I’ve gone from a decorated Major in the United States Air Force, to an international non-profit Director, to…
… high-school Math teacher. And I’m okay with it.
This September I’ve been hired as a part time Math and Physics teacher in a secondary school. The schedule fits well alongside my work with Global Adventure and G42 and allows me to teach and mentor young people while bringing home a paycheck. The story how I got this job is a good one… it’s something I’ve learned from, and I think it’s something parents can learn from.
In essence, my parents got me this job. And they didn’t talk to anyone, call in any favors, or even step foot in the UK.
With the economy as bad as it is, finding a job is hard. I know… for three months, I scoured the web, asked friends, sent in applications, and after not having success anywhere, I began to understand how soul-crushing it is to hear “no” day after day. I have to admit my criteria were pretty high. I needed to make enough to help support a family of five, I had to have a flexible schedule so I could still teach at G42 every so often and take off days to run Global Adventure events.
So that’s how I became a substitute teacher. (or in the UK, a “supply teacher”) With my degrees and 5+ years of teaching experience, I could step and be an “unqualified cover supervisor” at schools, and earn a good daily wage. Obviously, I only got paid if I worked, but soon found out that I could work most days.
At the first long-term cover job I got, the school administrators quickly noticed me and began to ask me if I had other work. My two-week job turned into the-rest-of-the-school-year job… and that eventually became an offer of permanent employment for the 2014-2015 school year.
I wondered to myself, what made the leaders of the school offer me longer-term employment so quickly? My dashing good looks? My outgoing, life-of-the-party demeanor? Maybe, (or maybe not…) but once I got to thinking about it, here was what they seemed to bring up in conversation most often.
– My use of “Yes, sir,” and “Yes, ma’am” when I spoke to them
– The fact that I didn’t complain and worked harder than most supply teachers
– The kids liked me, and the teachers that I covered liked me
The fact is, each one of these traits can be traced back to what my parents taught me growing up. And I thought these could be invaluable lessons for any parents who would like their kids to one day find a job…
Teach Your Kids Respect
My dad taught me to say ‘yes sir’ and ‘yes ma’am’ at an early age. It obviously was a requirement in the military, but this “old-fashioned” respect has opened a lot of doors and helped me stand out in an culture where grunts are more common than complete sentences.
Teach Your Kids How To Work Hard
Self-explanatory. But I think what stood out was the fact that I wouldn’t stand around in the staff lounge and complain all day long, which seems to be a large part of teacher conversations. It’s annoying, depressing, and turns into a vicious cycle of angst.
Teach Your Kids to Leave Every Place Better
One classroom that I taught in was a mess. Old papers everywhere, posters hanging off the wall, and rubbish stuffed into any drawer. I spent my break time and after class throwing out most of the stuff and generally cleaning the room. The kids noticed (and I think they work better in a more tidy space), the department head noticed, and the teacher noticed when they returned. Be someone who is bringing life, who is helping people, who improves a situation, and who makes a mark on the places they go!