Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Days Tick by . . .

I have eleven days left in which to make my decision regarding the job offers I've received.  It may not seem like enough time, but honestly, it is.  And besides, I can't be unfair to schools and hold them in limbo just for me.  They need to fill their vacant positions, and the sooner they are able to, the less stress there is upon their directors.  So, I'm currently a location-researching-machine.

Thus far, I have offers from two different countries, each with their own sets of pros and cons.  I can easily see myself in either location.  Next Friday, just to add to the mental process, I have yet another interview, which I have quite a good feeling about.  On the bright side, it's the first time in my life that I've ever had more than one job offer at a time.  At the same time, I've always found multiple options to be a bit . . . well, stressful.

So what are my priorities in this job hunt?

  • Need.  I'm going into this as a ministry, so I want to go to the place that needs me most, a place where I can make a real difference.  In other words, poverty is an attraction.  I want to go someplace where I can be a blessing to a school that cannot easily attract good teachers.
  • God's Guiding.  If I cannot discern God leading me, then I don't want to go.  It's one of those life lessons that I learned the hard way. ☺
  • Opportunity for innovation.  One of my (many) complaints with the American educational system is that while it claims to encourage teacher creativity, it really doesn't.  In fact, many schools are currently following policies and curriculums that are downright stifling.  I suppose part of the problem is that schools don't really trust their teachers.  One of the best parts of working overseas is the opportunity to try new methods, create original curriculum, and exercise my creativity to the maximum, for the benefit of my students.
  • Support.  Wherever I go, I need to have a supportive base in the other faculty, the administration, and the local church or mission.  I also, sadly, have to have enough financial support from the school to be able to not only live locally, but also pay my student loan payments.
  • Housing.  I have to keep at least a little bit of safety in mind, so I'm only considering schools that provide housing.  Believe me, in the places I'm looking, this is a necessity!
  • Countries that are not presently at war with the US.  I figure this is a good general rule to follow, even though it would be phenomenal to teach in Afghanistan.  Well, maybe someday after my great grandchildren finish fighting that war . . . 

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"