Shortly before 4pm yesterday, the principal from the school I interviewed at called me.
I knew that I didn’t have the job before he even finished saying hello.
He was quick to let me know that I had not been chosen for the job. He then went on to explain why, citing that I hadn’t been detailed or specific enough with my answers. He further explained that while I answered every question “correctly”, I hadn’t used enough personal examples or dropped enough “buzz words”. (Rubrics! Assessment!) He referred to the way I answered his question about how I would handle an angry parent who called in to complain about a mark I gave their son or daughter. While I answered the question correctly, I hadn’t used the right words. He wanted more details than I think I could have given, as I simply don’t have the experience.
I think that even though deep down I knew that that job wasn’t mine before I even left his office, hearing him say the words was so disappointing.
And honestly, it was very embarrassing for me.
Of all the schools in the board, I thought that this school was my way in. This was my way to something full-time. That the eight long months I spent volunteering there were not in vain. That this–my first real opportunity to show the principal that I’m a great teacher–would be my time to shine. He knows me. He knows my capabilities.
And it just wasn’t enough. Even though I know I shouldn’t see it as one, it felt like a failure. I felt like I had blown my shot to get my job.
In the brief 2 minute phone call, I could feel the pieces of my confidence being chipped away.
…but I didn’t cry. I thanked him, hung up the phone and did. not. cry.
But it did make me doubt.
This road to full-time employment as a teacher has been so unbelievably difficult, and even then I know that my path has been easier than it has for others who are still struggling to even get their foot in a door somewhere. I often feel so… small in this enormous world of teaching. There is so much that I don’t know, and I often feel incredibly inadequate. Will I ever learn everything I’m supposed to know?
So, I did what I always do when I need an outlet: I came here. I began looking back over my previous posts–my past–and examined my journey to where I am now as a teacher. As a person. As a writer.
And while I know I’ve accomplished so many wonderful goals, I sometimes feel like I’m stuck. I’ve been writing here for almost five years. Five years!! And yet, I feel like I’ve hit a plateau. I have such a solid, amazing group of readers who support me through thick and thin, but it’s like I can’t break through the glass wall that stands between me and my goal of writing professionally. I don’t know where to go next. I don’t know how to “grow” my blog and readership. I don’t know how to reach out to the world and tell them that I’m here.
I want it. I want it so badly.
When I see these writers who have been blogging for 6 months and already have 19283091 followers I’m completely flabbergasted. What are they doing that I’m not?
…I probably sound like the most self-centered person in the world right now. It’s just… I feel like my dreams of teaching and writing are laughing at me from a tall shelf that is just out of reach.
I try so hard to be patient…
…but sometimes it’s just so hard to wait.
Faith McCrady Pinto
I have no doubt that you can reach your goals, and do I ever know how hard it is to be patient. I also know it’s difficult when you think you see your path, and then God seems to say, “Nope, not just yet.” And you feel like looking at him and saying, “Hey, what gives? Why bring me here if that’s not where I’m supposed to go?” I think when you get there, you’ll know why that time is the right time and why that place is the right place, and why it wouldn’t have been the same if it had happened the way you had originally wanted. You’ll make it!
I don’t think it’s self-centered at all, I think it’s human. We always want better for ourselves, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But I think we also forget to look at all the things that we have accomplished, all the great things that we have been able to do, and we focus on the things that we have yet to do instead. Your blog following is continuously growing, and you’ve managed to write EVERY SINGLE DAY for over 2 months! That’s pretty amazing! And the lack of teaching jobs doesn’t mean we aren’t great teachers, because we are. Just think… 2 years ago, we were just scratching the surface of teaching, and look how far we’ve come!
Maybe this horrible teaching market is in place to help us develop incredible levels of patience!
Anyway, I know it’s really disheartening to hear a no from somewhere that seemed like a good shot, I’ve been there. But you’ve got lot of people rooting for you, people that know that whichever school scoops you up will be incredibly lucky.
Hang in there. Searching for a job is so hard on the self-esteem. I was applying for jobs I didn’t even really want, but the rejections still hit me hard. The few that I truly wanted and thought I had a chance with, that was even worse. The right thing will come along, and you’ll know that there was a reason for all this!
In no way should your interview make you feel any doubt about yourself or your abilities. You went into that interview knowing you had 15 minutes tops. So I believe you had to have censored yourself automatically, since you knew at the start you had no time to really go into things. And excuse me, but really? You didn’t use the right lingo? Give me a break. That demonstrates NO teaching skills, but just the ability to regurgitate crap learned from books. And there are LOTS of teachers who cite the manual who don’t know how to relate to the kids in their classes. I know you well enough to know you must be a gifted teacher. It’s part of who you are. So – their loss. Hold your head up high, and keep on looking. I know it’s trite, but another door will open.
As for the blogging, no comment. I was rather impressed you had so many readers. :-) What do I know?
