. I’m okay with sacrificing things, but I’d like to take a couple months and not do that. I really just want to slow down for a bit and enjoy life.

I can’t wait to work on a few projects that have been stewing in my mind – sewing things, a vertical herb garden, performing in pit orchestras, and more. I have a long time to be a full-time music teacher and I know it’s what I ultimately want to do, but I’m accepting the idea of just…pausing my career. I will still gain experience by substitute teaching, but I will be able to devote more time to just being young and energetic and doing stuff that I want to do.

2. I can go back to Jamaica.

I’ve been invited back to teach music in Jamaica again! How cool, right? Except all the dates for the 2015 trips would have conflicted with a new teaching schedule/my Guard commitments. But with subbing, I can create my own schedule! So I’m thinking of going in January or March! It would be to a different part of Jamaica that I haven’t been to yet. Again, I’d still be gaining teaching experience doing this.

3. I can run another half-marathon.

One of the best things I did last fall was run my first half marathon in Annapolis, MD. I trained for it with my pal Rachel, and we had such a great time doing it. There’s a race at the end of October in Gettysburg that I’d like to do. I know with a new job, it would be very tough finding adequate time to exercise and train. But with my flexible subbing schedule, I can fit in long runs when I need to!

4. I can still visit IUP.

I’m not saying I will go back every weekend (no one wants to be THAT guy). But I will be able to be at Homecoming and other significant events. Since many of my friends in college were younger than me because I transferred, many of my friends are still there! I think it’s tougher to stay in touch with friends after graduation, but there are definitely people at school I don’t want to lose contact with. So visiting a couple times this year will allow those connections to stay strong.

5. I will save money.

I’ll be staying with my parents who have graciously allowed me to live with them for a while. (For a small fee!) We’re in the process of making the lower level of our house like an apartment, for me and any future person that they may rent it to. One of the greatest things they ever did was help me graduate college debt-free. Thanks to their savings and my hard work with the Guard and other jobs, I don’t have any loans! It’s so freeing and allows me further flexibility in my life when I do land that dream job. I’ll save up anything I make from subbing, and I don’t have to spend a whole lot of it now on loan payments, expensive rent, a car, etc.

6. I can get more involved at my home church.

Between Guard, traveling, and college events, my church attendance has been pretty awful the last year or two. Although I do have a personal relationship with God and I spend time in my Bible and in prayer, I think it’s important to worship with other believers. There’s a young adult study going on at my church that I would love to join. I’m sure many of the people there are going through the same things I am!

7. I can volunteer more.

Volunteering is something that’s really been on my heart lately. Especially ever since I went to Jamaica, I’m trying hard to think of how I can help those around me. I’ve donated tons of my belongings to various organizations, and I’m collecting toys for kids in Jamaica. (so if you have any Beanie Babies or small stuffed animals, send them my way!)

I’m considering volunteering at my local library again. It’s something I did in high school and really enjoyed. There’s also this program called Bike and Build that I REALLY want to do. It’s basically a cross country bicycle trip involving building homes along the way. It’s not until next summer, but there is a lot of planning and training that would go into it in the coming months.

I would also like to keep helping the marching band I’m working with right now. I’ve gotten really attached to the kids after just a few weeks. They’re so funny and full of life. It makes me so happy to see them determined and succeed at their tasks. Also, the show music is incredible – it’s the kind of music that I absolutely love and I never get tired of it. Just today at band camp we were working in a woodwind sectional on the ballad, and I was getting goosebumps during rehearsal. The music is so well-crafted and orchestrated, and the kids are doing such a great job of bringing the notes on the page alive. There’s this saxophone line that comes out of the texture, and it’s just gorgeous. They were nailing it today with intonation and tone. Wow. Sorry, getting a little off track here.

There’s just a lot of cool stuff out there. I get a lot of satisfaction from helping people, especially if it involves physical labor which may sound weird. But I like to use the healthy body and mind I’ve been blessed with. If there’s one thing I know how to do well, it’s how to work hard!

That’s the gist of my list as to why it’s good to sub for a while. It’s not forever, and I know I’ll get my job when the time is right.

I am nothing but thrilled for my friends and colleagues who have gotten teaching jobs or are headed to grad school. So happy for you guys! You’re already amazing teachers and people, and you’re going to change people’s lives. I know I will too, but it’ll just happen a little differently.

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for sticking with me during this wordy, intense post! Life isn’t turning out exactly the way I planned, but I’m sure whatever happens will be even better. Have a great Wednesday everyone!

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