It’s a lesson that I teach my students, over and over again. When we went to Beta Convention and they gave their all and were convinced they’d placed, only to find out they fell short…we talked about how it’s possible to do your very best and not “succeed.” It’s entirely plausible that you could do your very best, put it all on the table, and still not achieve the desired results.
The same is true for us teachers, especially those of us on the job hunt. We pour our hearts and souls into interviews, into preparing for interviews, into making sure that we nail each and every question, and it can still not be enough. And that’s not to say that we didn’t do the best we could possibly do. There could be a myriad of reasons that we didn’t get the job. But it’s still never easy to knock an interview out of the park and still fall short.
I interviewed about 2 weeks ago for a Media Specialist position at another middle school in my district. It was a magnet school for communication arts and I was on the fence about even applying, at first. But then I started researching the school and dreaming about being the librarian and I got excited. This would be a wonderful school to be at. I prepared a portfolio for the interview (two of them actually). I got tips from my Marshall advisor (thank you, Dr. McFall!) and I researched possible questions I could be asked. I was ready.
The interview was much less formal than I expected it to be and all the questions were geared towards relationships. How do you see your ideal media center? How will you get teachers and students involved in the library? I answered each question with passion and energy. They chuckled at my jokes and appreciated the fact that I liked to dress up for class and make funny videos with my cat. By the end of the interview, I was certain I had nailed it. Knocked it out of the park. I even emailed each of the members of the interview committee a “thank you” email and sent a handwritten note to the principal.
And then I had to wait. I knew I was one of the first people they interviewed so it would be at least a week before I heard anything. I tried not to get my hopes up but, as I continued to work on March Madness Tournament of Books and finish up Blind Date with a Book, I got more and more excited to be a librarian.
As the following week rolled by, Monday…Tuesday…Wednesday…I began to despair. I tried to convince myself I hadn’t gotten the job because surely they’d have let me know by know. But part of me refused to lose hope. I suppose that’s a good thing but I just wanted to know one way or the other.
Finally, a form rejection email came Thursday. The job was filled. Please apply for other positions. (Too bad there are no other positions). I got the email during a meeting and struggled to hold back tears. It was dumb to be this upset, I told myself. Stupid, really. You did your best and that’s all you can do. Someone with more experience probably got the job.
But it’s tough. It’s tough to lay it all on the table and feel like you’ve nailed every aspect of the interview and still come up short. Especially when it’s for something you desperately want – like a media specialist job.
And so that is why I need to remember what I tell my students. Just because you don’t “win” or get the job doesn’t mean you didn’t do your best. It just means it wasn’t your time. It wasn’t meant to be. It wasn’t right.
Because who knows? Maybe that job would have been awful. Maybe a better one is around the corner. Maybe I’m needed at my current school to keep doing things like Blind Date with a Book and Tournament of Books.
So, yes. It is tough. But it’s not the end of the world.