I wept audibly for about twenty minutes before I was able to find the strength to call FH. The minute FH answered I lost it again.
“Wahahaha…….job……teaching….credits….” Gasps for breath. “I…can’t….wahahaha.”
This kept on for about ten minutes.
Somehow I managed to find the ability to speak and explained what happened. I was about to lose it. The thought of adjuncting and being broke was just not an option. I sounded like a drunk person who kept repeating themselves.
“I hate this life,” I repeated as I visualized my bottom-of-the-totem pole existence.
FH was encouraging and told me everything was going to be okay. He had my back. He told me all kind words I needed to hear in order to collect myself.
I was able to stand up and when the call ended I got in the shower and looked like Tobias Funke crying from Arrested Development (see the “Fire Sale” episode).
I wasn’t about to let something like this be the end of a full-time job, so I called HR after I had cooled off.
“Hi, it’s me again.”
“Hello Ms. One Mean MFA”
“I was just wondering if there was anything I could do. I really, really want this job.”
“Well, there is one other option. We can hire you as a sub, then once you pass the subject area teaching test we will hire you laterally.”
“The pay is $69 dollars a day.”
“Would I be retro-paid?”
“Yes, from the date of the exam.”
“Okay. That’s not ideal, but a job is a job.”
“The principal has to be behind the idea.”
I hung up feeling a bit better. The principal had hired me after fifteen minutes. This didn’t seem like it would be a problem. I emailed him and let him know what the situation was; his response email was one question.
“I thought you had a bachelors and masters degree in English?”
“I do…” was my response.
The next email read: “Call me NOW!!!”
I phoned him while he was on vacation. He told me he really wanted me at the high school and would do whatever it took. He also said he didn’t know one English major who had six credits in grammar. He even told me he’d personally watch my class if I ever needed a fill in.
The phone call ended, and I was relieved. I now had to make sure I knew exactly which test to take. Once again I was on the phone with HR. After two days of calling to make sure that I was definitely hired as a sub at my school, I decided it was time to just go into the HR office.
I got in the car, drove downtown, and found an empty building. Every door was locked. There was a sign on the door with a phone number for security. You’ve got to be freakin’ kidding me.
“Hi, I’m looking for the HR office and all the doors are locked.”
“Oh, yeah the offices have been dismantled and are spread out around the county.”
“Yes, sorry about that.”
“Well, do you know where I can find HR?”
“I don’t. There might be a forwarding address on one of the doors.”
“Just so you know, this information isn’t anywhere on the website. They might consider updating that info.”
“Yeah. What are you gonna do?”
I found the new address and had to drive another thirty minutes in the opposite direction.
After speaking with the receptionist, a licensure officer came out to speak with me. She then went to get the recruiter I had been speaking to for about two weeks. I heard them in the hallway talking shit.
I had to use all my politeness energy not to be a bitch. Sometimes I wish I was more confrontational. I just swallow shit and fester. I get this from my mother (who, I believe, has consequentially developed cancer because of this terrible habit).
I got my info and within forty-eight hours, I had registered for the test, met with a teaching licensure advisor at the college, and applied for a graduate teaching certificate program at the local state university. Still, I wasn’t registered for orientation and not officially employed.
Of course, because I’m impatient I kept calling HR to make sure I was employed. I still hadn’t told the college I wouldn’t be teaching in the fall, and because they had been so good to me I was worried about burning bridges. HR finally called me to schedule orientation.
“Oh wait, one of your references hasn’t filled out the online form.”
“Do you think you can have them do it by the end of the day? We can’t schedule you until that’s done.”
“I can try.”
It was done by noon. I had called to let them know and emailed. Still I wasn’t scheduled.
I called all day Monday and around eleven, someone answered. I left a message and was told the phone call would be returned by late afternoon.
It was almost three and the office was scheduled to close at four. I was freaking out. I had spent over three hundred dollars between applications for the teaching certificate, transcripts, and registering for the test. What if I had done this and still didn’t have a job? I stood outside (I was helping out at a camp at the school since I was “officially” employed) and just kept calling and calling.
All I needed was to be scheduled for orientation.
After half an hour of calling and calling, the HR recruiter answered. She scheduled me and before she hung up she said, “Thank you for being so persistent and patient with us.” I thought she was being sarcastic because I had been such a pain in the ass.
“Honestly,” she continued, “if you hadn’t been I might not have been able to get you registered in time.”
So after three weeks of hardcore persistence, I’m finally employed. The principal has assured me I’ll be teaching seniors–I even picked up the textbook and will be starting my planning soon–and have seen my classroom. I’m employed. It’s not an ideal situation, but I strongly believe things like this happen for a reason. Clearly, the stars have lined up to show me the way to teaching license. I’ve put it off for too long and it’s been holding me back.
While I don’ t want to be a high school teacher forever, I’ll stick around for at least three years (God-willing and if the county’s budget allows it). For the first time since before I started grad school, I’m actually not going to have worry about money and will have time write because I won’t be teaching an absurd amount of classes. Feels good.