Monday, March 21, 2011

Getting my head back in the game

Okay, sorry about that last post, and thanks so much for the supportive comments. I read recently about a piece of software that keeps you from sending emails when drunk. I need one that keeps me from blogging when freshly rejected.

There is an aspect of the secondary search that I have been puzzling over for some months now, but have not written about it, less out of fear of appearing foolish than the fact that I had a question, but no answer. As you, dear reader, have probably figured out, one of the major differences between the academic and secondary markets is the timeline. By this time of year, all but the most tardy and muddled-headed search has wrapped up. (I'm talking to your employer, Eliza!) But secondary schools are just heading into the on-campus phase, and it will be another month before these positions close.

But there is a bigger difference than this, and here is where I become confused. In the world according to my Carney Sandoe rep, the vast majority of teaching positions have been announced. (These positions, it should be noted, are positions that schools have known about for the better part of a year.) To fill these positions, CSA had their big conference last month, and if your ship hasn't come in yet, the odds are very high that you'll be standing at the dock for another year.

But when I ask prep school teachers, I hear something completely different. Every one of them agrees that next month, a second wave of searches will begin. This is because schools are only now offering contracts to faculty for the 2011-12 academic year. Thus it is only now that some faculty will announce their retirement (or that they have taken the job that I had my eye on). As a result of these retirements/moves, there will be another set of openings in April and May (and even June or July). (Unlike colleges and universities, independent schools don't have to wait a year to fill a position. Got a vacancy starting in the fall? Fill it.)

The question then becomes, how do we explain the discrepancy between what Carney says, and what teachers say? If this second wave of jobs is a reality (and I'll keep you posted), why doesn't CSA go after those as well?

All I've got is an educated guess, and I'm happy to hear from anyone who knows better. My thinking is that CSA is powerful, but they work on volume. (Why? For the same reason Willie Sutton robbed banks: "That's where the money is.") They can handle the block of jobs that come out in January and February, and funnel them into their big conferences. These are the low-hanging fruit. But the spring jobs come out in dribs and drabs over three or four months. For a guess, they require more resources to fill, and are thus less profitable.

So both stories are right. Carney's season does end in March, but the rest of the world's does not. The pace slows, to be sure, but that doesn't mean that things are at an end. So even if you are signed up with CSA, keep an eye on the NAIS listings, for there may be jobs there that CSA doesn't handle.

And good luck out there!


Jaclyn said...

My experience is with public schools, so please take this with a grain of salt (but it can't really hurt) Please consider sending application materials directly to the department chairs of schools you are really interested in. There are always last minute retirements and extended maternity leaves in August when people who thought they could come back realize that they really can't stand to leave their baby or teach another year. Best of luck to everyone!

Corinne said...

Yes, I've heard this too. It doesn't always work to send apps directly but really can't hurt when you're nearing the end of the hiring season.

Anonymous said...

My guess is that Carney is reporting what is statistically true (the majority of job openings are posted already) and the teachers are reporting what is annecdotally true (we've seen jobs open in March, April and May). I remember being on a job interview many years ago while awaiting the birth of my nephew--his birthday is mid/late April. That year I came in second for a search at a very prestigious school, and had to rely on the mercy of the second wave. When I acepted the next offer I got, I still had two potential schools in the pipeline. I've also been trolling the "employment" page on my new school's website, watching the job openings disappear as my new colleagues are chosen. To my surprise, two new faculty jobs were posted today (history/social studies and chorus). The second wave has begun. Your CSA rep is supposed to continue to help you as long as their member schools list openings. Teachers returning from the long March break will be deciding to return a completed contract for next year--or not. And that's where you come in! The season ain't over. Don't even get nervous until May.