Got a New Job

New school, new maternity leave, shorter stint. Gotta write about it. When will I ever not be MAD busy. Maybe when I learn to organize my time better? Probably not. I don’t know how people have kids and come back right away. I think it’s cuz they’re concrete sequential and I’m abstract random. Sometimes I wish I could just blog about teaching and languages and life for a living 😉 maybe I can turn that wish into a reality. The job is only from end of January to after first week of March, or so the pregnant woman says…. :p

More on all this later. Probably. Definitely need to talk about the interview(s) for this one!

Interview for an interesting teaching position

The timing is a little odd, it’s such a short maternity leave stint. And, it would start almost overlapping my other job 🙁

It’s very short. Her due date is the day she’s leaving, and she’s planning on coming back about 6 weeks later. So I guess it could likely be extended. And I don’t have much else right now.

It was the same situation as last time, a quick 2-part-combined-into-1 interview, where I taught part of a lesson and then did the interview.

I was probably the most relaxed I’ve ever been going into it, because, honestly, a lot of me was saying…”Hmm, I don’t know if I even want this job, or to even teach anymore!!!” 🙂

But it’s a GREAT school district, school, and the classes sound pretty good. I think the interview went well.

More on this later, I have to do so much, as the end of my semester is coming at the current school I teach at, and I need to clean up and clean out some of my stuff from the classroom, not to mention I’m behind in getting through the required material.

A day in the life of a teacher!

I’ll try to flesh this post out later with more details and some new thoughts I had from that interview!


I Nearly Quit Today, in the Middle of the Day

I know part of it was from me not getting enough sleep and feeling emotionally off-balance, so I wasn’t able to handle the annoying behaviors of some of my students on this Monday morning. And, the problem that’s been growing worse, is my lack of will-power to effectively manage my classroom- both in behavior and in planning.

Depression has been an issue. Some personal things in my life, but, mostly, I’m at the end of my wire. I’m going to be one of those “in less than 5 year teacher burnouts”.

It’s been roughly about 3 and a half years if you include the student teaching. I think switching schools was a good and a bad thing.

The public school, but especially with 90 minute classes of large sizes, with wildly unmotivated and diverse (trying to avoid using words about their intelligence or lack-thereof) learners, is not just a challenge in itself, but there is all the paperwork.

They weren’t kidding about that.

I need to blog a river instead of crying one. Alas, I don’t have enough time. And I will blog. I’m hoping to get different jobs come February (as I will be out of a teaching job if I don’t find one before that!). But I had to share this frustration, and maybe there’s a teacher out there today who thought they couldn’t make it through the day, and they will now because of reading this and feeling connected. Or maybe a teacher years down the road.

Teachers need to keep their personal lives balanced, and it’s a real challenge, to balance all life can bring sometimes, with the fluctuating (but ever-present) real challenges of teaching.

I guess more experience could someday get me on more solid footing, but, alas, I don’t have the tools. More on all this later.

I’m not giving up, I’m getting myself into a better place. It may involve teaching, we’ll see. But I did recently turn down another short-term job.

For Those of Us Interviewing for Teaching Jobs

Don’t have all the time in the world just because it’s Summer (like I had hoped I would). My aunt put it well: “Busy people tend to stay busy.” And such is my Summer thus far, but there is hope. Back to school matters- I had an interview for a full-time French teaching position today, and I have a lot to say about it (which I may have to come back to later to add to).

Things that I must get out now:

1) It went well, yay! After real teaching experience, you can feel more confident in talking about your personal educational philosophy and the like.

2) There are still tricky questions. Here are two I particularly liked (or rather, had to really think about on the spot!!) How do you think teachers of “core subjects” view Foreign Language teachers? and How do you think the principal/administration sees your role and your place in the school? I definitely didn’t have answers prepared for this, and ending up talking about what I “hope” that they would see. I think I stumbled at first by saying it depends on the teacher and the school (but hey, that’s the truth!), and I went on to share:

a. I think it’s a shame if they don’t view foreign language as an integral part of an education that can intermingle with other academic areas, and,
b. I hope that the principal views me as a crucial part of the faculty, and that faculty and administration alike can hopefully see FL as a positive experience for all to help build courage, tolerance, and understanding.

I worded it about that well (ie poorly 🙂 ) and you can see it was hard for me to avoid talking about what I hoped instead of what I thought they think.

3) You have to remember that you’re only there for a small amount of time and you can’t get it all in. Focus on the important things, don’t stray when answering questions, let your good qualities shine, and they will usually ask you more in a second interview- if you impress them, that is.

I was pleasantly surprised that they didn’t get into some areas I was apprehensive about, and I think I did a great job answering the questions (though I need to focus on being succinct and giving answers that DIRECTLY respond to their specific question (so much overlaps it’s hard not to get into it, but anyway!)).

More on this later, as you can see, my path is heading in interesting directions. Maybe…

I Got a Full-Time French Teaching Job

For privacy and safety sake, I am not going to say exactly where, but I did get a job. And it was after holding out for full-time (they had offered me half-time and I turned it down earlier this Summer). It is a private religiously-affiliated high school with excellent students and a great faculty. I even know a few people teaching there (it’s very close to where I live), so that will help me feel more comfortable during my first year.

I went to a few interviews, sent out lots of interest to different schools, and had a few nibbles on the line but no real deals. I did get a call last week from a high school sounding almost desperate for me to come in for an interview. I guess it was almost August.

