Sunday, May 12, 2013

My Shiny New School Next Year!

This year, job search had been particularly challenging for me, since I was juggling planning for my wedding and the long-distance interviews with schools that typically hire people only after having met them in person. But, in the end, I couldn't be happier to say that I will be moving in July to a great school in Seattle!

Most exciting for me is that I'll be part of a fabulous math department. They are highly collaborative, and they love hanging out with each other on a daily basis. These math teachers are also highly reflective/self-improving, and were especially commended for this during their school's recent accreditation cycle. The school as a whole has a very special culture of sustainability, which is seen through things like the staffers taking all the kids 3 times a week to scrub down the whole school, including cleaning bathrooms and compost bins. Their kids do this (surprisingly) gladly and learn to protect their school environment. They also, on Fridays, serve food in the cafeteria to recycle leftovers from the week, as part of their sustainability theme. They're in the process of building a new green building that is solar-powered, collects rain water, and has an energy counter. When I visited the school, I loved seeing the seamless integration of student art into every corner of the beautiful, historic building. Everyone I had met -- including the class of Grade 11 students that interviewed me -- had asked me tough questions, and I tried to answer them thoughtfully to the best of my ability. It seemed to work out OK, because in the end they had decided to offer me a job on the spot, at the end of the long interview day!! (They said that they don't typically do this, but they had already gone through most of their candidates and were pretty confident that I was the best fit for what they were looking for.) Considering that at that point, I had already fallen in love with the school, I am really glad this was the outcome, because otherwise I would have probably felt totally crushed over a rejection.

I would have been happy to commute for a long time to work at a school like this, but it turns out that this school is actually in a fabulous location, right downtown! I'll be able to walk to work easily, which is an amazing perk for both Geoff and me.

I am very happy with this job-search outcome, and I look forward to a fabulous year! Geoff and I plan to stick around Seattle for a while (probably until our babies grow up to an age where it's appropriate for us to take them abroad), so I'm extra glad that I've found a school that I think I would be happy to stay at, for the duration of that whole time.

PS. By the way, as part of my interview day I had done two demo lessons for them. Despite having run out of time, I really liked the trig lesson that I planned (, and I think that in the future, when I start teaching PreCalc again, it could be fleshed out into a multi-day technology project for the kids. During the demo, since we didn't have time for each kid to build their own ferris wheel animation, I simply pulled this up to show what is possible, given their understanding of circular modeling and parametric equations. In a multi-day project, we'd start with analyzing / building a ferris wheel together, and then from there on they would create their own story involving circular rotation and minimizing / maximizing distances, and model accordingly.

PPS. An example of why this school is a great fit for me is that they were actually amused and delighted that I had negotiated with them for a better demo lesson topic. For some other schools, that could have been a deal breaker, but for them, they liked that I had a preference and an opinion about the relative boringness of topics, and they also liked that I tried to choose a less-dense topic that allowed me to showcase different ways to engage students instead of requiring me to stand at the board for most of the period. My kind of people!

1 comment:

  1. Big congrats, Mimi!! Portland was my home for 23 years, so I think of Seattle as home too! Invest in a good umbrella. :)