Wednesday, May 7, 2014


Happy Wednesday to my faithful followers. And what a happy Wednesday it is, because I am officially EMPLOYED. What that means, I'm not entirely sure, but hey, it sure feels good to say! My parents can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that paying for college was certainly worth it. I can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that these past four years of stress and chaos were absolutely worth it, and though I had my days of doubting whether or not I was in the right major, ultimately, I can say I picked the right major. My car can breathe a sigh of relief because I will be holding off on the Houston trips for at least a short while, and I don’t think I have stopped smiling since yesterday afternoon.

So, I won’t leave you guys hanging, because I know you are hanging on the edge of your seats with anticipation, but I will be teaching English at Bellaire High School (my mom’s alma mater - talk about the circle of life!) in the Houston Independent School District. Though many of you might stop reading right about now, I will go into the long drawn out story for those of you who want to know.

I’m not going to lie, Bellaire High School wasn’t really on my radar going into this job search process. Not that I was against going there, I just hadn’t really considered it. Anyway, I received an email from my UTeach professor one day that told me a representative from HISD would be speaking to our class, and there would be time to meet with him afterward if we were at all interested. I knew that I wanted to be back in Houston after I graduated, so I planned on meeting with the representative. It turned out that I was one of the only ones to do so, which certainly worked in my favor. He asked what I knew about HISD, and I admitted that I didn’t know much (he was also a Stratford grad, small world, right?), but that my mom attended Bellaire High School. He asked me if I would be interested in teaching there, and though I hadn’t given it much thought, I kind of liked the sound of that, so I told him that I would love to. He took down my information and told me he would be in touch with me in the coming weeks if he learned of any job openings at Bellaire High School.

Not even a few days later did I receive an email saying there was in fact an open English position at Bellaire High School if I wanted to act on that. I began filling out my HISD application, and the representative told me he would pass on my information, and that he would be at the career fair at the Frank Erwin Center the following week if I had any additional questions. The day of the career fair came, and I found that same representative so that I could thank him for all of his help. It took me by surprise when he told me that the Bellaire principal was actually at the job fair if I wanted to meet him and put a face to the name. I went up and introduced myself, and had an impromptu mini-interview with him. Since we already know the ending to this story, it obviously went well, and I was so excited to get a call about a week later in regards to coming in for an interview. I had actually been in Houston the entire weekend, and returned to Austin on Monday, but on Wednesday, I put on my red heels and made the drive back to Houston. The drive was a breeze, and the hardest part of it all was finding a place to park. I ended up parking my car in one of the surrounding neighborhoods with a note that said I had an interview at Bellaire High School and to PLEASE not tow my car. Praise the Lord that actually worked! I headed inside with enough time to find the main office, where I was then led to the library to complete a preliminary “test,” if you will. I was asked to analyze the theme of a poem, explain how I would use it in the classroom, and take a portion of a released SAT exam. Bellaire certainly meant business!
The sweet view I had driving back to Austin that night, reminding me that I was never alone

That portion of the interview took a little less than an hour, and I was then brought in before a group of five individuals – an assistant principal, the English department head, and three freshman English teachers. It didn’t take me long to figure out that I was likely being considered for an English I position. This might sound crazy, but I had a great time in my interview, and I felt as though I really connected with the other teachers in the interview. The school has such a high student success rate, and it was very easy to see why that was. The teachers I spoke with are passionate, enthusiastic, and dedicated. I walked out of that school (trying to remember where I parked my car) knowing that Bellaire had just become one of my top choices. I had a hard time admitting that to people, mainly because I knew getting the job there would be a long shot, and it’s hard for me to be vulnerable when I know that I could be let down, but it was also hard to hide the fact that I really wanted to get the job at Bellaire.

