Monday, March 30, 2009

Ups and Downs

The good news - the principal of the high school I interviewed at the second day of the job fair just emailed me. He said he was impressed with the interview and he wants to schedule a second interview as soon as they get back from spring break.

This is the one that is a bit of a commute and is a salary cut, but it's a high school theater/English/speech position. And here's what the principal said to me in the interview that might make all of that worthwhile:

[When it comes to our teachers, we ask] "what are your passions and how can we support them?"

The bad news - when I hit the curb during the snowstorm on Thursday, it apparently bent the wheel-something of my car. Between that and the brake noises I've been hearing, they just quoted repairs at $1300. Ouch. Again, that stupid job fair is turning into the most expensive thing ever. Grr.

P.S. Bad English teacher! Misspelling "brake" - I am ashamed. That's what I get for posting without proofreading.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Slide a Little Closer

As I drove home from the job fair on Friday, I counted the number of cars I passed on I-25 and I-70 that had slid off the road during the storm and were still abandoned there, covered in snow.


I am really, really glad I stayed the night.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

At the Fair/The Blizzard

When I was going through the job-hunting process last year, I didn't blog about it until it was very much over. I needed to keep it under wraps for a variety of reasons (Howard), so my blogging was silent on that particular story.

Not so this year, since I've made it totally known that I'm looking.

I'm sitting at the biggest teacher job fair in the state right now, in varying states of despair. I came to the same job fair last year - it was here I found STMS. This year is rather different. For example, the biggest district in the state withdrew from the fair because they instituted a hiring freeze. The next three possibilities nicely took my resume packet, but they said they were only going to

You see that part where I stopped typing? That's when an official got on the P.A. system and announced that the University was closing at 12:30 due to the weather. Turns out the snow that had started to fall lightly when I arrived at the fair (at 6:20 in the morning) had turned into a full-blown blizzard that shut down schools and the airport across the metro area.

I shut my laptop, bid farewell to one of my STMS friends who was here recruiting for the elementary school, and headed out into the storm.

Driving was a nightmare. I made it onto the highway near the school, but it was white-out conditions with ice packed on the roads. I pulled off at the next exit, intending to make my way back to the hotel where I had spent the night. Instead, I took a wrong turn and got rather lost. As I finally navigated my way back to a recognizable starting point, my car slid off the road and slammed into a curb. Whrrr. Whrrr. Yup - stuck.

I got out of the car and remembered that I had taken the emergency shovel and cat litter out of my trunk to make room for the boxes I was moving out of my classroom. I had 12 clocks and a copy of the OED in my trunk, but nothing that would help me get unstuck.

I grabbed a windshield scraper and started hacking away at the ice under my tire. Ice and pieces of the scraper flew around me, and I got back in my car and tried again. Nope.

Just then, this man appeared in my rearview mirror. "Put it in reverse!" he hollered through the blowing snow. I did so. He pushed and gave me directions and we rocked the car back and forth. A second guy appeared yelling, "You need some help?" even as he started to push on the other side. By the time a third stranger stopped, they had gotten me and my car away from the curb and back in motion.

I felt horrible I couldn't stop and thank them properly, since I was merging into traffic at the time. I yelled, "Thank you!" as often as I could while waving out my window.

Ah can always depend on the kindness of strangers!

I crawled my way back to the Super 8 hotel, and managed to book the very last hotel room available in the area. At first, the clerk said it would be a smoking room; but when I got to the front desk, he realized I had stayed with them the night before and gave me the exact same room again. Once again a boost to my faith in humanity!

So, I hauled my stuff up to the room, called the people who would probably worry about me and then called and ordered a pizza. It was about 1:45 by then, and I hadn't eaten anything aside from the granola bar I had for breakfast.

The pizza came about 90 minutes later, and I settled in for a night in the hotel.

Here's the view from my window at about 5:00pm:
Stuck in Greeley

I'm back at the job fair now. I figured as long as I was stuck here another night, I might as well take advantage of it and try to find some more possibilities. I've walked the aisles a few times, but a lot of districts didn't come back today, including the two others I had interviews with yesterday. I am sticking with optimism and looked at all of the schools that probably wouldn't require me to move. Again, slim pickings.

I do have an interview set for 11:30 with a district that's about 40 minutes southwest of my house. Not a bad commute, but probably all canyon roads. It's a drama position, but they're salary for my level would be $7000 less than what I'm making this year. A job's a job, though, and I feel like I should stick around for it. If only because it'll hopefully give the roads more time to thaw before I head home.

