With a month or so left to finish of the part time Dip Ed in Secondary teaching that I have been playing at for the last two years I went to a BBQ for a friends first wedding anniversary....
Sounds fairly simple so far, eh?
I only knew a few people and was chatting with them when a woman came up to talk to one of the group who she had met and had a great drunken argument with at the wedding. I heard she was a teacher and decided to chat with her for a bit. I am a fairly sociable person and like to hear the stories of people who are already teaching, they might have good advice for me or there might e something in their experiences I can learn from (- which is what, I guess, I would like this blog to achieve other than allowing me to clarity and record my thoughts in a systematic way) and being near the end of my course, in the back of my mind, I'm thinking they may know where the jobs are.... She certainly did.
So we talked and talked... we talked about how she got into special ed, what the students were like, ideas for hands on science pracs her students could get something out of, what being the head of the senior school was like... Her enthusiasm for her job was infectious and early on she started trying to convince me to come and see the school and apply for one of the jobs they had going for next year. After two years of preparing myself to teach science and health I didn't feel at all confident that I could start teaching in a special school as a graduate teacher with no experience in the area. I was promised that that was understood, learning on the job was expected, there would be plenty of support and enthusiasm was the most important factor in making it work. I got her phone number and five weeks later I had a job!
OK, so in between I had second thoughts about applying, went to visit the school, researched, applied, got an interview, bounced around in excitement, had my last day of classes and our group presentation, went to the pub after, then went out to see a classmates band play. Had my interview the next day and was a huge bundle of nerves, asked them more questions than they asked me, the principal said she felt like she was being interviewed and in a way she was probably right. I had to know it was the right place for me to be. At some point soon I may try to find the emails to people that contained my initial impressions of the school, it might be useful to have all this in the one spot to look back on later and compare it with whatever happens next.
I organised to spend 2 days out at the school to get an idea of what I had let myself in for... That was went I found out I would be teaching in the primary end of the school! The first day was very full on and a bit much to take in but the second was better. I got to meet a lot of people around the school and asked lots and lots of questions. The head of the junior school, who I will be working closely with, said that she like the way I asked lots of questions. I told her that was great because I'd probably have 10 times as many once I'd actually started!
I went to the school's end of year concert. It was great fun! (apart from finding out I was getting a prep/1 class). I got to have a good chat with one of the parents I was sitting near and was introduced to a few other staff members, including the OT I will be working with at drinks later in the staffroom. I also got the inside goss on who sits which table and decided I would make it my personal challenge to try out every chair in the staff room 'cause I hate those kind of social divisions based on work role. It also became apparent that lots of people know the story told above about how a chance encounter at a BBQ brought me to the school! They were all really welcoming which was very reassuring.