• October 30, 2014
October 31, 2014, 12:03:08 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with your Chronicle username and password
News: Talk about how to cope with chronic illness, disability, and other health issues in the academic workplace.
 
Pages: [1] 2
  Print  
Author Topic: Ruined by Experience?  (Read 1551 times)
youngry
New member
*
Posts: 6


« on: February 09, 2013, 6:05:22 PM »

First time poster.

I'm leaving my current institution and applying for private school positions as an english teacher.  I think that I'm better suited for prep. schools and will be happier.

Big problem is, the institution where I've worked for five years, has, if not a "bad" reputation, a largely negative one.  (Its crazy ultra-conservative politics is one of the reasons I am leaving.)  I've done very good work here  and have made a mark, but I'm concerned potential employers will not look past the "stink" of my former experience.

Has anyone else had the same problem?  Do any of you have advice on how I might market myself?  Would you suggest a bold approach and explaining (in cover letters or interviews) the differences between me and my former institution.

I appreciate any advice you can offer!
Logged
larryc
Troll Proof
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 22,996

Be excellent to each other.


WWW
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2013, 6:31:25 PM »

Are you at Bob Jones or somewhere like that?

I would not worry about it too much, we all know what the market is like and that good people take all knds of crazy jobs. However, you might want to tip your hand somewhere in the app that you are not "one of them." You might do this in your cover letter ("While I have enjoyed my students at Really Evil U., I want to work somewhere that values diversity.")
Logged

Trolling for sex is not what this forum is all about.
yellowtractor
Vice-Provost of the University of the South-East Corner of Donkeyshire (formerly Donkeyshire Polytechnic) (a Post-1992 University) and also a
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 19,592


« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2013, 6:59:58 PM »

I thought this thread was going to be about Anna Karenina.

Otherwise, what LarryC says.  And if you have been teaching at Bob Jones or Liberty, you'll simply have to finesse that--or try to--in your cover letter (also as LarryC says).  Any non-sectarian private secondary school (and even many with religious affiliations) is definitely going to look twice at anyone with either school on his or her CV.  Focus on your experience and accomplishments, and then explain yourself in terms of why you want to make the change.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2013, 7:00:14 PM by yellowtractor » Logged

It is, of course, possible that what I remember as terror was only a love too great to bear.
youngry
New member
*
Posts: 6


« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2013, 7:30:59 PM »

My institution is neither Liberty nor Bob Jones.  Its a new-ish religious institution that, when I arrived here five years ago, was still in its infancy and, therefore, impressionable.  However, since then, it's done its best to articulate its right-wing conservative brand of education.

Thanks for the insights, Yellowtractor, larryc.  I welcome any other experiences or advice.

Logged
yellowtractor
Vice-Provost of the University of the South-East Corner of Donkeyshire (formerly Donkeyshire Polytechnic) (a Post-1992 University) and also a
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 19,592


« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2013, 7:36:34 PM »

Youngry, in that case, are you sure putting it on your CV will be anathema to the secondary schools you're thinking of moving to?  I think I actually have a pretty good idea where you are now, but if I'm right, I doubt that many people beyond those who pay specific attention to religion-in-higher-education issues, or who are oriented around evangelical Christian culture, will automatically name-check the school (as many would Bob Jones and Liberty).

I also think you've just shown yourself a way of situating your experience in your cover letter, i.e. emphasizing that you were part of College X's start-up, that you initiated this program and that program and acquired teaching experience in this and that, "but that as College X moves in directions I feel at variance with, I'm excited about the possibility of refocusing my career around pedagogy at YourSchool."  Or something like that.  (Assuming you want to cue the reasons for your imminent departure.)
Logged

It is, of course, possible that what I remember as terror was only a love too great to bear.
writingprof
Senior member
****
Posts: 384


« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2013, 7:46:23 PM »

Just to balance the universe, I'm going to apply for jobs at right-wing prep schools and, in my cover letters, explain away my time at Leftist U. 
Logged
polly_mer
practice makes perfect
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 37,441

Have you worked on that project today?


« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2013, 9:07:33 AM »

Just to balance the universe, I'm going to apply for jobs at right-wing prep schools and, in my cover letters, explain away my time at Leftist U. 

