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Friday, May 09, 2008

Job Interviews (plural)

So Tuesday night I went to bed with a cough. Wednesday morning it was worse. We took Maxine to the dentist at 8:00 (no problems, just a discolored tooth we need to keep an eye on), then I went home and skipped class to sleep.

I slept for three or four hours, then went to the interview. I thought it went well. The principal, Will Fernandez, even told me that it went well. We spent 10 or 15 minutes with the head of the math department, with her asking a few questions and follow-ups to his. I thought I handled the questions well. I haven't taught math since Nepal, and that was pretty basic stuff in a foreign language, but I have been taking math classes since last summer, and I've been thinking about how to teach it since early this year.

As for the questions about classroom management and teaching strategies, relating to students, and other stuff that all teachers do, I think I gave answers reflecting the fact that I've been a teacher for twelve years, followed by this past year of subbing and working at Wal-Mart. In other words, I think I did OK.

Will has given a good impression every time I have met him, and Wednesday (yesterday!) was no exception. I had a few questions for him about his role as principal, the ways the school involves parents, and how teacher collaboration is encouraged. He answered those questions well, making me excited about the prospect of teaching at his school.

So at the end of the interview, he told me that I had interviewed well, and that there were three other candidates for the job. I hope it didn't show that my heart sort of skipped a beat, though it may be more accurate to say that it skipped, shuffle, step-2-3-4ed a beat. They are going to let me know one way or the other by tomorrow. (Well, it's today now, but somehow I doubt that they'll be calling me at 12:34 a.m. to let me know.)

I was tired. On the way home I thought of two or three things that I should have brought up but didn't. Cough. Cough. Ack. I went home, then out to pick up Maxine and Sofia from their daycare. We ate dinner at Cici's pizza, because we were both to beat to cook.

This morning I went to class. I've got a take-home final for math history to write by Wednesday noon, and the geometry for teachers final to take Friday morning at (gasp) 7:30. Yeah, that's gonna be fun. And I have tons of prep to do for both. I figure the take-home as a two hour job, hopefully less. And I need all the study and practice I can get.

So this afternoon I interviewed at West Jr. High. I went to school at West Jr. High in Leavenworth. Perhaps that is a good sign. Or perhaps every town in America has a West Jr. High and it's a flip of the coin whether you went to East or West. Lawrence needs to consider some renaming, because West Jr. High is almost at the center of a map of the city, and Central Jr. High services the Northeast part of town. They don't have any North or East Jr. Highs. It's like the restaurants that have medium and large drinks, but no small sizes.

Anyway, that interview went well, too. The principal, Myron Melton, was very personable. Our interview felt much more conversational; he asked quite a few questions about my experiences overseas without seeming to tie them as strongly to the job at hand. But once he got down to it, I heard many of the same questions as I had heard from Will, and some similar answers to my questions. Very similar on the runnings of the school, as it seems there is some district-wide pressure towards the Professional Learning Community approach. (I don't expect you to investigate much into that link unless you have a personal stake in education, but it is an exciting set of ideas that could potentially be the biggest transformation in education since making schools accessible to everyone.)

The biggest difference I saw was in the way they see their own roles in the school. Will sees himself as a coach, very much a leadership position, training his teachers and guiding them towards being better educators. Myron sees himself more as a facilitator, connecting people and bringing problems to everyone's attention to help find solutions. I think that either would be good to work for. Still, I feel a pull towards South. I prefer Will's style. Not that I think it is necessarily more effective in general, but that I think it will be more effective with me.

It's almost one a.m., and I was thinking about not posting this until I have an offer, but I know that some of you want to know. As soon as I have news I will post it here. Well, right after I call Mom and Dad anyway. In the mean time, pray for me.

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A Brief Introduction

Roblog is my writing lab. It is my goal to not let seven days pass without a new post. I welcome your criticism, as I cannot improve on my own.

Here is a link to my cung post, which remains the only word which I have ever invented, and which has not, as far as I know, caught on. Yet.