Thursday, June 01, 2006
Hip Hip Hooray!
Thank you bunches to all of you who sent kind thoughts my way yesterday! I feel just like Miss Lily here--happy! I'm so relieved it's over. Let's face it, an interview is tough because you are (hopefully) showing the interview team your best, and what if your best just isn't good enough??
I arrived early so I could get a feel for the school and its staff. It was clean, shiny and new looking with a very open feel. Student work lined the walls, and everyone looked happy. The secretaries were friendly and kind, and I sensed a positive rapport with most in the building. Not bad.
I was interviewed by the principal and four teachers. They had a standard set of questions they were asking all applicants and they were going to make their decision that afternoon when they had finished all interviews.
There were some fairly standard questions (I guess--I've only done this one other time, and honestly I can't remember what questions Alicia asked), such as what was my educational experience and teaching background. What is the hallmark of a good literacy program? How best do children learn mathematics? What does discipline look like in your classroom? How do you differentiate instruction for your lower and upper level learners? And, my favorite, "Why should we hire you?"
What? Why should they hire me?? Because I'm awesome and their school would be lucky to have me!! I said this, but a little more tactfully. I spoke of my experiences teaching, highlighting my collaborative special ed experience. I talked about all my conference presentations and the extensive training I have had through conference attendance. I covered my technological know-how, and illustrated how I have integrated technology in my classroom.
Now, it's up to them. Since I make it a point to be honest and open here, here's the truth: As much as I want to work in WJC (I just learned this is how the write it--who knew?) for convience's sake, I won't be devastated if I'm not hired.
I figured out something very sad yesterday. WJC is a rather mundane school division. With all that is going on in NNPS, they are on the ball with teacher training/opportunities and they are continuously looking for better instructional methods.
WJC are successful in a technical sense--all schools are acredited as per NCLB legislation. They have decent pass rates on their state Standards of Learning (SOL) tests. But, here's the caveat--most of those passing are the children from middle/upper middle-upper class families.
It has been my experience that these families place greater emphasis on the importance of education, as well as provide their children with valuable experiences outside the home. The impoverished children are in general failing, and no one really seems to care because all the schools are passing. This is an absolute crime, as well as an outrage!
This is what is referred to as the "Achievement Gap". More often this gap is focused not only on the disparity of impoverished versus middle class/upper class, but on the low achievement of minority children versus the high achievement of caucasian children. This is where I can be an invaluable addition to the WCJ school division. All my work these past six years has been towards closing this gap.
Something MUST be done for the children. It is not their fault they are in poverty. Nor is it their fault the adults they live with often take little to no interest in their education. It is our job as teachers to provide them with as many skills and as much knowledge as needed to be successful. These are the kids I truly teach for. Sure, the other children need me to teach them the content, and be a listening ear and a guide, but these children NEED me to teach them everything else!
Sorry to go off on a ranting tangent. I get frustrated when children are lost in the cracks. Keep your fingers crossed!