Monday, March 21, 2011
Two weeks ago I went to a job fair for a school called American Preparatory Academy. They currently have two schools open, one in Draper (about 20 minutes from where I live), one in West Valley City (about 30 minutes away) with a third opening in West Valley City in the fall. A charter school, there are currently over 5,000 students on a waiting list.
While I was attending the job fair, I learned that this school teaches differently than anything I've ever seen. Having taught in school districts for the past 7 years, I'm used to teaching out of a book, coming up with lesson plans, loud students, and students who struggle to learn. American Prep does things a different way.
They use a method called Direct Instruction. Beginning in Kindergarten, they teach the students cursive, instead of print. Apparently research shows it's easier to learn cursive first. Lesson plans are written for the entire school year before school begins, taking away the "What are we going to do today?" stress for teachers. The lessons are scripted, so teachers don't have to struggle through a topic that they themselves might have trouble with (for me, that's math!). There is A LOT of positive reinforcement through chants and cheers. It's all about repetition and memorization, which is the best way to learn. Each class has a credentialed teacher, and an instructor (aide) who helps out.
After having a brief interview with the assistant director, I was invited to come and visit the West Valley City campus, observe, and have a second interview. Last Friday I was able to do that. I had a wonderful conversation (it went so smoothly that it almost didn't feel like an interview), and was told that since they would be interviewing everyone else starting this week, I probably wouldn't hear anything until the end of April.
Today, while in the 3rd grade class I'm long term subbing for, my phone began to vibrate. I didn't recognize the number, but I KNEW it was the school. I was able to call after school and the first thing I was told was that there had been a lot of talk about me over the past few days. The school wants me to spend the last month of school (as soon as my current long term job is up) with them in Draper as an instructor, learning how to teach their material, and then if all goes well I will come back in August as a teacher! The school is very excited about me.
When we moved to Utah, both my mom and I said that this would finally be my time; I would be able to find the full time teaching job I've been trying to get for years. American Prep has just started interviewing the other candidates today, and I've already been offered a position. It doesn't get much better than this!
I don't believe there will be any problems during the month I'm there learning the ropes. My own classroom...I can't believe it!!!
FINALLY, AFTER ALL THIS TIME, IT'S MY TURN!!!