Today I became a Master Teacher.
That sounds silly, but it will be my official standing on my new teaching license. In Iowa, new teachers receive an initial license for two years, during which time we are evaluated by an administrator before being approved (or not) for our master teaching or standard license. Since last August, I’ve been evaluated four times. And, no, I will not be introducing myself as Katy Doran, Master Teacher, from now on. Though it does sound nice.
I’ve never written about how I got my amazing teaching job. Let me begin:
I student taught at the high school a mile from our home in fall 2009 and had the best experience. I couldn’t have been placed at a better school or with a better teacher. I learned so much and planned some killer lessons for the sophomores and juniors. Toward the end of that semester (November, I think), I signed up for a mock interview through the university. Local school district administrators were the interviewers for the day, and the university students were randomly assigned one of them to practice with. I happened to be set up to interview with the assistant principal at the junior high across the street from our house.
I had a really good interview. Mr. B. said he would hire me if they had an opening. I thought he was just being really nice.
In December I graduated, and in January I started subbing once my license came in. I planned to sub around the district (there are 24 schools) while looking for a teaching job for the next fall. I hoped I would get a district job, but I never expected to. Actually, I hoped I would any job. Considering the job market, I worried I’d be subbing again next year.
My first sub job was at the junior high across the street. How convenient. The next day I subbed a mile up the road at the high school where I student taught. Also convenient.
That Tuesday night, I went to a spin class at the university fitness center where I happened to see one of my education professors. After sweating through the grueling spin session, she asked me whether I was endorsed to teach reading. I told her I was finishing the final class that semester. She told me the school across the street might need a reading teacher for the rest of the year. I said, “……Really?” Then I went home and bit my nails for the rest of the night.
The next week I subbed across the street again. During my prep period that morning, the classroom phone rang.
Phone: Hi, is this Katy Doran?
Me: Yes. (What?)
Phone: This is Mrs. W., the principal. I was wondering if I could talk to you up in my office right now?
Me: (What?) Okay, I’ll be right in. (What?)
In her office, I learned that the school suddenly found itself without two of its English teachers (long story), and that the assistant principal, Mr. B., recommended that she meet me. (Remember? Mock interview!) Then she asked me if I was interested in a teaching position for the rest of the year.
WHAT?! YES!? OMG!!!
What I really said was, Yes, I’m very interested, in an enthusiastic yet composed and professional manner.
Then she interveiwed me, and I started teaching the following Monday.
I was so lucky.
Have I mentioned that I live directly across the street from my school? When we bought and moved into the house, Chris and I joked about how crazy it would be if I ended up working there. Neither of us actually thought that would happen.
It’s a pretty good story, isn’t it?
I will say that it wasn’t all unicorns and rainbows once I got the job. It was almost two thirds the way through the school year, and my students had very suddenly lost a teacher they adored. I came in and had to figure out how to run the classroom and teach the course and maintain some semblance of consistency for the kids. I had no idea what I was doing. It was the hardest teaching I’ve ever done.
Also, I got pregnant in late February, so there was that…
Regardless of how crappy a teacher I felt that first semester, I accepted the contracted position for the next year, and it seemed like a walk in the (only slightly ugly) park comparatively. Phew! And this year felt like a walk in pretty decent looking park. It’s no Central Park, but I’m working on it. The great thing about teaching is that it gets better every year.
P.S. I now remember that I intended for this post to be about the superintendent’s visit to my classroom today. Oops. Here’s the short version: It went well. I decided not to be nervous, so I wasn’t. He was very kind. The kids were pretty good. And I looked darned cute in my stripped dress. Snap.