Strawberry Banana Bread (and a novel about my current job situation)

Almost two years ago I put on my suit, drove north for a few hours to a city I’d never heard of, and interviewed for a teaching job. We were still living in San Luis Obispo at the time, and the school year would be starting in two weeks.  After applying to almost thirty districts, I had only interviewed twice, and didn’t get either job.

I got to the school way too early, so I sat in my car on the street and watched the three other candidates walk in for their interviews.  When it was finally time for me to go in, I took a deep breath, clutched my portfolio, and nervously walked into the office.

The principal, a science teacher, and a math teacher asked me questions about my experience teaching abroad, why I wanted to work in a middle school, lessons I’d taught, and how I work with students who speak languages other than English.  They asked if I would be okay with teaching PE and I told them about how much I loved running and being active.  I felt relaxed and confident as I showed my portfolio and answered their questions.   I walked out of there thinking I might actually get to teach that year.

I got in the car to drive back home and within 45 minutes, the principal called and offered me the job.  I spent the next two years teaching 8th grade science and PE, working with a phenomenal group of teachers and a dedicated principal.  I came to realize I love teaching, and particularly teaching middle school, more than I ever thought I would.  I am incredibly grateful that the principal took a chance and hired someone with no full-time experience. I’m also fairly sure I wouldn’t have survived my first year without the other 8th grade science teacher — the most organized person I’ve ever met — who was was more than willing to answer my questions, give lesson and lab ideas,  and skip her lunch to observe and offer feedback.

The job was challenging but incredibly rewarding, and I absolutely loved my students.  But I also knew that there needed to be some changes.  I didn’t want to spend the rest of my career teaching PE; I went to school to teach science.  Also, Daly City just wasn’t somewhere I wanted to live for the rest of my life.  The summers are cold and foggy, the winters are clear, but cold and windy, and because it’s decently close to San Francisco, rent isn’t cheap.  I have a few friends who live in the East Bay, where there are trees! And you get a real summer! And you can get an entire house with a yard for the price of a tiny apartment in the the city!  Mike and I were determined to make a move.

I started applying for jobs in the East Bay a couple months ago, and went to a couple interviews.  No offers.  Then this past Thursday, I went to a screening interview.  When I sat down with the interviewer, she told me she was a principal helping the district screen applicants for a pool, not interviewing for a specific job.  If I “passed” this round of interviews, my information would be forwarded to principals with openings, and they might contact me.  We chatted about teaching, and why I wanted to leave my current position.  After answering a few more questions, she let me know that she had a science position open at her school and she was interested in having me interview for it the next day.

Friday morning I drove to her school and met with the vice principal and science department chair.  I got a tour of some of the science classrooms and computer labs.  I’d looked into the school a little bit the night before and knew it was somewhere I would love to work.  I felt pretty confident leaving that interview, and tried not to stress about it over the weekend.  Monday morning at 8:09 AM, the phone rang and I was offered the job!

After calling Mike with the great news, I immediately knew I had to bake something to celebrate, so I chopped up some strawberries and mashed up some bananas and baked this loaf of bread while Ellie hung out in her high chair.

Although there’s a lot of stress that comes with this move – finding a new daycare, finding a place to live, figuring out which gym to join and where I can run and where I’ll grocery shop… it feels so right.   I will definitely miss my first school and the amazing people I worked with, but I’m also SO ready for this new challenge (sixth graders!) and to live somewhere we really want to be.


25 Responses to “Strawberry Banana Bread (and a novel about my current job situation)”

  1. 1 Maria June 27, 2012 at 10:26 am

    Congrats! The bread is the perfect way to celebrate!

  2. 2 Aron June 27, 2012 at 10:36 am

    Obviously, I AM SO EXCITED FOR YOU! I can’t wait to show you around, running routes, places to eat/shop, etc. It’s going to be so fun and you guys are going to love it, I just know it. CONGRATS on landing a great job and for taking a leap of faith, because starting something new is always scary!

