Between Podunk and BFE
I was offered a job teaching English in a very rural district, and so my first consideration was:
How rural do I really want to go?
Let’s talk about how rural this district is. About 20 minutes down the freeway is a little town we’ll call Empryville. This is not where I was offered a job.
Drive past a field, and we’ll reach another town we’ll call the Middle of Nowhere. This is not where I was offered a job, either.
Drive another 10 minutes past an orange grove or two and we’ll find an even smaller town called Podunk. This is where I was offered a job.
To get to the high school, I have to turn at the corner of “charcoal-mural-of-a-steam-powered-train” and “sign-that-says-‘Jesus-is-Lord-of-Podunk.'”
All told, the assisstant superintendent assures me the commute is no more than 40 minutes, total. During our famously fatal winter fog, I figure that a safe commute will end up more like an hour.
Podunk is small enough that it has a joint high school with an even smaller town called BFE. They have five elementary schools between them.
Where BFE-Podunk Joint Unified has the advantage is that they’ve already offered me a job. Teaching English. They even seemed pretty excited.
This might yet be a ruse. When the assisstant superintendent and a principal went behind the display to discuss the possibility of hiring me on the spot, I was reminded of the scene from Fargo where William H. Macy’s character goes back to “run it by the boss.”
I told this to another Podunk administrator. She laughed. She also didn’t dissuade me.
They had a huge display, even though their high school couldn’t have more than 1,000 students. Their set-up rivaled districts more than twice their size.
Their interview had been coupled with one of those Internet teacher surveys, and a conservative guess would say I answered at least 60 questions total. They also liked me, or so they said. I couldn’t help but think I was being played. Remember Fargo.
Who really wants that 40-minute commute, or, even worse, to relocate? Sure, they pay a little more than other districts, but gas prices negate any financial advantages. There must be a point where the little districts will take just about anyone wandering by.
I hope that impression is unfair, because I’m seriously considering accepting this job. What worries me is that they also told me this:
Kids here want to learn, and their parents are very, very supportive.
That’s either a convincing lie or too good to pass up. I have an appointment Friday.