Sunday, May 10, 2009


So while I have doubted myself for the past three months about my qualifications, my intelligence, my appeal and likability, my passion, and even my creativity, it seems I was just very preemptive.

I all but convinced myself that I wasn't of the caliber and wasn't dedicated enough to become an English teacher. I applied everywhere. I searched voraciously. I scoured far and wide, cold-calling schools, filling out applications in districts in which I knew there were no openings, and called two or three times to make sure that a school did receive my application.

When I was laid off, there were no openings. Within 4 weeks of being laid off, there was one opening at a tough school in Worcester. Another 4 weeks later and two more openings appeared. One at another tough urban school, and one at a suburban school that seemed pretty nice. Needless to say, I jumped on all of them and pestered the districts to the point where I doubt any of them will give me return calls/interviews. I suppose there is a difference between pestering and checking in.

Nevertheless, I never assumed there would be as many openings as there are (especially in this economy, which is what makes me worried for next year...if there are a ton of openings this year and a district where I happen to get a job lays off some teachers, including me, at the end of this school year, will I then face a job market constricted by both the surplus of teachers for this year and by the economy?).

I applied for 59 jobs, and there are still some posted now that I am considering applying for. There are an additional 21 jobs that are either 60-70 miles away, are at tough, inner-city Boston charter schools, or require hellacious commutes.

Of the ones I applied to, I first journeyed on an interview at a district that was 63.2 miles away. I loved the school: it seemed warm and friendly, had diligent, thoughtful kids, and a relatively funny and welcoming staff. It was immaculate inside and included kids from five different towns, so one knew there would be ample student enrollment for years to come. But the commute overwhelmed me, and when the superintendent's secretary refused to return my call or to reschedule (after scheduling a time herself and asking if I could make it, which I could not), I felt that maybe it would be best if I decided against this particular district.

Next came an interview at a school that politely mailed me a 'we have recommended another applicant' the same day as the interview. Then a school district, which I have a feeling may be 'the one,' called me and things have begun rolling and I feel incredible strongly about it, and I feel it is mutual. I can't wait to find out definitively and to breathe a sigh of relief.

But now there is a school that called me last week to set up an interview, which I politely declined. I sent a message to the department head who contacted me. And tonight I find an e-mail asking for me to come in for an interview at another district. It seems I might be a bit more attractive, as a candidate of course, not in my receding-hairline looks, than I originally thought. And so while I feel that I was preemptive and negative in my confidence levels when applying for these jobs and believing in myself as a candidate. However, I feel that puts me at both a disadvantage and an advantage. I played myself down so much that I played myself up so much, making myself a much hungrier and passionate candidate, and making myself a more attractive candidate simultaneously. So while that works to my advantage I have to ensure that I fulfill my 'prophecy,' err...rather my promise, I suppose.

And while that seems relatively easy, and I am very thankful for 'hopefully' having a job, it is a bit scary still to think of being laid off because of the 'economy' come the end of this year. Fewer jobs guaranteed, in a market that is already strained to its maximum. All I can hope for now is a second round of stimulus to save the state and local jobs, or for the district to decide to hunker down and ride out the storm, with me in tow.

So I suppose I was just impatient and anxious when it came to the interviews, and took 'no news' as a negative instead of 'too early.' Either way I intend to be the best and to dwarf the accomplishments and promise of the other applicants given jobs this year. I intend to be the teacher of the year some year.

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