How I was offered a job while hospitalized.

Nope, it’s not click-bait; it actually happened.

I’ve talked a lot on this blog about the agony of years of fruitless interviews and relentless job searching.  During this post, I’ll tell the story of how I was offered my second full-time teaching job…while in the hospital.

A year prior, I had been offered a job (over the phone) to teach in Southern Maryland. I’ll talk more about those experiences in another post.

I accepted immediately, and the spouse and I uprooted our lives to move 5 hours to a new state to begin my teaching career.

It was a tough gig; I taught Pre-K through 5th grade general music, in addition to beginning and advanced band classes.  I had an average of 6-7 classes per day, ranging from 18-26 students.  The students were different than anyone I had ever taught.  The population was a cross between the large naval base community, those who had lived in the rural area since the 1700s, and those who escaped Baltimore and migrated more south.  The elementary building was built for 350 students, and we had 750. Trailers spread out from the main school building almost like a refugee camp; in this district they literally cannot build new schools fast enough for the exploding population.

In this job, I was sworn at, hit, kicked, and threatened on a daily basis by students who didn’t even come up to my knee.  It was challenging, back-breaking work that left me in tears many days.  After a few days I drove 7 hours to meet my parents in North Carolina for some R & R time.  After my first full week teaching I drove 5 hours back home for a local fair and I bawled the entire drive, wondering how I was going to survive an entire year of this.

And survive I did, thanks to some amazing people I met along the way.

The other music teacher at my school was also new, though a bit younger than me and fresh out of college.  Unlike most new graduates, Cat was extremely grounded and didn’t have any grand illusions of what teaching would be like.  Together we stayed up way too late brainstorming, writing lesson plans, and just trying to survive.  Our mentor teacher was also fantastic.  I owe everything I know about classroom management to her.  She is an amazing teacher who has huge successes in one of the supposed ‘worst’ elementary schools in that district.  I wish there were more teachers like her out there, because she is the single reason I made it through that first year.

I’ll be sharing some of her resources and lesson plans in later lessons.

Continuing on, I made it through the year with some crash courses in classroom management and walked away with some useful skills.  In September of that year, my spouse and I were thrilled when we discovered I was pregnant, and due to deliver a few days after school let out.

While I was teaching here, my spouse and I made the commitment that though we were managing in this new life, we missed our hometown and would like to return to the area.  Where we lived was alright, but we were unused to living among a large population and the challenges that it entailed (like taking 45 minutes to get to Wal-Mart despite it being 2 miles away, and then when you get there the shelves are bare and the check-out line is 12 people deep).

We decided to come home whenever either of us got a job offer.  I was applying for positions back in my home state, and he was hoping for an opening at his old office.  I applied for a few things, while enjoying my pregnancy and still teaching during the day.

In the beginning of May, I received an interview for a Band Director position in a school only 40 minutes from our old home.  Both my spouse and I took a personal day from work, and drove up the night before.

I was extremely nervous about interviewing while pregnant; would they discriminate because I was about to be a new mom? Though it’s not legal, they could still make up any other reason they wanted.  I wore a black dress and tried not to present a sideview…surely at 7 months pregnant they wouldn’t notice… right?

Well, I never heard back from them, despite a “we’ll call you” (if only I had a nickel…).  I even followed the board meeting minutes and deflated when I saw they hired someone else.   I moved on, and packed my room up on Friday, June 14th.

On Saturday morning at 6am, I went into labor.  On Sunday (ironically Father’s Day) I gave birth to my daughter, and our first child.


Two days later while in recovery, I noticed I had a missed call and a voicemail on my cell phone.  I listened to it while in the hospital bathroom.

In the message, the superintendent from the school talked for a good five minutes, but the gist was that the person they had hired back in May hadn’t worked out, and that I had been the second choice, and would I be interested in taking the job?

I immediately start bawling (tears of joy!) and shaking uncontrollably (damn those postpartum hormones).  My spouse is immediately terrified since he thinks something terrible must have happened (he initially thought my parents were in a car wreck, since they had just left the hospital after visiting).

I called the superintendent back (who was with the principal also), and accepted the position.  It was then they informed me that the marching band was expected to be in a parade at the end of July (in about a month). I could totally have the band ready for that, right?

Well, clutching my newborn to my chest, I did what anyone desperate to get what they want would do: “Yes sir, I’ll absolutely be there.”

