Excerpt from Yo Miz!: In theory, the iSchool looked like a great fit for me. However …
Friday, October 28, 2011
Tuesday, I go to the iSchool for an interview, excited about tapping into the alchemy where technology meets the arts.
I imagine the school will resemble an Apple store with great light pouring in, students gathered in pods, creating brilliant projects while happy teachers guide them in a collaborative spirit. Instead, as I cross Soho Square Park, an ancient five-story building looms up in front of me with a cornerstone from 1848. Welcome to the iSchool, situated on the top two floors of one of the oldest buildings in the city. I guess fiber-optics do not stream through its vintage viscera.
In my quest for the AP, I’m sent to a large room, a cafeteria (?) packed with students. A giant HD screen on the wall is flashing the day’s schedule. Other than that, it seems to be pretty low tech. To the right of me several makeshift offices stand, their glass partitions allowing all the student noise to bounce back into the big room, amplified. I walk over to the first office. A young, 30-ish man is sitting inside, sporting a tailored suit.
“Excuse me,” I say to him. The din of the students forces me to speak louder than normal. “I’m looking for the AP.”
“Are you here for an interview?”
“Yes, social studies.”
“I’ll be right with you. Please take a seat outside.” He motions me to a small chair in front of his office. While I wait, I check out the students in the center of the big room. They seem bright and engaged. Books are out; schoolwork is being done. They are dressed in the usual tees and jeans. Notably absent are sagging pants, gang bandanas and the “N” word. Why? It’s a “screened” school, another that cherry-picks the best students.
After about ten minutes, the well-groomed AP calls out to me over the din of the students in the great room.
“Ms. Rose. You may come in. Please have a seat. May I have a copy of your resume?” “Certainly,” I say. I hand one over. He scans it. I assume he’d already read it because I sent it with an enthusiastic email response to his job posting.
Just as I’m about to yada yada my skills, a student enters.
“Excuse me, please,” the AP says to me. He turns to the student. “Yes, John?” The two of them carry on a three-minute conversation. I look over my resume. I want to be sure somebody reads it.
“Sorry about that. Now where were we?” He seems distracted.
“You were asking me about my arts background. It’s pretty well covered in my resume. If you just take a look at the back page…”
He looks up and out at the students.
“I need to catch that kid. Excuse me, please,” he says and steps out of the office. More and more kids are filling up the great room. Classes are changing. The din is so loud I’m ready to put in my earplugs.
“Sorry about that,” he say as he returns five minutes later. “Where were we again?”
“My arts experience is on the third page. But I also have an idea about a political science class.”
“What’s that?” I can’t tell if he wants my idea or if he hasn’t heard me.
“A political science class,” I repeat.
“I know,” he says. “What’s your idea?” Before I can yada yada double forte, the kid reappears.
“Excuse me please,” says the AP and the two of them have another three-minute conversation. I’m happy for the break. My vocal cords are getting a little sore from yelling.
“So…let’s see. You said something about an idea for a political science course. Have you taught political science before?” WTF?
“YES! IT’S ALL IN MY RESUME,” I yell. He looks up at me as if I am the one aunt he hoped his parents hadn’t invited to Thanksgiving dinner. Just then, his phone rings. He takes the call. “I have to go and teach a class. I’ll be done in an hour if you don’t mind waiting around.”
(Ed’s note: I minded.)
Thursday, November 17, 2011