Saturday, July 26, 2008

A Long Friday

I had an interview at a third school in the morning.  This school pays more than the other two, and also pays its teachers for lesson planning time.  It went pretty well, although I drew a blank when asked a question about present perfect tense.  If they offer it to me, I think I may pick up one elective class there during the summer, and then transition there full time in the fall.  As for the job I took from my second interview, which I am starting Monday, I feel bad staying at a school short term like that, but hey, all other things being equal, sometimes you just have to take more money.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Third Interview?

This afternoon a third, very large school called me for an interview.  I already took the job with my second interview, but I decided to go in and talk to them, see what they have to offer.  They did tell me on the phone that they pay their teachers for prep time, which is the holy grail for educators.  Perhaps I can teach at both schools for a bit, then see which one I like better and pick up more hours there.  The interview is tomorrow, followed by an afternoon meeting with the director of the school where I will work starting on Monday.

A Job Offer

The school that I had my second interview with came through.  The director called me this morning, and informed me that my interviewer had recommended me very highly, and he wanted to offer me a job.  Since I had not heard back from my first interview, and had no further interviews scheduled, I accepted.  As I mentioned earlier, I liked the school, and it seems like a good place to work, so I am satisfied at this point.  They asked me to come in Friday afternoon to complete some paperwork, and I will start Monday morning.  Turnaround is fast at language schools. 

Second Interview

I walked into the school about 10 minutes before my interview was scheduled to start, and it was an absolute madhouse.  Hundreds of students, talking, laughing, eating, watching an American TV show, and otherwise seeming happy to be there and having a good time.  This is the type of environment I would like to teach in.  

Through the crowd I managed to find the gentleman I would be interviewing with.  He asked me to fill out an application form.  This was slightly annoying, but it is a big company, and they have schools all over the world, so I understood there is some need for uniformity in the paperwork.  He told me not to bother with too much detail though, as they have my resume as well.

The interview went quite well.  He showed me the books they use, which I have used before in a previous job.  We talked about the curriculum in quite a bit of detail, which I liked.  They seemed to be a lot more professional than the other interview I had.  He asked me quite a few questions about my previous experience teaching students, and if I had ever taught in a similar environment to this school.  

All was going well, then he blindsided me with a very detailed hypothetical teaching situation.  "How would you introduce a class about the difference between gerunds and infinitives?"

Uh, what?  

Seriously, I was a bit lucky he asked me for an introduction to a class on this, a opposed to a detailed grammatical explanation.  I described a communicative activity that involved me modeling use of the same or similar words as both a gerund and an infinitive, then helping the students to use that word as I did, before using similar words to create their own unique sentences.  I gave just enough explanation to make it clear I knew what gerunds and infinitives were, but focused on the activity.  

I'll be honest though, as I was talking, I was really hoping that I was getting it right as far as what gerunds and infinitives are.  Turns out I did, more or less.  That was the most harrowing part of the interview, but I felt like I did OK.  I asked him a couple more questions about the school, and we talked about salary and benefits, as well as what kind of schedule I would prefer. 

We made a bit of small talk at the end, and the interviewer informed me he was from Barcelona.  This made me happy, and we spoke a bit of Spanish before I left.  He told me that he would discuss my application with his boss, the school's director, and that they would get back to me within the next few days.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Phone rings...

Funnily enough, as I was waiting for the bus to go to my first interview, I got a phone call from another school I had applied to, asking to set up an interview.  According to what I was told on the phone, this school is much bigger, pays better, and would offer me the chance to teach far more hours, all of which would be during the day.  He also did not immediately grant me the interview, but asked me some questions on the phone about my comfort level with the school's set up, which he explained quickly.  It definitely sounds like a better situation than the other school, at least more professional.  I am looking forward to this meeting.

First Interview

My first interview was at a language school on West 32nd Street.  For anyone who doesn't know New York, this street is also called Korea Way, and is filled with Korean restaurants and shops.  The interview was short, about 20 minutes, and I got the feeling that the interviewer had not reviewed my resume previous to meeting me.  She asked for more detail about the type of teaching jobs I had previously held.  She also asked a couple predictable interview questions, such as "What is your greatest strength as a teacher?"  The job is only part-time, 12 hours a week, and it takes place in the evening.  She said she would call me Wednesday afternoon to inform me of her decision, but I suspect I will only get a call if I am being offered the job.  

I am in a good situation, in that I do not have to immediately accept the first job I am offered.  I probably won't accept this job if I am offered it, for several reasons.  First, the pay is quite low.  I don't expect to get rich teaching English, but I do possess a Master's degree in the field, and that should count for something.  

Second, the hours are not what I had hoped.  In the initial email they sent to me, I was told that I could teach all day on Monday and Tuesday, for a total of 12 hours each week.  But when I reached the interview, she informed me that the class I would be teaching met from 5:30 to 8:30, Monday night through Thursday night.  I don't have a problem with teaching nights normally, but right now my girlfriend's job has a very demanding schedule, and from 7 to 9 in the evening is just about the only time we have to spend together, so if I took this job, we essentially would not see each other from Sunday night until Friday night.  That is just unacceptable.  I want to teach, but my relationship is more important than money.

Third, the school seemed a little sketchy.  It was on the small side, and they made very clear that they wanted to pay me in cash, with no paper work or taxes involved.  While there are short-term benefits from that type of arrangement, in my experience, it does not bode well for job security.      

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A nibble!

