Monday, January 02, 2006

Do I "seek" or am I "called"?

I've been giving thought to the whole search process, starting at the very beginning. Do I seek a place in an independent boarding school, or am I called to an independent boarding school. In my letters & emails, I've been using the word "seek," but I don't think seek is really accurate. Good school-people are called, like priests and monastics. It is, in many ways, like the life of a monk: cloistered, community, purposeful, service, duty, & dedication.

Perhaps this is what sets apart the boarding faculty member from the day faculty member. A position in a boarding school is a 7x24 life. It is similar to life in the military: it's not a job; it is a life.

When I was the executive petty officer at a Coast Guard boat station on Lake Michigan, I was "on the job" every minute of every day. There was little -- or no -- downtime. I thrived on it. Like I thrived on being a member of the faculty earlier in my career. I don't have that sense of purpose now; my job as a consultant is just that, a job.

We are not "called" to jobs. We are called to live life, and sometimes we are called to live life in a particular way in a particular place. I feel it in my gut, know it in my mind, taste it in my mouth: I am called to be a part of a school community, to teach, to learn, to help, to make a difference.

I am called, and still I seek to find out where the call will take me.

A NOTE: I have at this point sent out 54 letters of interest to 54 different schools. I've gotten a few emails in return; some nice words. I just hope they're not just nice words but have some substance behind them.
Thank you for your good letter and thorough description.

I appreciate your approach.

Your experience and credentials are very impressive.

your credentials and experience offer us several possibilities to explore

We are very interested in having a chance to talk about job opportunities here!

Thanks for your interest in our school. I was impressed by your knowledge of the school (e.g. the Coalition) and by what you could offer a school such as ours.

We would love to meet with you in the new year after our Board meetings in January.... My one worry would be that you might not be a "stayer" once you get your PhD.--we will talk of this and other more important things before you come.
I guess the next two months will be telling.

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