Friday, August 20, 2004

Ninja School

I made a phone call after I posted my last entry.

I called the Assistant Superintendent (that's Super Nintendo to you Simpsons Fans) to talk about the open Elementary level Technology Teacher position in our district. I left him a longwinded voice mail about my interest in the position.

Lo and behold, to my shock and awe, he called me back.

I really didn't expect to hear from him. He informed me that he'd met that morning with the principals of the two schools that the position services. My son's school and another school in the district.

We talked about No Child Left Behind and the expectations these two towns put on the school district to hire only those teachers who fit in the "Highly Qualified" category, long term subbing, certification, testing, my experience with small kids (for those long term readers, think back to February 2002 and the Pudding Incident).

I jumped online while I was talking to him and registered for the September 11th teacher's test instead of the November 20th. Once my confirmation appeared on the screen I let him know I'd be taking it on that date.

He asked me to obtain three letters of reference and send him my resume, and come in for an interview on Friday.

Which is today.

I've yet again talked my way into another interview. I'm incredibly excited, but totally tweaking about this. Not only have I now given myself two weeks to prepare for the teacher's exam, but I've also got to go interview and talk about my ability to teach at the elementary level.

So I interviewed my daughter.

She's gone through the Elementary Technology program. I asked her what she learned each year. Basically, I now know the curriculum expectations (keyboarding in 3rd grade, research online in 4th and 5th, PowerPoint in 6th...) and I feel I can address how I'd deal with each of these skill introductions at the grade levels in question.

She also told me that there was no computer teacher last year, that the computer aide did the work, and the teachers of the individual classes would sometimes teach their kids. Sometimes they wouldn't have computer class at all. I was surprised.

So, wish me luck.

I really want this job. And the fact that he's even willing to bring in a person without her Masters and Certification means one of two things:

1. I wowed him in our initial discussion?
2. They're desperate?

I'm opting for the first.

I'm even bringing along my "Best Sudstatote Teacher Ever" paper that a girl made for me two years ago. I saved it for a reason.

The thing that now has me tripping out the most is the fact school starts in two weeks. In two weeks I could be gainfully employed. I could have a job that will run until June 17th with me going to school in the evenings. I very well could have all of our financial problems solved.

If I get this job.

It's all speculation at this point. I'm excited and anticipatory, and willing. Totally willing. Totally thrilled.

And totally terrified.

So I called upon CM and Dr. Bobby K to write me the first of my two letters of recommendation. No brainers there. The one person who truly has worked with me and knows my teaching skills, and my high-school best buddy who is King Of All Things Guidance And Education, thank you very much.


And I didn't know who to call for number three. The director of the pre-school where Geoff went and I subbed in 2003 for a while is retired. The vice-principal who was in charge of the elementary school in the town where I subbed in 2002 is retired. I was hanging and twisting in the breeze wondering who could be my third reference.

Yesterday I spent the day with the lovely C at her cabin in New Hampshire. We were down the pond, Geoff swimming and Jessie sitting in the shade to keep her white skin unmarked by the evil sun, when I suddenly hear someone call my name.

Surely, there's another Christine here...

But no, it was me, and I turn around to see Geoff's first grade teacher waving frantically at me.

Holy cow! Not only is it cool to see her, but THERE'S REFERENCE NUMBER THREE!

Who better than someone in the school? Who better than someone I chaperoned trips for, spent time in the class with, talked to all day every day about Geoff and teaching and learning? Why didn't I think of her earlier.

Her son is friends with a kid whose family has a cabin at the camp (totally a non-sequitor, but, C says they're nogoodniks that other family there). So she was picking him up and saw us. It's as if she was hand-delivered to me by God Himself. I was thrilled. Thank you lawd jeeezus!

So I asked her -- She's thrilled that I'm applying for the job and was more than happy to recommend me. Hopefully she got that letter in, and it is there waiting for me to come in at 1pm and stand up to.

We met with our financial advisor for our final meeting in the planning phase. Step one was to get our retirement accounts organized. Because Doug and I have job-hopped all over the place, we had seven different retirement plans between the two of us.

We have all our ducks in the proverbial row, the IRA accounts are open, the funds transferred from all the different locations where they were scattered across the country.

Step two was security -- we opened up life insurance policies, which is something I've personally never had. Doug has one that his dad opened on him when he was much younger. It's a relief. While I dislike the concept of either of us being dead, it's nice to know that the house and the education of both weiner kids will be secure later in life.

Funny Geoff anecdote to stick in here. Doug decided that I should bring the kids with me down to the meeting and that we'd go out to dinner afterwards.

The financial advisor asked Geoff what he wanted to study in college, and he said he wants to go to Ninja School. Garnered some good laughs. All the financial advisor guys were walking around saying hi to him and calling him "Big Guy." He was in his glory. I thought it was kinda corny. But, he loved it.

Geoff was suffering through this whole process. Meetings are boring, even for grown-ups. Jessie brought a book with, Geoff had his Gameboy, but that held his attention just so long. He was painfully bored. Can't say as I blame him... at one point he said "Can we GET THE HECK OUTTA HERE!!!??? in the middle of our advisor's spiel on retirement and what we'll have left at age 80 with the set up we have today, and how this time next year it will be exponentially blah blah blah...

Luckily our financial guy is a real doll, and was a bored 7 year old boy at one point too.

His partner financial guy was filling out the life insurance forms with us and asking us all the usual health questions. Do you have diabetes? Do you have chest pains? Do you have muscle or joint pain? Do you have... you know, all those medical questions.

As he's rattling them off, Geoff interjects "Do you glow in the dark?" in this completely deadpan, spot-on financial advisor voice.

We all busted a gut. My son has the perfect comic timing sometimes. As we were driving home we made up more questions "Do you lay eggs?" stuff like that.

It was quite funny. At least I thought so.

Step three is for us to aggressively start beating down the debt. I've got a call into our mortgage company to open an equity line and get a ton of cash to pay off all our high interest credit debt and one of our high interest car loans (our truck is at 8%, the VW is at 3.7%, so the truck loan goes).

After talking extensively with the loan guy, he can secure us an equity line of $75,000, which would do the following:

1. pay off all the high interest credit debts
2. pay off the truck
3. pay for graduate school
4. leave money left over to hire someone to fix my house

All for less than $500 a month. That versus the over $1500 a month we're paying on the first two alone. And basically, with me employed, (hopefully, speculating...) the plan would be to still throw $1500 a month at the equity line, and that would be paid off in two years.

Or, we pay the minimum on the equity line and start Step four, which is to start stockpiling money into a Roth IRA for Jessica for college. And eventually, Geoff for college.

Or Ninja School.

So I need to rework my resume now. I need to put on a load of laundry, shower, glow in the dark. More later folks. I'm sure I'll have a report back after the interview.


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