Monthly Archives: May 2006

Still Nuthin’!

I’m not holding out on you, Dear Readers, I swear. I promised I’d let you know as soon as I heard something from the job front and, well, I haven’t really heard anything yet.

I got a message from Sam, my university supervisor, today saying that he had been called this morning for a reference check and that I should be expecting a call from the principal soon to set up a second interview. I was really hoping that call would come yesterday but, as Yukon Cornelius would say, “Nuthin’!” It’s ten to three right now, too, so I suspect today isn’t going to be the day, either.

I WILL be called – of this I am all but sure. When that call might come, however, is another matter entirely. I’ll let you know when it does, though. Thanks for waiting with me.

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Tom Petty Was Right

The waiting IS the hardest part.

Friday, I got phone calls from both Wayfarer and CT, telling me that the people from one of the schools I interviewed with last week had called them to check my references.

This is as far as I’ve gotten in an interview thus far. Of course, I’ve only interviewed in three schools thus far, so I guess it’s not as momentous as it felt last week. Still, it bodes well for the possiblity of my employment for this coming school year.

Wayfarer and CT both said that the principal told them the field had been narrowed from eighty-something to four. They also said that he’d told them the school was planning to sechedule round two this week.

I’m hoping to come back from step class this morning to a message on my machine. When it comes, I’ll post. Until then, thanks for waiting with me.


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Need I say more?


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Adventures in Interviewing

SO! I had my third interview (I3) yesterday at the high school in my home town. I had really high hopes for this place in particular; it’s spittin’ distance from my house, I know someone who works there and, well, I just thought it’d be an ideal situation.

The thing is, though? I got a MUCH better vibe from the folks over at Interview Number Two, even though their school is a ten minute drive away and has a less-than-ideal reputation for both academic standards and teacher retention. I was greeted warmly, the interview was less of a question-and-answer session and more of a conversation, and the people I met with were really excited and enthusiastic about the work we do.

I took a lot of risks that seemed to pay off in I2 that didn’t go over as well in I3. One of the questions I was asked in I2 was what I would teach for the first week or so of classes. I told them that I wouldn’t teach anything the first week – that the first week is devoted to getting to know each other – building community and trust and establishing rules and guidelines for behavior, creating an environment where learning can happen. I spoke about how important it is that I know my students – their voices, their speaking and writing styles, what is important in their lives – in order to teach them effectively. One of my interviewers mentioned that I spoke a lot about how important it is for me to make connections with my students, and about how I find it difficult – and unnecessary – to separate my work as a teacher and my work as a parent. The interviewer noted that one of the reasons he wanted to interview me specifically is because of lines in my cover letter that say “an essential component of education is the growth and maturity that students gain along the way, and I take my responsibility as the adult in the classroom very seriously. The connections made in the classroom are, I believe, equally as important as the connections students make to literature.”

I’ve been told by a couple of people that this was a gutsy thing to put in my cover letter. CT told me that a lot of administrators would read those sentences and decide out of hand that I’m not the right candidate for their jobs, so I find it interesting and encouraging that this was something that caught the favorable attention of this group. The folks in I3 were less interested in how I would create a classroom and more in how well I could teach to the curriculum and how well I could integrate with the team of teachers assigned to guide freshmen through their first year in high school. They weren’t concerned with what I could do on my own, but whether or not I could fit in.

I’m not sure I want to fit in.

I haven’t heard anything from either place. I’ll let you know as soon as I do.

**oh, and I almost forgot another gutsy risk I took in I2. At the end, interviewers ask you if there are any questions you have for THEM, and, well, I did. I brought up the fact that their school has a less than stellar reputation, that I’d heard that the academic standards were low and they had high teacher turnover. They were more than willing to talk to me about this; they admitted that, in the past, both those statements were true and talked about how hard they’ve been working to turn the school around. One of the interviewers – the one who told me he’d been intrigued by my cover letter – said that I might be able to find a better paying position, but I would be hard-pressed to find a more supportive and nurturing environment in which to work. I’m encouraged by that. I’m not in it for the money – I want a supportive and nurturing work enviornment. I’m really hoping they call me back.

