The Unemployed Teacher: A School Year Begins…Without Us

About Cari Zall

Cari Zall has been a Social Sciences educator for over 12 years, in both brick & mortar and online environments. She currently works as the Curriculum and Instructional Support Manager for an online high school dropout recovery program, and is the Assignment Editor and a writer for The Educator’s Room, an online education magazine. Cari is certified in Gamification and has worked on several projects incorporating Gamification into online and traditional education environments. Her areas of expertise include Gamification and Student Resilience & Motivation; Conflict Resolution & Collaboration, and social justice education. Prior to her teaching career, Cari worked for 15 years in civil litigation and as a human rights activist in Northern Ireland and Washington, DC. She holds a BA in Conflict Analysis & Resolution, an Masters in Teaching, and an MA in Political Science. Cari is a James Madison Fellow, and is the author of the book, How to Finish the Test When Your Pencil Breaks: A Teacher Faces Layoff, Unemployment and a Career Shift. You can finder her on twitter at @teachacari.

I took it for granted.  I took for granted that once I found my passion and had seven years experience under my belt with it, I was safe.  My passion is teaching Social Studies – I especially love Civics and Sociology, but have taught everything from Global Studies to US History.  I had developed and nurtured the first AP Government course in my school. I was the only Social Studies teacher who could offer college credit for Government courses. I had designed a school-wide Peer Mediation program for which I trained and advised really dedicated students every year.  I was the Vice President of my union!  I took it for granted I would be there forever, safely ensconced in my classroom.  But I wasn’t safe.  In March 2011, I was called into the principal’s office and told, with all due regret, that my position was cut.  I don’t even remember the rest of that day…. or even the rest of that week.

Our district was hit particularly hard.  For years, we’d floated on a surplus of funding that many other districts never enjoyed.  The school board did not plan well for hard times.  Suddenly, as the economy collapsed, the surplus disappeared – and then we had a deficit.  I live and work in Oregon, where we lack the third rung of the taxation stool: a sales tax.  Oregon also voted in 1990 to limit property taxes and unlink all but $5 per $1000 of property tax from education.  So now our education funding comes from the state’s General Fund (which relies mostly on income tax) and… the Lottery.  When the economy collapsed, Oregon shot up to over a 10% unemployment rate (thankfully, it has worked its way steadily down, but still hovers around 8.7%).  With skyrocketing unemployment, state revenue plunged.  I’d probably had an extra year of work that I didn’t realize at the time – the 2009 federal stimulus kept a lot of teachers working for another year.  But as we all know, Congress chose not to renew that investment.

I, and 80+ teachers in my district, had to finish the last 3 months of the school year in 2011 knowing we would not return.  The teachers who had kept their jobs struggled with survivor’s guilt and fear at what the new year would be like with so many of their colleagues gone.  Our high school lost 35 teachers, and every elementary and middle school lost all their librarians, along with teachers and assistants   Our Social Studies department lost three positions, and despite my seniority, I was that final, third position cut.  In other departments, teachers of two or three years’ experience kept their jobs.  The arbitrariness of it made it that much more surreal.  I’m sure this story is familiar to many teachers: both who find themselves in the same situation as me, and those who have survived Reductions in Force (RiFs) in the last few years.

Just last month, the Hamilton Project examined government data and found that 220,000 teaching jobs were cut between 2009 and 2011.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that from June 2011 to June 2012, 130,000 more positions were cut.  Those are state employees for which the government can keep track of.  The number of private school teachers who have lost their jobs because parents can no longer pay tuition is a number that is anecdotal at best (here in Oregon, several small private schools have closed down completely).  So we’re talking about over 350,000 professionals who have suddenly found themselves not only separated from a career they loved, but now also competing against each other for the few scraps left that crop up from time to time.

