News - Four Years of Training for a 30-Minute Phone Interview

Four Years of Training for a 30-Minute Phone Interview

Four Years of Training for a 30-Minute Phone Interview

"My experience at Greenville College definitely gave me an edge. I graduated as an education major with a job doing exactly what I wanted to do. If that's not an edge, then I don't know what is," reasons Caleb Romoser, a member of the class of 2012.

Romoser now teaches Spanish classes in the Minneapolis suburb of White Bear Lake. He splits his time between Sunrise Park Middle School and White Bear Lake High School North. The young teacher was offered the position even before he graduated from Greenville College last spring. He interviewed for the opening by phone and received a job offer the next day.

"I would never have gotten this job if it weren't for Greenville's education program that pushed me so hard for four years straight," says Romoser. He reflects on his experience at Greenville College like a winning Olympian reflects on training that precedes a gold medal performance - challenging, pushing, stretching and slowly improving, one exercise at a time.

"Every meeting that I had with Dr. Brian Reinhard was just a reminder of how much better my lessons or my material could be. Every time he observed me teach, he took the time to sit down and walk through the entire lesson with me. His attention to detail in the classroom greatly heightened my own self-awareness in the classroom. It made me more reflective and self-evaluative."

Romoser vividly recalls one professor, Hilary Stanifer, asking students to develop ideas for an imagined  interdisciplinary unit. "I had just pitched some ideas to her," he remembers. "She listened and considered my ideas before both her eyes narrowed and she said, 'You can do better. This is good. But YOU can do better than this. Give me more, more content, more creativity.' Then she moved on to the next person."

Certainly Stanifer was mistaken, Romoser thought. He had given his best. "But then, I worked it over again and thought very purposefully about what I was doing, and I produced a much better planned, integrated, creative project. Since then, I often find myself planning a lesson and thinking, 'What can I do better? There are more ideas, better instruction in here somewhere. How can I do that?'"

For all of the grooming that took place in his education classes at Greenville, Romoser regards another experience as monumental in preparing him for real-world teaching. It involved working with the Chinese students enrolled in Greenville College's Intensive English Language Program.

"Dr. Sandra Schmidt pushed me in the classroom all the time, but one of the greatest things she ever did for me was let me be her teaching assistant for students learning English as a second language. I was in charge of listening/speaking, and it was an incredible experience just to be teaching at any level on my own twice a week. I learned so much through that direct experience." 

Romoser cannot say why his 30-minute job interview over the phone went so well. He does not know why he was chosen above other candidates. But, he can say with precise clarity why his introduction to education class as a college freshman back in 2008 inspired him.

"From the get-go, Dr. Karlene Johnson was passionate and engaging when she talked about education. She connected real life as an educator to what we were doing and took theory and other things that seemed so above our heads as freshmen and made us believe that we, too, could lead engaging, real-world centered classrooms where students would learn."

Coaches of Olympians know there is an art to delivering the right message to the right audience at the right time. Johnson's inspirational vision was a message the young, wide-eyed freshman could handle. Stanifer's later challenge for him to do better came at a time when the more mature student could process it and use it to improve his performance. Then, Schmidt's trust in his skills as an educator hit their mark and moved Romoser to deliver his best, really his best.

When Romoser looks at his college degree, he sees the inspiration, skills development and professional grooming behind it. Now, with the eyes of a professional educator, he sees another value, too. "The professors at Greenville taught me how to never stop pushing myself. I could never express how grateful I am that they invested in me in the way that they did."

If that's not a competitive edge, Romoser doesn't know what is.

This story was published on October 15, 2012

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