Maine native Kayla Burke, who graduates on June 11, came to DePaul as a bassoon performance major but switched to the music education track to pursue a love of teaching. During her final quarter at DePaul, she received some good news about her future. Read her essay, which originally appeared on DeBlogs on April 21, below.
With less than two months of school left, preparing for life post-DePaul is scary, exciting and stressful all at the same time! Though my main focus should be on finishing my classes, maintaining my GPA and enjoying my time in the city, I can’t help but worry about what is happening next—where will I work? Where will I live? What will happen to my relationships, and how will I go about building new ones? I feel like I’ve had job applications on my mind more than anything else—until this past week when my post-grad status shifted from unknown to employed!
After only filling out a few job applications, I’ve officially been hired by a school district to teach fifth- through 12th-grade band. For this particular school, after submitting my application materials through email, I had a FaceTime interview due to distance. The superintendent and I had a great conversation about the direction of their band program and the ways in which I could help provide a challenging and enjoyable learning environment for their students. Within three hours I had received the job offer! Taking the advice of my advisor, I made the three-hour trip to the school to make sure it would be a good fit before making any decisions. Once I had seen the school, spoken with both principals and discussed further job requirements, I had no doubt in my mind that this was the job for me. I signed my contract and am now eagerly waiting to start my first job as a real-life teacher this August!
This new job will pose a lot of new challenges for me, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. I will be responsible for teaching approximately 65-70 students across eight grades, with the expectation that I will begin a marching band, prepare students for the Illinois Music Education Association auditions and perform several times a year. The school is located in rural Illinois, just about three hours outside of Chicago—certainly a drastic shift from the environment I’ve been living in these past four years! Aside from teaching and having ownership over my band program, I’m really looking forward to fresh vegetables from local farms, starry night skies and forming relationships with my new co-workers and neighbors. I might even think about getting a pet to keep me company!
It is pretty uncommon for teachers, especially fresh-out-of-college teachers, to be hired this early before the start of the next school year. I consider myself extremely lucky to already have a plan in place! Being a DePaul student has prepared me so well—I know that all of my graduating colleagues will be successful because of the education we have received here, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for them.