Do that.  You may think you are snarky, but I've known people in that position.
Logged

I've joined a bizarre cult called JordanCanonicalForm's Witnesses.  I have to go from door to door asking people things like, "Good evening, sir!  Do you have a moment to chat about Linear Transformations?"
dr_prephd
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 6,338


« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2013, 9:27:43 AM »

Its a new-ish religious institution

I don't know anything about religious schools, but, if you generally agree with the foundation of the religious school (if not the new direction), would it be possible to focus your applications in a way that you can make a leap to religious secondary schools that are a bit less ultra-conservative?
Logged

youngry
New member
*
Posts: 6


« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2013, 11:18:38 AM »

Thanks for the advice, yellow tractor.  My first wave of cover letters made no overt mention of my new direction but pointed out what I had accomplished in my five years.  If I get no interviews, I'll assume my prior institution has damned me and will be bolder in my next batch of applications.

As for the issue of religious institutions (and varying degrees of conservatism or traditionalism), I think it must be up to the individual whether or not he/she can say "yes" to the mission of the institution.  Since I've been here, the mission has shifted somewhat to include fighting the "culture wars."  What had started as a liberal arts-based mission in the tradition of "x" spirituality has changed.  Now this institution stands (in my estimation) at odds with some of the values held by many of the institutions I wish to be consider for a position at.

To point out (focus) on the difference between you and the institution is to take a risk of appearing a malcontent right out of the gate.  Or at the very least, point out something the hiring committee might not even think in the first place.  It's a bind.
Logged
luder
Senior member
****
Posts: 269


« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2013, 1:24:22 PM »

I'm an American living in continental Europe. There's little that annoys me more here than fellow Americans who, to ingratiate themselves with the locals, are always at great pains to show that they aren't that kind of American.
Logged
alleyoxenfree
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 4,749

Countin' all these posts as publications


« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2013, 1:31:50 PM »

Thanks for the advice, yellow tractor.  My first wave of cover letters made no overt mention of my new direction but pointed out what I had accomplished in my five years.  If I get no interviews, I'll assume my prior institution has damned me and will be bolder in my next batch of applications.

As for the issue of religious institutions (and varying degrees of conservatism or traditionalism), I think it must be up to the individual whether or not he/she can say "yes" to the mission of the institution.  Since I've been here, the mission has shifted somewhat to include fighting the "culture wars."  What had started as a liberal arts-based mission in the tradition of "x" spirituality has changed.  Now this institution stands (in my estimation) at odds with some of the values held by many of the institutions I wish to be consider for a position at.

To point out (focus) on the difference between you and the institution is to take a risk of appearing a malcontent right out of the gate.  Or at the very least, point out something the hiring committee might not even think in the first place.  It's a bind.


A productive way, one that seems to apply to most changes, is to focus on what you'd like to GET, not what you'd like to leave.  This is similar to what's suggested above.  But instead of focusing on where they've refocused their energies, just talk about where you'd like to focus yours.  If you're on the market, people intelligent enough to chair a SC should be able to deduce that you cannot do it there.
Logged
youngry
New member
*
Posts: 6


« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2013, 2:35:06 PM »



[/quote]

A productive way, one that seems to apply to most changes, is to focus on what you'd like to GET, not what you'd like to leave.  This is similar to what's suggested above.  But instead of focusing on where they've refocused their energies, just talk about where you'd like to focus yours.  If you're on the market, people intelligent enough to chair a SC should be able to deduce that you cannot do it there.
[/quote]

Thanks alleyoxenfree.  That's solid advice.
Logged
ruralguy
Super Duper Zillion Star Member
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 6,668

Full Prof; STEM; SLAC; Rural US


« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2013, 3:18:13 PM »

I wouldn't worry about it, so long as you did your job well.

There are a number of schools where the admin and faculty lean right, and even more where the students do. Just that fact alone won't really matter much, in my opinion.

Are you sure the school itself, separate from politics, really has such a bad rep?
Logged
youngry
New member
*
Posts: 6


« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2013, 11:06:15 PM »

I wouldn't worry about it, so long as you did your job well.

There are a number of schools where the admin and faculty lean right, and even more where the students do. Just that fact alone won't really matter much, in my opinion.

Are you sure the school itself, separate from politics, really has such a bad rep?

You know, ruralguy, I don't know for certain.  I've lost perspective. 
Logged
ruralguy
Super Duper Zillion Star Member
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 6,668

Full Prof; STEM; SLAC; Rural US


« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2013, 10:30:02 AM »

If your grads go to good grad schools (well, at least some of them), get decent jobs , etc., your rep is probably fine.

Sure, some folks might have their biases, but I doubt it will be held against a faculty member that much. Its not the sort
of thing where everyone will refuse to take  a second look just based on the name.
Logged
Pages: [1] 2
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.9 | SMF © 2006-2008, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
  • 1255 Twenty-Third St., N.W.
  • Washington, D.C. 20037
subscribe today

Get the insight you need for success in academe.