A cool position just came up–alternative high school science, a little over half time. Same position that was up at the end of the school year, so apparently their person didn’t work out. I applied, and the principal emailed me the next morning inviting me in for a “very informal” chat. All thoughts of being on someone’s black list slipped away–things are moving again! I called the teacher who had worked there a few years ago, who is also a professional reference, and it turned out she had been trying to call me. She’d got a phone call by that principal, who asked for her opinion, and told him she had no idea why I hadn’t been hired yet, and he should hire me in a heartbeat. You know that expression, “to be humbled”–seems not quite the right one, but you know that flood of thankfulness, of being appreciated, seen as capable and even more. Makes one, yes, feel humbled, not puffed up. I thought, okay, who are you comparing me to, anyway, to see me as such a good candidate? But please keep it up, while I compare myself to the greats, the teachers of the year (whether recognized or not), the ideal in all of the above. Sort of frees one up to aim that high, with some wind beneath one’s wings.
I didn’t prepare. I thought about it, but felt that this was what I wanted to do, and I know why. Don’t need to rehearse, don’t need to do anything but review the names of folks I might meet, think of some questions, and dress for success. So I watched “Much Ado About Nothing” and went to bed.
The meeting was mainly to hear about the school’s philosophy, mission, program, aspirations, and plans. So exciting–they’ve built a community there which is so welcoming and supportive that students want to go there, unlike in the past when the alternative school was considered a sign of student failure or last resort. The team is solid, relatively new but experienced, and transitioning between not having much in the way of lab resources or science curriculum to building a state of the art new facility with a focus on project based learning. There will be a rooftop garden and greenhouses, an aerospace technology workshop, facilities for all the agencies that help support youth at risk, their own gym and theatre. They’ve checked out other project based high schools all over, attended trainings as a staff, and now other local high schools have come to them to find out more about the cool stuff they’re doing. All because these special students didn’t accept, or weren’t able to succeed in, school as usual. They should all personally be told, “Thank you for helping us grow.”
After talking to my biology teacher friend about how shallow and rapid (sounds like a pulse when you have a virus) was her curriculum, I was wondering what i might be getting into in applying to teach high school science. But at this school, the normal is slow, deep, hands on, and creative, which really sounds like my style. They’re even willing to morph the current chemistry into environmental science if the teacher is stronger in that area.
When I got home I told my daughter all about it, and she said she’d known all along that I’d find that kind of job opportunity, and wasn’t worried at all when I didn’t get the other one. So a few more days, an official interview, and I’ll know. Meanwhile, I’ll be re-reading my biology and environmental science texts, and expediting the house projects in anticipation of not having much spare time for that sort of thing.