  3. 3 Cara June 27, 2012 at 10:51 am

    CONGRATULATIONS on the new job! I am happy to see you’ll be out of Daly City! Every time we drive through there on 280, I think “oh poor Cate…it’s like 20 degrees cooler here!” 🙂

  4. 4 Audrey June 27, 2012 at 10:54 am

    Congrats Cate! I have so many teacher friends here in Southern California that got laid off and are otherwise caught in the middle of political squabbles, so it is extraordinarily nice to hear some good news on the teacher front. Enjoy your move from land of wind and fog and enjoy the 10+ degree temperature differences, garages and yards in the East Bay!

  5. 5 Tara June 27, 2012 at 11:23 am

    Congratulations! Finding a new home-at-school is challenging but so worth it. Good luck with the move!

  6. 6 Heather June 27, 2012 at 11:42 am

    Congratulations on your new job and I hope your move goes well!

  7. 7 branny June 27, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Congratulations and good luck on your adventure.

  8. 8 Michelle June 27, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    Beautiful bread — and more importantly congrats!

    Good luck with your search. I’m sure in the end it WILL all come together.

  9. 9 Julie {Bananas for Bourbon} June 27, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    Wow, congrats!! Those pool interviews are hard because theyre so general and they just see so many people. I’m glad that you saw the right person & wowed them! Yay!

    What area are you teaching in? I have some friends in the Redwood City/San Carlos area school system. Have a great move!

  10. 10 Jen June 27, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    Congratulations!! Sounds like this will be a very positive change for you all. We lived in both areas while we were in CA and we definitely enjoyed living in the east bay more than the Daly City area for the reasons you mentioned. Plus, the cool, foggy city is always there when you want it!

  11. 11 Jade June 27, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    Congratulations and good luck on the new teaching position! This bread looks wonderful.

  12. 12 Melissa June 27, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    Congratulations!! Enjoy your summer vacation, good luck with the move, and best of luck with the new position!!

  13. 13 LE June 28, 2012 at 8:31 am

    Daly City is glad to see lululemon-wearing narcissists leave anyway.

  14. 15 Erin June 28, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Congrats on getting the job and moving to the “sunny side of the bay!”

  15. 16 Kate June 28, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    Cate – email me your location – we have friends and semi-family in the East Bay and if you’re near them, they can probably help out with recs.

  16. 17 Layla June 28, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    Congratulations!! It’s always nice and a confidence boost to see someone get something they’ve wanted and deserved. Welcome to the East Bay! (And I am intrigued by the idea of putting strawberries in banana bread!)

  17. 18 ErinsFoodFiles June 29, 2012 at 9:34 am

    Congrats on the new job & move!!

  18. 19 Kelsey June 29, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    Congratulations, Cate! I am so glad for you and your family. Ignore the hater (seriously?) and enjoy every minute of your new challenge. Those kids are so lucky to have you!

  19. 20 Angela June 29, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    That’s awesome! So excited for you! 🙂

  20. 21 becca June 30, 2012 at 5:47 am

    congratulations on the new job!

  21. 22 Naomi June 30, 2012 at 8:41 am

    Congratulations! What an exciting time for you, Mike and Ellie! I was driving around Daly City last night and couldn’t believe how bad the fog was. I don’t blame you for making the escape. Ellie needs sunshine! I enjoyed reading your career story and shared it with my cousin who just moved back to the states from teaching in China. She is looking for a teaching job in the PacNW and loved reading your story too!

  22. 23 Renee July 1, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    Yay!!! I’ve been a little out of it and hadn’t yet heard the news…although I knew you were moving, I wasn’t sure about your job situation. I’m so very happy that you found something promising. Sixth graders will be great! I still remember my sixth grade science teacher and a rhyme he told us: Little Willy was a chemist. Little Willy is no more. For what he thought was H2O was really H2SO4. Good luck, Cate!

  23. 24 Bridget July 2, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    Cate, that’s such great news! It sounds like this could be perfect for you guys.

  24. 25 Kathy July 17, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    Congrats on the new job and finding a place to live and a new daycare. Sounds like everything is falling into place perfectly for you. Enjoy the adventure.

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