Job Search Bloopers

As I mentioned a while back, I’m currently in the process of looking for teaching work in the Washington, DC area. I’ve been fortunate to have a fair amount of interest from a number of schools – one of the things about being a chemistry teacher with a good resume. By the way, if you happen to be hiring, make me an offer! (I don’t think people who do hiring read this blog, but it’s worth a shot!)

The most striking thing about applying for work is the sheer quantity of paperwork that needs doing. If you apply for a private school job, you can expect to fill out all of the paperwork about your education, where you’ve taught, and what your shoe size is. Public school systems are a little easier, with just one application needed for all of the schools in the district. In any case, there are lots of chances for little mistakes to find their way into the paperwork.

Though this paperwork can seem daunting at times, looking for a job occasionally has its lighter and/or frustrating moments. Here are some of the ones that I’ve run into during my search so far:

  • I sent one very good school a letter in which I indicated that I’d be interested if any science teaching jobs came up. Less than an hour later, a job of this very sort came up, so I emailed them again to let them know that I was interested in it and would be at a job fair they were attending. Unfortunately, the folks running the job fair changed my name from “Ian Guch” to “Ian Guch – CANCELLED”, which made me look a little less promising. I emailed the school again to explain the situation, and they fortunately understood all that had happened and will be interviewing me next week. Phew!
  • I sent an application to Stafford County Public Schools in Virginia. Unfortunately, my son is currently attending Stratford Landing Elementary School and my cover letter mixed up the names and proudly proclaimed that I would be excited to work in “Stratford” County. When I realized my mistake, I tried to delete the uploaded cover letter on their site only to find that this isn’t possible. To fix the problem, I uploaded a new cover letter in which I explained the circumstances around my error. I ended by indicating that the best way to teach me a lesson about the difference between Stafford and Stratford would be to hire me so I’d see the name Stafford every day. Hopefully their hiring manager will have a sense of humor.
  • As a chemistry teacher, I need to have passed the Praxis II exam in chemistry. Unfortunately, I lost the paperwork that goes with this, so I contacted the ETS people who gave me the exam back in 1997 or 1998. It turns out that they don’t actually keep a record of these tests taken more than ten years ago, so employers will either have to take my expired VA teaching certificate as proof that I’ve passed (you need to pass to get the certificate) or I’ll have to take it again. Fortunately, I don’t recall that this test was particularly difficult, so if I need to take it again I won’t have any problems.
  • As I made reference to a couple of posts ago, I’ve found that some of the schools I’ve talked to have been a little nervous that the commute will be too much for me and that I won’t be able to handle it. I think I’ve managed to convince them that I don’t really mind the commute much (NPR and audiobooks for the win!) However, given DC traffic I can understand why they’re concerned.

I doubt that these will be the last unusual things that pop up during the job search, but they did manage to either get me to smile a bit, or in the case of the Praxis exam, shake my head. If anything else that’s interesting comes up, I’ll be sure to post it here.

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