Friday was a big day for me–my first job interview in over twenty years, except for one minor one in a side line area where they hired someone vastly more qualified. This one I felt pretty ready for, as if I could do a good turn there. I made copious notes answering the anticipated questions, practiced with family members—including goofy versions. Tried not to overthink, and just concentrate on storing the main points that would show them what they would be getting if they hired me. It’s a half time middle school science position, perfect, I think, for the year in which I would begin having my own classes again, to ease into things. Too bad about the half hour commute, but there’s the possibility of moving there if it turned into something long term. I would definitely want to learn Spanish, including formal studies and a summer immersion experience–the student body is 60% Hispanic, way above average even for this area of Washington. Lots of of migrant kids, most of whom, they told me are in some stage of getting up to middle school level in English, about a quarter at the very beginning. Going for me is that I get what it feels like to be learning and trying to function in a new language, so I wouldn’t be raising my voice to anyone who doesn’t understand me, but trying to find translations, using creative non-verbal communication, prepping lessons as bilingually as I can, and helping students build up their classroom and science vocabularies. Main weakness: Yes, I’m not yet fluent in Spanish. Strengths? I learn fast, especially by necessity.
Met with the principal and assistant principal, who were male, and two female teachers, in the conference room, I at one end the principal at the other, Principal a businesslike, administrative type, assistant a smiling, relational type who nodded encouragingly when I said appropriate things and took the time to chat afterward. The two teachers just listened and wrote mostly–everyone took down my answers to the questions we all had on a handout, and would be ranking by desired elements of content, I gather. Proprietary material, said the principal, when I was about to fold mine and tuck it in my bag after the interview.
Took about a half hour, but most of the time I made sense. I thought of some perfect responses afterwards, such as the story about the student who came in ready to defy every command, and by the end of class had done his work and referred to me as a “homie”. That would have been a good response to three of the questions: What do students say about you, What would you do if a student refused to do an assignment, and what’s your approach to student discipline. I talked about listening, appealing to a student’s desire to do what would benefit them, and respecting a student’s right to choose.
I wish I hadn’t voiced concern about security of student data with the use of Google Chromebooks, that I’d had more ready knowledge of the “big ideas” of Earth and space science, and knew more about accommodating special education students, and remembered all I’d meant to say, but over all I think I’m still in the running. The job would be would be a challenge for sure, but that’s what I want. Hours are all day every second day, long class periods, which would fit in well with the rest of my life, and give good opportunities for in depth science inquiries. Then the opportunity to be in a mild form of Spanish immersion, the best way to seed the brain for learning oral language, and tell it to shelve the French and Hebrew so it won’t pop out in the middle of efforts to speak Spanish, which tends to happen now.
Okay, I might not get it–I have no idea how many candidates there are, nor their qualifications. I’m okay with that, because at least I finally got an interview. Should hear back in one to two days, so I’ll wait until then to go dig out my favorite science and classroom supplies.