A significant aspect of this Great Recession is the long-term unemployment that has become pervasive throughout the country.  The reason for this is that so many of the positions that have been lost simply aren’t coming back.  In an era where school “reform” means increased pressure on teachers, fewer and fewer of them makes the education environment even more tenuous for those who are still working.  The chance of many positions returning is even smaller now.  For those of us who are unemployed, there are so many more and new challenges that accompany the grief of not being in our classroom when the school year begins.

This year was the second start to a school year that I have experienced without being in the classroom.  Dealing with job searches, temporary positions, substituting, unemployment insurance, life upheavals that come with a cessation of income, and the myriad of emotions that accompany the loss of a major part of my identity is what I will be sharing in these upcoming “Unemployed Teacher” columns.  I invite comment and conversation from fellow teachers who are wading through this world of unemployment, and from employed teachers who are also feeling the effects of the budget cuts and loss of their colleagues.

What may be hard to remember about those hundreds of thousands of teachers who are longing for, and working hard to get back to, their classrooms, their students, and their passion, is that they are still teachers.  Just because the lack of revenue in our states led to the removal of a position we filled, it did not remove teaching from who we are or what we are good at.  And that may be the most difficult challenge of all since losing my position: I don’t work as a teacher, I am a teacher.   Being unemployed doesn’t take that away from me, or any other unemployed teacher.  It is what keeps us hopeful that perhaps next September, the school year will not begin without us.

To buy Cari’s book that details her sudden unemployment, “How to Finish the Test When Your Pencil Breaks” please click here


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About the Author:

Cari Zall has been a Social Sciences educator for over 12 years, in both brick & mortar and online environments. She currently works as the Curriculum and Instructional Support Manager for an online high school dropout recovery program, and is the Assignment Editor and a writer for The Educator’s Room, an online education magazine. Cari is certified in Gamification and has worked on several projects incorporating Gamification into online and traditional education environments. Her areas of expertise include Gamification and Student Resilience & Motivation; Conflict Resolution & Collaboration, and social justice education. Prior to her teaching career, Cari worked for 15 years in civil litigation and as a human rights activist in Northern Ireland and Washington, DC. She holds a BA in Conflict Analysis & Resolution, an Masters in Teaching, and an MA in Political Science. Cari is a James Madison Fellow, and is the author of the book, How to Finish the Test When Your Pencil Breaks: A Teacher Faces Layoff, Unemployment and a Career Shift. You can finder her on twitter at @teachacari.


  1. Adriene Lanier October 1, 2012 at 2:35 am - Reply

    Cari…you have given me a new perspective…I hear several colleagues, and even myself at times, complain about not having a pay raise in over 5 years! What an injustice to prevent children from gaining as much knowledge as possible. I understand the current economical status of the country plays a huge role in these current state of affairs but, as parents we will go to the mountain top and back for our own children so why not when we are educating our children? It is my hope that the economy begins to have a more steady jump in the positive direction and teachers are able to get back to what they do best; inspire! My thoughts are with you!

    • @teachacari October 3, 2012 at 3:32 am - Reply

      Adriene, thanks for such a great perspective. I hope that we will reach the point where we don't have to choose unemployment or pay freezes or any of it. Where our country's values are will decide in the end, I guess.

  2. Klbrown October 1, 2012 at 10:46 pm - Reply

    My own experience with unemployment after 4 successful years of teaching was the impetus for leaving the state of Oregon for another state with a higher commitment to appropriate funding for education. Not perfect, but better, in the Northeast.

    • @teachacari October 3, 2012 at 3:34 am - Reply

      This is almost the point I am at. As a single mom with a 10yr old, I've been very hesitant to take that next step of leaving our home and our "village" of support…but it may come to that soon. I'm glad you found something…that is a lot in these times.

