Here I am, living in Oakland, placed at Explore Middle School and wading through a frankly inhumane volume of employment paperwork. A lot has changed since my last post.
Right after I took the unbelievable drive from Cleveland to Oakland, interviews began to pop up. I was getting calls regularly from Oakland City Teacher Corps with new developments. But the arrangements puttered and stalled. The only one that made it through the flaky summer scheduling was at Explore. I was told that the principal was excellent, and it was indeed an energetic and enthusastic interview. Though humble, that school has all the potential to be an example in the small-school movement: a clear-eyed, active leader; a tight staff; and a willingness to try new ideas.
For those that may want a tip, I found the two most desired attributes in my limited interviewing to be accountability and engagement. The trick is to offer up some examples on how to you’d try for those in a measurable way for every activity, lesson, unit, and year. Oh, and if you’re asked what you’d do if all your students failed a test, watch out! It’s a trick question. You can answer it with a well reasoned plan only after you explain the ways you’d try to prevent that from happening in the first place.
Newly hired, I’m in a rush to prepare lessons and find new sources to supplement the 7th and 8th grade social studies curriculum. This I work on during a month of forms and professional development. The whole business is stirring up a million questions and ideas I want to run by the administration. The turnaround through e-mail there is unfortunately but understandably delayed.
Something I’m particularly keen to get feedback on is Turning Point, a fantastic student response system. It’s an ideal tool for so many reasons. I’m hoping I can find some financial support on the fly. But I’ll probably end up footing the bill and hoping I can find reimbursement somewhere else.
It’s all very exciting; I couldn’t be more thrilled.