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Interview, Number Two

I’m scheduled for an interview tomorrow – provided that the schools aren’t closed again because of rain (lots and lots of rain – we’ve even got lightning and thunder now, it’s all very exciting).

A friend of mine was scheduled for an interview tomorrow as well, at a different school – one that’s closed tomorrow. She’s approaching the process very differently than I am, and I’m trying to figure out a way to honor her need to feel in control while at the same time convincing her that she doesn’t NEED to know every answer to every question. It’s a delicate balancing act.

She’s got a packet put together to take with her to her interview. She’s looked up the course offerings for the school she’s interviewing for and has put together a bunch of lesson plans and materials lists and it seems like a really great idea to bring something like that along.

I don’t have anything like that.

I am approaching the interview process in a very different way. Of course, I could be approaching it all wrong, but I’m going to go with my gut on this one and believe that the Universe unfolds as it should.

I feel that my strongest selling point in an interview for a teaching job is just me and my enthusiasm for the work that I do. I don’t feel that handing out paper is really going to give the interview panel a good idea about who I am, or who I will be as a teacher in their school, and I’m not down with the idea of presenting myself as someone I’m not.

I’m pretty confident that I can answer most of the questions, but I don’t feel like I have to have a ready answer to every question; if someone got specific, I would be willing to admit that I have no experience teaching a particular novel or concept, but that my inexperience doesn’t phase me in the least – I see that kind of inexperience as a FANTASTIC opportunity to model for my students what good scholars do when they encounter something new. My belief that my job as a teacher is less about teaching the material and more about connecting with my students – and teaching them how to think – is something I am very confident about. I know where my strengths and weaknesses are, and I’m able to express them with a fair bit of eloquence.

I’m hoping that my confidence that I SHOULD be doing this job will be enough to convince the panel that I should be doing the job for THEM.

I’ll let you know when I have news, one way or the other.

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A First Time for Everything

We had a rain day today. Not a snow day, mind you, but a rain day. As a matter of fact, two hundred and ninety three closings have been reported to our local news station’s cancellation website. The girls’ last day is now officially pushed to the 20th of June. Still, there are a lot of kids celebrating an unexpected three day weekend this morning.

The closing doesn’t affect me at all, given that my last day in school was last week. The school where I worked is closed, though, which doesn’t surprise me at all. The building I was in is settled on low ground with a ball field behind it – I can almost guarantee that the hall that leads out to the field is completely flooded – the cafeteria, which is essentially the basement of this low building, is probably also flooded. There goes more of the budget.

I’m watching the regional news station this morning – it covers the entirety of New England, and there’s an ENORMOUS green band covering our area. They’re predicting another three-plus inches of rain for us before this is all over.

I’ve never seen anything like this, but I’ve gotta tell ya, I’m SO glad it’s not snow!

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When it Rains…

I got TWO phone calls today.

The first one came at about ten to eight this morning. My husband answered the phone with a note of incredulity – no one calls us before about nine. The fact that the caller was male – and a male my husband didn’t recognize – made it even MORE interesting. It turns out that this guy – Michael – was calling to set up an interview with me for a teaching position in his high school, a couple of towns away from mine, for next week. I meet him on Tuesday.

I came home from a glorious day of mundane errands (who would think that I would enjoy getting back to mundane errands?) to find a message on my machine from the English department head in the high school in my home town. I’m meeting her on Wednesday.

If I were given the choice (and I’m well aware that I may not be), I would much prefer to work in my home town high school. It’s literally a ten minute walk (yes, WALK) away. If I had to be at work at 7:20, I could get in my car at 7:16 and still have two minutes to spare. I really DIG that. Also, Michael’s school district has a really low starting salary, one of the lowest in the state, and more turnover than McDonald’s. Finally, I know one of the teachers in my hometown school – she’s a dear friend of my sister – so I wouldn’t be going in there without knowing a soul.

I’ll keep you posted.

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