    • unemployedteacher February 26, 2013 at 8:02 pm - Reply

      I WAS a teacher with 13 years experience and a Master's degree. My job wasn't cut….I left my school (where I was tenured) to pursue a new life with a new husband. (I relocated to his area). I got hired in his town, two job offers, actually. But sadly, after two years, we separated and I had to move back to my hometown, with my parents. It has now been two years that I have not been able to find a teaching job. I am currently subbing and waiting tables. It is really sad… many jobs out there are actually LOOKING for INEXERIENCED people? Education for sure. I have heard that the districts have to put you in at a certain point on the pay scale due to unions or something. I just need a teaching job…..that is what I do and know. I don't want to be put in at the entry level, but I'm aware that I wouldn't get my expereince.

    • Susan Abis August 6, 2013 at 6:33 am - Reply

      I don’t think the Northeast is ANY better at this point- particularly for the arts. There are 70-80 applicants at minimum for most of the jobs my daughter has applied for, and she is now 2 years out of college stuck with a part time 2 afternoons per week music job and substituting in between. The light she has when she’s teaching is slowly fading away and she’s talking about job re-training. Too bad this world squishes passion right out of a person.

  3. Amanda October 1, 2012 at 11:38 pm - Reply

    I'm going on my second year as well. Round after round of applications, e-mails to point of what I think is annoying, and I'm still without a teaching job. My area of expertise is music, one of the areas hit the hardest. I'm staying in the classroom by working as a substitute teacher. Thankfully, I am enough of a nerd to enjoy teaching all subjects, which allows me to work frequently. However, this is not my calling nor where I want to work the rest of my life. In talking with others, I have discovered that the only way that music teachers are getting hired in my area is by having a master's degree. They won't even look at your resume if you don't! My original plan right after college was to get a teaching job, work for a few years and save some money, and then attend grad school. Well, my career isn't going to go anywhere unless I get that master's degree. The best laid plans…

    • @teachacari October 3, 2012 at 3:37 am - Reply

      Amanda, would you mind if I referenced your story in one of my columns? It really is a HUGE issue for teachers of the arts and music in these days. We had a report in our area that the amount of schools left who actually have ANY arts or music are so far below the national average that people are actually starting to pay attention. I was in the midst of trying to get a 2nd master's when I lost my position so I've been working on finishing that. I hope it will offer a bit more opportunity, but there's no telling!

      • Ann Marie October 13, 2012 at 5:24 pm - Reply

        I also was a tenured Fine Arts teacher who was let go last June after four years of teaching. I am in the last stretch of my Masters and with $20K in school loans, I am substituting and waitressing.

    • unemployedteacher February 26, 2013 at 8:11 pm - Reply

      That is odd…..because normally they WON'T hire you if you HAVE a Master's degree.
      Are you referring to high schools? It has been two years for me without a job…..getting ready to go on three if I don't get hired for this upcoming year. I have 13 years expereince and a Master's degree and that is a double whammy. What a shame that schools don't want experienced teachers. Our educational system is messed up anyway. Too much money is going out for uncalled for things…..Very high salaries in too many positions. Companies are failing left and right b/c they have way too many people at the top making way too much money. Look at the Gov't…..same thing….way too many people making way too much money for the job they do.

  4. Nicole October 2, 2012 at 3:40 pm - Reply

    I'm from New York, and when I went into school for teaching, the market was good. Now, I have been scraping by each month to try and pay my bills, which include my hefty student loans, without a full-time teaching position. Aside from one long-term substitute position, I have not found any full-time work as a teacher since I received my Master's. I'm extremely frustrated and I feel defeated most of the time. I just want the chance to increase my teaching skills, and, more importantly, I want the chance to do what I love. I feel for all teachers going through this right now.

    • @teachacari October 3, 2012 at 3:39 am - Reply

      I feel like this is one of the WORST parts of this entire situation – new, energized and passionate teachers who go to the time, expense and effort to obtain a Master's and WANT to teach are being left behind and having to compete in an ever-growing field of job hunters. I believe you will get the chance to do what you love… we only ever do teach BECAUSE we love it (if not for the fame and glory!). You aren't alone!

