I got my rejection letter from Free State High School today, and interviewed at Highland Park High School in Topeka.
The interview was first, and so that's what I'm going to write about first. That and I don't want to tackle the letter just yet.
The interview went well, I thought. Of course, I thought the same about the Free State and South interviews. There are a couple of disadvantages of working at Highland Park: 1. It is half an hour to drive there from here. That's an hour per day, ten per week. I could probably arrange to car pool, saving on the gas bill, but adding to the ride time. No chance of biking to work at this place. The other disadvantage is, as the interviewer told me, that more than 60% of the students are minorities, and about 35% of them are from "poor" homes. Their standardized test scores are improving, but not as fast as the goals are going up. It seems that good things are happening in that school, and it wouldn't be a bad place to work. I could live with teaching minorities. After all, I spent the last twelve years being a minority.
Still, I hope that I will get a job in Lawrence. My time will already be tight with a new job, studies, and my girls.
Speaking of the girls, I dropped them off at Gage Park before going to the interview, then joined them afterwards. We had hot dogs, and went to the zoo. It was a fun afternoon. Then we joined my Aunt Becky and Uncle Don for dinner at the Coyote Canyon. It is an "American Buffet," as Uncle Don put it. They had steak, pork roast, fried catfish, plenty of vegetables, potatoes, and a new treat for me: deep fried macaroni and cheese. I had no idea what it was when I picked it up, other than it was a little deep fried puck. Imagine my delight when I bit into it and found everyone's favorite comfort food, surrounded by a crispy, golden shell. Maxine liked it, too. As usual, I ate too much. Made the drive back from Topeka a little long, but we made it.
When I got home, there was a message on the machine. The most recent addition to our jewelry staff called in sick today. Again. All week she's called in sick, and tonight there was no one to close. So I went to work for a couple of hours. I wanted to get through some of our sunglasses before Memorial Day Weekend hits hard.
When I got home, I went and got the mail. I knew what was inside the envelope from Free State High School without even opening it. The second rejection letter hurts more than the first, for a few reasons. The first reason is the most shallow: it's totally a form letter. I'm pretty sure the first one was, too, but it said things like, "Our decision is likely to be disappointing to you, but in view of the high quality of the candidates, you should not regard it as any reflection of you or your abilities." Whereas the second said, "While you have commendable qualifications, we have selected another candidate for the position at Lawrence Free State," along with two thank-yous for my interest in their school. I know, it shouldn't be a big deal, and it's not. But it's a difference in courtesy that would cost them very little effort. Or maybe not. Maybe they had so many applicants that anything more would have been a waste of time.
They also told me at the time that it was a screening interview, with call-backs within a week. If they followed through on that, I didn't even make call-backs. Ouch. Though I can imagine that they called back candidates in the order that they wanted to hire them, and stopped when they had both positions filled.
There's the other painful thing: they had two positions. That means three of the six positions in the district have been filled.
I think the worst thing about it is that it feels like the beginning of a downward trend.
I am sure that I will feel better tomorrow. After all, this means that my three toughest competitors are out of the race. I know that God has planned the right job for me, and I'm trusting God to lead me to it. But it sometimes feels like walking through a dark room, being led by someone holding my hand. I know that God isn't in the dark. I know that God isn't going to run me into stuff and then fall on the floor laughing. But I'm still so used to trusting my eyes that it's hard to walk without them.
So pray for me, please. Pray that God will lead me steadily and surely, and pray that I will follow just as steadily and surely. Because right now I feel very unsteady, and while I know that the unsteadiness is in me rather than the path I cannot see, it is still making my metaphorical tummy a bit queasy. As well as my real tummy.
p.s. Tomorrow I'll post some pictures from the zoo trip. If I don't, complain!