Back to School Anxiety

I think I had my first real anxiety attack. And it was about going back to school.

Realistically, I know I was overreacting. I have plenty of days to get ready for school plus a few more. I know where my resources are and the majority of who I am going to see on the first day. I also have a few days before the students come to get everything organized.

I’m just still so worried about getting everything done! Does anyone else feel this way?

edit: Everything turned out fine. Mostly 😉 

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…