The email came in and I responded. Yes, I was going to make it to the interview on Monday. Road Trip!
We were booked… We were packed and we set off!
OOPS… Safety first! 2 miles down the road and we had to turn back! My niece’s car seat was in the back of the car because we had used it the day before! Good thing we left early.
Six hours later, we had a full tank of petrol and we were driving from from Sydney to Canberra. We did the usual stop off for fuel, food and toilet breaks but before we knew it, we were in Canberra.
Up to this point, I hadn’t been nervous at all because I had answered some of my own questions from the day I got the call for the interview. I had psyched myself up! My mantra was “You are a good teacher… You will get the job… They will like you because you know what you are talking about!”
I always feel like employers will think I’m a liar when they see my CV, even though I know I’ve done all those things I’ve written about. It just seems a lot for someone from my background that wasn’t supposed to “make it”.
The morning of the interview started with a warm glow filling the ‘m-hotel’ room we were staying in. They called it a hotel but… I was ready, even though my eyes felt spicy from being kept up by the neighbours since 3am… I got myself ready and even though we had driven to the school the night before, we still left early and arrived in plenty of time. 30 minutes of time!
Oh dear… there goes my stomach… in knots! I’m about to loose my… dignity…
Ruth managed to calm me down before we walked around to survey the area. We saw our potential community and began to like the area. The children going to school by themselves; The quaint houses; The drop off in front of the school; Breakfast club in full swing! We liked the area. We joked, but in a serious way, in 3 weeks we would be back here living and working in the community and I, working in the school.
When I responded to the email, I asked the deputy head for a tour of the school, so I can get a feel for the learning environment and try go get that sense of belonging that I had in my last school. Because I arrived early, the deputy assigned someone to take me around before the interview. I received the questions 10 minutes before, which I’ve come to find out is part of the process, to prepare. What a great idea! After being collected, I was escorted into the main meeting room with four panel members eagerly smiling at me and once they felt I was comfortable, they asked the first question.
“Errrrrrrr…” “Hmmmmm!” I repeated the question again! At that moment, my brain decided it was time to go night, night! It felt like slow motion and I could hear my heart pounding against my chest and my mouth suddenly becoming the Sahara. It felt like when a child is taking their first steps and the parents and family standing around, with their doughy eyes, all calling out, “c’mon, you can do it!”I snapped out of it and attempted to answer the question as best as I could. Eventually I was finished and the deputy informed the rest of the panel that I had travelled 731.27 miles from Brisbane to Canberra just for the interview. With that, I explained how we had migrated and we were trying to secure employment before moving to Canberra. I thanked them for the opportunity and left the building.
Finally, I could breath… properly! I called Ruth, who was out surveying the surrounding area and I later came to find out she had spoken to everyone… and I mean everyone she met on her walk! I ran through the interview with her and we decided it was a good interview and if the job is meant for me, then I would get it! We headed back to the car.
Driving in a new country, city, town is nerve wracking! I had already missed 3 or 4 exits and turns as we made our way back to the motel! My palms were sweating and my heart beating fast! All the while trying not to crash this car and loose our $1,000 deposit as well as pay for repairs.
Ruth had pulled me in! We were now deep in visualisation about when I would get the call from the school when one of our phones rang. We have the same ring tone. We both checked for our Phone! It was my phone and I recognised the number from the school but as Ruth tried to answer, it cut off. We called back and but no answer. So we left it a few minutes and called again. This time she answered; ‘Hello, it’s Ahmed Jalloh, I just received a missed call’.
‘Hello again Ahmed, it’s… from… school. I am calling to offer you the position of Primary School Teacher.”
Wow. Wow. Wow. We did it! Within 24 hours of being in Canberra, I had a job!
I would’ve curtsy dipped again but I was sitting in the car driving, so I just had to settle for an imaginary one.
The words of my sister echoed in my ears ‘If something comes outside of your time, It must be your time!’
Thank you for your generous and thoughtful gift of time. You could be anywhere else at this moment but you chose to be here reading our blog and for that we thank you.
The Jalloh family