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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Did I really change that much in three months?

I'm preparing for my fake interview, (at least, I'm telling myself it's fake to calm my nerves a bit). In preparing, I was looking at my Binder of Everything from student teaching. In it, I found this lovely note sent by my CT to my professor in mid August:

"I just wanted to let you know that NQGU is doing beautifully with Student Teaching! She is conscientious, helpful, knowledgeable, and very good with the kids! These are all things that I am sure you already know about her. She is fitting in well at ST School and has adjusted remarkedly [sic] well to our schedule and the unique ways we do things in a dua1 1anguage school. "

Now, I want to know what happened between August and November that made this glowing review change into a relationship that I still, nearly five months after last seeing her, absolutely cringe to think about? And more importantly, why do I still care?!?!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Why it is important to listen closely and think before you act.

The other day I turned on my cell phone after school. The screen flashed "New message!" so I dialed my voice mail.

Verizon Voice: "You have one new message. To play your messages press 1."
Me: (In my head - "Okay!" I press 1.)
Voice mail: Hello. This is Skjfksldj Ljlksdjfd from School District Number 12. We would like to set up a screening interview with you for early next week. Please call us back today to set up a phone interview. Our number is XXX-XXX-XXXX.
Me: (In my head - "Oh, yipppie! I don't remember the name or phone number, so I need to listen to the message again.")
Verizon Voice: "End of message. To delete your message press 7. To save you message press 5..."
Me: (In my head - "Save!" I press 7.)
Verizon Voice: "Message deleted."
Me: Nooooooo!!!!

After a short freak-out, I became thankful that I at least remembered which school district called me. I called back the HR department of District 12, and awkwardly explained that, "Someone called me and left a message asking me to set up a screening interview. But I accidentally deleted the message instead of saving it, and I don't remember who it was or what number I was supposed to call." This, of course, is a fabulous way to prove to a school district that I am smart, organized, and should be in charge of 25-30 of their children for 6.5 hours a day. After being connected to the appropriate person, I unprofessionally babbled my way through setting up an over-the-phone screening interview.

Now, I know that a screening interview means that I will just be interviewed for the district at large, I guess to see if any of the schools want to look at me more closely. But, what is asked in a screening interview? I don't have an over-the-internet portfolio, so I can't show that. (Though I suppose I should make one.) Will the person just be asking me interview questions? ("Describe an effective teacher." "Tell me about a success/failure you have had with students." "How would you manage a classroom?") Will something else be happening? I didn't have one of these for my current job.

Also, I bought the cheapest cell phone at the cell phone store. And the really poor reception I receive is a direct result of that. I'm trying to decide if I should mention that I get poor reception at the start of my call, so that the person understands why I may be frequently asking her to repeat what she says, or why my responses may be delayed as I try to decipher her garbled voice.

I wish that a different school/district had asked for an interview before this one. I actually want the job I applied for at this district, whereas at some of the others districts to which I applied, I would like the job, but working there wouldn't be much different than working elsewhere. I wish I had a "trial" interview to screw up on a bit before this one, that I actually want to succeed at.

I'll do my best. And prepare by answering the list of 30 practice interview questions I have. Oh, and also by reading over old notes I have from education professors reassuring me that I'm smart and knowledgeable and competent enough to be a teacher.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

New Way to Organize

I decided to come up with a new way to organize my books. So, I organized them by color. It may not be the best organizing system. But it is creative and pretty. White, beige, yellow, orange, red, pink, purple, blue, turquoise, dark blue, green, brown, black. It's like an oddly deformed rainbow.

Yes, there were many other things I perhaps should have been doing, instead of arranging my education books by color. But...now they are so pretty...

In more productive news, I did send out a handful of job applications. I'm starting to get the hang of it, though I do still get hung up on some of the "short answer" questions. I'm getting a little better at just letting go, accepting that my responses are as good as they're ever going to be, and hitting the Send button or putting the application in the mail (depending on the district).

Monday, March 03, 2008

Go Test! Go Test! Go Test!

So, the children start big-time NCLB testing soon. Some of them will do great. Some of them will do okay. Some of them will struggle.

We recently had a big "pep rally" to pep the kids up. It came complete with teachers dressed as cheerleaders, face paint, a whole lot of cheering, singing, and dancing, and teachers running through paper banners with the name of the test on it.

It was hilarious, both because it was really cute and fun, and because it felt to me like its whole existence was kind of sarcastic. Of course, that was probably just in my head. But the whole point of the assembly (k-5 students attended, though not all of them will be tested) was to get the kids excited and ready and enthusiastic for The Test. And The Test is so ridiculous in so many ways. And like I said, many of the student will do really well, and many of the students will not. The pep rally felt like it was mocking The Test, in a way.

It was saying, "You may take up two weeks of instructional time. You may test our students on a year's worth of material 3/4 of the way through the school year. You may make the teachers pull their hair out in frustration, at times. But look! A pep rally! Pep Rallies are ridiculous too! But at least they're fun! Whoo!!! Go Test! Go Test! Go test!"