I met the recruiter in the lobby of the Mariott Marquis as we both asked the front desk which conference rooms we should head to.
“Conference rooms? No we have a room for you…Room 1751.”
So we head up to the 17th floor with one other candidate and open the door to an itsy-bitsy hotel room lined with about 10 chairs, a couch and two arm chairs.
“How many people are you expecting?” I asked Irma.
“About 35 from us, but probably more from other recruiters.”
I looked around the mini-room and situated myself in a comfy armchair instead of the stiff conference room chairs. Staring out the floor-to-ceiling windows, I could see 8th avenue…drab compared to the lights of Times Square…
A few seconds later a woman walked in looking poised and professional and headed toward me – I pointed and tilted my head and we hugged in recognition! Right here on WordPress, I met a woman all the way from Philly, preparing to interview around the globe like me! Check out her blog at https://phillygirl77.wordpress.com/ – She truly inspired me to really go through with this!
We were fortunate to already have tons to talk about and I think it really calmed my nerves. We were going to “Rock these interviews!” I looked over my resume and relaxed – momentarily. The room began to fill with way more than 35 people, the temperature on the rise and no water in sight. I assessed my peers. I counted one blond hair, blue-eyed woman among a sea every shade of brown. I counted 5 men out of about 40 women. And I looked for fellow New Yorkers, but only got every other city on the Eastern Seaboard.
Now while I didn’t talk to EVERYONE, I definitely did my share of networking. Nearly every person I spoke with sounded like a great candidate and a great teacher. The experience of meeting so many wonderful people made the day even more worth it; A fellow teacher with little ones, a young girl whom I would love to have as my daughter’s kindergarten teacher, and a recent divorcee, ready to venture out on her own. As each person headed into a room to interview, I sincerely sang “Good luck!” Their students would be lucky to have any one of us!
Irma apologized over and over for the awful room the Mariott provided, which we used as a “holding cell” until our names were called. She got on the phone with the front desk and demanded water be brought up. “It’s a basic human right,” she roared. They wanted to charge us $12 per bottle! Eventually, water was supplied. I was not impressed at all by the Mariott’s service and hospitality, which I hope they read about on Yelp!
So I think I hopped up and skipped a little when I was called to interview. It was via Skype or something like it. Me, alone in a room, with a computer. On the other end, an assistant principal of the English Department and an administrator from the program. Both were American. I was expecting at least one Emirati, but it was a lot like interviewing for an American school.
- How do you differentiate instruction?
- How do you assess your student’s learning?
- If I were to walk into your classroom, what would I see?
- Give an example of a lesson your taught that was successful…
I was prepared for all of these. I was not prepared for:
- Do you think you would stay longer than the contractual 3 years?
- After 13 years at the same school, why do you want to teach in Abu Dhabi?
- Do you understand that we strongly suggest that teachers come without their families to set everything up and bring their families over later?
The last few I did not expect and I don’t think I gave the best answers:
- Uh, it really depends on how it goes…
- I’m hoping to someday return to New York and better serve our Arabic-speaking population of students
- I’ve spoken with my husband about our family being separated for a while and we will have to seriously consider that…
What I should’ve said was:
- I will stay as long as it takes to get the job done!
- I have a strong desire to work with an organization that is on the forefront of reform and to share my expertise in English
- I am willing to do what ever it takes to do the job!
When it was all over, I felt good. I felt like I gave my best interview and if they wanted me, they’d let me know. If not, then I’m bound for something else!
To celebrate, Kennesha, Shina and I went to an amazing Japanese BBQ for lunch. I’ve had BBQ before, but this was REALLY the best, save for a lack of great veggies. I want to rave about them some more…but I’ll save it for Yelp!
Now, we wait!