  5. Anon October 2, 2012 at 4:41 pm - Reply

    Like many of you, when I was in school, things were rosy-looking for new teachers. I had no problems finding my first two jobs, but because I also teach music (and a specialized music that, I found out after the fact, is only taught in about 20% of districts in Wisconsin) and of course, lost those two jobs from layoffs. I'm in my 7th (!!!) year of subbing. Today, I'm going back to work nights and weekends at our local grocery store so my husband and I can make ends meet. I'll still sub when I'm called (and we live in a small district, so I don't get called that often) so I'll be looking at some fun 14-hour days. I've had long-terms every year except one since I've been laid off, and still no luck finding something permanent. However, in Wisconsin, they tend to hire kids straight out of college since they're cheaper than people with expertise and/or a master's. I have friends who were hired at the same time as me in the right districts and never worried about layoffs; I've had friends hired after me and have had the same job for 8+ years.

    I read about my friends every day: "musical auditions today, what a late night!" "big concert tonight, break a legs, students!" "oh, I hate these inservice days, what a waste!" and a part of me dies each time.

    Lots has happened in my family with health issues, other job losses, family and financial issues from husband's first wife…all I ask is for a real job….someday….again.

    • @teachacari October 3, 2012 at 3:43 am - Reply

      Seven years of subbing! I find subbing to be so challenging (we'll definitely do a column about that) – I know you must get so discouraged, but I honor you for your perseverance and resolve. The comments of friends who are working teachers are definitely hard to take sometimes, I can definitely relate to that! These comments are heartening – it's easy for us to feel like we're all alone out there.. but we're not.

      • anon October 4, 2012 at 5:24 am - Reply

        Cari: Thank YOU for your kind words. I hate that you can relate, but yeah, it is frustrating. I only sub because it's the best use of my hours and money I can earn during those hours. Working at the local Piggly Wiggly makes me $7.50/hr. I do often feel alone where I live and work – and I'm glad a friend, who knows my situation, led me to this page and blog.

  6. Rachael October 3, 2012 at 10:17 am - Reply

    I'm in Brooklyn, and this is my first year being unemployed, and I can't bring myself to answer the sub calls and go because that's not what I should be doing. That's not why I have my Master's from a top 10 school. That's not why I chose to specialize in teaching the students from low-income families and poverty-stricken communities. And every time that phone rings at 6am for me to go in, a little piece of me dies because it's not what I should be doing. But I have to pay my rent and my students loans for that fancy degree, so eventually I'm going to have to pick up the phone. But that day is still not today.

    • teachacari October 8, 2012 at 5:11 pm - Reply

      I can related, Rachael — I am having a REALLY hard time subbing. It's nice to be in a classroom, but it's not teaching and it's a really defeating feeling. You are not alone in this frame of mind, I can tell you that!

    • substitute IL November 15, 2012 at 4:29 pm - Reply

      I understand the sick feeling about subbing. I also have a Masters Degree, student loans, and little hope of getting a teaching job. The truth is that the good days as a substitute have far outweighed the bad days for me. I have been a sub for a year. It is lonely because you have no peers. The morning is awkward as the other adults act like you are invisible, but once it is just you and the kids, it gets easier. I know that I am a great teacher and I try hard to find the passion for teaching even in the busiwork-worksheet the regular teacher left me to teach. There is always something you can add or a connection you can make. Don't give up. The lottery had a commercial "You can't win if you don't play". I kind of feel that way about a teaching job.

  7. Claire October 3, 2012 at 7:49 pm - Reply

    I am now on my fifth year of subbing after staying home with my kids for years while also getting a master's. The constant sense of "not being good enough" is hard on my ego but I'm lucky enough to only work in one school so I can see the difference that it makes for the students to have someone they know in the classroom when the "real" teacher can't be there.

    When I first got my credential in '99 more than half my classmates in CA were hired before they even student taught due to the high demand for teachers. Instead, ever the rebel, I moved to the Midwest to be with my husband and ended up subbing for two years before having kids.

