Ok.. I need some input from friends on making some career choices. My current position is coming to an end, and I’ve got some choices in the form of interviews coming up.
This current position was short and quick, but an eye-opening experience on the realities of virtual schools which has been my topic for researching on my dissertation. This company is an up and coming company making decisions on the fly on a daily basis. And once more, the job I signed up to do disappeared (as in a previous institution that you are both aware of), and the job I’m now doing is not what I want to do for the remaining 10 years until retirement. I don’t feel I’ll be able to grow in this position. There’s a possibility (but I won’t believe it until I have a contract saying so) that I can do some freelance course designing for them after I leave, which would be a great source of extra income. It might conflict with my research time, but I think I’m at a crossroads on that topic as well.
As for the prospects……….. I have several choices of interviews coming up, and my career could take several paths. Since I’ve now been involved in 2 different virtual schools, and can see their limitations and benefits from the inside, I’m positive that they’ll make an impact during the paradigm shift that education is about to make in the very near future (with NCLB being on the chopping block and being changed). From being on the inside, I can see that virtual curriculums are starting to take shape, and even the virtual schools are making sure that they increase contact with parents, and try to include some kind of virtual real time, interface with students. The teacher/student interface is becoming one of the focuses that they are working on improving. The technology is still struggling to keep up with the needs, because band width issues still get in the way. In my research, (which has been minimal these last six months, and I’ve just started to increase my participation), “hybrid” schools are starting to be utilized. These involve brick and mortar schools that use the online curriculum to teach students basic skills (like facts or reading), but then have the kids interacting in face to face groups for manipulative activities, and higher order thinking skills activities. These are still experimental, and have different formats, (and I’m going to watch this trend closely). So, with these changes coming, I foresee that the next greatest change will be in teacher education.
How will we train teachers to be ready for the mixture of brick and mortar and online learning? Where can I have the most impact, and more importantly grow the most professionally, and be a part of this historical change? I have several possibilities:
1. In a higher education institution as their NCATE coordinator. As part of this position, I feel I will need to keep up with teacher education requirements, thus being aware of where changes need to occur. Also will be able to impact that change at an institution level. So, when NCATE decides that teachers need to be trained to use online curriculum, I’ll be in a place that I can give it a try, and see the impacts. In this position, I’ll also have contacts with local schools, giving me input there as well, but not sure of this one. That’s a question for the interview (On the personal side, this job’s pay is less than I’m making now, and involves another 1.5 hour commute, or living in the area during the week until we can afford to move again).
2. I have two possibilities with 2 other institutions writing curriculum for them. Both would be slight professional growth, as 1 is in the medical field writing their curriculum with their profs, and the other is a corporate higher ed institution, so would blend the corporate world with education. (from a personal view, these are both within easy driving distance from home, and pay is equal to #1).
3. Running a computer lab and training faculty to utilize technology and online learning (the same combo that I did in P and the college here before CO). But this time, it would also be overseeing several labs as well, thus keeping up with the nuts and bolts of technology. (again, easy driving distance and equal pay to #1)
4. There are two more possibilities out there but not at the interview stage yet, so nothing definite at all on these, but I’d love to grab them if they come up. But do I let go of definite possibilities for ones that are dreams in the wings? These are:
a. Dean of a Community College Virtual Program. This one would be a real growth for me, as it would involve budgeting, course planning, hiring virtual adjuncts, etc. (which is a reason I may not qualify as I don’t have budgeting experience at an institutional level).
b. A job at the state level working as an Education Program Specialist on teacher certification issues with local school districts. (Personally, these two are in easy driving distance, and pay should be good, but they are just starting the search process, so will be behind the others, and I’m not sure how qualified I’ll look to the state or the institution).
So, sisters, please give me your feedback on all these choices. It’s nice to have the choices, and probably decisions will be made by others, but if I can go into interviews with my thinking clear, it could make a difference.
Thanks for your help,