Sunday, January 08, 2006

Your thoughts?

Many of you know that I have finished my years homeschooling the kids. As of December, my youngest graduated high school.

After twenty years of homeschooling, I found what I love to do. For the past five years, I’ve prepared for these coming days. I narrowed down a list of post-homeschooling options, decided that I really liked to teach and administrate, that I’d really, really like to have my own private classical Christian school, and returned to school and got my master’s in liberal studies.

Since all this, I had decided to apply to the local Christian school (K-12 with 200 students) and two private schools (one classical Christian and one Catholic) in our nearest large city 45 miles away. I really do not want to get tied into driving an hour one way each day. This past summer there was a position open at the local Christian school that I could have had, but it went from teaching one science class to teaching a science, a math, and a history class. I declined because I could not do all that and finish homeschooling my son in an orderly manner.

Well......the administrator’s position is about to open up for next year at this same local Christian school. A friend at church, who has been very encouraging to me to teach and administrate there, talked to me again today about it. He and his wife have followed our homeschooling journey since we met them and have always seemed impressed with the quality of education we’ve provided our children. These two are both public school teachers who are “locked” into the system because of the pay and benefits, but who do not want their children to go any further in the public school than elementary. If they weren’t so “locked in,” they would make some great teachers in the Christian school.

It’s encouraging and humbling, and well as flattering, to hear them say that they want me to teach / administrate in this particular Christian school so that they will feel confident to send their children there. They want to be confident that their children are getting what they need and feel that I will make sure of that. But you know as well as I do that flattery can cause you not to see things properly.

My question: would it be outrageous for me to apply to this administrator’s position? I have home educated four children from the beginning (20 years total actual schooling) and have taught it all (no out-sourcing except piano). All four kids have or are pursuing worthwhile majors (one is an RN, one twice deployed Army Reservist studying dental hygiene, one junior year chemistry major, one studying nursing) that seem to attest to the fact that we did something right. You all know how many different hats a homeschooling mom wears. Still, is it outrageous for me to think that a school would consider me for the administrator’s position (with option to teach some classes) when I do not have any conventional school experience?

Obviously you cannot answer that accurately since you don’t know me in person. But many of you have been around since I have on these boards and “know” me that way. I’m trying to get an idea of how /if I should pursue this in the coming weeks / months. I think I could do it just fine with the guidance given any typical new employee. This all reminds me of 26 years ago when I was an RN with three years' nursing experience (and a BSN) and pondering a job as the director of nursing in a small nursing home. A fellow RN friend encouraged me to apply because I would never know whether or not I would get the job if I didn’t apply, nor would I know whether I could do the job without trying. I did, got the job, learned how, and did a good job. Those same ambivalent feelings I had before applying for that DON position are beginning to return.

The pay for the school is terrible. If I were to take a teaching position there with a master’s degree, the salary is only $17,500 with no benefits. The admin position is much higher than that but still with no benefits. One good thing is that I don’t need the benefits and can live with the salary since our child-rearing days, with all the expenses involved, are past. The person that gets/takes this job won’t be doing it for the money, that’s for sure. Also, I’m a local (and have been for 10 years). I’m not sure how many will apply from outside the area, but I would think they would like to have a local.

I would love to know your gut-level feelings about this. How would you react if you heard that a 20-year homeschooling veteran was the new headmaster/administrator of your local Christian school? Is this feasible to even consider?

Thanks for reading this far and for any comments / advice you leave!


Carol in Oregon said...

From what I know of you, Janie, you do whatever you set your mind to do in a way that strives for excellence. I would hire you in a heartbeat. In the few hiring decisions that I've had to make I have looked for bright sharp individuals who can pick up the specific skills the job requires. Ability and character weigh more in my mind than experience and diplomas.

Of course this is coming for a homeschool mom who knows the kind of work required to do well at managing the complete education of a child. But I would think that your reputation is known to some of the people making the decision.

How do you fit with the philosophy of education at the school? Can you maintain their policies? How much input might you have regarding any changes you'd like to make? Can you live with the curricula they use?

I will pray for you.

Needleroozer said...

Janie, this isn't about your future (although I think you can do anything you set your mind to), except for how it relates to b russel sprouts.
I posted on the WTM boards, but for some reason it didn't show up. Also couldn't get to the links in your sidebar either, to get your email. So, check out my blog, and I posted it there for you. Hopefully, your sprouts are still good, and if they are not, this recipe is so easy, it is worth another trip to the veggie isle for more!

PerkyNurse said...

Well, you know what my response will be since I am one of your "sucess stories!" Go for it'll do great! Don't be a chicken!! ~Ashley

Debbie V. said...

I don't know you but I have been reading your blog for a month or so.
Someone once told me (when I debated a management position) that I should at least try it. I only took the job (yes, I got it) because I didn't like the way other people were running the dept. As it turned out, after my intial jitters, I liked managing and I did a good job.

Kim said...

I think you should at least give it a try. You're smart and were able to "administrate" a home school, so why not?

Donna Boucher said...

Dear Janie,

The only thing I would be interested in knowing before I applied would be a list of official job requirements.

This way you can know if you are in the ballpark. For instance, if they said, ' must have four years experience ' could argue your case there...
But if they said must have a PhD...then it might be a stretch.

That's all.

It sounds like a big job!

I would love to send my children to a school with a woman just like you in charge! I'd do it in a heartbeat!

Camy said...

Janie, I think it would be possible for me to heap large amounts of flattery your way. You have been such an inspiration and example to me for the past 5 years on TWTM Discussion Boards.

I remember your mentioning of the Classical academy. Dh and I were having a talk and this came up. I said, "That would most certainly be the school I'd want my children to attend!"

Your practicality, quiet frankness, direct simplicity, extensive wisdom/experience, professional manner, and above-all..kindness would give you high marks for the job. These, in addition to the professional requirements of which I'm ignorant, would deem you a fit administrator in my book.

My Dad is a retired Marine and disabled vet. He has so much experience in life itself, I think he could do just about anything that was put in his lap. He's a hard worker and determined to do a good job. It is unfortunate that we aren't awarded some sort of recognition for "practical life experience." Your time in the homeschooling trenches certainly deserves a PhD and beyond!

It seems funny for me to say these things to a woman whom I know only by a computer screen. However, your influence and encouragement has spoken well to my heart. This has been a great blessing to me.

I will pray for you as you consider these new opportunities. Just one humble request from me...Would you please consider continuing your blog? (selfish smile).

Thanks for continually reminding me that homeschooling will not last forever, though at times that thought brings me sadness. What a joyfull (sp?) journey.

Blessings to you! May God grant you discernment as you consider the possibilities He sends your way.