This is a repost. I found mistakes that were driving me crazy. I was rereading to make sure my plot didn't stray too much.
Disclaimer: I own nothing except a piece of paper stating that I am a college graduate.
Welcome all to this new adventure.
I have no beta, other than myself, to thank.
Chapter 1: The One Where Bella Has an Interview
I woke up one Saturday morning pondering where my life was going. I had just finished up a bachelors degree at the University of Washington, majoring in English with an emphasis in secondary education and was now on the job hunt. My hopes for the future, at least as far as my profession went, were to someday be a school librarian but to get there I had to have a few years of teaching experience. I figured that English was the way to go, especially after looking at my transcripts and seeing that I had mainly taken English classes. I didn't especially want to be a teacher, but what else do you do with a BA in English Literature? Seriously.
It's a conundrum. You find that you love one area of study in academia but when you want to apply it to your adult life you find yourself going into something that you didn't even consider. That is what lead me to enjoying a stimulating Saturday morning looking at the Washington State Board of Education website and looking at job postings. I decided that I had better pull up Google Maps too so I know where these jobs were.
After my student teaching last semester, which I did in one of the more difficult areas of Seattle, I knew that I wanted to branch out to maybe one of the smaller communities of Washington.
So, here I was, only one week after graduating, papering all of Washington State- outside of Seattle and Tacoma- with my resume. Surely, someone will snag me up.
It took a total of one week for me to get a call from Forks High School. Mrs. Platt, the principal, called me and set up an interview time. And now I was sitting in my banged up Toyota Corolla and driving the three and a half hour drive from Seattle to go in and talk with her. I had everything ready; in fact I was probably over prepared. My one suit was pressed and hanging in the garment bag, a copy of a few lessons that I had given during my student teaching and reflections about those lessons were all ready in a neat presentation folder for Mrs. Platt's perusal. On top of it all, I had three letters of recommendations, one from my mentor teacher, and the other two from professors. I didn't know how much more prepared I could have been.
As I pulled into Forks I noticed the school right away. It was right off the main highway, so it wasn't difficult to find. I had booked a room at a local bed and breakfast so that I could get ready for my interview and calm my nerves somewhat. Plus, I figured that I didn't want to have to drive home right away, so it was best if I stayed overnight.
I pulled into the Lush Forest Inn and went to check in. Once inside an older, tiny, dark haired woman accosted me. "Hi, you must be Isabella Swan!" she said excitedly.
"That's me," Bella said softly with a smile.
"Welcome, welcome, my name is Leslie and my husband is Karl- he's around here somewhere tinkering on something. Let me see where we have you here," she said as she started typing away on the computer importantly. "Oh yes, that's right. Room number four. Do you need any help with your things?"
"No, thanks, I don't have much," I answered with a smile as I took my room key and walked out to park my car and grab my things. As I pulled out my small overnight bag and my suit, I saw a tall blonde man exit the inn but paid no attention to it. I was still trying to pull my briefcase out of my trunk, which was stuck behind some crap and the spare tire.
"Need any help?" a smooth baritone voice asked.
"Nope, I think I got it," I answered and looked up. Holy cow, I thought. It was the blonde man, who, up close, was a very handsome man. Hair the color of corn silk framed a beautifully constructed face that held the most piercing blue-grey eyes I had ever seen. I pulled my mouth closed and whispered my thanks for the offer.
"Not a problem. My name's Jasper, and I saw you strugglin'. But if you're okay, I am off to my appointment. Maybe I'll see you later?" he asked with a sincere smile.
"Maybe," was all I could muster and before I could add, "Thanks for the offer," he was walking to a beat up pick-up truck on the other side of the street. I watched as he climbed in, waved at me, and drove off.
I walked into the Inn and down the hall to my room. It was modest, with a small double bed and an equally small ensuite bathroom. But it was cozy with its patchwork quilt on the bed, inviting wingback chair in the corner, and dainty lace curtains over the windows. I looked at the clock and noticed I had about an hour before my appointment which just enough time to freshen up and change my clothes before I had to head out. I was grateful that I had driven past the high school on the way to the Inn so that I didn't have to leave with time to find the school.
When I was finished dressing, I walked back out to the lobby and waved at Leslie on the way out. I made way over to Forks High and found my way to the building marked 'Administration.' I went in and told the secretary there that I was Isabella Swan and was here to interview with Mrs. Platt. The secretary didn't even look up from her Better Homes and Gardens magazine to tell me to have a seat and that Mrs. Platt will be out in a few minutes, as she was with someone else right now.