I ended up sending out seven resumes yesterday, about 5 of them were for ESL teaching positions, and two more for tutoring jobs.  Within a couple hours I received an e-mail from one of the language schools asking for an interview.  I am off to midtown this afternoon to wow them with my articulation skills and dynamic presentation.  My exceeding charm and good looks will certainly help as well...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Time to get to work

Today is the day I really get down to it and start my job search.  The first thing I had to do was take a look at my resume and make sure it is ready to be submitted.  Luckily I had to update and prepare my resume as part of my portfolio requirement at HPU, so this should be easy.

I had to change my address from Hawaii to New York, although if I am honest, I wish I was still in Hawaii.  

I had to change a few dates as well.  Some things that were listed as present when I completed this resume in late April now have an end date.  

I also had to add some more detail to some of my descriptions, as my prospective employers will not be familiar with some HPU activities and jobs that required less explanation in the portfolio.

After completing on-line searches through and craislist I have a solid list of possibilities.  Most of them ask for a cover letter and resume submitted by e-mail.  This saves paper and postage, which is a good thing, I just hope including my resume in the body of the e-mail, as they request, does not interfere with the formatting and make it difficult to read.

At any rate, I am off to write some cover letters, further updates as actions occur.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

New York Red Bulls vs. Los Angeles Galaxy

I went to my first MLS game live yesterday.  It was a bus trip from Nevada Smith's, a big soccer pub in the east village.  It was a fun trip, a lot of nice people, mostly English.  

The game was pretty good.  Los Angeles took the lead early on a nice header by Carlos Ruiz after Edson Buddle did some good work on the left flank.  La made some nice moves and threatened to add a second, but their back four always looked vulnerable.  Dave Van den Bergh equalized for New York with a nice shot from 25 or so yards out.  The defending was poor from Galaxy, no one closed him down in the center of the pitch, but it was still a nice finish.  

The second half was very different, as New York was in control, Juan Pablo Angel scored with a good header to give Red Bulls a deserved lead.  The crowd wasn't as large as the one for  Beckham's debut in New York last season, but it was still substantial, about 46,000 and the atmosphere was pretty good.  They lustily booed David Beckham every time he took a free kick or corner, but they cheered him quite enthusiastically when he applauded the fans after the match.  He might not have done so after a loss, but Landon Donovan, who I though was outstanding on the day, scored a 92nd minute equalizer on what may have been a cross but snuck in at the far post.  He also hit the post in extra time on another shot.

All in all, as I said, a good day out, and a good chance to meet some new people.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

In a Parallel Universe

The President of the United States today made this statement:

The United States of America recently submitted a resolution to the United Nations Security Council.  This resolution called for an arms embargo against Zimbabwe and targeted sanctions against that country's President, Robert Mugabe, and 13 of his most senior government associates.  In an unconscionable move, China and Russia used their veto powers as permanent members of the Security Council to block this resolution.  As a person of conscience I cannot allow these actions to go unchallenged.  
The logic behind the reasons these nations have given for this veto do not stand up to even a cursory examination.  Perhaps the truth is that these governments came to power themselves through questionable elections, in the case of Russia, or no elections at all, in the case of China.  Perhaps they feel that supporting this resolution will lead to an examination of their own power base, and how it was obtained.  Their motivation is not important at this time.  What is important is our reaction to this perversion of justice.
 I have recently returned from the annual G8 summit, a gathering of the world's strongest nations designed to create cooperation and trust in economic as well as social issues.  Russia was only admitted to this group recently and, quite frankly, they have not behaved in a manner appropriate to membership.  I will propose to the other members of this body that Russia be expelled, effective immediately, and any trade agreements they are party to through membership be terminated.  I will also propose that China be denied membership to this group, and any trade agreements they may have with members of this group immediately be reviewed.
Violence is a problem the world over.  Systematic violence by a government against its own people cannot be tolerated.  Acquiescence to this violence is no less egregious, and action must be taken where intervention is called for. 

This is fiction.  Our current president would never say this.  Whatever one's political leanings are, I believe there is universal horror towards the actions of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, and the protectionist behavior of other nations, essentially the condoning of these actions.  Whomever you are voting for in the fall, ask yourself, do they have the strength to make such a statement, and to back it up with action?  If not, perhaps you should reconsider your choice before marking your ballot.     

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Baseball Schedule

While we are physically in our apartment, our furniture is not. It will be picked up in Connecticut and delivered to New York on Thursday. So I am in Connecticut getting everything ready. This figures, because it is probably the one week of the entire summer when I cannot get out to a baseball game, or three. Of course, this is the week that my team, the San Francisco Giants, are at Shea Stadium playing the Mets. I could have seen Tim Lincecum pitch!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

First Avenue

We are finally in our apartment, and it is awesome.  Just a few blocks from Union Square and the East Village, there is lots going on.  Then there is the apartment itself.  The place is huge.  Our furniture will be arriving on Thursday, but we don't have nearly enough to fill it.  I am afraid we will have to spend some money to avoid it looking like an empty dance studio.  It should be fun though.  Things are looking up, and the next four years in Manhattan are going to be very exciting.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Job Hunt

I started checking on-line listings today for ESL Teaching jobs in Manhattan.  Pickings were rather slim on, as well as Craig's List.  There were part-time positions at a couple of language schools which I am going to follow up on.  There were also some tutoring positions available.  At this point I would rather tutor because of the added flexibility, unfortunately, most of the tutoring positions were for math and science, definitely not my strong suit.  

Next week, once I am in the city, I can pound the pavement and visit some language schools in person.  If nothing else, maybe I can hang a poster on their bulletin boards and get some private students.  The next week or two will be devoted to moving in and settling, so if it is a few weeks before I start making some money, I can live with that.