I just got the phone call. Next Wednesday, May 7th, I have a job interview with the principal of South Junior High School here in Lawrence. I have a feeling this is the job I will take in the fall, for a few reasons which I will now share with you:
1. My first inclination towards Jr. High students is a polite, but firm, "No thank you." I would prefer High School students, as they are just a bit closer to sanity. Then the whole teacher instinct kicks in, as I contemplate what I did for the six years before moving back here: in a nutshell, teaching required classes for university freshmen in Korea is largely about getting them to come to class on time, be polite, and develop good work habits. Sounds like Jr. High students, doesn't it.
2. Jr. High marks some key points in mathematical thinking--working with variables (algebra), connecting shapes to math (geometry), and the beginning of the idea of functions. It may be arrogant of me, but I think I can help kids to make that transition.
3. Circumstances keep pointing me in that direction. The principal, Mr. Fernandez, spends lunch time in the cafeteria at South. One day I subbed for half a day, and introduced myself to him on the way out. I mentioned that I was planning to start in the fall as a math teacher, and he told me to check back later, as he didn't have any vacancies yet. A month or two later, he came to the jewelry counter to get his watch battery changed. I re-introduced myself, and he remembered me. He told me to be sure to submit my application, as they needed a full-time math teacher.
4. I substituted for an English teacher there a few weeks ago. She is very part time, teaching only two classes per day, but she just had to miss this one. The subbing instructions she left on the website asked me to call her, so I did. She emailed me detailed instructions and talked with me quite a bit about what the students were doing and what she needed from me: two students in each class were giving presentations, the last of both classes. She wanted me to take notes for her so that she could assign grades. So I did my best, and recommended grades for all four. She was happy with the results, so when I contacted her to ask for a recommendation letter, she replied quickly and positively.
5. I finished all of my application paperwork and turned it in to the district office yesterday. I got called by South Jr. High today. I submitted to two other schools: West Jr. High and Lawrence High School. They haven't called. Yet. But South got back to me so quickly that it feels like they want me.
So I got some happy feeling going on right about now. Time to go to Wal-Mart. That should take care of that.
Anyway, pray for me, wish me luck, or spit every time you say my name next Wednesday.