So, my husband and I had two weeks to find a place to live, pack up, resign our jobs, and move back home. With a baby.  I had essentially no maternity leave; I had to start marching band rehearsals immediately in July to ensure the band was ready, and I began my job once school started in August.

Anytime I find myself overwhelmed by life, I think back to that time.  If I could get through that, I could handle everything.

So can you.

And that’s the story of how I was offered a job in the hospital.




Moving Out…and On

Well, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted.

There are reasons for that, and they’re quite varied in what they are and how legitimate.

I didn’t get the job that the last post was about. As in typical fashion, they hired someone with experience who had been fired due to furloughs at the end of the last school year.  How pathetically recurring.

The good news? I’ve decided to let it all go.  God has something planned, and I need to quit stressing about it.  It’s like anything else; the moment you stop trying, it’ll happen. Right?

Well, either way it’s made me a happier person.


Possible shakeup coming in my home district, with a definite 1 position open and a possibility of 3. Perhaps I’ll do better this time around. I’m hoping to pull an A in my grad class, so I can claim a 4.0 GPA when I apply. At least then they should interview me. Sigh.

Speaking of the grad class, it’s going O.K.  Last week I pulled it close to the wire completing my assignment (it turned out to be WAY harder than anticipated) and all 43 pages of analysis it warranted. Then to make things better, the online system crashed and I was unable to upload my documents. So, it’s midnight and I’m sending frantic emails to my professors, only to have the system figure itself out 15 minutes later.  Then came the second round of apologetic, embarrassing emails asserting how stupid and idiotic I am, and please PLEASE forgive me for clogging your inbox.

We’ll see what happens.


Agony…No Frustration More Keen.

Yes, this post’s subject posted is lovingly borrowed from Stephen’s Sondheim’s Into the Woods. If you have no clue what that is, here is your slice of culture for the day.  It’s a musical about your favorite story book characters, but with a creepy, adult edge. You’re welcome.

So, what’s the deal?

The interview came and went, and as with most interviews, I feel it went really well.  I’m pretty aware of the fact that I stink at quite a few things, but let me just say that I’m boss when it comes to interviews.

This one was a little upsetting because it was one of my shortest yet; only 15-20 minutes.  I tried not to let that deter me, because they were seeing a lot of people that day, had their questions pre-selected, etc. Plus there were only 3 people interviewing me.

Despite the amount of time, I felt like they were really engaged in what I had to say.  They seemed especially interested in my experiences with another tiny, rural school district like theirs.  They also seemed to like my follow-up question. “What would YOU say is the best quality about this district?”

They concluded with telling me that they would call ‘in a few days’ for second round interviews, which would take place next Wednesday (tomorrow). At this second round, I would be faced with the entire school board, who would make the decision on the spot, approve me, then I would start work this Thursday.  The guy looked me in the eye and said “Is that something you’d be ok with?”

Hell yes, Mr. Principal. Bring it on.

The kicker comes in that a friend of mine who also interviewed got a rejection letter last Saturday. I didn’t receive any such letter. That’s a good thing, you would think.  However, it’s the day before the second round interviews, and I haven’t had a call yet saying I made it either.

If you’re trying to mind-%$^@ me school district, you’re succeeding.

I’m going to give them most of today to call. If they don’t, I’ll call them around 3pm to DEMAND (ask nicely and probably a little pathetically) what’s going on.

So there’s that.

THEN, yesterday I see a facebook status from one of my childhood friends. The company she is working for is hiring.  The job is only a town over from where the spouse and I are moving, and it would be to create and maintain an ebay store for the company (they sell lighting fixtures). I submitted my resume on a whim (I do that a lot) and not only does the friend say she can probably get me a job, but the boss already emailed me back and I could have an interview at the end of the week.

Talk about things that I can’t deal with right now.

It’s not teaching, but it’s $$. No, I don’t know how much yet.  I just don’t know if I can bring myself to get out of teaching. Despite being literally whipped and beaten by the system, I can’t help but feel like it would be giving up to switch careers.

Yep, these are the heavy-hitting issues of my life.

Also, spouse and I are supposed to begin the moving process soon. It would a LOT easier if I got a job, so we could actually go out and….buy curtains. Or something.

I’ve also been roped into doing another musical at the charter school I work at.  Last year I took over the drama program halfway through the year, and forced against her will asked my one friend to help.  We put on Beauty & the Beast Jr. with a group of kids who had never acted or sang before, and it wasn’t too shabby. Here are some pics: (credit for photos goes to the the father-in-law.


