The beginning of summer vacation is an unlikely time to find a job. Teachers are still being shuffled around in the buildings; projected enrollments are uncertain.
So I applied for teaching jobs and dutifully sent emails to principals, but I wasn’t too worried when I never heard back.
There was plenty of time before school would start again. Yes, my health insurance only lasted through the summer, but I had time.
I had time.
Instead of getting my summer paychecks direct deposited on the usual paydays, my district mailed me a lump sum check. To get rid of me faster, I guess.
When I took it to the bank to deposit it, they looked at me suspiciously and put a hold on my account. Turns out my account never has that much money in it at one time so they needed a day or two to investigate.
Insult, meet injury.
It resolved itself a few days later. I had my summer income. I still had about a month and a half until my health insurance expired. There were several low days…but I had been down this road before. Everything happens at the last minute, right? Right. Everything would work out in the end.
Days passed. Suddenly it was time to fly to DC for the NEA RA and the SOS March and Conference. There was activism and seeing old friends and making new ones and gearing up to take the fight into the new school year. Everyone agreed that I would have a teaching job.
Well, almost everyone.
It was just one conversation. One isolated conversation at the SOS Conference. One isolated conversation where the people I was talking to intimated that because I do not have a loud and abrasive personality, I won’t get a job. Like losing my job twice in two years isn’t demoralizing enough.
Not gonna lie–I cried a little in the bathroom.
A strange phenomenon happened when I returned home from DC. Some of my teacher friends across the country started posting their “before” pictures. As in, “this is what my classroom looked like when I walked in from my summer vacation. This is what it looked like before I started decorating and arranging and organizing.”
In some parts of the U.S., the first day of school was only a few weeks away.
The next week, more teachers began posting their “before” pictures.
And even more began the next week.
All while I sat at home. Rabidly refreshing job pages on my phone. Sending out applications to multiple school districts. Emailing principals over and over again about any job that was out there. Fighting with my old district to have the chance to even re-apply.
Some of my friends started posting their “after” pictures, their “night before the first day of school thank you God I finished in time” pictures.
My summer money was dwindling. My health insurance had days left before it would expire.
In the last few days before school started, there was hope.
I had an interview. And then later that day, I unexpectedly got an interview at a second school.
These were the only interviews I had had all summer.
After they were both over, I pondered which job I wanted more. Obviously if I was only offered one I would take it…but what if I was offered them both? Then what?
I started a mental pros and cons list for the two jobs, but it didn’t matter.
That night I was told they offered one of the jobs to someone else.
The second rejection came two days later.
On a Monday morning, my friends officially started the 2016-17 school year. My Facebook news feed was filled with stories of new mandates and trainings and class lists and technology that didn’t work and why can’t we just get time to work in our rooms???
On that Monday morning, most of my money was gone.
So was any shred of hopefulness I had kept alive over the summer.
And my health insurance? It had expired at midnight.
On that Monday morning, while everyone else was at school, I applied for unemployment.