Once again, Ashley was working the front desk. Amelia was surprised, for a number of reasons. Wasn’t the girl a student? And didn’t she say she wasn’t working today? Then again, Amelia had only been here at lunchtime and now 5:30 on a Friday. Neither of those times would conflict with classes, and perhaps Ashley was able to get her studying done during whatever down time she had in the office. As for the latter question, there was no sense dwelling on it. The girl could have easily just mixed up her schedule.
“Hey, Ashley.” Amelia gave her a nod. Realizing a second too late that she probably shouldn’t be so casual with a student that could potentially be in one of her future classes, Amelia corrected herself with a belated, “Perhaps Ms. Martin, next time?” Hopefully it would be as easy as the other day, where Ashley simply adjusted to a more respectful approach. Amelia was fresh out of college, and guessed her first few years as a teacher would be spent demanding respect thanks to both her age and her youthful appearance.
“Ms. Martin,” Ashley said, without hesitation, “If you’re ready, Mrs. Thompson can see you now. All the way down the hall, hang a right, and she’s the last door on the left. Sorry again for the mix-up a few days ago.”
“It’s no problem,” Amelia said, “Did the office get all my information?”
“Probably? I don’t work here every day, so I wasn’t the one who got it. If you want, I can pull up your file?”
“No, it’s fine. I should get to my interview.”
“Good luck! I think you’ll be a great fit here.”
“Thanks, Ashley,” Amelia smiled, “Have a good weekend.”
Amelia had done everything she was told. In the name of being thorough, she filled out every single line on the registration form, complete with the extra information added on the back. If the interview went well, then everything else could be expedited. And, while the cancelled appointment had been a nuisance as she begrudgingly drove back home the other day, maybe it was a blessing in disguise. The extra time allowed her to fine tune her canned interview answers, as walking the confident/arrogant line could be quite difficult when talking about yourself. At this point, Amelia was more sure that she could put a more genuine spin on the ways she was prepared to talk herself up for the position.
The directions were easy enough to follow. The first hall ended in a fork, and the second led to a dead end. Impossible to get lost, and the office on the end was one of the only rooms with a light on. It was late afternoon on a Friday, which made sense that most teachers and administrators were already gone. Maybe this time slot was a mistake after all? Her interviewer might be burnt out after a long day; a long /week/ depending on what the family emergency was. But it was too late to change things now.
Amelia’s knock was met with a muffled “Come in!” through the door.
That was the first description that crossed Amelia’s mind when she laid her eyes on Mrs. Thompson. The brunette woman looked to be around the same age as Amelia herself. She wore a pencil skirt and blouse, and looked more like a teacher than an administrator. Like most women, she was taller and more endowed than the petite interviewee lingering in the doorway. “Amelia Martin?” she asked.
“Yes, ma’am,” Amelia nodded. Inwardly cursing at her southern roots coming out, she took a step into the room. For whatever reason, she had assumed an older woman would be the one interviewing her. It had thrown her enough to steal away whatever greeting she’d normally use.
Gesturing to the chair across the desk, Mrs. Thompson sat back down. “Please, come in. And close the door behind you.”
Amelia did as instructed. She quietly collected herself, once again having the thought that this could be another blessing. A younger woman might be more inclined to hire her, as gaining the trust of someone twice her age would be more difficult in comparison. “How are you doing?” Amelia asked. Small talk first, right? Breaking the ice.
“Doing well, thanks. Please, have a seat.”
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The interview was smooth, for the most part.
Amelia had prepared well. After the brief awkwardness that tends to come with not only meeting someone new, but being in an unfamiliar environment, the conversation felt more natural. She touched on her strengths and weaknesses, the easiest question to have prepared answers for. The tricky part was what came next, when she had to explain how her lack of experience might impact her performance at such a prestigious school. Amelia answered as best as she was able, with the logic of how teachers who had been at the job for a while might already be stuck in their ways. She, however, was fresh out of college, and ready to be molded by the academy teachers themselves. The questions bounced back and forth between personal history and different iterations of why she might be a good fit for Westridge. All in all, the interview was a blur, despite how focused Amelia remained.
Mrs. Thompson was impossible to read. The young woman’s face was just friendly enough to not be cold, but otherwise remained neutral as she jotted down a thing or two along the way. By the end, Amelia had absolutely no idea how she stood. While the conversation itself felt natural, there was the self doubt that came with such challenging questions, as well as the knowledge that she was surely up against other candidates. The anticipation was going to be the longest weekend of her life.
“There is one more thing, Amelia,” Mrs. Thompson said.
“Yes, what is it?” Amelia asked.
“What is your availability like next week? Would you be able to audit classes for a full school day? Ideally, we like candidates to do so for a full week, but I know that’s not realistic for everyone.”
This time, Amelia managed to avoid an ‘umm’ that would normally follow a question she wasn’t prepared for. She audited one or two classes in college, but that was with peers. But it was a reasonable enough request. If she was going to work here, it would be good to have a sense of how classes were run before she started. “Of course,” Amelia nodded, “I’d be happy to observe for a day. I think that’s a really good idea.”
“Great. Does Monday work for you? You included your measurements on the form, yes?”
“Yes,” Mrs. Thompson said. Setting Amelia’s file aside, she continued with something the blonde interviewee was not at all expecting. “We’ll have a student uniform ready for you on Monday.”
Check out my website: www.ladyluciastories.com
And read more of 'The Teaching Assistant' on my Patreon! www.patreon.com/user?u=73056590
Stories of Age/Time Transformation