Oh, and here's a kicker - they closed school early yesterday and all of today. The one time I use a personal day....

At least it's spring break next week. I'm heading out to SLC to work on "Making Waves" (and to play). Wasatch Theater Company wants to do a full production of it, and SLAC wants us to perform it, so we have a lot of work to do. Exciting, though, isn't it? So, if you missed the performance last fall, you'll get a chance to make it up to me! :)

Where was I at the beginning of this long tale? Oh, yeah. The prospects yesterday.

Basically, as in most fields, employment is grim for teachers. I am really (REALLY) glad that I'm doing this as a resident of the state and as an experienced teacher. There are two student-teachers sitting near me right now talking about where they might move to, how it would be great to get an apartment with more than one bedroom, how it "pisses [them] off" when their 8th grade students turn off the lights as they leave the room. "I'm going to write them up on it, seriously. What are they, three?"

Ah, youth. Theirs, I mean, not their students. If only turning off the lights was the worst of my students' misbehavior!

I know that I'm doing the right thing, leaving STMS. I also still believe that Denver is where I'm supposed to be. Despite the lack of opportunities even to interview, I believe I will end up exactly where I am supposed to be next year. Heidi, with her infinite and always timely wisdom, offered me this advice: Think of the absolute last day you can imagine being without a teaching job (I'm trying to make it August 30, but it's really more like August 1). Okay, that's your freak-out date. Anytime you start to panic about not having a job, stop yourself by saying "It's not August 1, so it's not time to freak out yet."

And it's working.

I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What Are You Going to Do Now?

An update:

The VP at that school emailed me today. She said my resume and email were very impressive, and I'm obviously well-qualified; but that they have an internal candidate for the position and were only going through the formalities. I'm still welcome to apply/interview, but...


Monday, March 23, 2009

Good Vibrations

I need your help!

I just discovered a job posting for a drama/English position at a high school right next to where I live.

If you don't mind, will you please send whatever prayers/happy thoughts/good wishes/groovy mojo you have available my way for this?

It's a more perfect match for me than I can hope for, and I'm terrified to hope for it, but oh! I WANT THAT JOB! and I need some encouragement.


(And thank you in advance!)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Let's Go to the Movies

A good cast AND it's written by Dave Eggers?
NOW I'm curious.


I have been around a number of things lately that remind me of one of my favorite people - Emily.

Emily and I met in our freshman year of college - we had a mutual friend (who later disappeared off the face of the earth via marriage), and we were in the same sorority. We bonded one day when we discovered a shared guilty pleasure (really guilty - we both were strangely fascinated by a truly horrible TV show, "Sweet Valley High." I know. Your respect for me just dropped a bit. I understand.), and we've been good friends for... crap. 11 years now. Seriously, are we that old?

Emily gave me a wild side and I gave her some restraint. It's because of her that I can tell people I've been clubbing and cruising the streets of Salt Lake City well after midnight. Any knowledge I have of Buffy, Roswell, and rejecting Italian men comes from her.

Emily very much enjoyed (enjoys?) llamas, so when I saw this commercial tonight, I thought again of her and decided to write this long-intended post:

Cute, isn't it?

Reason #2 Why I've Been Thinking of Emily:

I've been shopping for plane tickets and travel books for my upcoming Yay! 30! trip. Emily and I celebrated our graduation from college the year we were both 20 by backpacking Europe for 6 weeks together. If that doesn't cement a friendship for life, I don't know what does. We saw 10 countries, loads of art museums, visited Mercedes, got very sick, chased Shetland ponies, ate a ton of Chinese food, scared ourselves silly in a village in Germany, were robbed on a train going into Amsterdam, babysat a little girl who only spoke German, got caught in the rain in Paris in white outfits, spent a long night on a train with four Air Force Academy graduates (who were perfect gentlemen), got in a huge fight at Versailles, went to Disneyland Paris the next day to make up for it, and had the time of our lives. It'll be fun to see some new countries with Jason, but in a lot of ways I wish it were Emily going instead.

Plus, we got round-trip airline tickets for $600. Those were the days!

Reason # 3 Why I've Been Thinking of Emily:

For Rachel's birthday a few weeks ago, she invited me to go to a dance club with her and some friends. Many a Friday night went like this:
1) I drive to Emily's house.
2) I sit on Emily's bed and we talk while she tried on various outfits.
3) 2-4 hours later, we head out to a dance club.
4) We (and by that I mostly mean Emily) dance for a bit.
5) Leave the dance club and find some food or head back to watch a movie.

