"We received over 400 applications and only hired 10 new teachers."
...or the dreaded "Tell us about yourself" introduction letter?
I was never good at self-evaluations at work, either too critical or too much the braggart -- but "I really didn't do much of anything" won't get one a raise, and "This place would collapse into rubble without me" doesn't endear one to immediate supervisors. Now I need to tell principals why they should hire me to work in one of their classrooms, and I'm out on the tightrope, balancing between the feeling that I have no idea what I'm doing and announcing myself as the second coming of Socrates.
So why should a principal hire me? Let me count the ways...
- I enjoy kids. They amaze me when they learn, inspire me when they create, crack me up just by walking in the door and saying good morning.
- I love learning. Through reading, hearing, watching, doing -- even trying to do but messing things up can be some learning. I love learning about new things I've never heard of before and learning something new about things I thought I knew all about. I love sharing the "Wow, that was cool!" moment with others when we learn together.
- I think it is very important to set a good example, to walk the walk after (and sometimes during) talking the talk -- teachers/parents/adults should do the same things we tell children they should do, such as read a book, get out in the fresh air, visit a museum, make friends with a bully, sit up straight...
- I enjoy what I do. If we have to work or do a task, might as well do it with a smile, do it well, do it right the first time. It sounds corny, but I cannot wait to have a job I am really going to look forward to going to each morning!
- I know how to listen to and talk with a wide variety of people, even unhappy ones. I was in retail sales for 20 years and have heard every complaint, excuse, and con in the book. I will be able to efficiently communicate and cooperate with parents and co-workers, and be able to calmly handle any difficulties that might arise.
- Speaking of years, I have lived a few more than most rookie teachers, which means not only do I have a bit of that distinguished, professorial gray, but I'm definitely in this job for life. I plan on spending at least the next 30 years (just enough to pay off the student loans!) as a teacher. It is who I am, it is what I want to do.