Just when I thought there might be a let up in the humor department of my life, another unexpected event occurs. This past Friday I received a phone call from a principal of a charter school. In and of itself this was funny as I did not apply for any job with a charter school so some one had to know a couple things about me (1) I have a teaching credential (2) I am back in America (3) obtain my new phone number. It turns out that last year when I was subbing, I was appreciated at some school and was referred on to this principal. The amazing part was I subbed at a school for the sub agency which has gone out of its way to be, frankly mean spirited. So, in spite of the sub agency perception, I was valued somewhere.
I was invited in for a cursory interview. I wanted to go if nothing more than to find out why on earth in a state where everyone who had anything to do with education (and quite probably their uncle, dog, the salmon in the river (and so on) were given pink slips on March 15, there was an opening for a science teacher and there must be some one who most likely did apply for the job. Now this was funny, in an interesting sort of way.
So, I did my research – always an essential step for any job. Most people do not realize that as much as an employer is interviewing you, you should in turn be interviewing them! Do you want to work there (always depends on how desperate you are)? I could be a trash person if the pay was right. I found out the founder of this charter school system actually thinks in a similar manner to me, which is to say it is not significant enough to get a student out of high school, the proof in the pudding is when said student obtains a college diploma. All schools are charged with making students ready for college so charter schools have to meet this requirement as well as any other public school, which is to say it is not a cause for celebration of what makes them different. This made me really want to go to the interview.
I went to said interview and was pleasantly surprised. The principal was able to clearly articulate what made this charter school different and what things the principal did. The principal was able to explain how much time they were able to spend in the classroom (partly due to burdensome administrative tasks being done at a corporate office) each week and what their special education teacher was able to accomplish. I met with teachers and students and had the freedom to ask questions (absolutely amazing as most charter schools control this process and literally stage a visit). Not everything was perfect, nor did I expect it to be. Not everything was awful – which did surprise me. This school did not have the rampant staff turnover typical of charter schools. There was not a noticeable ‘behavioral/attitude’ problem with students.
By the end of the visit and interview, I was happy and actually felt encouraged that perhaps some one was able to have a functional charter school model. I was encouraged enough to write a thank you note and hope for a call back. This was something I would not have thought possible after my last official teaching job.