Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Ellis (The Best Day of My Life)

How awesome is it that during his very first visit to our class, Ellis shared so much about himself? Hearing his story and watching him beam made me so happy.

Ellis Zelmanoff
The Best Day of My Life

The best day of my life was getting a brand new teaching job in central New Jersey in the summer of 1972. In the springtime of that year, I had just completed all of my necessary Elementary Public School teaching credentials at Glassboro College in southern New Jersey. I was a brand new teacher with tons of enthusiasm and a tough naïvette (thrown in for good measure). I received a solid 3.7 GPA in my final term at Glassboro and received encouragement from the job counseling center about Lakewood, New Jersey. Lakewood was a thriving, booming town not too far from Philadelphia and where most of my friends resided.

The preparations for the interview went well. I wore one of my sharpest suits in my wardrobe. It took about two hours to reach Lakewood from Philadelphia. It was a beautiful and scenic drive passing a variety of shrubs, pine trees, and hills lining the narrow Route 70.

The beauty of the physical environment sparked a renewed interest in my job interview later that week. My heart began to beat with increased anticipation.

Before I had arrived, my confidence and enthusiasm took a positive spike. I easily found Lakewood, the Board of Education, and the parking space.

I practically jumped of the door with excitement and I took deep long steps to the entrance of the Lakewood Board of Education.

“Can we help you,” asked a clerk at the Board office.

“Yes, I’m here to audition for the Middle School sixth grade position.” Looking over my resume, I hardly had much time to review before my name was announced.

“Hello, Mr. Zelmanoff. I am Dr. Mackolin, the Superintendent of the School District of Lakewood. We have looked over your resume and we are glad to meet you in person.”

Dr. Makolin shook my hand and asked me about me about my most rewarding teaching experience so far in Camden, NJ.

I said, “I hope I hope I am up to all of your challenges.”

“Fine,” said Dr. Makolin. “We want you to meet Mr. Kopco, the sixth grade’s principal for the school you’re considering for.”

I met with Mr. Kopco and I felt positive vibrations moving in both directions – from him to me and me to him.

Mr. Kopco said, “We are definitely interested in you.”

 I drove back to the School Board’s Office to finish a few things with Dr. Makolin. As soon as I opened the door, Dr. Makolin said, “Congratulations. Welcome on board.”