I am not sure if Lawrence High School still does it this way but here is what I had to do.
There were hundreds of applications during that time period (1971) and the Department Chairmen Greg Monahan (a great teacher by the way) selected about 10 applicants to come in to be interviewed by him and the Principal Edwin Krawitz.
I lucked out because I attended the same high school and Monahan taught there before I went there. He saw that and decided to interview me. More as a lark I think because I had been fired from my first teaching job and I never hid that. (I wrote the full story of my epic fight with the principal of that school in The Virgin Kiss.)
So I was interviewed. I evidently did okay and I was told I’d have to teach a lesson to Lenore Israel’s junior honors class (she was a great teacher). The night before my lesson I was called and given a poem to teach, T.S. Eliot’s “The Hollow Men” — a bitch of a poem at first sight.
I read it; thought about it a little and went to bed early to let my “sleeping mind” figure out what the hell the poem meant and why it was structured as it was structured. (I write that way too. Later today I have a 2,000 word article to write for one magazine and a 1,000 worder for another. I’ll sleep on those and when I wake up those articles will be more or less written although right now I have no idea what the heck I will write about.)
So I taught the lesson. Principal Edwin Krawitz, Monahan, Israel and social studies teacher Gabe Uhlar (genius) watched it. The students obviously watched it. When I was done I was told they would be in touch with me one way or the other. Then Krawitz, the teachers and the students discussed my lesson. The students, a very bright group, had a strong impact on the discussion.
Monahan was a little hesitant to hire me. Hell, I had been booted from my first job. Did he really want to handle a firebrand? That’s when Israel and Uhlar told Monahan, a brand new chairman, to take a chance on me. They thought that the firing was actually a good thing and that (and I quote Israel) “we need teachers like him here.” Monahan took the chance; called me and gave me the job.
Thirty-one years of my life I spent teaching at Lawrence High School in Cedarhurst, New York. Yes, I wrote during that time; I acted during that time; I ran a youth center during that time. But I was (and am) “Scobe the teacher.” It defined me.
This section will be the stories from my teaching career and, perhaps, some commentary on today’s teaching profession.