Jach's personal blog

(Largely containing a mind-dump to myselves: past, present, and future)
Current favorite quote: "Supposedly smart people are weirdly ignorant of Bayes' Rule." William B Vogt, 2010

A New Job

"Hello, I'm Thomas Bade."

"Welcome to Littleridge High, Mr. Bade. Please, have a seat."

"Thank you."

"Now, I've looked over your resumé, and you are indeed qualified to teach here with only your Bachelor's, but why else should we take you on?"

"While my Bachelor's is in Computer Engineering, I'm comfortable teaching almost any subject you throw at me. Math, science, programming, English, history, philosophy, psychology... Whatever you need, so long as it's not Art or PE, I should do adequately at least and superbly at best."

"We don't even have three of those subjects, Mr. Bates, surely you knew that before you applied?"

"I did. It is my goal to raise interest in psychology and philosophy, and I will push to make my programming class required for all students."

"Aren't you getting a bit ahead of yourself? You must have seen the statistics for math classes here; do you even think the students will understand programming let alone pass a class for it?"

"Programming is easy, sir. Easier than math, though it requires math. I know the available position is technically just to teach a number of math courses, but with your permission I'd like to teach a physics and programming class. I won't require much increase in the proposed base salary."

"Slow down, you haven't got the position yet..."

"Oh, sorry? I wasn't aware you had any other serious applicants, and believed this interview a mere formality before you let me get to work."

"...We interview all potential applicants to make sure they will fit with the school and not cause harm to our public image."

"Indeed. I tell you now that if you allow me to teach Algebra, Physics, and Computer Science, your public image will improve exponentially over the next few years."

"How much more are you asking?"

"An additional ten thousand a year."

"What? I can't agree to that, not for your first year. If things improve drastically then maybe next year..."

"Fine, five thousand."

"That I can accommodate."

"Then it's settled. When do you wish me to begin?"

"We'll call you within one to three days to inform you if you've been hired yet... Though off the record, you can come in tomorrow morning and we'll 'call' you in person."

"Thank you, Principal. I look forward to working with you, the rest of the faculty, and most importantly the students."

"I do as well. Good luck with the students, Mr. Bade, I think you'll need it."

"Nonsense, luck has nothing to do with it."

Thomas Bade left the Principal's office, the interview concluded. Hands in jean pockets, he made his way through the building to the parking lot and entered his silver F-150 truck. He buckled up, and began the drive home to his apartment.

That went well, he thought. Perhaps he had displayed too much hubris, but he knew such traits could inspire hope in even the most cynical of those who accepted the mediocre. He even wore a casual t-shirt to the interview, and only briefly ran a comb through his black hair before setting out.

Littleridge, Oklahoma, he mused. While not a tiny city, it was small compared to most state capitals, and certainly less wealthy. Having a family computer with broadband internet was considered fairly high-class by many citizens. All the better, though, for getting peopled hooked on Linux. There would be no paralysis from not using Windows, as so few students had a computer at home.

He arrived at his apartment complex and backed his truck into his stall. He had acquired 40 ten-year-old desktop towers and monitors inexpensively or in many cases free, as well as corresponding keyboards and mice. They had to be loaded into his truck, for he would set up his future lab the next morning. All machines had the latest long-term release of Ubuntu installed with Thomas' own customizations; they ran decently. Windows XP would likely be strenuous to run on them, but certainly Windows 7 would not even load.

Loading was a trivial task, made easier by several factors. He lived on the ground floor, and his parking stall was right outside his apartment door. He had packaged everything into boxes, and the boxes fit snugly onto his truck bed--Thomas' Tetris skills from his youth were not required this time. He finished loading everything within 30 minutes, but he was nevertheless tired; he had stayed up all night preparing for the interview and reading a fascinating book about Iranian history.

He decided to sleep early today--tomorrow morning he would be given a tour of the school and shown his classroom. Lots of paperwork and documents later, he would be able to set up his room. He hoped the computer installation would go smoothly.

Fortunately the designers of the school had the foresight to install a physics lab room (though the declining interest in science had rendered it useless of late) and Thomas had planned to use it for all his courses. It was outfitted with proper desks suitable for monitors while leaving room for pen and paper. Plus it was larger than most other rooms, even though the large desks made it appear equally sized.

He sighed as he flopped onto his bed and shut his eyes. He could be teaching anywhere else for much higher pay, he could be working on startup companies, but this is what he chose. He wanted to help this poor city, and perhaps change the lives of a few students along the way. Then in five years he would leave, having built a stable structure to continue without him, and find some other struggling high school to teach at. He had toyed with the idea when he was young and without education, now he was living it.

Thoughts of the methods he had devised to explain certain topics of his planned subjects began to dominate his mind as he drifted into sleep.

Posted on 2009-11-05 by Jach

Tags: NaNoWriMo2009


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