Long story short I've been transitioning from IT / programming to teaching elementary computer / tech classes (currently working two part-time jobs, one in each field.) In elementary there are a variety of hybrid positions that involve some mixture of teaching classes to students, facilitating other teacher's tech needs, keeping hardware up and working, etc. My part-time teaching position is like this, and I love it, so I'm basically looking for something similar but full-time with benefits.

Anyway awhile back I applied for a position at a school that had a sort of vague techy description, thinking it might be one of those hybrid positions. Had a phone interview for it today and it turned out to be a regular tech support job without any teaching at all (and no teaching contract / benefits / etc.) Nonetheless I went through with the interview and it must have went well because they immediately called me back for an in-person interview. I wasn't prepared for this (was still processing what happened) and agreed to the interview.

However, upon taking time to think about it, I know for a fact I don't want this position. I got into teaching to teach, if I'm just going to take a tech job I could get paid much better finding a programming position. I do like the school / district though, and they obviously liked me enough to want a second interview, so I don't want to burn any bridges with them, in case they have a tech teaching position open up in the future.

I've been thinking of canceling the second interview before wasting more of our time, but since I already accepted it, that would make me look wishy washy, correct? However, I know that if I continue there is a very good likelihood they will offer me a job, and having to stop things even further into the process would look even worse. So cancelling now seems to me to be the ideal solution.

How should I go about this, however? Should I write a long email explaining how I'm really looking for a more teaching-oriented position? Or short with a more vague suggestion that I'm pursuing other options instead? I'm really not sure what the best way to proceed here is.

2 Answers 2


Cancel the interview. The sooner, the better. That way they can adjust other people's schedules (to schedule them for another interview, or to just free them up entirely). You can even tell them that, during the first interview, you gained some details that clarified the position, and that you were seeking something else. If your conversation is long enough, you could even let them know what it is that you were hoping for.

In the end, you summarize your position as follows: I am choosing to pass on this current opportunity at this time.

There's nothing wrong with doing all that. This stuff happens commonly, all the time, as part of the recruitment process. Be forthright and honest. People understand that a wonderful opportunity for one person might not be the right opportunity for another person, such as yourself, and you need to make your own decision. It doesn't even reflect poorly on you.

Edit: I noticed some of the hyperlinked questions (currently in the right frame of this question) took a similar position, backing up the idea that this isn't a big deal. ...How do I politely turn down..., and How to turn down interview for position I don't want? You can see for yourself that this isn't a big deal.

Ah, I'm noticing you asked some specific questions. Let me address those:

since I already accepted it, that would make me look wishy washy, correct?

Maybe slightly, but not bad. In general, I likely wouldn't feel too bad up through the entire hiring process, and up through the end of the first day of work. However, even if we're only talking about minor and insignificant amounts of wishy washiness, I would still say that: the longer you take, the more wishy washy you appear. So, politely back out as soon as you are actually absolutely certain that you are going to back out, politely do so as soon as you can. (However, what would come across as being more wishy washy is expressing doubts and then changing your mind by trying to continue. So don't back out until you are absolutely certain that is what you're going to do with this specific opportunity.)

Should I write a long email

No. People who are in management often like short E-Mails. You don't need to try hard to redeem yourself with them, because you're not doing a bad thing here.

Or short with a more vague suggestion that I'm pursuing other options instead?

Be forthright. You can say you're pursuing other options. That's fine. Don't feel a need to muddy/murky-ize it further.

  • I'm like 99.99999% certain I don't want the job. Tech support jobs at schools don't pay much (unless you lead the department), they're usually given to high school students / undergrads. They didn't speak about salary but I guarantee it's in the 30ks tops if it is anything like similar positions I have seen. I could make 2-3x as much in IT just finding an average programming job, but I got into teaching because I want to teach! Jun 8, 2016 at 18:54
  • Eventually, I learned that you never get above 99.99999% certainty. You may be better off acting on what is sensible, and focusing on how life will progress in the course that you're taking. I've found this has helped me: just make my decision, but don't act on it for 4 hours. Sometime after 4 hours, before taking irreversible actions, make one last check: "do I feel like I made a mistake?" If the answer is "no", then enjoy the peace of realizing that what needs to be done is conclusively known, and seal the deal by taking irreversible actions. YMMV; I've benefited more than I've regretted
    – TOOGAM
    Jun 8, 2016 at 19:04

I would go to the interview because

  • you can practice your interview skills
  • find out about the school
  • possibly explore the possibility that the role could include teaching
  • if you are thinking of trying to get a job there you will have a bit of inside knowledge. This will not go amiss the next time

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