To make a looong story short, I contacted one of my old teaching friends from my Lord Beaverbrook High School days because he is one of my references and I was using him as a character reference for my volunteering at CIWA. Well it turns out he is now the principal of the high school in Lake Sundance, a nearby community, coincidentally down the road from our kids' school. Ellie and Brad don't go to school here in Lake Chaparral because they are in French Immersion. Anyway, my reference encouraged me to contact the CBE (Calgary Board of Education) if I was interested in returning to work. Talking to him convinced me that going back to teaching part time is just what I need to do. I'd like some part time work to offset our recent childcare expenses and I always liked teaching. But, the CBE has a surplus of teachers and is not hiring anyone. Not even substitutes. They have too many employees, so I have low expectations. My ultimate goal is to work in ESL at the Jr -Sr high school level. This is a long term goal.
The one area the board has a need is in foreign languages(including ESL). This is where my checkered past comes in handy. I was fluent in Spanish and used to teach high school Spanish. I am also qualified, ON PAPER ONLY, to teach French. I would not teach french; I am not good enough. But, I can read it and am qualified to work as a French Interpreter for the ladies I've met through my volunteer work with the CIWA.
Anyway, I applied via email to the board, stating my background and my current volunteer work at the CIWA in ESL, and my desire to teach ESL part time. So, I got called for an interview last Wednesday and was downtown 15 hours later being interviewed. Because of my cover letter, I'd assumed it was for ESL work. I researched ESL the night before. Crammed ESL, really.
Arrive to the interview surrounded by trilingual 22 yr old teachers fresh out of school. "Where's your portfolio?" one of them asked me. I don't have one, I replied. "Well, you seem very relaxed..." she said. I'm old now and have nothing to lose, I told her. I was very nervous 12 years ago when I came here for my first interview - you'll do great, I told her.
Still thinking I was there to interview for ESL jobs, I coolly followed the lady who came to get me from the waiting area into the interview. We sat at a small cafe sized roundtable with a computer in the middle. We sat down, and the lady asked me, "Why don't you tell me why you want to return to working for the CBE?" Well, I said, I last taught high school almost 6 years ago when I was pregnant with our second child. My husband was transferred to Trois Rivieres, PQ in May of... The lady interjected, "Why don't you tell me all of this in Spanish". It was not a question; it was a suggestion. So, I started all over again in Spanish. In my mind I was thinking... CRIPES - I guess I should have been reviewing Spanish instead of ESL last night. The interviewer was typing every word I said. I rambled on in Spanish, until I got stuck on a word I couldn't remember. The word was 2004 and I kept thinking Deux Mil... FRENCH! I couldn't think of how to say it in Spanish to save my life. This horror went on for a bit, then she asked me to talk to her in French. I said, why don't you ask me something, and I'll answer you in French... No, she said, just talk to me in French.
Okay, that's like someone saying to you, "Say something interesting to me, right now". Pressure.
It is then that I realize this is not going well. It's actually going badly. Very badly. She is not one bit interested in me for ESL work - they must need Spanish and French subs and teachers. That's the only reason I'm here. I'm screwed.
I was then asked if I might be interested in teaching Elementary French Immersion.
Um, no, not really. My French is not good enough. It never was. Spanish perhaps, but I need to work on that, too. In fairness to the lady, she was just doing her job - interviewing possible language teachers. Unfortunately for me, I thought I was there to interview for ESL qualifications... No one could ever accuse me of overselling myself. I like to put myself down, lower the bar, then surprise people when they find out I'm not an idiot. It's worked well for me for 36 yrs.
It got even worse, but I'll spare you the extra details. Take my word for it, questions like, "How do you assess students, and how do you respond to those assessments?" were not answered well by me. She did compliment my Spanish, and that was the highlight. The interview ended with her telling me that if I was successful, I would be put on the Sub list. If not successful, I would be able to reapply in two years. If that happens, she suggested I take some courses through Alberta Ed. So clearly, I'm not getting it. No sub list for me.
I thanked her for her time, all the while thinking, I just bombed that interview. I came across as such a fool, I am not considered decent enough to sub. And, I don't even want to sub! Feeling dejected, I met Gary for a coffee in his building. I mean, it's shame to waste a trek into the downtown core and not do something cool, like having a SB coffee with my handsome husband in his suit. I don't even like Starbucks coffee, but I like to go there. I told him I bombed. I really bombed. I am not even going to get on the sub list. A week ago I didn't want to sub. Now that I screwed up, I really want to sub. Rejection, or the smell of it, is a great motivator. I started to see all the pros of subbing - no real responsibility longterm to students, I can choose at which schools I would work, when I would work, and that is a real plus with Ellie and Brad's medical issues.
I want on that sub list! And, being on the sub list at least allows me access to intra-board information and eligibility to apply for real jobs - like ESL or even back to teaching Spanish. And now I have to wait 3 weeks to find out for sure.
So, last night Gary went to check the mail and came back with a letter for me, very thin, one page, from the CBE. Clearly a PFO letter. I opened it, and it started with, "We are pleased to inform you that.... "
So, I'm on the sub list. I'm good enough to sub. Phew.
I really wanted to get on the freaking sub list!