If I were the kind of person who drinks, I'm sure the dancing would have been a lot more comfortable for me. I'm all for dancing when it's choreographed - tell me what to do, and I"m fine. When it's free-form, though, it's totally out of my comfort zone. I spent the first half of the dancing with Rachel and co. moving awkwardly and watching the other people. Aside from the girl who was very seriously executing a Fosse-routine-gone-wrong, complete with bowler-hat; the old guy who was dancing exclusively and extensively with his arms; and the occasional really, really drunk people (one of whom mistook me for a banister at one point and groped me thoroughly as she stumbled down the stairs); I discovered something important: people don't move their feet much when they dance. I started to loosen up a bit more (unlike Rachel, who is an excellent dancer in all forms, and Mavi, whose awesome abandon carries into her crane-like dancing) and had a little fun. Still not comfortable, but I'm glad I went.

Reason #4 Why I've Been Thinking of Emily:

Disco Roller Skating.

Yes, you read that right, Em.

Okay, when we were in college and used to hang out with some other girls (Stephanie, Rachel, and Natasha), on more than one occasion we found ourselves spending more time debating what to do than actually doing stuff.

In a burst of creativity, Emily seized an athletic sock, drew a face on it, dubbed it Sherman, and wrote out a bunch of possible activities on slips of paper that went into Sherman. Sherman showed the bias of his creator, though, seeing as how Emily had written "Disco Roller Skating" on at least half of the papers.

Somehow, though, we never actually did that. When I found out the February ward activity was, in fact, disco roller skating, I was trepidatious (as I was every time Emily brought it up). In my new "I'm Relief Society president so I am totally into all things ward-related!" space, though, I bucked up and did the best I could to dress up for it. I put my hair up in pincurls:


and turned it into the best afro I could:


And off I went!

First of all, there is a whole different brand of freak I didn't know about that is the hard-core disco skaters.
Secondly, I had to go request that the DJ play disco music (strange, right?), and he said he wasn't really sure what disco music was, could I name some songs and he would see if he had any of those. Turns out, he did have "Dancing Queen".
Third, roller skating places haven't changed a single bit since I was last there sometime in the 7th grade. Black lighting, ugly carpet with pictures of skates on them, lockers, the smells, the concessions - all exactly the same.
Fourth, as in the last time I went skating, the only way I know how to stop is by running into the wall.
Fifth, after a few laps with my arms outstretched for balance and the wall within reach, I actually picked up speed and could keep up with the general crowd!
Sixth, I didn't fall once!

Here's the thing. It was fun. It was actually really fun! Like, I totally regret not doing it with Emily in college and now I'm hoping there's a disco skating session in Grand Junction so the next time I visit her we can go, kind of fun.

Don't get me wrong - I think about most of you dear readers often. But you can see why Emily's been on my mind in particular lately, right?

P.S. I do have some great pictures of Em, but it's past my bedtime, and I don't feel like scanning right now. Sorry!

Bless This School

Fresh from the hands of two eighth-grade girls, I give you
Confiscated Theater
(So very [sic])

Foo sum's wrong wid Ryan... :( he's not tha same no more & I was in tha process of falling 4 hem... :(

wait why what happened hun?

nun like he don't talk 2 meh he dont do nun w/ me no more... it's pissing me of! :(

well talk to him and ask him what is wrong. Maybeh he is just gong through something right now its not like him to act that way so i bet its nothing really.

ugh idk! he doesn't like do ANYTHING wit me now... I knew I shouldn't have fallen 4 hem... :( <3>

Id like I said talk to him fu! lol or do you want meh 2? and yeah you shouldn't have but you did cuz yur heart did woo that was deep.. Jaja but yeah I said I wasn't gonna fall 4 Paypay but I did... maybe kuz I did him i don know

nah I will but like :(
ugh! I felt like s*** at lunch he didn't even look at meh! :l
Why duz he gotta pull this s*** now?! :( grrr!!


Shortly after I took this note, we were moving desks back into place when one of the soccer boys stood up, pulled a bottle of punch out of his backpack, and poured the bottle of punch over his head.

Maybe it was a nonviolent protest against standardized testing?

At least his mom had a strong enough talk with him last night that he came right up to me this morning and apologized for it. Which was both rare and nice.