    In the past few years I have had one successful long-term sub position for most of a school year after the teacher was not-quite-fired (allowed to resign). Somewhat incredibly, that summer the district didn't even call me in for an interview after I spent so much time cleaning up their mess of hiring someone terrible in the first place. Living in a college town, there will never be a dearth of young teachers and, now, previously-employed teachers but what the school district here really loves is to hire someone who is related to a current employee.

    At the moment I have three grad school applications in the works to jump into another field, but it is so painful to give up the dream.

    • teachacari October 8, 2012 at 5:09 pm - Reply

      Wow, Claire. I had a similar experience with a long term temporary position last year. I am not adjusting well to subbing, maybe I need more time? But I too have begun to consider whether I could head in another direction even though I really don't want to.

  8. Jessie October 8, 2012 at 8:43 pm - Reply

    So, being a science teacher I'm "lucky" to be employed, in a school I've been in for eight years. My school has cut about 20% of its operating budget in the eight years I've been there. This year my total student load increase from 152 students a day to 180 students making three of my 8th grade science classes 39 students. I am the science department coordinator (that pay has been reduced to 4 hours of extended contract a month)… note that tomorrow afternoon is a five hour meeting part of which requires me to be out of the classroom. My school district asks our science teachers to cram three and a half years of science curriculum into the 7th grade year. The class set of textbooks I have were purchased in 1996 and that's when I graduated from high school. I am realizing that I am getting up at 5:15 each morning to be in my classroom by 6:45 and spending hours in the evening and on the weekend grading papers. My house is a disaster and watching TV or having a 'date' with my partner gets me even further behind. I'm pretty mad. I'm not mad at my principal, or my students, or their parents, or my coworkers… but this level of work is quite unsustainable. And I'm a lucky employed teacher. Today was one of those 'sit down and have a good cry' days. Did I mention I love middle schoolers, love science, and have worked my butt off bringing grant money into the school? Off to do some grading now.

    • Brian December 26, 2012 at 12:35 pm - Reply

      All this stems from bringing the corporate mentality into education. The “Do more with less” attitude. Cut as many jobs as possible and make those who still have jobs, squeeze as much out of them as possible. . and then blame all problems on teachers when it comes to negotiating contracts (collective bargaining).

      Teachers have never complained about not making as much as wall street. The only complaints I’ve heard is to have enough to survive and make a living.

  9. […] mentioned last week that there have been over 350,000 teaching job losses since 2009.  Usually the story of education […]

  10. Maggie Kravat October 9, 2012 at 3:57 pm - Reply

    I switched careers to become a teacher due to the Bureau of Labor Statistics saying teachers were in demand due to the baby boomers retiring. I was excited to have finally found the career I wanted. I graduated with my certification in 2008 and I've only had substitute positions for the past 4 years. I was lucky to teach for 2 full years (2 back to back maternity leaves), but now it's very difficult to find a contract position. On the one hand, the schools want experience and they hire some very experienced teachers and others SAY they want experience, but go for the cheaper straight-out-of-college graduate. And of course, The Bureau of Labor Statistics was wrong. The boomers jobs are being cut due to attrition or they're just not retiring. I don't know what I'm doing or who I am anymore.

  11. Jmmmm October 10, 2012 at 12:04 am - Reply

    I left a great position teaching in a post secondary school to teach elementary school. I also have a master's in education. I taught for two years in the elementary setting. I taught reading. I was let go due to budget issues I have been subbing for 3 years. I have interviewed at just about every school in the district. I have had two long term sub positions. My district does not want to pay for my advanced degree and also goes for teachers striaght out of college.

    I too have been very discourage by the lacking of being able to get a teaching job. I know I am a good teacher and have great test scores.

    I also have a hard time when I hear friends or other teachers complain about what is expected of them. I would gladly do what is asked of them.