My freshman English class

Last day of freshman year
When I didn’t hear anything for about a week or so, I told myself that I probably didn’t get it, and that was okay, because I am about to be fresh out of college with student teaching being my only classroom experience, and hiring a 22-year-old at such an established school is certainly taking a risk. So you can imagine both my surprise and excitement when I received an email from the principal while I was in Washington D.C. asking me to let him know when would be a good time for a follow up phone call with him. Said phone call happened the following Tuesday afternoon, and I was told I would likely hear yes or no within 48 hours. Well, Thursday afternoon (and evening) came and went, and I didn’t hear anything, so I decided it was probably time to hit the road to Houston, as I had an 8am interview the next morning. I was bummed that I hadn’t yet heard anything, but I felt confident that I would be called whether I got the position or not. However, being the overeager person that I am, I emailed the Bellaire principal at 7:15am on Friday morning, hoping I would hear back one way or the other, just to put me out of my misery. Friday came and went, Saturday came and went, and on Sunday I received an email saying the final decisions would be made on Tuesday, and that I would hear back for sure by Tuesday evening.

A little chocolate to calm my nerves - thanks, Dyl (who might have been just as nervous)!
So here we are on Tuesday. I am pretty much doing whatever I can not to think about the fact that the phone call would be coming today, whether I was ready for it or not. Around 1:30pm, my phone started ringing with an unknown 713 number. I knew this was it, so I answered it, ran outside SRD, and proceeded to take the phone call. In all honesty, I can’t tell you a lot of what was told to me (that’s what contracts are for, right?), because I wasn’t sure in which direction we were headed, but at the end of the phone call I was offered a teaching position at Bellaire High School. I am not sure what grade I will be teaching, likely a combination of English I and a reading class, but as soon as I do know that information, I will absolutely pass it on to you guys. I sounded like a complete nerd on the phone as I rambled on before actually accepting the offer, when I was met with a “Welcome to the Bellaire team,” and to say that I have felt total peace about my decision is an understatement. I know I have shocked quite a few people when I tell them that I picked Bellaire before waiting to hear back from Stratford, but it was an offer I couldn’t refuse, and I know that I will be so happy at Bellaire. And I know there will be tough days, and the traffic on 610 might get to me sooner than I think, but I am so excited to see how God writes this next chapter of my life. Many people have told me that “I so deserve this,” and in all honesty, I am so incredibly undeserving, but I am so incredibly grateful for this opportunity. I also can’t tell you how great it feels to know that I can walk across that stage in less than two weeks knowing exactly what I will be doing. I feel like I have been one constant ball of stress because though I have attended many career fairs, sent countless emails, and even had a few interviews, nothing was secured, and it feel as though a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders, and I can finally relax and truly enjoy these last few weeks of college, because I do not have a worry in the world right now. There are not enough thank-you’s in this world to thank all of the people who have helped me along the way, but I’ll sure try.
Believe it or not, this is the exact outfit I wore to my interview
Here’s a big thank you to my parents (froomies!) for not only paying for my college education, which is enough in itself, but for answering every frantic phone call, freaking out about what to do next, for proofreading my resume and cover letters and every single email I ever sent, and most of all, for believing in me every step of the way. Even when I started doubting, they never stopped believing in and encouraging me, and for that, I am so grateful. Here’s to moving back in with them! Thank you to my professors at UT, my cooperating teachers in the UTeach program, and the countless number of former teachers and coaches who truly taught me something new every day, who wrote reference after reference after reference, who put in good words for me, and who inspired me to sign up for what I have just signed up to do. Y’all rock. Thank you to the parents whose sons and daughters will be sitting in my very classroom this fall. You guys probably don't know what you're about to get yourself into (nor do I, really), but I'm excited to begin this journey with your sweet kids. And finally, a huge thank you to my sweet friends who have put up with my weird hours and endless stress, who have shared my excitement and lived every single step with me. I have so many wonderful people in my life, and that made it all the sweeter to share this exciting news. So, here’s to shedding my beloved green and white (though I will always bleed green) for a crisp red and white. Go Cardinals! And real world, I'm finally ready (or maybe not) for ya!

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