Monday, March 5, 2012

Roller Coaster

Next week I'll be trying out some new roller coasters on our trip to Florida. Our family loves thrill rides. My kids have always loved the rides that other kids their age would be too timid to try. When Janelle was four we went to Story Land in New Hampshire and her favourite rides were the roller coasters and the water flume rides. My kids can be daredevils, and I wonder if Space Mountain will give them a run for their money. I do love roller coasters, and I think (and so does my husband) that I am more excited about Disney than anyone else in the family! I love roller coasters. But not so much the one I've been on for the past couple of weeks.

On February 22 I got an email inviting me to participate in the written component of the interview process for the occassional teachers list of our local school board on February 29. This is what I've been waiting for for two years. I actually had to read the email through two or three times before I understood that this was actually what it was. You know that feeling when the cars start to make the slow ascent up that first big rise on the roller coaster? When you know something exciting is coming, but you're not sure how it's going to turn out? That's how I felt that day. Really excited, and really nervous. I mean, when was the last time I wrote an exam? Do I even remember how? And what exactly should I be studying? How detailed do I need to be? Are there things I need to memorize? If so, what? Terrifying, but I did feel that I was finally getting my chance. So exciting.

The next day I experienced the first big drop on the rollercoaster. I received another strongly worded, very curt email, saying that following the written component, interviews would be conducted on March 5-8, and an orientation for all those hired would be held on March 14. Attendance is mandatory, and no other dates will be accomodated. DROP! I'm supposed to be in Orlando on March 14! That is our first day at Disney! How can I miss my kids first day at Disney? Do we delay the trip? Do I fly home for a day? Can I even get a reasonably priced flight at this short notice? And how do I book a flight when I don't even know if I'll be hired and need to fly home? Chris and I talked through all the options, and I shed many tears and lost plenty of sleep, and we finally came to the conclusion that I would fly home on March 13, leave Chris and the kids to hang out with Grampie and Grammie, fly back early on the 15th, and spend the next five days celebrating Mickey-style! And that car starts to go up the next big rise.

Chris was feeling confident enough in my chances of getting hired that he was ready to book a plane ticket for me, but we decided to wait and see how I felt after the written component. I studied like crazy. I knew the name of one specific document on assessment and evaluation that would almost certainly be referenced on the exam, and was told to do some thinking about inclusive education and differentiated instruction as well. When the time finally came I felt well prepared, if a bit rusty in the area of exam writing. Before given the go ahead to look at the exam, the canditates were given some further information about the whole process. Apparently, the school board is in desperate need of supply teachers, as a number of jobs are going unfilled every day now. This explains the urgency in hiring and orienting teachers and getting them into classrooms. There were 120 teachers randomly chosen from those who applied to take the test. We were then told that we would all be contacted one way or the other the following week, and interviews would be held Tuesday to Thursday at various schools with principals. Then "hopefully" we'll have an orientation on March 14. That left me a bit stunned. Hopefully? How do I buy a plane ticket based on "hopefully"? DROP!!! I completed the exam, which was considerably simpler than I had expected, only throwing me for one loop with a question on how I use technology in the classroom to meet curriculum expectations (since my last classroom had one computer with a few CD games, and I have no clue what is on the Ontario elementary technology curriculum). Still, I think I was able to come up with an answer that sounded reasonably intelligent.

Chris and I discussed that night whether or not we should buy a plane ticket, and decided to write an email together asking for clarification of the orientation date, and explaining that I was planning to fly home from a family vacation in Florida to attend. I sent the email on Thursday. I have not heard back. I was supposed to hear about an interview either Friday or today. I have not heard back yet. I feel like this rickety old car is climbing another steep incline, and I have no idea which way it is going to fall. I'm trying to distract myself with Disney plans, since, either way, I'm going on vacation next week. But I do check my email about three times an hour.

I think the roller coasters at Disney will have nothing on this one. What a ride! But I'm more than ready to get off...

Update: I got an email this afternoon telling me an interview had been arranged for Thursday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. I responded to the email asking again for clarification of the March 14 orientation date, explaining that if hired I would be flying home from vacation to attend. Not ten minutes later I received an email telling me that, if hired while on vacation, I would not be expected to fly home to attend the orientation, but that I could simply call to arrange a time to complete the paperwork after I get back. Phew! Hallelujah! Of course, having ridden this roller coaster for over a week now, I can't seem to get my stomach to stop rolling. Friday can't get here soon enough! I need a vacation!