    Thanks for listening

  12. Nuri October 12, 2012 at 4:35 am - Reply

    I am another unemployed first year teacher. I am in a district in South Dakota which has done pretty well, but isn't adding any posiitons. I finished last fall and have almost been substituting for a year. My specialty is Language Arts/Reading and English. I did everything right, got an endorsement in Middle School, graduated Cum Laude from a great school, perfect score on my praxis II, had a great job tutoring students in writing. Still no job. And I don't know if I will ever find one. And I am not sure where else to go with my education to find a decent job! I worked for the summer as a receptionist and HATED it. Subbing is a little better, but I always feel terrible when I am so close, yet so far away from what I love to do. I don't have health insurance or any guarantees. It just feels like there isn't any room for anyone else in the world.

  13. Richard Mason October 17, 2012 at 4:43 am - Reply

    I had 16 years of teaching experience and worked for 3 years as an independent studies teacher in history/social science. All of the independent studies teachers got called to human resources and the principal came in and said due to budget cuts our positions had been eliminated. The sad thing is he knew it was going to happen in March, but did not tell anyone. That was on June 10, 2011.

  14. Kris Nielsen October 25, 2012 at 6:57 am - Reply

    I was part of that huge cut, from Salem. I ended up traveling across the country to NC, where they were hiring thousands of teachers. Biggest mistake I've made in a while. My (sad) story here:

  15. Kathy November 10, 2012 at 4:56 pm - Reply

    Maybe all of these comments should make me feel better, but instead they just remind me that there are large numbers of good teachers in the same position as myself. I am trying hard to face the fact that I may have to seek work in another field. This, after working so hard to get my undergrad. and master's as a continuing ed. student, while working full time. I have always intended to be a teacher, it just took me awhile to get there. I taught kindergarten for four years in the Christian School my daughter was attending: a job I loved, but I felt that a public school position would offer me better pay and job security (ha!). I taught reading in a public school for five years, only to be let go at the end of last year, along with around 100 other teachers in my district. I have applied in every district to which I could commute (my husband's job requires we remain in this county). I am subbing, because as others said, it feels better than not working at all, and helps me feel connected to the field. "I am a teacher," is also just how I feel about this. I feel like teaching is my "calling," yet I wonder if I should look elsewhere. I don't want to entirely leave the field, for fear that will make it even more difficult to return. My husband and daughter are sure that my age is against me. I have passion and energy for teaching, along with life skills, work experience outside the field, and I won't be taking any maternity leaves! I'm trying to keep a positive attitude, but don't want to be wearing rose-colored glasses about the situation, either. As a Christian, I do know that God is allowing this, it is for a purpose, and that He does have a good plan for me. May I be a blessing to those I see while subbing (teachers and students), and may I know when it is time to seek work elsewhere.

    • unemployedteacher February 26, 2013 at 8:25 pm - Reply

      My heart aches for you…..I feel your pain. I feel so defeated and insulted b/c I have been teaching for 13 years with a Master's degree, and can't get a job for two years now. I'm subbing and waiting tables. Yes, when I first got out it was pretty easy to get a science teaching job. Not now, I think they are a dime a dozen. Maybe someday…..

  16. JennyJ November 14, 2012 at 1:20 pm - Reply

    This article really stuck a cord with me. I am a substitute teacher in Pennsylvania. Recently, I was offered a job as a secretary. The salary is greater than what I would start at as a teacher. I am so confused as to my next step. Do I leave a profession I am very passionate about? Do I exit a career that I love and feel is my calling? Should I scratch the new position and take the time to get my masters in education (and hope and pray teachers are rehired soon)?

    • teachacari January 2, 2013 at 9:36 pm - Reply

      I feel your pain on this, Jenny. I was a legal assistant before I became a teacher and made more money doing that than I ever got to in my teaching career (though eventually I would have surpassed it if I hadn't been laid off). It's a tough call to think about what the future of the profession is – but doors may open that you don't see yet where they lead. I wish you the best!

