And heaven knows I’m actually not so miserable now. More like conflicted.
I went to a teacher job fair about a month ago, which was the usual depressing meat market of hungry, desperate wannabe-teachers trying to impress school administrators. If you’ve never been to a teacher job fair, and don’t know what it is, just imagine hoardes of people lining up like drones to talk to representatives from schools, hoping they’ll be interviewed and offered a position. Everyone is dressed to kill, and too nervous to talk to the people around them because they are the “competition”. Of course, people do make small talk, but it’s always uneasy because you can tell that the “competition” is wondering who the fuck you are, how much experience you have, and if you’re more qualified. If we were all allowed to bring knives or guns into the arena, I’m sure the place would be a bloodbath within seconds.
Here’s a picture, but it does nothing to depict the tension and generally depressing nature of the event:
I wouldn’t mind going to these things if they were actually worth my time, but they always seem so pointless. You stand around for ages waiting to speak to a school district, and then when you finally do get to talk to somebody, they seem completely uninterested but take your résumé anyway, saying they’ll call you for an interview. Of course they never do. The only reason I go to job fairs is because it panics me to see how many people are looking for teaching jobs, so it puts me in a more ruthless job-hunting mindset.
At this particular job fair, I was more depressed than usual. I had been mailing out résumés left, right and centre in the previous weeks, but hardly ever got any response. I had been to two interviews, and the interviewers couldn’t even be bothered to contact me to tell me I hadn’t got the job. This is apparently the norm these days. Whatever happened to fucking manners? Are people really too busy to send a simple rejection email? Or are they too cowardly? Don’t they realize I would rather be rejected than waste countless hours checking my email to see if they want me?!
My state of mind hadn’t been helped very much by this New York Times article which stated that teachers in 2010 are “facing the worst job market since the Great Depression”. It was becoming more and more obvious that I wasn’t going to find a teaching job. Why would anyone hire me? I’m getting certified through an alternative teacher certification program so I don’t have a nice shiny BA or MA in education from a university. I also have zero teaching experience unless you count the pathetic two weeks of student teaching I had in 2009. Back in the good ol’ days, I’ve heard that this didn’t matter; apparently all you had to do to get a teaching job then was have a pulse. These days, though, with countless experienced, university-educated graduates looking for jobs, I was hardly an attractive candidate.
Back to the job fair, though. Right at the very end of the day, just as I was about to skulk home, tired and dejected, I noticed another school district right at the very back of the hall. I had ignored them before because I didn’t recognize the name, which meant that it must be miles away, and my teacher certification program wouldn’t let me take a job out of the district. “Ach, what the hell”, I thought, and went up to speak to the principal anyway. I liked him immediately, and he told me to come for an interview on Tuesday! The catch? The high school is in the middle of fucking nowhere – three hours away from where I am now, and an hour and a half from any other decent sized city. It’s in a town of about 3,500 people!
MM and I discussed this job, and we both decided that we would never be able to live in such a rural environment. I was just about to email the principal to tell him so, when I checked my inbox, and found an email from him checking if I still wanted to come to the interview. “Well”, I thought, “if he’s so keen to interview me, I might as well go for the sheer hell of it”. Also, I had never been to that part of the state before, so I thought it would be interesting to see it.
To cut a long story short….I got the job, and will be moving down there in around a month! Yikes! The idea of living somewhere so small is scary (everybody – and I mean everybody – knows each other, or is somehow related) but the town is way cuter than I imagined, and I’m so fucking ready for a change of scene. My life where I am now is going nowhere. There is nothing for me to do here. Also, I’ll be teaching in a very low-income, minority school district, and this is what I always wanted.
But why did I say I was conflicted about the job in the first paragraph of this post? Well, let’s just say that MM is not exactly thrilled to be moving somewhere so isolated. There are very few jobs in this part of the state, so now he’s going to have to apply for art teacher positions in a high school. He thinks teaching is “selling out” and would much rather stay here and work on the graphic novel that he never seems to fucking finish. He thinks that moving away will deprive him of a glorious career in art, which seems to have curiously eluded him although he’s lived here for five years.
MM has a very bad habit of being passive aggressive and being resentful towards me, so I’m nervous about what the move will mean for our relationship which, to be honest, has never exactly been perfect. And, if I’m honest, I’m feeling resentful towards him also. He’s thirty-three years old, and yet refuses to get a real job despite the fact that his art career is going nowhere. God knows why he can’t finish his graphic novel (fear of failure? Fear of success? Crippling perfectionism? Or just simple disorganization and laziness?) but whatever it is, he needs to realize that what he’s doing now (or not doing) just isn’t working for him. I find him to be an overgrown spoiled brat, always harping on about how a real job will take so much time away from his precious art. What makes him so special that he can’t find a relatively well-paid day job like every other single fucking creative person out there? Ugh.
Sigh. Will there ever be a day when things will go completely smoothly for me?