I just received wonderful, but tentative news. I italicized “tentative” because TFA (of which I’m learning too quickly how to make easy fun of their habits) uses this word incessantly to imply the ever-changing nature of their — soon to be my — world, and hedge their bets on everything they say. Everything. They watch their words better than a politician. Which is a good thing, to be so careful in such a high-profile and high-exposure environment. So everything that I’m reporting on, everything that follows, is tentative, unsure, questionable, but fairly reliable…

Never in my life did I ever imagine that my experience with the Latin language in high school would come back around to be one of my most valuable assets in one of my most important interviews to date. No really, I promise it was. All of those darn spirit cheers at State and Nationals, all those tests (most of which I didn’t take at Nationals), all those crafts, colloquia, speech practices, practice tests, the nerdy friends, the great company, and the That’s Entertainments (both watching and producing) finally paid off for one great tentative chance. Because two weekends ago, for Teach for America, I went to an early hiring fair where I interviewed with about five schools all with completely different make-ups (middle schools, high schools, charter schools), and those interviewing were just as varied (lone principals, CEOs, department heads, in one case: several women who acted just like a firing squad and pretty much killed me on the spot).

When TFA gave me my interview schedule I quickly learned I was blessed to begin with because I had more interviews than most (apparently English teachers are in demand in Philadelphia–what does that mean? That there’s a crazy turnover rate for English teachers? That I’m screwed? Probably all of the above…) and I was going to be interviewing with not only three public schools, but also two charter schools (which are also public schools).

And one school that I interviewed with in particular I was given a huge pep talk about from everyone and their mom about how amazing it was and how I had to try really hard to do well in that interview because it’s basically heaven on earth…under the TFA definition at least. It wasn’t like they were putting any pressure on me or anything, they were just saying…

So I got really excited because one of the aspects of the pedagogy of Latin for the students, which aids in the students’ SAT verbal scores amongst other things. And, more than the school being a charter, or the structure, or the leadership within it, that was what I was excited about. Even though I would be teaching English, teaching in a world where all of my students would probably understand the context of saying alea jacta est just blew my mind. And made me want to teach there more than ever.

So then comes interview day. And I go through my several more than what most people got interviews which were killer. Going through an all day interview I find was much easier than this. With this process I had to constantly redefine myself for the goals of the school, and spit back out the same (relatively good) answers I had just given twenty minutes ago for the third time.

The closest thing I can compare it to was working the hurricane Preview day. For those of you who don’t know, when I was working as an Orientation Leader one of the sessions was canceled because the entire university shut down under threat of a hurricane. I volunteered to work in the morning (donning my bright orange polo and everything) to tell all the annoyed Hispanic families that had left Miami at 3 AM to make it there on time that they would have to drive right back because the session had been canceled due to weather threats. The major irony was that it was a beautiful sunshiny day. The worst were the families from New York and Texas. And, going through the motions, I was just putting on my fake smile and letting them deal with the distressing news, and passing off all the worst cases onto my boss without a second thought.

It was kind of like that. A ridiculously big smile for people who didn’t necessarily care to see it. Me being the completely inexperienced, looks like a 12 year old, kid from Florida with no “real” grasp of what the situation would be like. That’s what every interview was like, except with the really awesome charter school.

And, of course, the good news is I was just informed that I will tentatively be working at that school teaching 9th/10th grade English.

It was the most exciting news I’ve ever received. I literally gasped out loud as I stared at the email.

Then I wrote a really inappropriate “me” email right back thanking them in more words than necessary for the great news. This has really been the first time I’ve thought that this adventure could be a manageable prospect. And I couldn’t be happier.

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