You get the idea.

So, I busted my butt to come up with $$ to actually buy the rights, get scripts, music, and you know, be legal about it. This time around I’m not in charge (fine by me!) and the kids want to do a recent movie that isn’t actually a play.

Long story short, it’s even more work than last year. However, that’s not why I’m royally PO’ed.

We thought casting would be pretty easy, since most kids put exactly what they wanted, and it was pretty spread out and evenly distributed. After we posted the cast list, we got “BUT I DIDN’T WAAAANT THAT PART”.

It says right here on the sheet you did.

“Well I’m disappointed in my part so I’m quitting.”

Now, I’m understandably a little upset at this. In a public school drama program if you pull that crap, next time a show comes around you won’t be cast at all due to your bad attitude. However, when this happens at this school, excuses are made. “Oh, well the kids are just fickle and they’re always changing their minds. They don’t know what they want. They’re young.”

Ok, but they’re not stupid.  And teaching them that their actions have absolutely no consequences is not the way I’m running a drama program.

So I might not be participating in the show this time around.

Well, I know it was a long post, but that’s my life.  Hopefully I’ll have an update on the interview status, and we’ll take it from there. If you’ve made it this far, congrats! You’re the proud winner of another silly cat photo. Enjoy.


Luckily for me, There are Worse Things.

Subtitled “Quit being a whiny little young person, because your father-in-law reads this blog.”

Ok, so my last post was a liiiiiiiiiittle emo.


When my mom and dad were my age, they were living in an uncle’s basement (a mean uncle), working 3-4 jobs each, and barely seeing each other.  My dad used to tell stories about working the night shift, since there were after all 24 hours in a day.  Why waste 8-10 of them sleeping?  He worked at a gas station, and would talk about the hookers (yes hookers) who would come into the store at 3am to escape their pimps.  They would clean for my dad, dust, mop, do anything really to just pass the time and forget.

Stories like that make me feel pretty stupid.

Yeah, things are rough. No, I don’t have the job or amount of money that I’d like.  So what, some people my age do. Not everyone is that lucky from the gate, and so many more people are worse off.  In fact, I have absolutely nothing to complain about.

Ways life resolved itself in one day after the last post: (ie God was irritated with my whining)

1) We found someone who wants to sublet our apt starting asap.

2) My car is  not dead after all. My dad felt bad when he heard we would cash our savings bonds to fix it, so one of his guys is putting the labor in and trying to make it work. (Side note, I was unaware of the extreme emotional attachment I had to my car until it was almost taken away.)

3) I literally JUST got called for an interview next week.

So… yeah.

More about this interview. (Because I started this draft JUST after getting called, and am finishing the draft after the interview).

Remember the last interview I had where I didn’t get the job? Well, this interview is for a position at the district of the person who got the job. (If that makes any sense.). Her getting the other job means she’s leaving this job. Anyway.

It was my shortest interview to date; 15-20 minutes. I didn’t like that.

They only asked a few questions, but I felt like they were really on board with the few answers I did give. They seemed to really connect with me through my previous experiences at my marching band’s school, since it is small and rural like this district.

Regardless, they said they would call “in a few days” to inform me if I made the second round. Here’s the fun part.  The second round would take place Feb 8th, at 6:45pm. Why? So you can interview in front of the entire school board, they will make a decision on the spot, approve you at the 7pm meeting, and oh, by the way? You start work the next day.


(raises hand slightly)

I’ll do it!




That Special Time of Year…

As I was lying in bed last night, I came to the startling revelation that I had completely forgotten about this blog.


The only explanation that I could come up with is that when life well.. improves, you tend to spend more time out in it, and less in your own little cyber-world.

To put it simply, the interview I had went extremely well.   They said they would be calling either tonight (Thursday) or the next day (Friday). After spending the few obligatory days in terror, fear, and self-loathing, the principal called me back at 5pm on Friday to give me the good news.

I made it through to the second round!

I had just arrived at the charter school I teach part-time at, so when the phone rang I probably looked like an idiot as I dashed in a circle a few times before darting into an unused classroom.  As the man talked to me, I paced crazily around the round tables, trying to take in what he was saying while not tripping over extension cords.