    • cowgirl September 2, 2013 at 3:45 pm - Reply

      It may be our calling….but then we have to be careful that we let God guide us every day to do what we are called to do. Our calling is not a career; it is daily prayer and keeping the Sabbath Holy. Only those truly focused on God’s Word really live by God’s calling. I taught for 10 years and the unsustainable workload the last two years sent me into a 16 day panic attack where I thought I was having a heart attack at 37. I am a horse owner, very fit and refused to go on beta blockers prescribed by my doctor because of the side affects from an abrupt failure to take my pill (which was likely to happen because I barely had time to brush my teeth because of the workload that “corporate” administrators have loaded on. I told my doctor that prayer and release of the job was the answer…not chemicals. 2 months out of school and health is completely back to normal. I am unhappy with the lost dream, but life is not our plan…it is God’s. People look up to teachers…your calling is still to show God’s grace in life outside the classroom. He is the only perfect one…nothing happens without His help. Everything for a reason…and when some of you who have never taught before decide you will do anything, you keep the teaching profession an unhealthy profession. I was one who put in 70 hours a week. It was my life. In the end, I had no say in all the work that I did and never got any credit…and was fired. If you teach…put in your 8 hours and go home…EVERYONE needs to do this.

  17. Guest December 8, 2012 at 12:45 pm - Reply

    Teaching as a profession is a scam. Unless you know someone inside you will have a very hard time getting and or keeping your job. I bought into the teacher shortage in 1989, went to grad school for Education and never held a teaching job. No, wait, I did teach preschool a few years. That $6.50/hr really went a long way.


  18. Anna Ingiosi December 26, 2012 at 1:50 pm - Reply

    I haven’t been in the field long, this is my fourth year. My passion is music, but because of the job shortages in Michigan when I was working on my undergrad, I chose to double major in Elementary education as well – to be more marketable. I also knew my ability to obtain a job in Michigan would be extremely hard, so I looked elsewhere and found a job in southern Arizona. They pay is not amazing, my kids live in poverty, but I’m teaching and I love my kids. We started this school year with 4 long term subs because there were no applicants. We just recently filled 2 of those positions, but are still working with 2 long term subs. As much as it was terrible to leave my family and comfort zone (I lived in the same house from the time I was born until I was married) I knew it was necessary. My point here is, there are areas all over the country DYING to hire teachers, like my district.

    • teachacari January 2, 2013 at 9:34 pm - Reply

      You bring up a great point. Hopefully most of the mobile teachers out there are active in finding those districts. For people like me, who have young children and depend on a village, a move can sometimes be a bit more complicated. But the challenge is keeping an eye open for those possibilities, for sure!

  19. […] a teacher who has been out of work for almost two years now, I find the holidays bring an interesting sense of out-of-sync timing.  I […]

  20. […] a teacher who has been out of work for almost two years now, I find the holidays bring an interesting sense of out-of-sync timing.  I […]

  21. […] budget. The Great Recession continues to affect public education sector in highly negative ways.  Over 300,000 teachers have lost their positions since 2008, and most states will be passing budgets that will cause further layoffs this year.  In […]

  22. […] budget. The Great Recession continues to affect public education sector in highly negative ways.  Over 300,000 teachers have lost their positions since 2008, and most states will be passing budgets that will cause further layoffs this year.  In […]

  23. Unemployedteacher February 26, 2013 at 8:33 pm - Reply

    I have replied to a few people on here. I'm afraid that because the schools have been allowed to be controlled by the state/gov't, that we will continue to have this problem. Too many people want to be in top-very high paid jobs. No business, education or not, can have an upside down monetary system. Too many people are greedy and want high paying salaries. Some school districts make very poor salaries while other districts have incredibly good salaries……not right. I have worked in one of each districts. Did the same thing, but made half as much in the small school. Actually, I had to teach more subjects in the small school. I was a newlywed and left the big city school to be with my husband in a small town. Sadly, we separated and I could not afford to live on the small town salary by myself. So, I had to move back to the city. Much to my dismay, I now cannot obtain a teaching job. So, I'm living with my parents, subbing and waiting talbes. When will it ever end. I agree with the guy earlier….subbing is sad for us b/c we worked hard to get our degrees and now they are getting experiened teachers for a sub price b/c we are desperate to pay the bills.

