01 June 2011

A lesson from the Alanis Morissette School of Irony*

*Or, situations that aren't really ironic at all, but simply bad luck.

The teaching job hunt has begun. For those of you who don't know, I'm living in Michigan and with our current political climate, this is what appears to be the start of a brow-furrowing and potentially dismal summer. And I do say "brow-furrowing" and "dismal" with every ounce of optimism I have left. Amid the sea of pink slips, budget cuts, and stalled contract negotiations, I'm still grasping at every straw of hope there is, no matter how short or slippery. Yesterday, there was what seemed to be a promising bright spot.

As I checked my usual places for job postings, which usually results in little at this time of the year anyway, I came across a sudden landslide of teaching postings. A veritable landslide. There must have been twenty postings, all from one district, and it was glorious. I scrambled to click through them all. Grade 2 teacher. Grade 4 teacher. Mathematics teacher. On and on, until there it was. English teacher. 2 positions. The Holy Grail, if you will. The ultimate boon.

I was flooded with excitement first and then with a little bit of doubt. It appeared that these positions were legitimate, but the sheer numbers in which they came forth made me raise an eyebrow. I investigated further. Were these postings actually for some obscure endorsement combination, like English and Agriscience? Nope, just English/Language Arts. Did it appear that the school district actually intended on paying a person for the job? Yes. And even if they didn't, would that make or break a job offer for me? Well, yes, but check my answer again in a year if I still haven't gotten a job. Where was this district? Not in Menominee, like the one other job posting yesterday. (Nothing against Menominee, but that would put me smack dab in the middle of Michigan and Wisconsin, which sounds quite like some sick version of public service employee purgatory.)

Everything seemed to point in the right direction, so I updated my resume. I researched the district, read their annual reports to see what they had been investing their time in recently and how I could contribute to that, and did all of the other usual prep. As I finished up my cover letter, I clicked back to the job posting to see where I needed to send everything.

And just like that, it was gone.

The job posting, and every other job posting from that district, was gone. It was as if they had never been there at all.

At first, I thought, Well, someone must have given Rick Snyder their Human Resources login, and he thought he'd try his hand at irony. But it's really not ironic at all, not by definition. It's just sad.