Sunday, May 07, 2006

After the Fair

Did we go to the job fair? yes. Did we see lots of old friends from when we taught in that district before? yes (this was the fun part). Did we come home with job contracts? But we did get to talk to several people who might, at some point in the dim and distant future, have openings, for which we may or may not qualify, and for which they may or may not call us to arrange interviews.
Actually, the event was interesting, and good practice for interviewing. The way these things work is like this:
You sign in, give your name, address and phone number, and write down what your areas of certification are, then put on a sticky backed name tag which may last until you actually get through the door into the "interview" area. Here you are, in a huge foyer/hallway/gallery, lined with tables all decorated with confetti and streamers, megaphones, pennants, and loaded down with free pencils, gum, mints, and occasionally chocolate which will disappear faster than a dime sized water puddle in the middle of the Sahara. A certain number of these tables will be manned by people from real schools, with real jobs, and signs telling which kinds of positions are open. The others are manned by people who want you to rent their luxury apartments (read: EXPENSIVE), subscribe to their newsletters, magazines, or newspapers, enroll in their pet causes, or pay money to join their organizations, each of which is the ONLY one that REALLY represents the interests of classroom teachers.
The way you tell the difference is to look for lines. Long lines. Interminable lines of people clutching resumes, briefcases, file folders, clipboards, and the kind of ring binders carried by high school students, with glittery borders around pictures of themselves and their friends at drunken orgies. They will be wearing everything from business suits to shorts, dresses to pedal-pushers, even one guy in jeans and a white t-shirt (you know, like John Travolta in Grease), and all with anxious, painful smiles stuck firmly in place with a combination of nerves, determination, and stark fear.
When they get to the front of the line, they reach a table where they sign in AGAIN, give their address and phone number AGAIN, write down their area of certification AGAIN, and wait AGAIN to talk to a real person who can offer a real job.
The relaxed people, with the fixed smiles of trained actors, are the people screening the applicants, making vaguely nice, polite comments that really mean, don't call us, we'll call you.
All of the people who were glad to see us, the ones who hugged us and said oh we are SO glad you are coming back to our district, all of those dear sweet people who might actually HIRE us, didn't have openings on their campus that require the subjects in which we are certified.
The ones who have openings, openings that correspond to our subject areas, are all standing or sitting at the front of a line of people who are ALL determined to be the ONE who gets the contract.
So we stood in line. And stood in line. And stood in another line. And stood in MORE lines. Waiting. Clutching our resumes to our breasts, smiling our anxious smiles, and reassuring each other that if we can just get to talk to the administrator at the end of the line, surely he will recognize our superior qualities, and go on one knee, extending a contract, and begging us to sign on the dotted line.
At the end of the day, we had actually met and shaken hands with a number of principals, talked more than two minutes to some of them, and more than a few minutes with a few of them. One principal knows and likes both of us, but said that he and the others had been told not to make a decision until some time next week, because they are also going to a giant job fair Monday, which will draw representatives of over 60 districts in the metro area, and thousands of applicants, so in fairness to THEM, no one who came Saturday can even be offered a follow-up interview yet.
One principal interviewed us together. That seems kind of hopeful, since we would love to be on the same campus. However, there are no openings in the disciplinary program, which would be our first preference. But maybe that is not what God has in mind for us this time.
Another assistant principal talked to Wick first, for about five minutes, I think. I was talking to the man who called Thursday night to ask if we were planning to come to the job fair. When we met up again, we went to the hospitality room to get a coke and sit down for a few minutes. We checked off all the schools we had already tried, and which we still needed to check on. As we were going back downstairs, we saw the asst. prin. Wick had talked to, and Wick said, hey here is the English teacher I was telling you about.
He spent a few minutes talking to us, then left, saying he was going to speak to his principal about me. We both sort of thought, yeah, right. But he did come back, and did introduce us to his principal, and spent about 20 more minutes talking to me and asking me questions. They both gave us their business cards, and said if we don't hear from them in a few days, to give them a call. So.....
Here we are with another cliff-hanger, which will probably not be resolved for several days. Will the handsome hero find a job? Will his lovely wife be offered a contract? Will Frankie the pom ever get another bag of Pupperoni, or will he turn up his pointy little nose at the Ol' Roy brand?
Stay tuned....