Whether I had wanted to or not, I interviewed for summer school today.
How did it go?
For a metaphor, imagine: romantic date, with candles alight and mood set. Across the mother’s-best linen tablecloth, the prettiest girl you’d ever hope to woo. Things get off to a rocky start.
I’m not sure what to say, because I realize there are very specific things she wants to hear. I’m nervous and unsure. After what seems like a year, my mind is frozen, still. I say the first honest thought that pops into my head.
“You look like someone who likes donuts.”
That was my summer school interview today. It was a living, breathing faux pas. I never know how to say what I want when I want to say it.
I’m still kicking myself over it — hence the comparison to a date.
He had asked something about whether or not I would be interested in teaching freshman English, my only NCLB-compliant backup qualification. My journalism degree qualifies me to teach up until ninth grade.
“I’d probably end up teaching with an emphasis on actually writing and writing well, because that’s what my training has been.”
Cue the raised eyebrow.
“As a new teacher, we’ll give you the curriculum. There is literature you will have to teach. You can throw in a little of your own thing here and there, but for the most part, we’ll have it spelled out for you.”
Strike one. I almost salvaged it with a “Then, I have no reservations about teaching freshman English” followed by some variation on “That’s great, I hadn’t thought of that” but the damage had been done.
I had mentioned that I had also taught government last semester.
“The last time we hired a new teacher who had only taught government, she really wasn’t prepared to handle remedial-level sophomores.”
Strike two. I turned the conversation back to my experience in other subjects.
“My preference will be to teach the U.S. history, though. That’ll give me experience teaching the one subject I didn’t get a chance to teach.” It helps that last summer’s U.S. history teacher has 2-year-old twins and decided to take the summer off.
Here’s to a home run and not a third strike.
Moral of the story? Keep your trap shut — the little asides and quips do more harm than good, as you’ll simply look and sound less confident.