Something to think about

So I lied when I said there were no other opportunities this year. On Sunday I actually applied for a job that went up earlier last week. It was at the same high school that I applied with last year and then was informed immediately that it was an inter-district transfer and no one would be interviewed. I truly assumed this other late posting was the same. But I applied because I promised myself I would apply to any high school job posting in the area.

I sent my confirmation email on Wednesday, assuming I’d get that same quick reply. They called me on Thursday to schedule an interview.

I was excited to get the call because at the time I was finishing packing my room and having a minor panic attack about how I’d manage to teach in five different rooms on two campuses next year. I was seriously freaking out that I couldn’t do it.

Mostly I was just excited to know I can get an interview without any connections. Sure it’s the end of the hiring season and a lot of the better candidates have been hired elsewhere, but hey, it’s better than not getting the interview under those circumstances.

I went to the interview Friday morning. I feel like I did better than I had at the other two interviews. But the woman who walked out as I was walking in is exactly who you think of when you imagine a Spanish teacher: little Hispanic lady, complete with blouse and sweater. And then the woman who walked in after me was recognized by one of the interviewers, who was really excited to see her. So yeah, I think I did well and also think I have absolutely no chance of getting the job.

Yes, I know I do have a chance. But really, I probably don’t.

And you know what, I’m not nervous at all. I’m supposed to hear back on Monday, and I’m not stressing in the least. And I think that’s because I don’t expect to get it.

I think I’m actually way more nervous about the prospect of actually being offered a job, as I am at the idea of being rejected.

I realized this after the interview with my high school. I didn’t think that interview went super well, but I thought it went okay, and I felt I had a higher chance of getting that job because of my few connections. I was a MESS in the week following that interview. A total and complete disaster.

But then, when I didn’t hear on Thursday, and I assumed I didn’t get the job, the stress went away. Waiting until they eventually got back to me on Tuesday was no problem, because I was sure at that point that I didn’t have the job.

Clearly the idea of getting a job offer is crazy making for me. And I have to delve into why that is.

For one thing, all of these high schools have a start time of 8am. I thought my high school had a start time of 9am now, but evidently zero period, which starts at 8am, is mandatory. It’s basically five classes on a seven period day. All the other schools are seven period days, so they start at 8am too. If I got one of those jobs, I wouldn’t not be able to bring my daughter to school in the mornings.

My school starts at 8:30 next year, and my principal honored my request for 1st period prep, so I don’t technically need to be on campus until 9:20. Even if there is horrible traffic, I will make it on time.

This gives me incredible piece of mind. Being there for my family, at least one more year, is important to me. I think that is the main reason I have been so stressed at the prospect of actually being offered a job.

But there is more to it. I’ve been at my school A LONG time. I know the people. I know the place. I know the systems and the expectations. It’s my second home. I have a lot of colleagues I consider friends, even if we don’t visit outside of school hours. A couple are true friends that I do see outside of work (or at least talk to). The idea of leaving all of that, and having to make a place for myself at a whole new school, is terrifying.

Also, what if I’m shit at teaching highschoolers? What if they rip me apart?

There are also the other things, like losing tenure and the security that comes with it. Being observed and knowing they can just not invite me back, without any justification what so ever, will be nerve wracking. Especially after how hard it’s been to get interviews and the rejections that have come after them. What if I lose my new job and can’t find another one?

So yeah, it turns out I’m actually terrified of getting a new job. And I really don’t feel ready to succeed at a new school next year.

I have a lot of work to do this year to make myself a more competitive candidate. And that work isn’t just about convincing others that I’m ready for the job, it’s about convincing myself that I’m prepared to do well somewhere else.

This whole experience has taught me so much. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to become more self-aware and understand that I need to grow professionally. Next year I have the right schedule to learn some new skills and build my confidence. Hopefully next spring the interview process will be very different.



  1. “Looking the part” or not. Made me think about a current major national power figure who actually sees image/appearance as more important than qualifications. So, maybe along with the other professional prep you are planning on you will also want to spend some time developing a wardrobe/look that you think exemplifies how a Spanish Language Teacher Looks.
    In the mean time I hope you are getting organized for your trip and also decompressing from the school year. Also, that you are enjoying the current weather in your city…… on the eastern side of the bay and hills we are broiling but I remind myself it is even hotter in the northern CA valley where tomorrow the prediction is 112-4 and it does not cool to the 90s until 1am. Once again ~ Perspective rules.
    Hang in and keep going; you are wonderful and doing really well ~ and you will continue to do so. Super glad you have this trip and study program; looking forward to hearing about the adventure!

    1. I definitely do need to work on my wardrobe a bit, though I don’t think I can ever look the real “part” of the Spanish teacher, because I am not Hispanic! I am not a native speaker and never will be, but I can get my language skills up, and that is what I plan to do.

      We are definitely enjoying the weather in SF. I’ve been down on the peninsula twice this week and it’s been really hot down there (not in the 100s though! That is nuts!) Up here it’s just beautiful.

      I hope it cools off where you are soon!

      1. I hope it cools too.
        Remember you do not need to look ‘typically Latina’. There are absolutely blue eyed, blond, native Spanish speakers. What you need is language competency and teaching skills. and a basket of good luck. I know you already bring fun and enthusiasm to your job, and experience dealing with a difficult age group. So I have faith. Hang in. Things always change over time……with or without our preference. You are getting interviews, that counts.

  2. I am a high school teacher and 1st hour starts at 7:20 (early bird starts at 6:30). All teachers are required to be at school by 7am even if they have 1st hour prep (unless they teach early bird then they have to be there by 6:30). You are lucky that you can come in later and were given the prep you requested! I try to be at school by 6:30 (I have students who come in early to make up labs and work when absent) even though I do not teach early bird, so my husband takes care of the morning routine. I am in charge of pick-up/dinner.

    Enjoy your summer!

    1. I have definitely done the early mornings at school before: I taught zero period for two years and got to school at 6am to be ready to teach by 7am (and then taught straight through to lunch and went to pick up my son from his grandparents’ house). I actually prefer that to being at home with the kids and then getting into work later, but right now we only have one car and our kids go to two different places on three different buses, and my daughter’s school starts at 7:50, so it would be tough for my husband to manage it. We might need to bite the bullet and lease a car for a year or two, and I think after next year (when my daughter is 8 and my son is 4) my husband could manage them both in the mornings without me and get them out the door for that super early start time, but I think for one more year it’s important for me to be at home. And yes, I think my husband should be able to manage it alone, theoretically, but in reality he would be miserable which would make me miserable, so I think one more year at my school is the better move for my family.

      I am SO LUCKY that my school has been accommodating of my scheduling requests. It is one of the reasons I’ve stayed so long, so they are getting something out of the deal as well. 😉 Honestly, if I weren’t teaching in five different rooms on two campuses next year, it would be my best year teaching in a long time.

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