I took a seat in the uncomfortable plastic chair across from the office with Mrs. Esme Platt written across the placard and pulled out the novel I was reading. It probably is a bad habit to bring a book everywhere, but I do it because I hate when I have extra time and having a book is a good way to kill that time. I must have gotten into it because I didn't even hear the door open.
"That's a great book," someone said to me.
I looked up and it was the same man from the parking lot earlier today. I smiled and said, "I am enjoying it so far. Jasper, right?"
"You remembered," he said with a smile. "That's a sign of a great teacher. You remember names. May I ask your name?"
I then realized that I didn't even tell him my name earlier and was mortified at my rudeness. "Of course, I'm sorry! My name is Isabella- Bella."
He smiled and said, "Hi Bella. It seems we're staying at the same place for the night. Would you like to check out Forks with me later?"
"Sure, meet in the lobby about five-ish?" I asked.
"Sounds good, see you then!" Jasper said and walked towards the door. I admired his backside as he walked out.
Just then a gorgeous older woman called my name. "Hi! You must be Isabella Swan! My name is Esme Platt. You may call me Esme when we are around other teachers or in private but always Mrs. Platt around the students please."
"Well then, you may call me Bella," I said, already feeling very comfortable with Esme and I sat across the desk from her. I handed her my folder and recommendations. Esme took a minute to look through all I handed her and I waited patiently for her to finish.
She looked up and said, "Your mentor teacher and professors speak really highly of you, Bella. I see that this would be your first year as a teacher, do you think you're ready for it?"
I took a deep breath and answered, "Well, Esme, I do think I am ready. The school I did my student teaching at was a title one school for starters and it really opened my eyes up to the things that I could face in a classroom that I had never been informed of in my education classes. I did enjoy my education classes and I understand the theory behind them but I think I gained most of my practical classroom skills during my student teaching."
"I couldn't agree more. I started out teaching in The Bronx, and that was difficult. No Ed. class can prepare you for what you will face in the inner city schools. I must say Forks High will seem boring compared to your last school. Why are you interested in teaching here, Bella?"
"Well, I think I wanted to opportunity to be apart of a school in a smaller community. I understand that I will have my issues starting out here, especially as a brand new teacher, but I really am sick of the big city and I want to slow down in my life and enjoy it. Forks seems nice, well what I have seen of it anyway," I answered. I hoped that answer was sufficient and didn't make me sound like I wanted an easy job, which wasn't the case. I just wanted to slow down, and explore a different teaching world.
"That's understandable. Just so you know, we don't have much of a young nightlife here in Forks, though. I don't want you to lack in your personal life if you move here," Esme said sympathetically.
"Esme, I am twenty-six years old and I have just spent five years, off and on, of my life in school to become a teacher. To tell you the truth, I was what my mother called 'a homebody.' I wasn't ever really one for going out and always preferring a good book to dating. So, it wouldn't be much of a change from my everyday life. It would just be a lot quieter," I answered truthfully.
"I can't imagine such a pretty young woman to be anti-social, but I understand where you are coming from," Esme said and then continued. "How about I tell you about Forks High and I'll answer any questions you may have. Okay?"
"Sounds good, Esme," I said but added for clarification, "Don't get me wrong. I'm not anti-social. I do plan to make friends here, and maybe put down some roots. I just don't like going out all the time."
"Yes, indeed. Well first, it seems like a whole bunch of the tenured teachers were up for retirement last year so along with an English teacher, I am also hiring a History and a Math teacher. Yes, I have my work cut out for me. Anyway, Forks High caters to grades nine through twelve and has a grand total of 359 kids registered for next fall. We employ one other English teacher and you each have classes in each grade. So, if you are hired you will be covering one ninth grade class, tenth grade class, and so on. Also, you will have an advanced placement course. Also, you may have the option of either working with the speech and debate team or drama club. We have seven- one hour periods per day so teachers usually get a one hour planning period in the morning and an hour in the afternoons along with lunch because each teacher teaches five periods a day. If I am prattling on too much, let me know and I'll slow down, Bella. Any questions so far?" Esme said with a smile.
I was astonished. In my student teaching I was placed with a teacher who only taught freshmen and said that the AP courses were only taught by the most experienced teachers. Here I was brand new and I was going have to teach five different levels a day, it really was going to be an adjustment and a challenge especially coming up with five different daily lesson plans.
"I don't have any questions right now, Esme. Is there any way I could see what would be my classroom space?" I asked timidly, I didn't know if this was crossing any boundaries or not. Things like this weren't taught in my prep classes.
