A House of Cards. Alternatively Titled: How Blogging got me a Job.

This post is a little late coming or maybe too early.  I have a pretty solid fear that if I breathe wrong this whole thing will fall apart.  But I have been told several times how I am to write about how I got this job and maybe some new student teacher will read this and start blogging and that would be great. So here goes, just about everything. (my contract is in the mail so I think I will be okay)

Last year in May I started blogging.  I wrote about student teaching and what that felt like but mostly I wrote about funny things my kids did because truthfully I found them hilarious and you can only tell your friends the same story so many times before they actually start throwing things at your head.  I had many friends and family read the blog and then more than that friends of friends and family of friends and so forth.  Well turns of my friend knows the head of a school and she read my blog.  She offered to talk to me about job hunting advice and what not.  Though, with busy schedules I was hired before I got to talk to her and wrote it off as a nice gesture.

Well when I lost my job again I got this email:

Sophie,
Loved your blog and showed it to my friend [Head of School]who runs [this school], an incredibly wonderful girls’ high school who believes all the same things you do.  She may have a position and if you’re interested, you should send her an application. You and [Head of School] would be amazing together.  Besides, [school] looks like Hogwarts!  :)  Let me know what you think.  Hope all is well and miss you!

[best most supportive person ever]

So after some serious thought, I sent in an app and a cover letter.  They didn’t have a position for me really but I sent it anyway.

I got several nice replies but not a job and that was okay.  It was a shot in the dark.  So I kept applying to public schools and got a couple interviews.

The first sucked. hard.  I liked the school in theory but I left feeling uncomfortable and like a bad teacher.  So here’s a little advice for interviewing teachers: If they make you feel like crap and doubt yourself you don’t want that job anyway.

Then the second was good.  It was a high school job in a population I would have liked.  They actually liked me enough to email me because my phone wasn’t working. So I went and interviewed.  It was solid.  I liked them and their attitudes.  They called me 3 hours later and offered me the job.  I asked for the weekend to come check out the area. The more I thought about it the more I was going to take it.  It wasn’t the best job but it was a job.  In California, teaching high school, which I wanted to try.  It was not to far from where I am now.  It was solid.  It was a good choice.  I wouldn’t be scared anymore.

But I was going to wait til Monday.  I was going to take my weekend and think.  The next day on my way to a party I received this:

Dear Ms. Germain,

The Head of our School has followed your blog with great enthusiasm.  When you posted that you were looking for a job, she asked me, “Couldn’t we just create a job for Sophie – she sounds awesome!”  My job is to be the dull, conservative one in such conversations, and so we did not contact you.

Just today, we received word that a math teacher will not be joining us, and we immediately thought of you.  So, let me tell you a little about us in the hope that a) you are still looking and b) we might be of interest.

Our [School] is one of the country’s leading girls’ boarding schools.  Located in stunningly beautiful buildings high on a hill looking over [Location], [Our School] gathers students from across the country and around the world and provides them splendid opportunities to learn in and out of the classroom.

We are now looking for someone who can teach math in an energetic and innovative way, which seems to be your specialty.  As we have a number of experienced teachers, we would enjoy bringing in someone who is just starting her career.

Teaching at an independent school may not be what you set off to do in life.  It is not what I aimed to do:  I went to a fine public school, got my teaching license, and figured I would end up at a school like the one I attended.  I paid for my degree by working in an independent school, however, and I found a wonderful school world, much like the world you would find at [Our School].  Our classes are small – typically, twelve to sixteen students.  Teaching loads are reasonable – four sections with two preps are usual.  We are active in our school community, coaching and advising and running clubs.  It is a wonderful life.

Our salaries are competitive for independent schools and include an unusual bonus – we provide housing as we are a boarding school.

I am a relative new arrival at [Our School], having begun work here a year ago.  I have found my new colleagues to be singularly dedicated, compassionate, articulate, and full of good humor.  I will admit that this snowy winter has tested that good humor, but we remain in good spirits.

I hope what I have written above increases your interest in [Our School].  If so, I kindly ask you contact me at [Contact].

And if you have already secured a job … we look forward to reading your blog!

[signed, nicest people ever]

Well, I sat at the party and stewed.  After all I had just been offered another job.  What was I going to do?  Pick up my whole life and move across the country?  I mean my life is REALLY REALLY good.  I was at a party for christ sakes.  It has taken me a year to make friends and all that.  Anyway, after talking to everyone at the party it seemed like at the very least I had to call these people.  So I did.

I went home and called and talked and asked questions and talked more.  I really felt good about his answers about the school and I think he was good on mine.

Now, I still had to go to the school and teach a demo lesson.  I had to meet a ton of people and I liked all of them.  Here’s what sold me on them:  I had interviewed at another private school and done the same thing.  I taught a lesson and then met with a big chunk of the staff.  At one point during the day at the other school I said to a teacher, “I have met about 30 people on the staff do you all get some say in my hiring?”  She told me no, it didn’t really matter what they thought. At my new school I asked the same thing. A teacher responded, “Yea, I will meet with [email guy] later and tell him what I think.”  That was it.  I was sold.  I wanted to be at a place like that.

There were many other things that sold me on the school including but not limited to the other teachers, the head of school (most impressive woman I’ve EVER met), the person who hired me, the physical campus, the girls, the boarding aspect, the math department’s philosophy and the women I met that were alumna.

So in about 30 days I ship my stuff east and move down to San Diego for a month.  I then move east to reunite with my stuff at the end of August at my new job which I got because I blog.

Moral of the story: Be yourself and you may just get a job based on who you are which may just be the best way to get one.

6 thoughts on “A House of Cards. Alternatively Titled: How Blogging got me a Job.

  1. Congrats! What a great story! Your school sounds so much like the school where I teach. It is the most amazing school. I am treated like a professional (like the person who gets to tell email guy what they thought about you) and I have never been with a more dedicated and enthusiastic staff. It’s like I teach with all of the amazing teachers that I interact with on Twitter all of the time. My advice to you (even if you didn’t ask) is to never stop being who you are. You are new and will have the new ideas. If your school is as great as I think it is, they will all love your new ideas and even adopt them! When I came to my school no one used GDocs. Now, everything we do is on GDocs. And that is just one very small example. Go make a difference! I can’t wait to hear about your adventures next year!

  2. Congratulations! How exciting and wonderful. Sharing your story is inspirational. And I have been teaching/educating for 33 years! I want to go to your new school. Thank you for sharing and have a grand time!

  3. The email, from the most supportive person ever, was obviously from one of two people. Was it the one that I know REALLY well, or the one that I know almost-but-not-quite as well?

  4. Congratulations! I’m thrilled for you to be in a place that values you, what you have accomplished so far, and what you will accomplish in the future. What a perfect fit for you both, I think! Thanks for sharing how it all happened.

  5. Congratulations! On an oddly related note, I was hoping it wouldn’t be rude to reach out to your community of readers who might not be as lucky as you to have found a great fit. I am a math teacher at an amazing public high school in New York City (The James Baldwin School). We are looking for a math candidate that would thrive in a small school where teachers are trusted and empowered to create their own curriculum and work collaboratively. If anyone is interested in learning more about the school, please send an email to johnpschaefer@gmail.com.

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