Saturday, February 11, 2012

One Step Closer

I'm moving right along with my substitute teaching gig. It's nice, but I really want something more substantial. In talking with a few veteran teachers at my school I've learned several things: 1. Feedback is almost never given, unless you are being officially observed teaching a lesson. 2. There are subs at my school who have been subbing for 4+ years, waiting for a full time position. 3. Teaching is a funky profession. You really need to gel with a principal and the school's vision to get a job. It's all about how they "like" you. I guess that's true of any job. At this point I can only move forward. Last week I received an email from the NYCDOE about additional job openings. I applied to three positions for English teachers. I was a bit surprised when I got a call for an interview for a high school in Brooklyn. They offered me three dates to come in. I of course chose the earliest one (the following day). The secretary laughed at me and said she liked a woman who knew what she wanted (if it was only all that easy!). I went in last Wednesday to meet the principal and do a mini-lesson on anything I wanted. I went in feeling like I had nothing to lose. I was simply myself. I liked the principal. She was a no nonsense straight shooter. I like the students too. The class was small with several special ed students and one other co-teacher. Before the principal introduced me to the class she spoke to them. She told them she was interviewing new teachers and I was one of the candidates. She told them she wanted their feedback later in the day on how they thought I did. I was blown away! How cool is that? After my mini lesson I thanked the students for letting me into their classroom and went back to speak with the principal. She said she had a few more interviews and wanted to check my references, but she would call me Monday to let me know. She then told me she wanted to put me into the system. Apparently she wanted to start the new hire off as a long term substitute. I could understand that. There are so many teachers out there looking for work. What I didn't know was that in order to sub in NYC one must be nominated by a principal. I told her that was fine. When I left the school, they secretary called me on my cell phone to confirm my email address and get my social security info. A few minutes later another email came through from the DOE. She actually nominated me! Even if she didn't hire me I could sub in NYC which by the way pays more per diem than my suburban sub gig. I received a system generated email from the DOE to complete my application from the nomination. I did that straight away. On Thursday morning I received another email telling me my application was approved and I need to make an appointment to come down to the NYCDOE head office for processing. They allowed me several dates and I picked the first one naturally which is this Wednesday. It looks like I will need to be fingerprinted again and take a few workshops on child abuse and the online system subs use. I can't believe this was actually happening. Now I just need to wait for the phone to ring. Again.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

How do I improve without feedback?

In the never ending search for a permanent teaching position, I am surprised at the lack of feedback I am getting. I had two interviews this month. One was for a part time position in the school I currently sub in. The other was for a full time position in Queens. I was very hopeful about the position in Queens. I was called to do a demo lesson after my interview. I thought it went well. The assistant principal remarked that the class learned more in that one period with me than they have in the past month. A few weeks have passed and I haven't haven't heard anything. Call me old fashioned, but the least they can do is send an email letting me know the outcome. If I didn't get the job that's fine. Just let me know. I will be sending an old fashioned snail mail letter to the A.P. this week thanking her again for her time and to let her know I am still interested in her school. If not for the end of this school year, perhaps in September when they planned on higher enrollment as the school expands. The part time position interview was weird. I was subbing all day and then had to interview afterwards. I felt I did not look my best and I did not get a good vibe from the teachers interviewing me. It was a "group" interview consisting of two English teachers, the principal and the English chairperson. Since the interview I have been called on to sub almost every day. I even had a few interactions with the chairperson last week, but no feedback. The position was to start February 1, so I am assuming either the date was pushed out or they found another candidate. Again, I wish they would just let me know. I have no problem continuing to sub even if I was not chosen for the part time position.It seems bizarre to me that considering the nature of education is about giving continual feedback, yet I am not getting any. I constantly wonder how I can improve. Is it my interviewing skills? Perhaps I am giving poor examples of my work experience. Maybe it's my lack of experience in the classroom? Could it be my age? Like a student, how can a potential or current employee improve if they are not given direction?