  24. Another Government Teacher May 8, 2013 at 12:59 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much for this post. In 2010-11, I too was a US Government teacher with plans to develop AP Government curriculum for my school. My long-term career goal was beginning – to teach in a private school – and came true in a school in Virginia. However, the economy took its toll and my position was cut in May 2011 – just one year after I was hired. I’ve been searching ever since to return to a private school classroom but to no avail. I appreciate hearing your story.

  25. […] photo credit […]

  26. Chris D June 20, 2013 at 11:01 am - Reply

    Hello Cari,
    I read your blog and I have to tell you that you are an inspiration to me! I have been out of school now for 2.5 years, still unable to get a teaching job (I am certified to teach music). I was born, raised and went to college in New York. I was unable to find anything there after graduating. I couldn’t even get someone to interview me in New York. Thank God that my fiance was able to get a job as a third grade teacher in NC!! We relocated last year and since then I have subbed, interviewed at about 7 different schools, but still no bites! My problem is that I have this label on me as “new teacher” that I cannot get rid of! No one wants to give me a chance because I am up against people with years of experience. All the experience I have is an end-of-year replacement and about one year of consistent subbing.

    While my situation is pretty terrible, I cannot even imagine going through what you are going through. I read your blog and it made me feel much more optimistic about my own life. I am so sorry that you have had to go through the pain of having a wonderful position that you loved, snatched away from you! It must be so much more painful to have a wonderful job for as long as 7 years and have it taken away from you, then to never have a job at all! You will be forever in my thoughts and prayers and I am here to say thank you and to also tell you not to give up! Believe it or not, there are states in the US that are DESPERATE for social studies teachers. Stay strong and stay positive. God has a plan for everyone! Thank you again for making me feel a little bit better and I am truly sorry for what you’ve had to go through!

    • Cari.Harris June 20, 2013 at 1:38 pm - Reply

      Thanks so much! I can totally understand what you are going through– it’s good to know that we’re not alone as teachers without classrooms! One thing that continues to sustain me is expanding my version of what being an educator means – looking for ways to repurpose my skills and walking through every open door. So though the loss of a position I passionately loved was a truly difficult experience, I remain constantly hopeful because I know that being an educator means a lot more than it did when I thought it only meant operating inside four walls of a classroom. My best to you as you navigate the education world, and I hope that you will continue to feel hopeful yourself!

  27. Kimberly Shrake September 8, 2013 at 10:45 am - Reply

    In 2007, I left the private school I had taught at for 8 years. It was a 45 min drive each way all for the bargain salary of 16,500. I taught 2 grades and every subject including music, art, p.e. and computers. The price of gas had gone up so much that I was barely breaking even, so I made the decision to go back to grad school and for two years I completed 7 licenses in the Broad Field Social Studies area I am certified to teach ages 10-21 in US History, World History, Economics, Geography, Psychology, Sociology, and US Government. I subbed my way through grad school and finished in 2009 and am still subbing…… When I started the market for teachers was great, now, in my geographic area and content area there is virtually nothing. I did everything right. I graduated with a 3.92 grade pt. average. I have had 6 long – term sub jobs. I have been asked back again and again…. but I am 44 years old and female. Administrations that I have subbed with have come out and told me that the previous Social studies teacher that is retiring was a long time football, or basketball, or wrestling, or hockey coach etc… and due to economic hardships they need to “kill 2 birds with one stone” heartbreaking…. Many tears have been shed. Teaching is what I know.

  28. […] about my career at the time left me completely unprepared when a massive RiF (Reduction in Force) left me without the position I so dearly loved. I had to learn on my own how to carve out a new kind of professionalism and […]

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