Wednesday, I went to a teacher fair at the Tacoma Dome. It was a whirlwind. Six hours of nonstop walking in high heels, smiling, handshaking, résumé producing, making friends in line, repeated anecdote sharing, and interviewing of the formal and informal variety. By the end of the day, my voice was shot, but it was worth it.
I’d briefly considered what I would do if confronted by someone from my old district. I’d seen their name on the list of districts attending. When chatting with my new friends in line (a 50-something math teacher and a 20-something first-grade teacher), a woman came strolling by the line, announcing openings at her district. What would you know; it was my old one. I ignored her, and made a snarky under-my-breath comment to my companions. I had just finished sharing my experiences there.
Finally in the arena, I strategized. Starting with the districts closest to me in proximity and filling the remainder of my time with whichever had English openings, I began perusing the aisles. Generally I read a district’s name, approached them with a smile and a handshake, and asked if they were hiring English teachers.
In the entire six hours, one woman locked eyes with me and introduced herself without me taking the initiative. I asked what district she represented.
Of course. She worked for The District That Shall Not Be Named (out of respect for the good people who work there, and there are some. I’ve already ripped them a new one. If you really want to know, ask me.)
I didn’t have time to strategize or consider past potential comebacks. Rather, I plastered a bigger smile on my face, placed my left hand on top of our intertwined hands, and perkily chirped, “Oh, thank you so much, but I’ve already done my time there,” and walked away. Mentally brushing off my shoulder.
It felt so good. Something akin to closure. A way to be a bitch without going into detail. After all, I could have said, “Your district had me fantasizing about crashing my car into a tree so I wouldn’t have to return to school.”
I acknowledge this woman most likely had nothing to do with my experience at that district. I didn’t even recognize her. I imagine she read my career fair-issued name tag and returned to her colleagues, saying, “I just got the weirdest response from this Andrea person …”
And then that experience — and my experience at that district overall — promptly became one of my anecdotes when I interviewed at two school districts.
And guess what? They loved me.