Getting a Job – My Story

I wish I had been smarter about this and wrote more about it when I was going through the process, but I didn’t.

I was very lucky to have my final practicum school offer me a 6 month temporary contract covering a maternity leave. I had my final presentation, passed in Wednesday afternoon and in my silliness took the next morning off. Turns out my principal had brought in a recruitment person from the school board I wanted to be a part of and I missed an opportunity to have an interview. Luckily my principal told me I could have the next morning off to go to an interview. Off I went and turns out the same person had worked with my husband a few years back. We hit it off and I felt like I delivered an excellent interview. On my drive back to the school I kept going over what I had said and wondered if it was what they were looking for.

When I returned to the school (for a staff meeting) I went in like nothing had happened because not everyone knew I had this interview. After the interview my principal asked to see me. Of course the automatic thought was that I had done something wrong and was going to be corrected. As I sat down he shut the door and slowly took his seat.

“How do you feel about teaching French?”

“Fine. I can do it.”

“Would you like to teach Grade 4?”

“Uhh. Yes.”

“Well congratulations you have the job!”

“Holy… really? THANK YOU!”

Turns out as soon as I had left the office my interviewer had called him and told him to hire me. I was exactly what they were looking for and he had even set up two mentors for me to rely on in the next 6 months. I was so happen to be able to walk back into the staff room and have him announce that I wasn’t leaving in December but that I would be staying on. As far as I know, everyone was quite happy to have me stay on and be a part of the team. It was a change from my Grade 1 & 2 music to Grade 4 general, but the fit couldn’t have been better. Those 6 months were the best way to start my career.

Those six months ended in June. I was devastated to have to leave the school, as there was no longer a position for me. Unless of course I wanted to take another temporary contract and it would be only for 4 months. It was not worth my time. My fabulous principal kept the 3 temp. contract teachers in the loop as much as he could. Being a specialist (music, drama, art, languages, etc.) gave me an advantage as they’re always needed within a school board. Therefore it wasn’t much of a surprise when I was the first one to get a phone call. It was for an elementary school (I would be the music teacher) in an area of the city I was unfamiliar with. I went to the interview with as much knowledge as I could get from past school newsletters, teachers I knew who had taught in the area, and anything else I could get my hands on. The school admin were friendly and allowed me some time to look at the questions before we went through with the interview.

I thought it had gone well. I got a phone call but I was not the right person for the job. I was almost relieved because I think after the interview it wasn’t the right school for me. About a week later I got another phone call, this time from a Jr/Sr High. Big change from my last interview. I went into this one doing the same amount of research as I did before. School newsletter, asking around and anything else I could Google about the school. This school was a smaller school (only a few hundred students) and had a very small staff.

I went and did the interview then they offered a tour around where my classrooms would be. I was thrilled and quite surprised that they even suggested that. I supposed that would have indicated that I had made a short list of some sort. The admin assistant took me around and we bonded over the fact that she had only been there for the last few months and was just getting to know the place herself. When we got back to the office they were still talking and I was just told to wait. I have to say that those 3-6 minutes of waiting were just brutal. When the principal came out they wanted to see me again and ask a few more questions.

These questions were BRUTAL. While I had thought that the questions asked previously were quite tough, these really pushed my knowledge of my own teaching style, management and personal characteristics. They asked about specific situations about students and school policy. One I found quite hilarious (afterwards) was they kept saying a teacher was “sick” and therefore late for school and I was covering for them for up to 2 weeks. They seemed pleased with my answers and informed me that I would find out if I had the job later that day. Lo and behold I got a phone call at 4:15pm asking me if I would like to “rest my hatchet” at that school. I was thrilled and accepted.

As of September, I am teaching Band 7/8/9, Drama 7/8/9, Band 10/20/30, Drama 10/20/30 and Math 7. Expect a lot of Math resources to pop up in the next little while…

One thought on “Getting a Job – My Story

  1. Congrats on your job! I also worked a 5-month maternity contract after graduating in December. It was teaching junior high math and science in a very small farming community and so different from anything I’d ever experienced. I went in for the interview right after new years, and within three weeks, picked up and moved to take the job. Working in a very small school in such an isolated place was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I got to see a different place, experience a different culture, had to teach seven new subjects all at once, both detested and revelled in the solitude, cried from being overwhelmed with no other math/science teacher mentors around, and grew from having to trust myself. They similarly offered to take me for the remaining maternity months, but were very understanding when I decided to take a full-year post instead.

    I ended up getting a permanent job for September by meeting my current principal(s) at a job fair in January. I remember it being absolutely frigid, at least minus 40 C, and I had driven 2+ hours to get there, parked my car, and the parking meters were all frozen up. I was afraid my car wouldn’t start up again when I returned. I guess it was worth it. Apparently this school didn’t have a position for me at the time, but weren’t kidding when they said they would “definitely” call me back once their requirements for September became clear. By April, I had a job lined up teaching junior/senior math and science as well as Physics 20/30. I feel very lucky and blessed to have a permanent job in my first year of teaching, and relatively close to home too!

    It’s interesting that you mentioned French. If there was anything I regret about my university education, it was not taking any French classes. I wish someone had told me it was such a big seller in education. At this point, my French is not bad and probably enough to teach FSL at an elementary or junior high level. I remember the majority of what I learned in high school French IB, spent the summer doing an immersion program in Quebec, and can understand and say most everyday things if you speak slow enough. I do love the language, and it would be so wicked to be able to teach math/science French immersion one day. At this point, I’m willing to invest in learning it, but I’m not sure if immersion is a realistic goal given my limited background. Perhaps I’ll put it on my long term goals. If there are any Canadian student teachers or students thinking of teaching out there, TAKE FRENCH!

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