About 6-7 individuals were interviewed for the first round, and 2-3 are moving on to the next.  This second round will take place on December 14th, which is next Wednesday.  It will be in front of the school board members, and apparently they are just asking us questions.  This seems a little odd, so I’m not sure what to expect.

Usually, a first round interview consists of your standards questions, and if they like you enough, you move onto the second round to teach a demo lesson The decision is made from there.

However, in this case it seems like the opposite is happening. So I don’t know.  I’ll be asking my colleagues for advice on this unique situation.

Here’s the timeline: Interview on the 14th, the school has two days to make their decision and notify the individual. The 18th (Sunday) I have a Christmas party at my gram’s. (This is important to note). The 19th (Monday) is when the individual will be approved as an employee by the school board. This gives the new person 5 days to shadow the current teacher until he leaves FOREVER.

Not the best timeline, giving the new person only a week. Oh well, I’ll do what I can. 😉

SOOO excited, but a little frustrated at the delay. There’s only so much studying you can do for the standard interview questions.

Wish me luck.

ALSO, on the same day I was called for a second interview, I was accepted into grad school. Yes, Friday was a good day indeed.




I was going to wait until tomorrow (actual Thanksgiving) to post this, but I’m home alone and let’s face it, tomorrow I’ll be too busy and sick in the stomach to actually follow through.

Good, great, wonderful news: I have an interview.

I’ve known about this opening since October, but  I try not to make a big deal out of it so that I’m not completely crushed when it falls through. (See the post from last summer, if you forget.)  I’ve made a few friends within this district, talked to others, and I’m thrilled to be one of 5-7 people interviewing for this job.  In exactly a week, I’m to teach a 10 minute lesson to a panel of music teachers and administrators.

Eager to get started, I settled on a recorder lesson. I called a colleague of mine, who is the assistant director of one of the bands I work for.

“An interview! That’s great! What are you going to teach?”


*awkward pause*

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m EXTREMELY thankful for her advice, and am VERY glad she gently pushed me away from that particular lesson, and pointed me in the direction of one better suited for an interview scenario. After playing around with a few things, she gave me something that I think would work great.

I will nail this.

My friends and husband will be forced to sit through my lesson as I practice. That’s the hard thing about doing a demo-lesson: treating the panel like your students. It’s one thing if you’re teaching them math or how to write a paragraph.  I’m going to be telling them to sit in a circle on the floor, singing and dancing with me. That’s a little tougher to do with older people wearing suits.

Regardless, I’m very excited and thankful for the opportunity.  The school is about an hour from where I live, but I NEED this job. Husband and I have no savings now, and we’re just living within our means currently. When summer hits (and there is no more sub work) I’m going to be either be A) screwed or B) bagging groceries. If I’m super lucky it could be C) All of the above.


Got it!

I’m currently reading into the theory of proactive teaching versus reactive teaching. To prepare for next Thursday’s interview, I’m writing a classroom management plan.  When I’m done I’ll share, but for now, I’ll post my lesson plan here for the interview.  At the very least, I can reflect in a week about what worked, and what didn’t.


In anticipation of the holiday season, I leave you with photos of our Merry Christmas last year. (Though mostly of our cats.)

This is our quaint little tree from last year. It’s pretty sweet.

This is Happy Cat, discovering the joy of Christmas. He was only 6 months old at the time.

And here is Snape Cat, hating everything joyous and pretty sure that the tree is a defeatable enemy.

I am thankful to have my husband, my family, and my health, regardless of the fact that there are other things in my life that still aren’t perfect.

Happy Thanksgiving!



Why Interviews are Like Prostitution.


Why Interviewing is Like Prostitution

1) You swear you’ll only do it a few times until you earn some $$$, but a year later you’re still there.

2) You get all dressed up to impress, even though you know you’re just going to get ******.

3) They either want a seasoned veteran or someone young and unexperienced. Either way, you’re not going to be what they want.

4) If you’re too loud they’ll get irritated and know you’re faking it.

5) If you’re too quiet they’ll assume you’re not really into it and just need the money.

6) One guy is in charge of everyone but you’ll never see him unless you screw up.  And everyone knows he’s around, even if you forget.

7) Price is never up for negotiation, and usually the first thing discussed.

8 ) You tell yourself you won’t get roped into doing anything extra that’s outside of the job description, but after they dangle that extra $$ in your face you consider it.

9) If you act too bored or confident they’ll know you do this too often.

10) There are lots of us doing it in broad daylight, but no one seems too concerned about it.