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.