Was that supposed to be a joke?
Westridge Academy might have a few more specialized positions than the average public school, including the kind of role Amelia was pursuing, but she still couldn’t fathom how the woman who just administered her test didn’t know who had been in charge of the interview process to begin with. Unless they rotated who spoke with potential candidates? Either way, she was taken aback by Mrs. Lewis’s tone.
“She was the one who interviewed me.” Amelia said.
Mrs. Lewis looked confused. “Interviewed you for what, dear? We don’t do interviews; just applications.”
“That’s ridiculous. I was literally called-” she began. Cutting herself off, as the patronizing ‘dear’ had a delayed registration in her mind, Amelia shifted gears. It was getting a bit frustrating having every conversation revolve around her ‘first day experience.’ How could she talk to anyone if they were going to keep pretending she wasn’t an adult? She had taken a day off of work for this, and had submitted herself to dressing up like a schoolgirl for the sake of authenticity. But if she couldn’t talk to the teachers or administration as herself, what was even the point? “Mrs. Lewis, no one else is here,” she said, “Can we please just speak normally for a second?”
“Have we not been speaking normally this whole time? Amelia, we really don’t have time for this. Ms. Song is a busy woman.”
“I understand that. It’s just, no one informed me about any of this. Is it really necessary for me to be treated like this all day? Do I at least get a break over lunch, or something?”
“All the girls get a break over lunch. And you’re not being treated any differently than the rest of the students, I promise.”
“That’s not-” It was the exact opposite of what Amelia meant, “I’m just asking when I’ll get a chance to be myself.”
“You shouldn’t ever be afraid to be yourself, Amelia. Don’t worry about fitting in, if that’s what you’re worried about. We’ve had plenty of transfer students before.”
“I know. You have a lot of questions. There will be time for that, but we really do need to stay on schedule. If you’ll follow me.”
This was all for the job. All for the job. All for the job. Amelia had to mentally repeat the motivation to herself a few times as she let Mrs. Lewis lead the way. No matter, grabbing a public school job would be a piece of cake if this didn’t work out. With teachers dropping like flies these days, there would be plenty of desperate schools out there that would pick her up in a heartbeat. And, since Amelia viewed teaching as a stepping stone anyway, she was going into this profession with her eyes wide open. But this was THE school for her. Hands down the best option in terms of future career opportunities, which meant that putting up with a little extra bullshit was still worth it.
Her tediously small size had often led to people accidentally talking down to her when they didn’t realize she was already in high school or, more recently, in college. But this stupid roleplay was intentional, which made it different. While Amelia didn’t plan on leaning into it, she could at least bite her tongue in terms of her distaste.
The next stop of the morning was the office of one Melinda Song. According to the title just underneath the sign by her door, she was a Student Advisor. One of several, if Amelia recalled from the academy’s website. From what she understood about the position, it was a cross between high school counselor and college advisor. Was this who had her test results? If so, Amelia was anxious to see how well she did. And, more importantly, how it affected her chances of being hired.
“Ms. Song? Are you ready for her?” Mrs. Lewis asked. She stuck her head into the room, but only long enough to get that confirmation.
Amelia couldn’t see around the corner, but could easily hear her response. “Yes, of course. You may send her in.”
Mrs. Lewis stepped aside and gestured for her to do just that. Determined to check off yet another item of the morning’s list that Amelia dearly wished she had a copy of, she didn’t hesitate in the slightest. Stepping through the threshold, she was surprised to see just how tidy the room was. It was a total contrast to Mrs. Thompson’s room, with stacks of papers and organized clutter here and there; a style that was reminiscent of most of Amelia’s college professors. Not here. Aside from the nameplate and a desktop monitor, the only thing sitting on Ms. Song’s desk was what looked to be Amelia’s placement test as well as her application packet.
Ms. Song appeared to be younger than Mrs. Lewis, but older than Mrs. Thompson. Late twenties, perhaps early thirties, though it was more difficult to tell for sure on a half Asian woman. Maybe she was a staff member that Amelia would hit it off with when she was hired. It wasn’t that big of an age gap; she would just have to show Ms. Song that she was more mature than her twenty-two year old self might be perceived as a recent graduate.
“Good morning, Millie,” Ms. Song said. She gestured to the two chairs sitting opposite her desk. Her tone was friendly, yet formal at the same time. “Please, have a seat. We have a lot to discuss.”
There it was again. ‘Millie.’ Awful, and cringeworthy, and absolutely not something she wanted to keep correcting all day. Maybe it worked on other girls, but not for her. “Morning,” Amelia said. She internally reprimanded herself for the flicker of attitude. It wasn’t Ms. Song’s fault; the test on her desk was labeled incorrectly. “I actually prefer Amelia.”
Ms. Song just nodded. “Amelia, then.”
Then she gestured once more to the empty seat.
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