The daily musings of a substitute teacher in East Central Illinois.

Interviews VI, VII and VIII

I don’t know why I didn’t blog about my interview on Wednesday, nor do I know why I have put off blogging about today’s interview, but I guess I should do it to keep my running record of my professional life going. Because this is a bit over 1,400 words, I’m going to put a break in here, just to keep my home screen from being overwhelmed by this post.

Quite some time ago (I’m not even sure when) I applied for an unspecific elementary teaching position with Pontiac District 429. I remember looking for their website and being disappointed that one did not exist, although a site run by the district’s PTA was available. Alas, this latter site did not provide the information I was hoping for. I am pretty certain the job was found through the IASA Job Bank (also known as the Illinois Education Job Bank), which means that I mailed in my application information. A week ago Monday, during the Illinois Teen Institute, I got a call from the principal at Lincoln Elementary School in Pontiac asking me if I would be available for a job interview. I called back and left a message letting him know that I was very interested, but that I was at a youth leadership camp for the week. After playing phone tag for several days, we finally chatted on the phone and arranged the interview for Wednesday morning.

At the same time, I had finally caught the job posting for a 4th grade teaching position at Wiley School in Urbana, whose principal is the woman who hired my mother-in-law many, many years ago. I applied for that job immediately and wondered when (if) I would be contacted for that.

Then that Tuesday (a week before my Pontiac interview), I got an email from the director of E.nopi US in Savoy. I had contacted him about a month previously via Facebook to inquire as to whether or not they were hiring for the Fall. My wife directed me to them after seeing an ad they were placing in one of the magazines she works on. The email asked for my resume, which I sent as soon as Gretch had moved a copy from my desktop at home to my dropbox (three cheers for dropbox!) E.nopi is a supplemental education program that focuses on math, reading, and writing. I immediately got an email reply asking if I could come in for an interview before Friday, since the director was leaving for a three-week business trip to South Korea. I explained that I was at a summer camp but would be back by 6 pm on Thursday, if he was interested in interviewing me later in the evening. We arranged for an interview at 7 pm and I pondered on the whirlwind of job stuffs happening while I was also working at a leadership camp.

Thursday came and, after quickly cleaning up when getting home, I left for my interview at E.nopi. It was brief and interesting. I was asked about my teaching experiences, how I differentiate instruction, and a bunch of other standard things. I was hired on the spot with the plan to start working the following Tuesday. I now work for E.nopi on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3-7 pm. Of course, that meant that my work at my full-time temporary summer job doing custodial work during the day was suddenly in peril, since I would only be able to work three days a week. Oh, and I had an interview on Wednesday, which cut my availability for my first week to two days. I let my custodial employer know this, and was told I could still come in to work on Monday, which was my scheduled first day.

The first day cleaning was spent washing the exterior windows of various schools. Not too terrible, not too exciting, but fun with the guy I got to work with. Then I went to E.nopi on Tuesday and had a decent time working there.

Interview in Pontiac: It went well, as all of my interviews do. It is an interesting school district that has had many financial challenges. They had to let go the music and art teachers, along with the librarians, which leaves the general education teachers to pick up the slack. Lots of goals to recover and move forward. I enjoyed talking with the principal for the building that was hiring (it was for a 3rd grade position, incidentally) and the principal of the other grade school with whom he works, and I felt pretty good about how I had presented myself. The interview was also an hour long, which is roughly twice as long as most interviews I’ve had. I was told to expect a response by Friday.

On my way to the interview, I got a call from the secretary at Wiley, wanting to know if I could come in for an interview on Friday morning. Actually, I had been called by the principal on Tuesday evening first, but since I was at work, I’d missed the call. I was worried about my summer job, since this was going to cut more of my availability, and I had been hired to work Monday through Friday from 8-4 or 5, depending on the day. However, when the secretary and I talked, I agreed to a time slot at 10:25 am and then later contacted the folks at ESS to explain my predicament. They knew that I was expecting interview, but I knew that not being available for any of the days I was supposed to work was going to be a major problem. Unfortunately, the HR director was out of the office for several days, so no one knew for sure what would happen.

About 5 minutes after getting off the phone with the secretary at Wiley, I got a call from the secretary at Westview Elementary in Champaign! I had applied for an interim 2nd grade position there and they wanted me to come in for an interview on Tuesday! Holy mugwump, Batman! Three interviews in one week?! I gladly scheduled the interview, wondering what on earth I had applied for. You see, after applying for a bajillion jobs, I have lost track of all the different positions I have sought. I figured it out soon enough, though.

Second day at E.nopi went well, then I set to preparing for my interview this morning. The Wiley interview was not what I had hoped. I think I presented myself well, but it was hard to get visual feedback from the interviewing panel, which consisted of the principal, a kindergarten teacher, a fourth grade teacher, and a fourth woman whose name and position I didn’t catch. I didn’t feel like I was able to express my experience, expertise, and skills the way I have in most interviews due to the nature of the questions, but I don’t know how important that will be, ultimately. I have been told that this particular principal prefers to hire new teachers with less experience, and I am hoping that my strong references will serve me well. (It occurs to me after the fact that I should have presented a copy of the letter of recommendation from the 4th grade G/T teacher from Stratton in addition to my three standard references. Whoops. I think I’ll email it to the principal as soon as I am done writing this up!) I did emphasise my experience working with diverse students in different areas but I forgot to mention anything about my semester in Australia! Double whoops! After the interview I was told that, due to preparation for registration, a decision probably would not be made until mid-week.

In the mail this evening was a short two-sentence letter from the principal in Pontiac. The job was given to someone else. This wasn’t a huge surprise, probably because I am, sadly, getting used to rejection. It is frustrating, though, to always know how well I interview but then still be rejected. However, I am confident that I will get the job I am meant to have, whatever and wherever it is. The current score is seven interviews for full-time positions, no job offer yet. I am definitely 0-6, with number seven (officially interview VIII) still in the wings.

And, of course, there is the ever-present realisation that if I don’t get a full-time job teaching, I have my fabulous job as the best dang substitute teacher in the county waiting for me. But, honestly, I really want to be working full-time. Wish me luck, pray for me, pour an oblation, send smoke signals, cross your fingers and toes, and let us all hope for the best!

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