What Ever Happened to Professional Courtesy?

A few months ago, I applied to be a long-term sub at a local school.  I didn’t get the gig (it went to the intern working under the teacher who was leaving, which makes perfect sense to me), but after I got word that I’d been passed over, I sent a polite, professional email to the department head asking for feedback about my interview.  When I didn’t hear anything back from her (which seemed incongruous, given the impression she gave me when we met), I re-sent the email (with a preface saying I wasn’t sure it sent correctly the first time, to let her save face).  I have yet to hear a peep back.

Then, a few weeks ago, I caught wind of a job opening at a different nearby school district.  I put together a packet of all the things the posting asked for, crafted a solid cover letter, put everything in a professional folder, put that in a nice envelope, put on some nice clothes, and drove the packet to the district office.  That afternoon, I followed up on the delivery with a short, polite note to the principal of the school in question, introducing myself, directing him to my website, and making myself available at his convenience to meet or talk on the phone.

Here’s what I want to know; just how fucking hard is it to hit “reply” and send back a quick “thank you for your interest in our school; I look forward to reading your resume” note?  Not that hard, one would think, but I’ve gotten precisely bupkis from this guy.  Nothing.  Are you old enough to remember getting post card confirmations that your resume had been received by personnel offices?  Yeah; that doesn’t happen anymore, either.

Flapping in the breeze is a very uncomfortable feeling.  I get that the market is flooded, and I get that employers can afford to be dismissive and impolite to job seekers, but that doesn’t make it right.  At the very least, let us know that our resumes got to someone’s desk and please, if someone sends you a personal email, do them the basic courtesy of a brief reply.  So many of us are putting our hearts out on the block for impossibly long stretches of time; don’t further demoralize us by ignoring our communications and pretending we don’t exist.




Filed under dumbassery, ethics, failure, I can't make this shit up..., job hunting, out in the real world, really?!, You're kidding...right?

9 responses to “What Ever Happened to Professional Courtesy?

  1. Anonymous

    Wait… you directed him to this website? And then posted that post?

    • Of COURSE not! I have a website set up under my real name that contains my CV and certifications. Really, what do you think of me?

      • Anonymous

        Mrs. Chili,

        Speaking of professional courtesy… ouch. That was me, above. I was sick when I wrote that. (And the dog ate my homework, and I ignored the 24 hour rule… etc, etc.) My apologies. If I had thought for more than five seconds before I posted, I would have had my answer.

        I love your site. Over the past several years you’ve changed what happens in my classroom and how I think about teaching. Thank you for that.

        Again – oops. BIG oops.

      • Pfft; think nothing of it. I do work really hard to keep my online and real-life identities separate, though over the years there’s been more and more overlap (as I’ve met blog friends in real life).

        thank you for the kind words.

  2. I have always been frustrated by this. I have done the same only to never hear a word. Some places set up an automatic response to email submissions. But, I have been left to wonder so many times. It is demoralizing not to know why you were not selected for a campus visit. I am one that feel like I have solid credentials; however, I have been ignored so many times. I sit around thinking about my cover or CV. I think did I try too hard or seem too cocky. What is it about my credentials that did not warrant a response. I have a theory that I have been meaning to blog about.

  3. Pingback: Quick Hit: FINALLY | A Teacher's Education

  4. Prof G

    I realize this post is years out of date, but having relate to experience I thought this might help others.
    I have been fortunate, when began my teaching career, during the nineties, few states used electronic “pre-screening” technology. Back then I never sent a standard cover letter, I created several eye catching introductory artifacts, a crossword puzzle (questions based on “then” current education buzz words, a set of trivia questions with “Ask me!” Tag line.) Today’s employment climate is vigorous, but technology based.
    The principal of a school seldom screens candidate applications, they don’t have the time & an alternative system has been created to “cull” the herd, so to speak. Additionally, they have been isolated by this system & incolcated by their districts to ignore direct contact and only to work through the approved system.
    Hopefully, 2 years after your initial posting you have landed the teaching position you were so ardently seeking. For all the “newbies” out there, use teacher-teacher.com and select alternative, private, charter, for your initial search. These institutions pay less and often have more difficult populations, but they are solid gold for building a reputation as an educator. Furthermore, the probability of meeting the individual (principal) responsible for hiring is far greater than pupils schools.
    Be patient, it’ll take a while but possible positions will appear. Apply as per the system’s process.
    Best of luck
    Prof. G

    • Prof G

      Apologies for poor grammar in first few sentences. Consider it proof positive that proof reading is a must. LOL

      • Prof G, I DO have a job, but it’s not one I think I’m going to keep past June; the culture of the school is not a good fit for me.

        When I clicked on your teacher-teacher.com link, it sent me to a clearinghouse sort of site; is that what you intended?

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