I love to write. I may not be the greatest or most eloquent writer in the world, but I always enjoy the act of writing. It’s one of many reasons that I personally enjoy blogging. I used to write poetry and songs, and way back when I even began a novel. I wrote a few chapters and then hung it up. When I’m writing for the blog, the words just flow. It really isn’t an effort because I’m just writing what’s on my mind.
Right now I’m really struggling though. I’m looking for a new job. I’ve decided that the Assistant Principal thing probably isn’t going to work out this year, and I’m alright with that. I’d be absolutely thrilled to go back to the classroom for a year or two. I can’t even put into words just how much I’ve missed the classroom over the last few years. I’m looking for teaching jobs and sending out resumes now. There are several openings and a few of them in particular look like great places to continue my career. However, about an hour ago I noticed a job that almost seems like destiny for me.
I grew up in Glencoe, Illinois. I lived in the same house my entire childhood. When it was time for me to do my student teaching, my old elementary school was the first place I sent an application to. They accepted me and I wound up student teaching in the same room I attended kindergarten in. It was a fantastic experience. One of my old teachers still worked there and even had pictures of me from when I was a student of hers. It felt home.
Fast forward a few years. I’ve taught Junior Kindergarten for four years and served as Director of Technology for three years. I’m ready to return to the classroom now. Unbelievably, that same school is looking for a kindergarten teacher. My school. I can’t imagine a more perfect situation than to return home again and teach in those same classrooms where I learned to love learning.
It’s a very desirable district, so I know that there will be a large number of applicants. It’s incredibly important to me that I represent myself well in the application. There are only two short answer questions involved, the same ones that most schools require. After re-reading the answers that I’ve been supplying to other schools, I decided to start them over from scratch.
They’re easy questions. “Describe the skills or attributes you believe are necessary to be an outstanding teacher” and ” How would you address a wide range of skills in your classroom?” Nothing too complicated, very straightforward. It should be a simple matter to answer them and considering how much I love writing, the words should just flow forth from my brain, through my fingers, to the keyboard and onto the screen.
As you might guess, I’m finding that it isn’t quite so easy. I want my answers to these questions to be perfect. They have to represent just how much I love teaching. I need them to reflect my total dedication to education, both inside and outside the school building. Somehow I have to put into words the fact that my life has revolved around working with kindergarten age children since I was a teenager and I spent 10 consecutive years working as a camp counselor. They have to reflect my passion for learning and my desire to work in a district that I can grow through, as a teacher, a principal and perhaps even as a superintendent one day.
I know I’m a good teacher. In fact, I know I’m a fantastic teacher. I could never believe that they paid me to do what I did in the classroom. It was never work. It was a pleasure, an honor, a privilege to be able to educate those students. I didn’t need my department head, co-teachers or my class’s parents to tell me what a wonderful teacher I was. I knew it because I loved it. It should be a simple matter to express something so obvious through the written word.
And yet I find myself unable to put more than two sentences together without deleting them. The words don’t sound genuine. They sound artificial and trite. They sound like they were written by a person desperately trying to convince someone that they’re a great teacher. I keep thinking to myself that this should be the easiest thing in the world. All I have to do is write down my thoughts and be honest. It needs to sound professional though. It also needs to have perfect grammar. It can’t sound childish, and has to hit all the major points. It has to be in line with the school’s mission and vision. Above all, it has to be good enough to get me an interview. Do I write what I really believe or do I write what I think would sound good to someone reviewing applications?
The result is that instead of writing responses to those incredibly simple topics, I’m blogging about my difficulties doing so. If only I could write, “Look at my blog, listen to my podcast. Then you’ll understand the type of educator that I am.” Unfortunately it just doesn’t work that way. It’s ironic, how much more difficult it is to write for an audience of a few people, than an audience of hundreds.