Recently, I had a job interview – the first one I’ve ever had over the internet, the first one I’ve had for a permanent teaching position, the first one for a job I’ve wanted desperately. I’ve wanted jobs before, and I’ve been desperate when it came to employment before, but this job makes me need to breathe into a paper bag if I think too long about it.
Among other things, I had to do a brief teaching demonstration, so I prepped for that in new and original ways (by “original,” I mean that I did more than just worry, hope, and dread): I practiced by doing the presentation before my laptop’s camera, and filming myself so that I could see/hear how it came across.
I realized a number of things. Firstly, whatever comedian it was that said that the neck is the first to go? BANG ON, MATE.
Also discovered was the importance of controlling one’s features so that the thumbnail of the video doesn’t present itself in an undignified manner.
I also realized that I have a much better control of the speed and insanity of my own speech than I previously thought. I feel terrible for the early classes I taught where I probably parted the hair of my students with the speed of my lectures and speaking. So that was a positive.
I realized that I can stop and think much more readily now. This was a problem for me in grade school and on (as it is for everyone, actually, I know, but I have a sharp memory of walking to gym or something in grade school and repeating to myself, “Stop and think, stop and think,” because I had gotten into trouble and that had been my dad’s response. I knew at the time that it was somewhat futile, but I repeated it anyway. It didn’t help). But as I was asked questions, I was able to stop and think before I answered, and do so in a positive, helpful way. Basically, I could get out of my own way.
So much of “growing up” is just that: getting out of our own way. Can I over think this issue I am facing? HELL YES, BACK UP AND WATCH THIS DRIVE. I mean, good grief, I am so capable of obsessing and worrying and hanging on to every little thing that it’s downright annoying. Maddening, even. But to discover (accidentally, and at what appears to be a fairly late date in my life) that I have this ability, to stop and get out of my own way…well, it’s freaking awesome. It’s like a superpower, and I’ve always figured other people (the ones who planned out their lives, rather than just sort of allow things to happen) had it and I didn’t.
I’m not sure when I will hear back from the committee, but I sort of don’t want to. Not that I don’t want to have the job, not by a long stretch (what this job would mean to me and my family cannot adequately be described in one blog post, and then by extension, what that would mean to my students would be a whole other set of posts). But for as long as my interview is still in the consideration phase, it’s still a possibility. I can still get the job, so long as no decision has been made, and I can continue to imagine a future where I have a real job, with a set of clear requirements and clear outcomes, a neat and orderly set of hours to keep, and a set paycheck. I realize that full time, permanent employment comes with its own set of challenges, and while I don’t know exactly what they are, I do know that they exist, and they are likely both more and less than I expect/fear.
So while I remain in a holding pattern in this way, I’m seeing cats everywhere.