Yesterday's post may have been a little long- perhaps I should have broken it into smaller pieces. But if you only scanned it during your planning time here's the important parts:
1) The school system managed to lose the box that contained my contract, and the contracts of about 100 other teachers who had been given early hire contracts.
2) While trying fix this and find us positions they sent us to schools all over the city, however, when we arrived at these schools they did not actually have openings. Nor did they have any interest in interviewing us. In some cases the Board of Ed hadn't even told them to expect a visitor.
3) The NY Board of Ed is a scary, disorganized bureaucracy where teachers get yelled at for mistakes they did not make (which I observed time and time again in my hours of sitting and waiting)
4) While I started off the process excited and naively sure I could handle all of it, I was slowly starting to lose all hope.
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That afternoon, exhausted from my long commute, navigating my way to schools only to hear they were not hiring, and then hearing that I'd get a job, just not in September, I hopped on the commuter train back to New Jersey. I was talking on the phone to a good friend, who had accepted a job at a Montessori school in our college town. A job I'd originally been offered, but had turned down to move to New York. I was really regretting that move.
Relieved to be talking to a familiar, friendly voice I heard myself say, "I don't know, maybe I should just give it all up and move back to Virginia. Maybe I'm not cut out to be in New York City." As the words passed over my lips I immediately regretted them. I could see passengers on the train turn and look at me with sympathetic, yet curious pity. I tried to ignore them in order to give full details in the saga of the day as the train slowly pulled away from the station. I stayed on the phone as I handed my ticket to the conductor, who looked at my ticket and said, "Miss, you're on the wrong train"
No, I wasn't. I'd been taking this train every day for 2 weeks. I wasn't wrong.
"You're going the wrong way" he explained in an exasperated, New York way, and pointed to the map. "This train is an express into New York- the next stop isn't for 30 minutes"
I could feel the tears start to run. How had I possibly been on the wrong train? The wrong train that would take me 30 minutes away from my destination before I could get off and correct my mistake.
The conductor moved on, not really caring about my plight. I stared into the air, telling myself not to cry, I would survive. Suddenly I heard a voice in front of me,
"Jump!" a man directed, looking at me. "They haven't shut the doors yet. Jump!"
I looked at him as though he was crazy, but the other passengers on the train also looked up and agreed,
"Sweetheart, just jump!" they chimed in.
I looked around the train at the car of people who'd already shot me looks of pity when I'd wondered if I should just move back to Virginia. Now they all looked at me with hope, as though telling me to jump off a moving train was their good Samaritan duty of the day.
I had no choice. I gathered my things, and stood at the door of the train. We'd left the station, but it was going slowly...
"You'd better hurry or they're going to speed up" the man who'd originally come up with this brilliant plan announced.
And so I did.
I jumped off a moving train.
A slow moving train, but a moving train none-the-less.
I stood in the gravel wondering what I was thinking. I now had a hike back to the station, which I suppose was better than an hour of riding a train out and back.
What was I thinking about moving to New York? I felt like I couldn't give up just then- I'd given the city too much time, too much energy, and too much effort to back down now. So New York City Public Schools was making it difficult for me to get a job- there were other schools in NY, and other options. Why limit myself? That night I went home and started to send out my resume to jobs posting on craigslist and other message boards. The next day, during my daily adventures in the city, I got a call from a Head Start school in Queens, requesting an interview for the following day.
Take that! I wanted to yell. I was totally back in the game. I was going to an interview that had an actual opening. An interview where I'd not just speak to a busy teacher, but to a panel of parents, teachers, and the principal. AND, I'd get to teach a lesson to the children.
Teaching- what had originally inspired this whole fiasco to begin with. I was totally back in the game.
*** to be continued***