I even held out some hope that I might be hired at the beginning of 2009, when the new semester began. I interviewed for one high school English position that looked like an ideal situation with a Feb. 1, 2009, starting date. That position went to a teacher who came out of retirement.
As summer arrived with still no job in sight, I turned again, more seriously to teaching positions. Unfortunately, the state was slashing its budget and local school systems were laying off teachers, not hiring them. Still, a few positions popped up. I applied for positions teaching English in high schools, middle schools and alternative schools. My 30-plus years of experience as a newspaper editor was analogous, in many ways, to teaching English. I can't tell you how many times I had to explain to new reporters the importance of pronoun-antecedent agreement, subject-predicate agreement, pronoun case, parallelism, clarity or other nuances of good writing. I also had some college-level teaching experience on my resume.
But with the tolling of school bells last week, my last, best hopes for a teaching job have evaporated like the early morning fog at a bus stop. I had no illusions that teaching would be easy. I would have to complete eight courses in three years in order to earn a license. My daughters, both of whom taught in public schools, warned me that classrooms and students have changed a lot since my day. But I still was interested in giving it a try. The right position could be challenging and exciting. It would mesh with my love of literature and writing. And state benefits would be nice to have.
This morning, I checked the Web sites of area school districts again. The only English jobs within commuting distance are ones I have already applied for. Classes have begun. Positions are filled. A teaching job, my "hold card," looks more and more like a joker.