Monday, March 31, 2008

A School-less Teacher

I just spent my entire day driving around Louisville and let me say - I'm pooped! As most everyone knows by now, Chud and I are moving to Louisville at the end of May and I've already signed an "early hire" contract with Jefferson County Public Schools. Well, I never thought that finding a teaching job would be this frustrating. I knew it would be hard work, but I didn't think it would seem next to impossible! JCPS is so backwards!! Here's how it works. Apparently, I'm in the big pool of teachers known as the "early hires." Each year, current teachers can put in for transfers to other schools. Principals cannot hire new teachers, or "early hires" until ALL of the transfers have been placed or at least interviewed. Then, when they're all settled, they start placing us. So far, so good, right? Wrong! Early hires have NO input into which school they will be placed. I'll be offered an interview anytime between June and August and if I don't accept that interview, I'm taken off the list!! Nevermind if it's at a school that's on the complete opposite side of town from were I'll be living, nevermind if it's a school in which I won't be a good match, nevermind if it's at a school in which I have no interest. If I don't take the interview, I may not have a job. Yipes!

Well, being the go-getter that I am, I couldn't just sit back and let some HR guy decide where I should interview. I sent out resumes and cover letters a few weeks ago, and today I went to visit the nine schools where I know I'd like to teach, so I could introduce myself to the principals and give them a little folder full of impressive goodies that make me look really "hire-able." What an eventful day it was.

I arrived at my first school at 9 AM and waited patiently for the principal to get finished with announcements. As I was waiting in the lobby, wearing my very professional khaki skirt and red shirt, I noticed that I was wearing the EXACT same outfit as the students - khaki pants or skirts and red shirts. Crap! I thought. This principal's going to think I'm a total dweeb! If she did, I didn't notice because we only spoke for a couple minutes, but she was nice and I felt good when I left there.

I didn't get to speak with the principal at the second school, St. Matthews, but I have to say, it was the cutest school I've ever set foot in. One whole hallway was painted with French store fronts and the other hallway was painted with Paris Subway stops! Hellooo!!! I was MADE for teaching at that school!

One principal told me he'd love to hire me, but I don't speak Spanish. Another secretary said, and I quote, "Honey, we've had people waiting 20, 25 years to transfer here. You can leave your folder with me but it won't do you any good." I crossed that school off my list. Besides, they had three fifth graders in that office standing in a corner as punishment. I do NOT want to work there.

One principal at a downtown school had me in his office for TWO HOURS and his conversational patterns compeltely eluded me. One minute he was telling me that my personality wouldn't fit with his school, the next minute he was looking through my folder, the next minute he was asking me to go with him while he observed a third grade teacher, and the next minute we were back in his office and he was giving me his card, telling me not to accept any positions until he had the chance to interview me. What the hell??

But, when all was said and done, at 4:00 in the afternoon, I started my journey home and realized that it really doesn't matter where I end up. I've been spoiled at Squires, but I know that I can teach anywhere. Hell, I HAVE taught anywhere, from Inner City to Spanish Immersion to British Boarding School to Suburban American, I've been in just about every possible scenario (knock on wood). I guess at this point, it's just a waiting game and that's what I hate. I don't care where I teach, just THAT I teach. I just want to know that I'm wanted somewhere.

So cross your fingers and say a prayer that I don't have to wait until the day before school starts. In fact, I really hope I hear from one of these schools, or any school in Louisville, for that matter, soon!

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