Written by Jo Noelle
Twenty-four year old Sophie’s life is crashing just as fast as the housing market. Her successful real estate career dissipates and she’s left broke. She is struggling to pay her bills and can’t seem to find a new job.
Her roommate urges Sophie to accept a job in her fallback career—teaching six-year-olds. She hopes it’s temporary because she can’t stand teaching. The best part of the new job is Liam, another employee at Rio Grande Elementary.
Then Sophie has a surprise real estate closing from a contract she wrote months ago, leading her to a niche in the real estate market and to a new partner, Kevin. Sophie must choose between Liam or Kevin and between a lucrative career or recess duty.
When I finish, Mrs. Hays summarizes, “So you’ve only had experience in third grade?”
I nod my head, and she scribbles in the notebook again. She seems less than impressed.
“We’d like to get an idea of the type of decisions you would make as a teacher. What would you do for a student who is having difficulty learning to read?” Mr. Chavez asks.
Oh, my gosh, I’m interviewing for first grade! What am I thinking? The students all have to learn to read this year. If they don’t, it will be my fault—no college, low-paying jobs, generational poverty with dirty children and grandchildren.
Focus. Stay calm. Just finish the interview. Then run! “I think the first thing might be to listen to the child read and try to get an idea of what is easy or hard for him or her. Then I can make better choices for them in future lessons.”
Mr. Chavez smiles at Mrs. Hays, and she asks in a nasal tone, “Phonemic awareness, metacognition, zone of proximal development—sound familiar?” Her eyes lock on mine as a grimace grows, pulling her lips thinner.
Nope, none and not at all—she’s speaking teacher and I’m not fluent. “No,” I say with a contented smile to hide how rattled I feel. “I realize there’s a lot for me to learn.” You cow. “I’m willing to work hard for these kids and learn from experienced teachers.” Yes, I’m schmoozing you, Mrs. Hays, and you know I’m not serious. I intend to stay as far from you as I can.
Mr. Chavez turns to Mrs. Hays and asks her if she has any more questions.
“Help us get a clearer vision of your discipline ideas, Miss Kanakaredes,” she says to my earrings. “With which theoretical perspective on discipline do you agree?”
“Is there one based on mutual respect, genuine concern and teaching students what is expected? Children want to succeed and be accepted—my discipline plan will include those values.” P.S. Mrs. Hays, we all want that.
Connect with author Jo Noelle
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