The End of the Hunt: Part 1

Recently, I wrote about how I was looking for work outside of education.

The 2010-2011 year has been a tough one on me. Between finishing my M.F.A., teaching high school, then being an adjunct there has been a lot of crying, crisis, and questioning. I decided in March that I wasn’t going to settle for adjuncting and began applying for full-time jobs in education and publishing. The fifty mile radius was hunted and conquered. If there was a job I was qualified for, a cover letter was written and resume altered. This was no joke.

By June, when my workshop ended, I had pretty much given up on a career in education and was actually excited about a possible career change. The thought of not grading badly written papers and reading annoying student emails made me hungry for work in copy editing, copy writing, whatever. I’d be able to leave my work at work, plan the wedding, and train for the half-marathon in November–the positive energy was flowing.

By the end of July, I had applied for unemployment, and things were not looking good. My lack of experience outside of the classroom and the job market left me feeling discouraged. What the hell? Why did I go to school for all those years? I wanted a full-time job, with benefits. No matter what.

I had applied to any, if not all, full-time college level teaching jobs I was qualified for. I even applied for a full-time lecturer position at the school I was adjucting with. I was told that while I was qualified, I needed a few more semesters of teaching “under my belt” before they would call me in for an interview. Apparently going into my fifth year of teaching wasn’t enough experience to be interviewed. They instead hired an adjunct with no publications but ten years of adjuncting experience. But, I digress. The rejection letters kept coming from the colleges. It was time to cave in and apply at the high school level. Because I am without a teaching license I wasn’t very confident. Like most school districts in the country, my area had recently closed down schools and let hundreds of teachers go, only to get back a budget with the funding to rehire some these teachers; many with licenses.

Still, full-time with benefits and a killer schedule was too appealing. With the wedding coming up, the housing market being a buyer’s market, and being sick of being poor, teaching high school didn’t sound like such a terrible pathway. So, I applied. I emailed principals my cover letter and resume. Drove, sometimes over an hour, to drop off cover letters and resumes. As I’ve said before on this blog, I’m an aggressive person. When I want something I get it, no matter how long it takes. Mark my words, I will be hired as a tenure track professor. It’s going to happen. I can see it. The visualization has happened. I pound the pavement. Not to mention being aggressive is necessary because the market blows and getting unemployment is demoralizing and depressing. The thought of the government taking care of me, helping me with my rent and groceries– frankly, I’m ashamed. I may be the first in my family to earn their master’s degree, but I’m also the first to receive unemployment. Not something to be so proud of.

Within two weeks of hardcore applying and pavement pounding, I was called in for two interviews. The interviews were scheduled the same day FH and I were headed out for vacation. I had to interview, pack, then head for the airport.

The first interview was for a position teaching IB (International Baccalaureate). I’ve taught IB before and it’s wonderful. It’s college level teaching, but with the high school atmosphere. It’s great. The school, however was absorbing more than half their student population because of recent school closings.

The interview went well. I nailed it. I was funny, passionate, and hungry for work. An hour later I was sitting in the another interview. So, you know how during an interview when the person running the interview starts telling you about the job, the company, and themselves? Okay, imagine this. Do you find yourself in an out-of-body experience? Well, the principal, starting discussing his pedagogical theories on education and how he ran the school elaborating on pedagogy, leadership philosophies, PLC’s (Professional Learning Communities) and my thoughts were as follows.

This is not going well.

I hope I have time to pack.

Why are their so many acronyms in education. PLC, IEP, ESOL, ESE, PEP, W.T.F?

Wait, did he just ask me a question?

Fuck.

Snap out of it.

You’re cycling.

Focus.

So, after adamantly explaining why I was most comfortable teaching seniors, the principal said, “Well OMMFA, you are defitinely one of our top canditates.

“Oh, wow. Great.”

“Although,” awesome, here it comes, “you don’t have a license and hiring a non-licesed teacher can be a nightmare.” He stopped. “Are you planning on staying in the area?”

“Well, I am getting married, but if it doesn’t work out…” Laughter. Sometimes I think I’m a stand-up comic. I live to make jokes and make people laugh. The thing is, I’m not so funny.

“Okay then, we’ll be in touch.”

Moments later I was in the car texting FH when…

Ring.

“Hello?”

“OMMFA, it’s B—-” I was in the parking lot. I must have left something in the office.

“Yes, hi.”

“So, we really like you. Think you’re terrific, and would like to recommend you for the position.”

“Oh wow.” Wait a second. “To teach seniors?”

“Yes.”

“Well, this is great, but can I think about it?”

“Of course, we’re confident the other school is going to call you too, but we want you here.”

“Thank you so much. I will let you know in a few days.”

By the time FH and I were in the air, headed for vacation the following had happened.

I called my mom, dad, and FH for advice.

Cried for joy.

Spoke to the vice principal who’d sat in the interview. VP called to reassure me I’d be teaching seniors, if I accepted the position.

Got a call from HR offering me the position.

We landed. I was finally employed.

Full-time with benefits! I could finally afford a shopping spree! New shoes!

When we returned from vacation I found out the shoes would have to wait.

 

Part 2 should be up in a few days.

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