"Of course! Classes ended last week and most teachers are already on vacation. Come with me," she said. "Most people I interview don't ask to see their space. I think that is really important because if you are not comfortable in your classroom you will not be comfortable teaching there. Excellent initiative, Bella!"
I followed her outside and towards building with a giant number three painted on the side. This school was nothing like the last school I worked at. There was so much open air and no metal detectors. It was actually quite refreshing. The last school I taught in felt like it was a prison. This school actually felt like a productive learning environment. I could actually see myself teaching here. When we walked inside the building I noticed that there were lockers lining the hallway along with coat hooks, which Esme explained by saying, "The kids are assigned lockers, but most don't use them because they have to go to every building and it is just easier to carry everything but we encourage that they leave their coats outside of classrooms because we don't want wet classrooms! Don't worry, I was shocked at first too, but we haven't had a coat theft in all the time I've been here and that's been seven years now. Building three houses the English and History departments. For the Sciences, you'll want building one. Math is in two, music and band is in five. The library and gym is clearly labeled too. Various other elective classes are scattered around too."
"Wow, Esme. I am just in awe. This school is just so open," was all I could say.
"I hear ya, Bella. I remember past schools I have taught in and this is by far the most open. But I guess with a small student body, if you are missing it is noticed," she answered with a laugh. "We don't have much of a absentee problem. Plus, Forks is so small, there isn't really anything better to do than go to school or to the diner and if they go there their parents will hear about it. There aren't any secrets in a small town. Well here is your classroom if you get the job."
I walked into the room and looked around. There were the standard thirty desks and chairs with what I assumed would be my desk in the front. Chalkboards lined the blank walls. Basically, it looked like a classroom. "Just a standard classroom, I guess. Is there any policy to how I can set up my room, or is that up to me?"
"What do you mean?" Esme asked.
"Well let's say I want my classroom to be in a circle rather than the more traditional teacher in front, class facing one way model. I think circle facilitate discussion more and I am sure the way my classroom looks will change with what I am teaching. Say, if I am teaching a unit on grammar, then the desks will be in a more traditional arrangement. However, if I am teaching Huck Finn then the desks will be arranged more for discussion. Does that make any sense?"
"Perfect sense, Bella. And I don't see anything wrong with changing your classroom up to work with what you are teaching. Just know that since you are a new teacher that I would be evaluating you and your teaching often, so you will have to make sure that you are in charge at all times," Esme said seriously. But she didn't mention anything about if I got the job, so I think I was really killing this interview. "Ready to go back?"
"Sure, Esme. I'll follow you."
We walked back to the administration building, where Esme and I discussed more about what the job entailed. Sooner than I thought, the interview came to a close. "Well, Bella, thanks for coming in today. It was a real pleasure to meet you."
"It sure was, Esme. Thanks for this opportunity. Do you know when the decision will be made?" I asked politely. After only being on this campus for a little over an hour, I knew I wanted this job.
"The board and I will be making our decision on Friday. I have one more interview for the English teacher position tomorrow, but as of right now, if I could make the decision and between you and me only, you'd be my girl. I think you'd fit right in with the other staff here now, and especially the younger staff that is being hired to fill vacancies from retirements. You come highly recommended and you are very organized within your sample portfolio. We'll see though. The person tomorrow will have to really be on top of his or her game to beat you out," Esme said with a smile.
I stood up and held out my hand, which she grasped and shook. "Thank you, Esme. I really look forward to your decision."
"I'll call you after the decision is made on Friday no matter who is chosen for the position. I don't want to leave you hanging and wondering."
"That would be wonderful," I said as I left her office. I walked past the secretary's desk and said goodbye to the portly woman sitting there. I headed out to the parking lot, started my car, and drove towards the Inn.
When I parked my car in the parking lot of the Inn, I looked around for the beat-up Chevy that I saw Jasper driving. It was in the spot it was before he pulled away, so I walked into the Inn with a smile on my face. I wondered what room he was in, but I didn't want to bother him because it was still a few hours until we were supposed to meet.
AN: I am about five chapters into this story. I actually quite like it. It is a quick in the beginning romance, but then it turns into a more slow building thing. I don't really know. I did it that way because that is how all the relationships I've been in worked. You meet, fall head over heels in love, then end up really having to get to know each other and that can take quite a bit of time. I also find this funny at times. Let me know what you all think.
There ya go! End of chapter 1. I'll post two next week sometime. I want to keep ahead of the game. :)
Let me know what y'all think!