While I can’t promise this post will be quite as heartwarming as the last, I know many of my family and friends who live far away, would enjoy hearing about my move and how we got from LA to Bend. As someone who has traveled a lot, but never made a big move, I had a lot of ground to navigate before actually making it happen.
Like I said in my last post, it was in April that I attended the job fair. I knew that getting a job was not going to be easy. Something I didn’t tell a lot of people was that I had actually had an interview the summer before but didn’t get the job. At the time, I was actually a bit relieved because I didn’t feel ready to move yet, but the experience did teach me a lot. First of all, I had never been rejected for a job after having at least gotten to the interview round, so even though I was somewhat relieved not to have gotten it, it was also a huge blow to my self-esteem. I asked the principal why I didn’t get the job, and basically it was because one of the other candidates had been working with a student population that was more similar to theirs than I had. I knew that might be an issue because I’d been teaching in a private school for the past five years, and now I was headed back to public. After being rejected for that reason, though, I really began to worry about my prospects.
I decided I had to “kick it up a notch.” I made portfolios of some of my lessons, including student work, and sent one to every principal in Bend. My friend, Vickie, videotaped me teach one of my 8th grade classes, and I included the DVD with my portfolio. God, I will miss those kids. What an amazing group of kindhearted 13-year-olds. Anyone who says that middle school kids are difficult, has never met the kids I had the privilege of working with this year. They were fun, funny, smart, kind, and just a blast to teach.
After sending out my portfolio to each principal, I followed up with emails (probably three to four times), and then I attended the job fair. I was the first one in line, the first to get my interviews, and it was over in about 45 minutes! I couldn’t believe how fast it went, but I knew it had been well worth my time to make the contacts and get my name out there. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to meet all the people I had wanted to, so after flying home, I began contacting the rest to see if I could meet them during my spring break when Ben and I would visit to find a home.
Long story short, I actually had three interviews. One in person that I flew up for and two via Skype. I was tentatively offered a position for one, but it wasn’t official until the person I was replacing resigned, so I took the other two Skype interviews I was offered. I pretty much thought I would end up with the first job (which I was excited about). I had heard that it was nearly impossible to get a job because of all the qualified applicants. But the morning after we left Los Angeles (we were staying at my parents in Oakhurst for the week while the movers had our stuff), I got a call at 7am in the morning, offering me the position which I will begin in the fall. It’s at a high school 2.5 miles from my home.
In the end, things often don’t happen the way we think they will. I was fairly well convinced that I would have that first job I had interviewed for, and I was happy about it. But when an official offer came through which was so close to my house, it was impossible to turn down. The last five months were filled with excitement, but also a lot of fear. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to pull it off, especially after my experience last summer. People everywhere were telling me how hard it was to get a job, especially without having subbed for the district first.
In the end, I’m not quite sure why I was chosen, but if there was any one thing I can think of it would be grit. While I know I am a good, hardworking teacher, there are other teachers who work very hard too. But grit is a quality that got ingrained in me during those early days when I was a gymnast. A gymnast who didn’t make the competitive team the first time, so what did I do? I wrote my coach and told him I was going to try harder, and the second time I tried out, you know what? I made it.
So if you’re looking for a job right now…my #1 piece of advice (other than being very competent at what you do) is to have grit. Don’t be afraid to let people know how much you want the job. You may think you’re annoying them, but guess what? When there are 150 other people vying for your position, you have to do something to stand out.
Get gritty. And if you don’t get the job…get grittier.
And when you do get the job, realize you didn’t get there all by yourself. I know for a fact that I had a whole team of people behind me. Vickie who videotaped my lesson, my administrators who gave me glowing reviews, my students who made sure the video went well, my husband who endured listening to me when I was scared, my parents who also listened to me when I was anxious, and most importantly God, who was surely looking out for me and my husband this whole time.