Interviewing for the Challenge

Early October 2015—I am not surprised how quick interview day arrived.

Photo Courtesy of Nella Photography

Photo Courtesy of Nella Photography

Approximately a week after applying, I walk onto the school campus and ask two different students for directions to the administrative office. Each student’s clear and concise directions helps me to quickly reach my destination.

The administrative office hums with school business—office personnel conversing with one another, answering incoming phone calls, and student assistants greeting visitors and guiding them where to go based on their needs.

First Round Interview

After a brief wait, the two team leaders greet me, introduce themselves, and escort me to an office. Once we are seated, I watch the team leaders view my resume and ask the typical interview questions related to teaching pedagogy, classroom management, lesson planning, etc. They marvel at the experiences captured on my resume. It seems that they wonder why I am choosing to go back into the classroom but choose not to ask.

Instead, the team leader thoroughly explains the schedule, “In this assignment you will be teaching seven out of seven classes, so the only break you will have throughout the day is a 30-minute lunch.”

Pause. Silence.

He continues, “You will have to float between four different classrooms throughout the day.”

He pauses and looks at me as if to see whether or not I am processing the details.

I nod and write each detail down on my notepad.

More silence.

Because it seems that the pause and silence signals an opportunity for me to respond, I say, “This sounds like many of the days I had in my administrative life. The only difference with this assignment is the ‘luxury’ 30- minute lunch.”

When the schedule did not seem to be an intimidating factor, the junior team leader chimes in to explain that students had a rough start at the beginning of the school year because of the substitute situation.

I smile and nod to signal that I understand.

She goes on to explain that the teaching assignment includes two periods of elective reading, one ninth grade English class, one period of In-School-Suspension, and three credit recovery classes.

I smile and nod.

Then the team leader says, “We would love to have you as part of our team, and would like to recommend that you speak with our principal. Are you still interested?”

I smile and say, “Yes.”

Interview with the Principal

Other than pleasantries of greeting and shaking hands, the principal gets right to the point and says, “I take it you understand the challenges of the assignment, right?”

“Yes,” I reply.

He says, “You have an impressive resume with outstanding experience.” Very cordially, he asks, “Why are you choosing to go back into the classroom?”

By now I am comfortable with his calm and candid approach.

I respond by saying, “Why not? As educators, our sole purpose is to help children no matter what capacity we serve. Besides, it gives me opportunities to use great strategies I have encountered throughout my years as an administrator.”

I could tell he was not convinced, but he continued to pose questions to test my knowledge, “withitness,” and sincerity. Understandably, he would be concerned about whether or not I would stay until the end of the school year, or leave for the next best offer.

Little did he know, my choosing this challenge binds me to a commitment that I was compelled to keep until the end of this school year. My heart had already pledged its allegiance to this assignment.

Of course, I exude confidence and said all of the right things to reassure him that I am indeed committed to the challenge for this school year. After explaining the remainder of the hiring process, he thanks me for coming in to interview and says that someone would be in touch.

I smiled as I walk back to my car.

With as much enthusiasm and optimism my mind could muster, I thought: “I got this! Bring on the first day!”