I’ve been planning to write this entry for quite a while because I want to share with all three of my readers the amazing way that God has orchestrated these “next steps” for me (although, all three readers probably know this already). Maybe I’m actually writing this for me, so in the days to come I remember that I am right where He wants me to be.
Anyway, the story begins in February. Over Christmas break I polished my resume and started researching school divisions. I eventually made a list of everywhere I wanted to apply, and wrote thirty-seven unique cover letters. Yes, I did. Thirty-seven.
During the months of February and March I sent in applications to those 37 school divisions and this was not a simple task. I still think the Commonwealth of Virginia needs to develop a single online application for public school jobs and then let applicants check a box next to those divisions to which they want their application sent. Maybe someday…
The time between then and the middle of May is a bit of a blur. I was busy with school, so I didn’t have time to become that discouraged by the fact that not much was happening with regard to those applications. I did have a few screening interviews and received positive feedback from those, but later found out that screening interviews have VERY little to do with hiring decisions. By the time I figured this , it was the first week of May. I had completed all my grad school work, and I finally had the opportunity to invest all my energy into Operation Get a Job.
I must say that the realization that graduation was upon me and I still had no “real” leads on a job led to a bit of panic. So what did I do? I pulled out a map of Virginia’s school divisions, and starting with the Grundy, systematically worked my way through each division from the far west to the eastern shore. I looked up every district on the web and decided then and there that no matter how awful the location, I would apply everywhere that had an opening posted. What a horrific list. Seriously. I wanted to cry as I filled out [PAPER!] applications to some of Virginia’s most rural and unappealing areas, trying to convince myself that it wouldn’t be so bad to live there. I prayed a lot while I filled out those applications. You see, more than anything, I wanted to be in Northern Virginia. It seemed the best choice for a single person and many of my Grove City friends now live there. Many of my screening interviews were for districts in NOVA and, as I said before, those interviews went quite well. Unfortunately, I knew that there were no guarantees. Some divisions told me right away that they weren’t going to post their list of openings until July 1 and a principal in another division let me know that over 100 people had contacted him about an anticipated opening at his school. I knew it was going to be a long shot, and it was likely that even if I got an offer from a school up there it wouldn’t be before mid-August.
So I mailed all those applications on Monday, May 10. On Thursday I got a phone call from one of those horrid divisions. They don’t even have internet at school….well, they have dial-up. Their goal for the next two years is to get a broadband connection. Um, WHAT? I was seriously depressed. Then later that day another school in a more populated area gave me a call and asked for an interview. I signed up for Thursday, May 20. I was pretty excited about the sound of that one. It was a city I would be happy to live in, and the school looked nice even though it was an elementary school. Then on Friday I got another phone call, this one from Rockbridge County High School. I scheduled it for Tuesday the 18th.
I graduated the Sunday and drove home to Blacksburg on Monday. While I was driving home, I got another call from a school in the Winchester area. That interview was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.
Tuesday’s interview went very well, although at the time I didn’t know how well. It was unlike any of the interviews I had had up to the point – it lasted over an hour and I felt quite comfortable talking with the other counselors and the principal.
On Wednesday I drove up to Winchester for my next interview. This one was nothing like the RCHS. When I arrived at the end of the school day I learned that the principal wasn’t even on site. I sat in the conference room with the assistant principal and five teachers (and the principal on speakerphone). I don’t want to say bad things about the school, but this interview frustrated me. First of all, I drove almost four hours for a 20 minute long interview and the person who would ultimately be making the hiring decision wasn’t even there. Secondly, while the teachers were friendly, they clearly had no idea what a school counselor was supposed to do and they did not like the one who was leaving. Finally, the questions they asked me were read from a list and did nothing to help me understand the school better. I also didn’t have a chance to ask any questions because the next interview was set to begin (the guy got there before mine started and they didn’t want to get behind). Before I left I did manage to ask what the process would be from here on out, and the assistant principal told me they would make their final decision by the end of next week and would let me know by telephone if they were offering me the position.
Thursday, May 20, was quite a day. I was staying at Aunt Lisa and Uncle Bucky’s house in Herndon because it made more sense to say in NoVa before driving to Charlottesville for the next interview instead of going all the way back to Blacksburg. I was packing up my stuff around 10am when my phone rang. I will always remember sitting in the guest room at the Ray’s house listening to Jennifer Weaver offer me the job at RCHS. I can’t remember much about the conversation, but I do remember the overwhelming sense of relief that I felt in that moment. Although I didn’t accept the job immediately, I knew right then that no matter what happened with the rest of my interviews, I would be employed in September.
Later that day I had my interview with the Charlottesville elementary school. Honestly, it wasn’t that great. I think I answered questions well, but as soon as I walked into the building and met the principal I knew I didn’t want to work there. That, coupled with the job offer already on the table, helped me not be nervous at all, but I probably looked like I didn’t care very much….and I didn’t. Then, as I drove back to Blacksburg, the secretary from the Winchester school called and asked if I could come back the next day for a final interview. My response….”Ummmmmm that’s not going to work.” Then I told her I had another offer that I was going to accept.
Seriously though? I drive four hours for a twenty minute PHONE interview (essentially)….you tell me that this interview is the only interview….then you change your mind and want me to come again 48 hours later???? Praise God that I already had an offer. The way the school handled the interview process made it clear that it would not be a good place to work.
To try to keep an already extremely long story from getting even longer, I will end here. In three weeks I will be moving to Lexington to be the 9th grade counselor at RCHS. I have met many staff members already and I think I am going to love this job. God clearly had His hand in the job search, and while I never prayed to be in Lexington and there are still things about it that worry me, I know that it is where I am supposed to be.
Once I move in I will post about the way God was faithful in finding me a place to live and all the amazing details of THAT journey. It’s a TINY apartment, but it’ll work for me. I’ll try to post pics when it finally starts looking homey.