Oh, man. I had an interview today. My first teaching interview…. My only teaching interview….
Let me just start by explaining how very anxious I was. Every little decision I made last night and this morning was unnerving. Should I paint my nails? What color? What should I wear? Which shoes? Would I wear a necklace? Would I go to bed at ten pm? Would I sleep with the window open? Would I watch The Walking Dead season premiere? Would I have coffee in the morning? Should I bring water with me? Would I take the street route or the express-way? What if I got lost? Should I leave my phone in the car instead of putting it on silent? Seriously. You would not have wanted to be in my head last night. I was even making myself feel horrible and guilty about checking Facebook or listening to music. There had to be better, more proactive things I could be doing to ace this interview. For two whole days I was convinced that every single decision I made (no matter how insignificant) would affect the outcome of my interview.
There was nothing I could do for myself to prepare more. All of my research on the school was done weeks ago, my skills were sharpened through years of study and practice, and my personality and excitement have been there all along. While I was facing a test of sorts, there was no study sheet to memorize, no cramming I could do, no formula to follow, and there were no all-nighter study sessions that would do me any good. At this point, I just had to hope my answers, my passion, and my personality would land me the job. I knew this for certain, but it certainly didn’t do anything for the nerves.
It was only when I read a horoscope for myself today that I eased up a little bit and tried to remain more in control of my anxiety. I usually don’t put much stock into such things, but being as prepared as I could ever be for my big chance I turned to outside sources for comfort and influence. This little gem of wisdom couldn’t have been better timed. The all-knowing and mystical powers of the universe told me, “Humility is not your friend today. Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn. You deserve this.”
I needed to hear that, even if it did come from some silly horoscope. After years of little to no opportunity, I started questioning my abilities. I was getting down on myself. When the self-doubt kicks in, it’s hard to snap out of it. Suddenly I had this wonderful opportunity in front of me and I was ruining it by psyching myself out. I DID deserve this. I SHOULD toot my own horn. Humility? Ha! Not today, my friend. Not a chance. I was going to walk into that interview feeling confident and certain.
I arrived early, which was part of my structured and over-analyzed plan. I was feeling extra chipper when I walked into the school. The bright colors of the hallways and the students’ energy matched my confidence. So far, so good. However, it seemed the main office had something different in mind for me. At first, everything was great. The staff was welcoming and polite and asked me to take a seat while I wait. I found a bench to the left of the front desk and sat. As the minutes were ticking by, I felt those pre-horoscope emotions start to wriggle their way back into my brain. Tick-tock, tick-tock…. The room was starting to shrink…. The pressure seemed almost unbearable…. When I was about to start fidgeting, I remembered I was not supposed to be humble or timid today. Somehow, I snapped out of it. Just in time, too. The assistant principal came out, welcomed me, and led me to the conference room.
The interview was fantastic! While it was relaxed and conversational, I was asked specific situational questions and to provide examples. I gave myself a moment to think, answered concisely and honestly, and was pleased with my answers. One of my answers, in my opinion, sealed the deal for me. I was asked how I would handle walking into a classroom that has been up and running a certain way for over a month already. How would I handle taking over someone’s classroom? I explained how I’m used to coming into another teacher’s classroom temporarily and that it is one of my strong-suits. As a sub, I do that very thing on a daily basis. I also explained that I experienced this same situation in student teaching, as I came into the classroom in January instead of September. I’m familiar with creating a classroom environment as the “new teacher.” Of course, I was much more descriptive and eloquent during my interview. However, the idea that I am always changing and adapting to my educational surroundings intrigued my interviewer.
Before our time was even concluded, I was told that I was going to be welcomed aboard! I got the job! In that moment, I was a trillion different emotions all at once.
I’m sure on the drive home I looked like a lunatic. I was deliriously happy. I was already planning lessons in my head, creating assignments, and envisioning my classroom. I was singing to the radio loudly, while dancing and smiling away. If there had been a hidden camera filming me during my drive home, I’d be a YouTube sensation by now.
Finally (after two and a half years) I will be getting paid to teach the wonderful kids of Chicago how to use proper grammar, be effective readers and critical thinkers, write seamless and sound thesis statements, find their personal voices, and prepare them for college life and the real world that awaits beyond. While my new position is not permanent, it is a step closer toward my goal. This opportunity will provide me with experience and open doors to new and exciting opportunities, as well. I could not be more grateful (or simply thrilled)!
Hallelujah! I really needed this.