Hi Shop Girl, I read your blogs once in a while because they pop on my face book and I can relate to them a lot. I think your writing is awesome by the way. The little stories draw me in, and they are very real. Maybe you should try writing an article about occasional teaching for one of the teaching magazines? So I have been to 7 interviews and every time I ask for feedback they tell me the same thing, almost exactly what they told you, “You weren’t detailed enough” “give more examples” “someone else was more experienced”. Can I just say that it’s bullshit. It’s just their general excuse and it does not mean you weren’t suited for the job (in my humble opinion). I went to an interview for summer school and had the worst interview of my life (showed up at the wrong location, didn’t follow instructions, answered every question wrong) and still got the job because I said I was passionate about teaching and he said after that he was looking for “young, passionate teachers.” I think it’s charisma to be honest, like if you connect to the principal on a personal level. It sounds like you connected to the principal at the other high school pretty well, so next time a job comes up there you will have a good chance of getting it. Good luck and remember you are a GREAT teacher and don’t let the evil interviews get you down.ps-thanks for the book club invite ages ago, I wanted to join but I have to teach ballet on Thursday nights so I couldn’t make it. See you around school! :D
Oh shop girl – I just hugged my laptop – since I can’t give you a real hug.
I totally identify with what you said about feeling small in the enormous world of teaching – doing my teaching practice for a diploma in education has left me feeling like if I’m woefully inadequate. But be encouraged, trust God – He has something great planned for you.
As for writing – I’m always encouraged to hear about how long it took many popular writers to get started – some had as many as 49 rejections from publishers before they got their first break (Stepen King comes to mind) http://www.onlinecollege.org/2010/05/17/50-iconic-writers-who-were-repeatedly-rejected/
All I can say is- keep writing. And write for you – popularity will catch up with you soon enough.
I’m really sorry you didn’t get the job and especially for the way it’s left you questioning yourself. There isn’t a whole lot I can say that would help you in teaching, but here are my thoughts on the blogging thing. I truly believe the reason so many of those newer blogs have such high numbers of followers is all the “Follow Friday” blog hops, etc. I think, in many cases, those numbers are far from representative of the actual number of readers a blog has.
As for writing, well, I finally gave myself a big butt-kicking last week and got back to work on my novel. You know what actually helped me? Seeing the release of a book that was written by someone I know personally. That was what ultimately gave me the motivation to finish.
I’m so sorry to hear that, but I know that your day will come, and this just wasn’t the right time for you.
I know how you feel, I am looking for a job too right now, and it’s tough. I went for one a month ago, and I didn’t get it, I think I just didn’t connect with the interviewer. Rejection isn’t easy! Interviews are a game, I find the ‘competency-based’ questions asking for examples really hard too. My sister-in-law in Canada is finding it difficult to get a teaching job, she is trained as a maths teacher and there doesn’t seem to be much around. That doesn’t help you but you are not alone.
As for writing, don’t give up! 12 publishing houses turned down the first Harry Potter book. Have you added your URL to Google? http://www.google.com/addurl/?continue=/addurl
Congratulations on the house, by the way!
I agree that the right job will come, so keep your chin up. You don’t want to work for a headteacher who gives interviewees just 15 minutes of his time and who doesn’t base his view of you off the actual work you have done rather than something you did or didn’t say the way he wants to hear it. You’ve made a lucky escape – the school doesn’t deserve you!
And with your blog, don’t write for other people, write for YOU! I love reading your blogs – because you live a different life from me and that in itself is fascinating. Ask yourself why you need 50 bijillion readers to make it worthwhile – I used to look at my stats everyday and it’s disappointing when you don’t blog for a while your stats drop and it takes ages for them to grow again. Then I realised that the reason I blog is so my family and friends know what I’ve been up to, and also so I have a journal for the most important person who needs to know how far I have come – ME. So it’s for me, myself and I mainly. If my family or friends read it that’s even better – and if I get to know a ‘stranger’ whose blog I read that’s a bonus too. If you want to be a writer, compile some of the different ‘strands’ of your blog into individual stories – like the story of you and the hubster would make a great love story. Or “the diary of an on-call teacher” would be fab – make up bits and pieces, go mad – and write yourself a happy teacher ending! Make up a story about a girl who loves shoes. Write stories for Princess Pea. Then send them to magazines/local newspapers/publishers/anyone who will be the path to you being printed. And post them on here too, so we can enjoy them :)
Oh hugs hugs and more hugs. I feel you on so many different levels. I am amazed at bloggers who seem to get tons of followers with little to no effort (and sometimes terrible content) and I’m completely flummoxed as well. How do they do it? I’m so sorry to hear about the job. What a weak excuse-you didn’t use the right buzz words? I’m sorry but that’s just ridiculous. What does that have to do with whether or not you’ll be a good teacher? I’m proud of you for not crying. You are strong and you will look back on this someday and know that this happened for a reason. The better fit is out there for you.