The Third Interview: 7-Minute Math Lesson

“A train leaves New York traveling at 60 mph.  Another train leaves Boston traveling at 50 mph….  Remember those word problems from high school?  They don’t go away if you are applying to graduate schools, and some people need help prepping for entrance exams.  My daughter teaches for a test prep company, and she suggested that I might qualify to do the same.  I applied and was invited to do a “teaching audition” which meant I could choose one of three math problems to prepare and teach in seven minutes to an online group of other auditioners.   I had a choice of a geometry problem, a factoring problem, or a word problem.  Although I immediately gravitated toward the geometry, and I don’t like transportation problems,  I decided on the word problem as a better teaching opportunity.

Without going into detail, that seven-minute audition took hours of preparation!  Solving the problem and checking it against other solutions (of course I checked online to see what was out there) was just the beginning.   Thinking through the process of arriving at a solution, writing out a script, preparing the formulas for the virtual white board, practicing, timing, revising, timing, practicing, timing.  Who would think this would take so long?  I probably could have done it without so much prep, but there was a certain amount of pride involved.  I wanted my teaching experience to show, I wanted to live up to my daughter’s expectation of me, and I wanted to prove (to myself) that I was mentally sharp enough (both with the math and the technology) to succeed.

The audition went well.  There were five of us in the “class” plus the moderator.  It was much like attending a webinar, so I was familiar with the format.  The moderator was informative and set a comfortable tone meant to ease people’s nerves.  The only glitches were technical (lost sound for a while) and at the moderator’s end.  It took about an hour, and class over, we were informed about the next steps, which would be an interview (if we passed the teaching part), followed by training and more serious teaching evaluation.

This all underlines how much time and effort it takes to search for meaningful employment (or any employment!)  I think what personal resources have gone into this one piece, which would be a very part-time job if it came to fruition.  Right now I feel that much of what I have to offer, and want to offer, is being wasted compared to past years.  Being patient as I search out new paths is increasingly difficult.

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