Monday, May 10, 2010

It ain't no Ren Fair

If only the Teacher Fairs were more like REAL fairs: goofy booths where you can win prizes (like a job! yippee!), quaint but completely safe rides and maybe jugglers and unicyclists zipping around. We gotta have SOMETHING to keep us entertained while we wait in lines for hours.

Call me cynical, but I'm not totally sold on teacher job fairs. I suppose it's one opportunity for schools to collect many resumes all at once, rather than getting them in fits & starts via prospective employees mailing them in over time. You could argue that they get to put a face to a name, but to that I say: REALLY!?! It's a nice thought, but after they've seen umpti-billion brand new faces looking at a trillion different courses, do they REALLY remember my face or ANYTHING about me?

Maybe those principals put those resumes in a special pile as their "go to" file, with the idea that at least these people made the effort for some face time (as one principal there told me he did). I guess there is that. But still. The first teacher fair I went to was a complete catastrophe; the county had never done one before and grossly underestimated how many people would be there. Everything was just frantic and a tad hassled. The fair I attended today was at least more calm and organized, though my complaint is that it was held on a school day at a school. All these prospective job candidates are now competing with students, faculty, and visitors for parking spaces. I digress. Overall, it was still okay, but I just end up leaving and thinking, "Did that really do any good?"

Ultimately, a job fair means standing in line for approximately 2+ hours in order to get a total of (maybe) 15 minute actual face time with an administrator. They didn't really learn anything about me that wasn't on my resume, and I didn't learn anything about them, either. They probably won't remember my face if they do call me in for an interview. (If you haven't noticed yet, I'm naturally quite cynical.)

Have you ever attended a teacher fair? What do you think?


  1. I've never actually been to a teacher fair but I've heard horror stories (and a few raves) about them. Like at one where one of my friends was in line behind a woman wearing a midriff-baring shirt that revealed a couple of tats and a belly ring. They started talking about the line and the crowd, and somehow my friend managed to ask her about her apparel. The woman shrugged. "I'm math," she said. "I'd get a job if I showed up naked."


  2. Yes! I actually connected with the very first school district I worked for at a teacher job fair. It was hosted by my alma mater - Michigan State University. There were TONS of school districts from all over the country there and I met some teachers from a county in Virginia, connected with them quickly, they asked if I could fly down for an interview, I flew down the week after I graduated, I interviewed at 3 different middle schools and got to CHOOSE which one I wanted to work for! It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I am SO thankful it life would not be the same. I remember being SO nervous when I flew back to Michigan and thought, "What do I do?!?" I am so glad I took a risk and moved there to teach...I taught there for three years, got to be a part of opening a NEW middle school the second year I was there, and I met my husband!!

  3. RKS, you win the award for most inspiring reason to attend a teacher fair! p.s. Where in VA did you teach, may I ask?

    teachin', you win the award for best OMG moment at a teacher fair!!

  4. The first one I went to, I came out all excited because I thought I had two job offers!

    Both acted like I developed some sort of communicable disease afterwards and barely responded to emails I sent to follow up. I did end up bullying them into interviews, but they were a total waste of my time. One, my aunt explained to me latter, gave the "Third interview" - meaning they already had their candidate picked out, but had to do at least three interviews to make it look like they were finding the best candidate.

    The people I met at the fair claimed to be administrators, but were really just HR people. Totally disappointing.