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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Where I will teach.

Yesterday I went to see my classroom for the first time. MY classroom. MY classroom.

How neat is that? And, how did it come to be my classroom?

In late May I came down to Southwestern state to look for an apartment and visit some of the schools in the district. (At the time I had already been hired by the district, but had not been assigned to a specific school or grade level). In the weeks leading up to my visit I called the recruiter who had initially hired me at the job fair in April. He kept insisting that I would hear from schools any day now and should have at least offers by the time I came to visit. I still heard nothing. And then I heard nothing. And then I heard more nothing. These nothings were interspersed with phone calls back to him. I still had heard nothing when I got to Southwestern state to visit, and then began to really pester the recruiter. I called him on his cell phone over the weekend emphasizing the fact that I was in town for about two days and really needed to tour/interview over that time. He promised he would talk to people and call me the next day.

As promised, he called me early the next day, unfortunately while I was in the shower, and told me that he hoped I could interview at a school with a 1st grade opening in about 20 minutes. As I was staying with a family friend all the way across town, this wasn't possible. The recruiter said he'd set something else up and call me back in a few minutes, again.

Eventually, I had a schedule set up to visit four schools during the day. I would visit one school all morning. This was the same school that I couldn't interview with earlier that morning. Last thing in the afternoon I had an interview set up at that same school. I was scheduled to spend so much time at that school because the recruiter said that they were "very interested" in me. Between the morning tour and afternoon interview at that school I had three other tours/interviews set up at other schools in the district.

So, off I went to find that first school. I was given an extensive tour and introduced to way too many people. Along the way, I grew very impressed with the school. Every teacher I talked to was enthusiastic and optimistic about the school. Everyone simply raved about the principal and mentioned that their school was the best school in the district. At this time I was pretty excited to come back in the afternoon for my interview. I hadn't been able to meet he principal or vice principal because they were at meetings all morning (hence the interview for the afternoon) so I was looking forward to meeting them as well.

I told my "tour guides" (the literacy and math coaches, I think) that I would be back later for the interview, and went to schools number two, three, and four. I had a quick tour and an interview at school number two, a super quick tour and scheduled a phone interview for school number three, and a tour and set up a phone interview for school number three. After that, I drove back to school number one and told them I was there for the interview.

"Oh..." the secretary said. "Um, actually, that position has already been filled. I'm sorry." So, confused and disappointed I left.


A few days later I called the school back and left a message on the principal's phone. I thanked her for allowing me to tour the school, commented that it seems to be a great school with really positive teachers, and added that if on the off chance she had any more openings I would love to interview for them.

And lo and behold, the next day she called me back and said that actually, she DID have a new 1st grade opening and would like to interview me!! I set up a phone interview for later in the week. In the meantime, I had my two other phone interviews (one of which took place in my car, mostly in a parking lot and partly while driving due to some scheduling gaffes on my part) and was offered two positions in the district.

Finally I had the phone interview with that first school. Like all the others, there were a ton of people on the other end - I seriously have no idea who they all were but there were at least 5 people, and I think a few more came in part way through. I felt just as excited about the school during the interview as I had when touring it. At the end of the interview I hung up the phone expecting to wait a few days to hear back about this interview.

About five minutes later my phone rang again. It was the interview crew and they said that they would like to "unofficially" offer me the 1st grade position. (The job offers have to go through the central administration office to be official.) Excitedly, I said that I would like to "unofficially accept!" And I did.

And that is how my classroom ended up being my classroom. Soon I will begin teaching 1st grade at Suerte Elementary School. Pseudonymously named Suerte Elementary School because it was hopefully good luck that after the first missed interview, the long tour of the school, and the second canceled interview I was finally able to interview with and accept a position teaching at this school.

(And through this entire process, no one ever asked for a portfolio. So all that stress was for nothing.)


Blogger The Science Goddess said...

That is SO awesome! Your post makes me smile and takes me (way) back to when I was a brand spankin' new classroom teacher. I remember the excitement which came from seeing "my" room for the first time. It sounds like you have landed in a wonderful and nurturing environment for your first year.

And see? I told you that you wouldn't need a portfolio. :)

3:53 PM  
Blogger BrightStar said...

Very exciting! It's funny how jobs get filled. I hope you love yours! I'm glad that the transition seems to be going well so far (at least it sounds that way!).

8:20 PM  
Blogger Not Quite Grown Up... said...

I'm glad I sounded excited, because I am starting to get a bit more excited as I get used to the area, and slowly familiarize myself with the classroom. (Unfortunately, because the school has all doors outside, I haven't had a chance to explore the school, because I just walk straight into my classroom.)

And Science Goddess - you were right! I really need to tell my college's career development office (which is the place that scared me about the portfolio) that I managed to be offered several different teaching positions, all without once being asked for a portfolio.

9:08 PM  
Blogger J said...

that's so fantastic, big congratulations!! can't wait to hear more about the set up and details! best of luck!

and pshaw, portfolio schmortfolio.

10:57 PM  

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