Monday, March 19, 2007

Yesterday I put my best foot forward...

...for my interview with the New York City Teaching Fellows program. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I did well enough to have made the grade; and am also hopeful that I meet their requirements in the first place. You see, they did not ask for my college transcripts until the interview, so they have not confirmed that my achievements in school match their qualifications for the job (although I think they do).

As for my interview, it was more than just an interview. The first thing I had to do was a 5 minute presentation as to a class full of students. The two interviewers and 6 other applicants acted as the students. I ran out of time about a minute or minute and a half before finishing, but I think time was not all that a critical factor - I hope not anyway. The other applicants seemed quite impressed with my presentation, and I hope so too were the interviewers. After I had finished we had a 5 minute break, our only break between 9 and about 1:30 when it ended; and the interviewer who was a science teacher asked me to show off the animals I had brought with me for my presentation. I think in that extra 5 minutes they got the idea I knew my stuff, but I don't think that the extra 5 minutes counted. oh well. As it turned out I did not hand out a homework assignment to my so called "students" because I had run out of time, but when I asked at the end of the day, I was told sure they would take it and consider it as part of my presentation. That was nice of them.

After the presentations, we had a group discussion. I don't know what the interviewer, one per 4 students for that part of the process, thought of my abilities to communicate during a discussion, but later on when she interviewed me individually, she asked me to explain more of my solution to a problem that we had discussed during the group discussion. I figured my solution must have made some impression on her, and she seemed to listen very intently as I described it in more detail, and had a relaxed and sort of pleasant look about her as she did so.

After the group discussion, we each had to write a letter to the parents of the students in our imaginary class. The problem was that students had begun falling behind as the year went on, and it was at least in part due to the teacher, and to some disruptive student s in the class. I wrote a letter expressing partial responsibility as a new teacher; and I promised to depend more upon suggestions from experienced teachers as to how I could improve things. I also expressed that such would be done fairly for each student since a 'parent' had complained about her child being singled out as a trouble maker. Then after explaining my actual plan to improve the students through review, and a mentor program, as well as extra help classes, I asked the parents for positive suggestions that they might have. Hopefully I was contrite enough, while at the same time showing that I was willing to change course to try to make sure everyone would improve, and that I would do so with the help of those more experienced than me, and of the parents too.

Then the actual 20 minute interview. During the interview, I was asked to think of something in my life that I had achieved, and then to discuss how I had done so. I told the interviewer that my best achievement was seeing my children turn out to be good kids, and to see them grow up sharing their good times with me, especially my son who at 17 has a lot of the same interests as me. Then I realized this was a double achievement because by doing so, I had also achieved becoming a better father than my father had been (I will not delve into that deeply, but he was not much of father), and I had seen my children grow up to be better children than I had ever been. I told her I did it through hard work, sticking with my family through tough times, sharing good times, and keeping my kids interested in things I liked to do. Of course it turns out my son was more interested in hiking, shooting, hunting and fishing than my daughter, but each had their interest along the way. My son at 17 still hangs out with me on our trips afield, and that is a good thing. He also shares my interest in animals and wants to become a veterinarian, something I had wanted to become except I could not afford veterinary school. As for my daughter she wants to be a lawyer, and I have been in law enforcement for almost 28 years. No the apples of my eyes did not fall far from the tree, did they!

Oh well, 4 weeks or maybe 5 from now, I should know if I have been selected. If I find out I have made it, I need to write up my retirement papers, and get my rear end out of the door at my current government job. It will in no way, shape, or form be able to hit me in the behind as I make my way out. Still it will be a tough thing to do, 27 1/2 years has been a long time, with lots of memories, and quite a few friends made along the way. Enough about that, I cannot count my chickens until the eggs hatch, so I will just sit back and wait through what will seem like an awfully long 4 weeks or so to hear of the results of my interview.

By the way, my thanks to those of you who sent me well wishes before the interview.

All the best,
Glenn B
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