The 9-Interview Itch: Deciding on My Next Physical Education Position

It hit me like a ton of bricks. I could no longer afford to keep teaching at my current school.  I knew that on July 1st my rent was going to increase.  I did not have enough money saved to buy a home yet and after eleven years of teaching, I was unhappy with my salary.  I had started teaching in my former school system in 2006 and was preparing to go into year twelve on salary step number eight.  I was frustrated.

“Ms. Tucker, you’re not going anywhere” my colleague said to me when I expressed my desire to leave my former school over a year ago.  But on July 11th, I signed a contract to teach physical education at a new school in a new county after having spent 10 years at my former elementary school.  I’m excited for the change but I have to admit, deciding on a new position had its share of challenges.  My journey to a new school began with something I call “The 9-Interview Itch”…nine interviews in the span of five months.

It started with an interview at an international school in DC, then on to an interview with Howard County Public Schools’ PE Department, followed by an interview with Montgomery County Public Schools’ PE Department, then an interview in my former county, PGCPS, then on to three interviews at schools in DCPS and back to two more interviews with schools in Howard County.  In each interview, I talked about positive behavior intervention and supports, classroom management, assessment in physical education, establishing a rapport with students, writing curriculum, connecting with parents and building relationships with the outside community.  I found that each school system was vastly different in expectations, procedures, and quality of support offered to its educators.

I presented my best self with every interviewer.  I learned that in the past 11 years, I had become more than an elementary physical education teacher.  I had become a mentor, problem solver, advocate, coach, leader, professional development facilitator, cheerleader, and change-maker.  I am going to be honest, realizing that I wouldn’t be able to support myself financially on my current salary was the motivating factor.  It pushed me to set up interviews in the first place.  But, each interview was well worth it.  I built the confidence I needed to take on the challenge of teaching some place new.

Ultimately, I decided on Howard County Public Schools as the best fit.  I felt that my experiences and passion for quality instruction were best suited there.  If anything, the 9-Interview Itch lit a fire under me and forced me to ask two questions, “What’s next in your career?” Where do you think you can make the most impact as an educator?” As teachers we are constantly placing our students’ needs first.  I get that.  However, it is okay to question our salary, current position and overall motivation in our careers and make the decisions that also best support us.




7 Comments on “The 9-Interview Itch: Deciding on My Next Physical Education Position

    • Absolutely Ben Landers. Thank you for reading and commenting! A colleague, Charles, and I were discussing you and your website today. He said you have some great resources on your site. I will be sure to check them out. Thank you for the congrats! I’m excited for the new year!

  1. Good luck and hang in there! Good teachers are getting harder to find! Keep the faith.
    Sue Mathewson
    Hammond, IN

    • Thank Sue Anne Mathewson! Thank you for the encouragement. I’m motivated to start the new year!

  2. I have to totally agree with you! I on the other hand have another obstacle and that is my age …. I try to address this with the interviewer, which is not always with the principal, to assure them that I have plans of teaching for quite awhile yet, but at at 60 years young I find myself trying to live on my salary with very little to put in savings, if any lately…. very hard to “make the best with what ya got” when it doesn’t cover the bills as is …

    • Hey Kath! I read an article in the Washington Post this summer about a woman in her 50’s who had been to a few job fairs in DC looking for work. Her previous job ended, she was doing her best to find work and was struggling financially. I hear you. It’s a struggle to find a position if you’re in your 60’s. I believe if you have a passion and desire to teach, I think that you should be allowed to. Students can benefit from quality instruction regardless of a person’s age. I hope you will hang in there! Thank you for sharing your story and being honest about your situation.

  3. Pingback: The PE Playbook – August 2017 Edition – drowningintheshallow

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