Also, my testing group that morning finished their exam with over 30 minutes to go. I couldn't let them leave the room since other classes were still going, and their talking noise level quickly escalated. I did the best thing I could think of on the spot to get them quiet - I hooked up the projector and started playing whatever G-rated clips I could think of online. While we were watching some of the promotional shorts for Pixar's next film, the students noticed a resemblance:

He even sounds like the kid, too!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Hold a March

While I was folding laundry tonight, thinking about how crazy-busy my life has become, it occurred to me that perhaps it's not me - maybe it's March. Maybe I am subconsciously filling my life to the brim because it's the time of year for a total lack of time. Usually it's a musical that's consuming my life. And so, since I do not have a musical to be tearing my hair out over (or making last-minute lutes from scratch), I have instead allowed myself to be filled with school and job-hunting and taxes and travel plans and lots and lots of Relief Society stuff.

Okay, when I look over that list, I feel a little guilty. It's not all bad (I really can't complain about having to shop for plane tickets so I can backpack Europe this summer). Yeah, job-hunting isn't any fun and it takes a lot of time, but I'm choosing to do it. I went to a job fair yesterday about an hour north of here. It was specifically for charter schools. I'm not too sure about working for a charter school - it will probably mean a cut in pay and may not be too stable. Still, I had five interviews, I feel really good about getting a follow-up invitation from at least two of them, and I got to practice answering all of those tedious questions prior to going to the big job fair in a little less than two weeks. I also wound up with five hours to kill between interviews, so I drove to Flatirons. I bought a new pair of Clarks shoes, walked around a lot, browsed the travel books at Borders, and took myself to lunch. It was a long day, but not a horrible one.

Relief Society is probably at fault for most of the loss of my down time. Sundays are now filled with evern more meetings - on top of the normal three hours of church (yes, my non-Mormon friends, three hours), I have two hours of meetings before church starts. Once a month is the post-church "Snack and Chat" (or "Munch and Mingle" or, the most honest version, "Feed and Flirt"), once a month is a "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" (which, contrary to the name, has nothing to do with racial tensions. It's when someone volunteers to host dinner and six other people are assigned to go there so people can meet other new people in the ward). Then, during the week there's Family Home Evenings (every Monday), a monthly book club, ward activities, temple assignments, Enrichment, and leadership trainings/meetings.

In a lot of ways, I'm glad for the calling. I wouldn't be going to any of those things (except for church itself) if I didn't feel obligated to go. I'm meeting and socializing with a lot more people, and I care about them more as well. That goes with the calling. I know that it's good for me - I'm still not a fan of large social gatherings, and this is giving me both the practice of attending and things to do while there. If I'm feeling awkward about talking to people, I can always find something to do in the kitchen or in asking someone about something I need to know. At least the calling gives me that. I just miss exercising, sleeping regularly, and having down time and such.

I told myself I would make this a short blog entry; it's after 10 and I need to be at school early tomorrow to set up my room for CSAP testing again. So, I'm going to end this for now. Hopefully, I'll have a chance to blog again soon - I still have stories to tell Emily and the rest of you.

Oh, and Happy Ides of March, and terrible luck to any of you fortunate enough to be working on a musical right now!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Am I Blue

In a nutshell -
I'm job-hunting again. Probably no surprise, but I can finally blog about it because I told my principal the news on Friday, so it's out there.

I applied for a position at one school, a charter school. I spent a long time on the application, and I got my hopes up because I knew I would be good at it and today I got a rejection via email. "Unfortunately, you are not selected as a finalist for the position."

And now I'm in a dark place again.

I can tell myself it's a good thing - the commute would have been awful (about 1 hour), it was an English job (and I need to be doing theater), and it was hardly a sure thing; but I went and got my hopes up and the employment thing is just looking bleaker and bleaker. As it is for everyone.

So, today was a bad day, and I've lost my joie de vivre again. Let me know if you see it anywhere.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

In a Little Spanish Town

I have a ton to tell you about (dancing at a club, the Oscars, parent-teacher conferences, and, yes, Emily, disco roller skating), but I also have grades due on Friday and a mountain of workbooks to grade. I promise a nice, detailed blog entry this weekend.

In the meantime, though, I need to brag about this news:

I'm going to Spain!

I was officially accepted as a volunteer for 8 days in a little Spanish village/resort outside of Madrid through the Pueblo Ingles program.

It'll be the kick-start to the Yay! 30! trip Jason and I are taking - we will rendezvous in Athens the day after my program ends, then backpack through Greece and Turkey.

All I want to do is plan the trip, but, alas, I have miles of paper to go before I sleep.

Still, whoo!