Of my friends and other student teacher colleagues, I’d say about half have a job lined up, 25% are still looking, and 25% I haven’t really heard from. It’s not as easy as you’d think- even with a Masters! I think it’s the economy right now.

Overall, I’m very excited and looking forward to starting planning and getting prepared. I have a lot of flexibility in the instruction and it means two things- yay for that freedom and opportunity, but, also, lots of work and a bit of pressure to up the quality of their French program.

I’ll write more as I have more meetings and orientations and such. I am supposed to be getting some mentoring, but I’m not sure about how or when. I am very thankful for my student teaching experience!

No job after second interview

So I had two interviews with a school, and I thought they went pretty well. They did, but I wish I had better rehearsed some of my core philosophies and what I might respond to potential questions.

I had to call and ask if they had made a decision (hadn’t heard back in over 3 weeks) and it turns out they said they mailed a letter and I maybe did not receive it. I think it has to do with my address needing a postal box and maybe they didn’t include it. Word to the wise= specify contact information clearly!

Even though the interviews did go well (2nd interview shows that they did like me), I think in the end the fact that I’m a newbie was the breaker. No way to know for sure, but I think that is probably what it was.

I’m still optimistic, and will keep expressing interests and trying to get more interviews. I might check schools in a few other states I’m interested in too. It’s not too late in the game, and I can just take what I’ve learned so far to improve my personal pitch.

Summer School: Teaching Languages I Barely Know

I somewhat agreed to do summer school, thinking it was more of a tutoring than teaching thing. I think the school was almost desperate because I told them I didn’t know much Italian at all. I ended up teaching Spanish and Italian.

Not easy. It was obvious once it started that none of the teachers there wanted to do it because it was a somewhat unpleasant task. There are multiple subjects in a classroom at one time, and the kids don’t want to be there. And in my case, there was very little guidance about what to teach. I felt bad making the kids do 2 hours of reading and writing, so I ended up doing a lot more planning and work than I had anticipated.

It was paid, but not much. And it felt like much less when I realized how much work I had to do outside of it. However, fellow aspiring teachers, if you are interested in helping with summer school, ask first about how it is structured.

I heard of another school where they hand the teachers packets and where they have specific tests to help the teachers in planning what to cover in such a short time.

Once I decided to look at it as kind of a paid internship (it wouldn’t hurt the resume either!), I got through it. I tried to make it easier on myself, and it was only two weeks (some SS’s are 4 or 5 weeks).

The grades I gave seemed somewhat inflated, but it was very challenging for me to come up with materials and tests, especially considering that the school didn’t even have extra blank workbooks for me (only ateacher’s edition that I had to white out!).

C’est la vie!

It was a good experience overall, I guess, but I would probably never do it again. Tutoring would be a lot more lucrative and flexible. But I am glad I suffered through it right along with the kids.

I got an interview at a school that I really want to teach at!

I have an interview at a prestigious public high school, and I am so glad I got an interview there. I am really excited about this prospect. So I’ve been reading up online about questions they might ask educators, and I’ve been looking through all my handouts and papers about these interview things. Also, I’ve been reviewing my portfolio.

Truly, I should have been doing all this for the past two weeks, but at least I do feel like I’m getting well-prepared for the interview. I’ll be sure to share how it goes.

I really wanted to get more of the student work printed up, or put online, but hey, it’s still May, and I don’t have alllll the time in the world.

Did I already say wish me luck?!!?

An unexpected teaching opportunity…almost

I’d been looking at Craigslist for days. Every day.

Faithfully checking it.

Which is difficult to sit and sift through.

And then I found it. ‘Philadelphia school seeks a full-time French teacher for immediate opening’. What more could I have hoped for or wanted in seeking a French teaching position…

And I went for the interview. My first professional teaching interview.

Surprisingly, it went way better than I had imagined. I got to be my genuine self and I wasn’t too nervous. They asked me questions I had anticipated and some I hadn’t, but overall it was not too nerve-wracking.

As I begun to think about if I could really teach 5 French courses a day, 5 days a week, at a school at least 45 minutes away from home, I questioned the paradox- could I ask for enough in a salary to make it worth my while considering the actual teaching time plus planning and transport? Would it be too much to ask considering I had no previous teaching experience (besides a few classes and the Summer Practicum)?

I eventually realized after much deliberation, that this would not in fact be the job for me. Had I had a year or two in the classroom, or if I had had all summer to do lesson plans and preparation, it might have been different.

It also brought up the issue of if I asked for too low of a salary then when I got my Masters it would be difficult to ask for a huge pay jump.

Such is life. I was so close, yet so far.

At least I got that interview out of the way and now know that they are not terrifying and daunting, just people wanting to know about you and your qualifications.

Online Schools and Teaching French

I recently contacted an online learning school about a posting for a French teacher. I was so enthused, I referenced my educational background, and my knowledge of technology, and the love I have for both.

Since I saw myself as a good candidate, and wrote an energetic ‘cover letter’ describing my creativity and other desirable qualities, I thought they would get right back to me and set something up.

I waited a week, two weeks. I even called to check up and they said they had received a lot of interest and hadn’t yet begun to look it over. Eventually, I emailed again and politely mentioned my previous email and phone call.

They did eventually get back to me, and although they said I sounded like a great candidate and it seemed genuine, there was the issue of certification.

Everyone is looking for a certified teacher. I will be one soon enough. They told me to contact them when I had my certification.

By the time I get certified, though, I’ll be looking for full-time teaching jobs in physical schools.

I guess it’s always something to consider for the future.