Many things in life have an order. You firstly conceive and just then give a birth. You have to finish the elementary school before you can proceed to the secondary. And I always thought that getting is job belongs to the category–you firstly send an application, then pass an interview and finally get employed. In Singapore, however, things happened in a strange order. I firstly worked for a month at school, and just then they invited me for an interview. I was finally about to meet the school principal.
Well prepared for the interview
I am a perfectionist–you probably noticed so far. My mother used to tell me: “Charlotte, with your perfectionism no man will ever be good for you.”
I don’t agree with her but it’s true that I am still single in my late twenties. Nevertheless, I didn’t underestimate anything in my preparation for the meeting with the mysterious man. I was sure that both students and my colleagues gave just the best feedback on me and the lessons we had together, but still–I’m a perfectionist. On the top of that I was in a probation period, so if they wanted, they could have sacked me basically for any reason.
I have went through some common teacher interview questions, and mocked some creative answers in French. This is the ritual I do before every interview, regardless of country and language. It helps me to get rid of anxiety and feel more confident. On the big day I felt good, though little scary. I saw pictures of the principal on the walls, but never met a man in person. I just saw these young teachers passing from his doors early in the morning.
I’d call the meeting anything but professional. Not a single question was asked about my experience or education, and I wasn’t put to any test (whether personality or IQ). The principal had a strange look in his eyes, and I couldn’t help feeling he was flirting with me. Well in his fifties, I wasn’t interested in that kind of a connection. But I tried to play a nice attentive teacher, and didn’t mind an occasional smile or smirk of the face. He was the head of a school after all, and I didn’t feel like looking for a new job.
All the question he asked were rather personal. Where did I live, if I had a boyfriend, how did I find the life in Singapore, why I kept traveling and taking temporary vacations instead of settling down somewhere, starting the family. Definitely not the questions you’d get in a professional interview.
I didn’t feel like talking much, but tried to give him brief answers to all questions. We had a coffee and he actually let his secretary bring two cakes. The meeting was strange but not completely unpleasant.
When it seems we were done with the interview, I asked him about the next steps. If they were satisfied with me, and if I could stay for the six months or even for a year. He said he’ll let me know, and that we’ll have another meeting before the end of my probation period. Then the devil asked me about my plans for the upcoming weekend. I said I was busy.
We shook hands, and I left the room. It was eleven in the morning and my next class was about to start. What a revelation, I thought. I didn’t feel awkward anymore about not meeting the school leaders before. I was satisfied with my teaching and the students. This strange old guy wasn’t really my type, no need to meet him another time.
From then things went on pretty ordinary. I taught French, enjoyed the parties during the weekends, and made some friends outside of school. I forgot the strange interview with the principal, the security cameras, and the ghosts that kept following me. I had no idea what was yet to come….