Sunday, July 22, 2007

What do I teach?

Originally uploaded by solarnu
Recently, I came across a job description that sounded very interesting:
Candidates should hold a B.A. or B.S. (field flexible), be self-directed, and have the flexibility to work with many different kinds of people. Interest in and experience with methods of multi-modal or differentiated instruction are important, as are familiarity with and interest in a cross-platform environment (Macintosh and PC). Finally, candidates should be realistic and excited about the challenges and rewards of teaching and living in a boarding school.
Interestingly, while in the past I'd seen myself capable of many roles, usually within teaching I only seriously considered English and history positions. I could see myself in nearly any administrative position at the dean or associate dean level, but teaching only held two disciplines.

I think I was wrong: that's a position I could definitively see not only doing, but excelling.

So I wrote to the academic dean. This is one of the schools which has already interviewed me... and reviewed my package for at least half-a-dozen positions over the last two years. Here's what I wrote:
Dear Ken,

I saw recently that you may have experienced a late departure and are now looking for a "field-flexible" technology teacher.  I am most interested in this position at Saint Swithins.

As you know from reading my blog and perusing of my wiki, I may not have previously considered myself a technology teacher, but rather a teacher who uses and understands technology.  I'd like a swing at the role to teach technology so that my use of technology could be seen (and copied) by colleagues.

As you know, technology is merely a tool to help with some bit of learning.  I picture students using technology to further other disciplines.  I see students creating a wiki about the biology of the campus; I see students keeping semi-official blogs about life as a student; I see outreach offices, such as alumni and development, using Web 2.0 tools to get the message about Saint Swithins to the widest constituency as possible.

In terms of formal educational preparation for this position, I have none.  In terms of informal study and hands-on use of the technology tools, I have plenty.  I'm not "bleeding edge," but I'm definitely "cutting edge" when it comes to trying and using new technology, particularly Web 2.0 tools.  I have a more than passing familiarity with a variety of computer operating systems, including Windows, MacOS, Linux, and VMS.

Please do consider me for the role, Ken.  I think you'll more than agree I'm a good fit for the job, and you know my desire to be on a resident faculty is tremendously strong.  As you know, you can find my candidacy package online.

I look forward to hearing from you.
Reading over it, I come off too forcefully. Sorry, Kenneth.

And that, right there, is part of what is so interesting about blogging in the open. It's all out there.

So, dear readers, I have a question for you to consider, if you'd be so kind. Well, actually, I have two questions.

1. Do you think, after looking over this blog and my credentials package, I'd be able to compete well for the appointment, do the job, and also excel in the role?

2. Do you think my letter was too strong & over-the-top?

Please do let me know what you think; post in the Comments section below.


CaliforniaTeacherGuy said...

I think it's OK to be forceful in presenting yourself as a candidate--as long as you're cogent too. But there's something about your last paragraph that bothers me: It almost sounds as if you are begging for a chance. I think most administrators would be turned off by that "tone of voice." I'm sure if you tinker with it, you can come up with something that sounds less "beggarly"--and more cogent!

Mr. B-G said...

Why is it that you only want to teach at an independent boarding school?