Thursday, April 15, 2010

First Job Interview

Today I had my very first interview for a position as a Spanish teacher. This was a position that I was called about an interview a couple of weeks ago and soon after they called back to tell me the position was no longer available. Well, it is available again and I had my interview this morning. I was nervous but definitely not as much as I was with the anticipation of the interview a couple of weeks ago. I arrived about 20 minutes early, as my interview was at 9am. School starts at 9am so the principal was very busy. I did not get called back for the interview until 9:20. The anticipation almost killed me as I watched 3 other teachers enter her office with note pads and pens. Then it hit me, they would be participating in the interview questioning too!! YIKES!! I silently hyperventilated, then composed myself.

I greeted each person at the table and then they introduced themselves. Interviewing me were the principal, office manager, bilingual teacher, and a 5th grade teacher. They began to ask questions about me personally and why I was interested in the position, my experience student teaching. Not so bad, right?! Then, the bilingual teacher told me that she was going to ask me some questions in Spanish….OH BOY!! I knew that this was a definite possibility, but now I knew I had to put my language skills to the test. I haven’t taken a Spanish course since Spring Semester 2009 and haven’t had a serious conversation in Spanish since then (except when I had dinner at a Mexican restaurant about a month ago!).

Well, the first question she asked was one submitted by another bilingual teacher. It was incredibly long and very confusing, but I did not want it to seem like I didn’t understand it, it just was poorly written. After the interviewer read it a couple of times, she too agreed that it was poorly written and came up with her own interpretation of the question for me to answer. This helped quite a bit. I know I probably did not speak as well as I would have liked, but the interviewer told me at the end that my Spanish was beautiful so I guess that counts for something, right?!

Okay, to make a long story shorter, they are considering me for two positions. One is as a Spanish teacher (what I originally applied for) and the other is as a 2nd grade bilingual teacher (did not apply for). The Spanish teacher position did not entice me at all after the explained it. The Spanish teacher pushes in to all of the classes every other day. She has no room, but rather a desk in the library. All I could think about was having a cart that I roll around the school with all of my things in it because of the seemingly nomadic nature of the position. After I heard the description of that position, I was excited to hear what they had to say next. The principal said based on my credentials, she believed I would be a great candidate for the position. The principal asked what I thought about this proposition and I said it sounded exciting, but I was a little nervous about how prepared I would be for the position. I am a Spanish major, but have taken no course work in ESL nor Bilingual education. I am absolutely open to the position and if offered, would do whatever it took to be fully competent and qualified to teach in that position.

After the interview, she asked if I could come back in an hour to meet with the director of bilingual education for the district. OF COURSE! I returned and she talked with me in Spanish and then switched to English (complimenting on my Spanish too!). She then told me that I would need to apply for type 29 certification- Transitional Bilingual Certification and take the State Content Test- all of which would have to be done and successfully completed by the end of the summer.

I never considered bilingual education because I was not highly qualified to teach it. Now that this opportunity has possibly presented itself, I am curious and very interested in investigating this option.

There was another person coming in for the interview after me and the principal said she would let me know tomorrow about her decision. I felt like the interview went well, but I won’t know for sure until tomorrow.

I am still considering a possible opening with a the middle school I student taught at for 6 weeks, but I am struggling to know in my heart what would be the best fit for me.

What advice do you have for how to know what and where I should be teaching. I want to make sure I make the right decision, but I have no clue what that may be.


  1. That sounds like a really cool job. Truthfully I have no training in ESL either and somehow I've become the ESL teacher in kindergarten (not formally but I get a lot of ESL kids each year). I've tried to do a ton of reading and learning about it but it basically just comes down to how much effort you are willing to put in- adding pictures to things, playing vocabulary games, etc- plus are all the kids Spanish because that would give you a huge advantage that you know Spanish.

    Anyway, I don't think you can ever know exactly where would be the best fit for you. I turned down a 2nd grade job to take my K position even though I wanted 2nd grade more but I wanted the district I am in now and the 2nd grade was an "open classroom" (no walls) and I was not comfortable with that. Sometimes I think about how things might have been different if I took the other job, but I'm pretty sure I made the right decision. There is no way to know for sure of course :)

  2. Sounds like the interview went really well! I hope you get the job! I think it's important to decide what is most important to you...the district, the age-group, the particular school etc. Listen to your gut. Whatever choice you make is the right choice.

    When I was hired, I was supposed to teach reading in Spanish yet they never spoke to me in Spanish or made sure I was competent. I always thought that was odd! I never ended up doing it and I was kind of relieved because I didn't have that security that they had checked and deemed my skills good enough.