Bad VPK Lead Teacher Interview (long)

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by Missus James, Jan 14, 2013.

  1. Missus James

    Missus James Rookie

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    Jan 14, 2013

    Bad VPK Lead Teacher Interview (UPDATE!)

    Hi, everyone. I've been a lurker for a long time, but something today finally happened to push me to become a member because I need some advice and maybe you can share some interview stories. I live in Florida. I've had a few stints in childcare since I was fifteen years old (I'm 20 now). Most of them were short-lived because they were summer jobs or I had to concentrate on college. They were always assistant teacher positions as well. However, I do have my DCF hours, I have my staff credential (which is equivalent to a CDA), and I was just awarded a director's credential with a VPK endorsement. On top of that, I have an associate's degree in Early Childhood Management and I am currently getting a Bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education.

    I applied to two VPK lead teacher positions last week and heard back very quickly from them on Friday. Both wanted to schedule an appointment on Monday (today). I was a bit nervous because I felt it was too soon, but I decided to give it a shot.

    The first interview actually went pretty well (at least I thought so). I was interviewed by three people and I had a really good time. I'm not sure if I will get the job or not, but I had a good interview experience.

    The second interview, however, was just a disaster. When I came in for my interview, the director was rude to me right off the bat. She was actually rude to me on the phone when she called to schedule an interview with me. I just thought she was having a bad day, so I pushed it aside. However, I have a feeling that wasn't the case.

    We talked about my background. She had my resume since last week and she had told me multiple times that she had read it. I clearly stated on my resume that I only worked as an assistant teacher for all of my jobs in childcare. Then she proceeds to tell me that she is looking for someone who has experience as a lead teacher. I told her that I have never been a lead teacher before, but I would love the chance to become one. Then she proceeds to list all of the responsibilities of a lead VPK teacher and then tells me that she has a feeling that I don't understand the severity of being a lead teacher.

    She also said that though my degrees and credentials are nice, she said that she doesn't believe I can handle a classroom or the responsibilities of being a lead teacher because of my lack of experience as one. However, you see in my area, nearly all of the chain preschools hire from within. So they rarely ever post lead teacher positions and when they do, they prefer someone who is 21 or older for those positions (especially 3 and 4 year olds).The privately owned preschools are the same way. Plus, I don't know too many twenty-year-olds who are lead teachers (but I'm not saying that they aren't). I've always assumed it's a liability thing.

    So after she tells me that I wouldn't be a good VPK teacher. She asks me about my lesson plans. I brought a few and showed her. She was impressed with them. However then she proceeded to tell me that she didn't like my assessments for the lesson and she preferred checklists and forms. My assessment was asking questions throughout and after the lesson to gauge the child's understanding. I've never been to an interview where someone wanted a sample assessment such as a checklist or forms for each lesson for each child. Then she proceeded to ask me about modifications.

    She wanted me to talk how I would modify for each Multiple Intelligence for each lesson plan I brought. So I had to come up with seven modifications for each lesson (I brought five). She didn't just want a simple idea. She wanted me to tell her how I would go about each modification in detail. Here's the problem and maybe this is my personal fault. I am not good with thinking about lesson plans and modifications on the fly. I am the kind of person who has to think and figure things out, which takes me at least an hour or more.

    Needless to say, she rolled her eyes at everything I said and all of my modifications that I could come up with because honestly, I couldn't come up with thirty-five modifications in a few minutes time. I admitted that I could only come up with two or three for each lesson in that exact moment. She wasn't pleased. That is in impossible (at least for me). However, should I have put modifications on my lesson plans?

    For your interviews, did you bring in your own assessments and talk about a lot of modifications (if you brought lesson plans)? Was I setting myself up for failure by making these mistakes?

    Thank you for your time.
     
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  3. swansong1

    swansong1 Maven

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    Jan 14, 2013

    You certainly know who you will turn down if they offer you a job! :)
    Hopefully, the first one will be the one...good luck!
     
  4. Kat53

    Kat53 Devotee

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    Jan 14, 2013

    Sheesh! She did you a favor by showing you exactly what it would be like to work for her. Hope the first job works out!

    I would put some modifications in your lesson plan, but I don't think you need to have nearly what she wanted. Two or three would be fine, I think.
     
  5. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Jan 14, 2013

    She reminds me of some one I interviewed with years ago. I left the interview thinking I would not like to work for her. She calls me back & offers me the position and then yells at me for not accepting the position. She basically told me that since I interviewed with her I had to accept the job. That is not the type of person I want to work for.

    Honestly, you don't want to work for her.

    Hopefully, the 1st job will pan out!

    Good luck!
     
  6. mrs_sarahscott

    mrs_sarahscott Rookie

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    Jan 14, 2013

    I agree with the others. In a way, you were interviewing her, too. Be glad that you dodged that disaster.

    By the way, I must be in the minority here... but what are modifications? Does it mean adjustments made or flexibility when lesson planning? I ask because in March, I may be sending out resumes as well.

    :) Sarah
     
  7. msaly

    msaly Comrade

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    Jan 14, 2013

    If she treated you that way during the interview (rolling eyes,etc) you don't want to work for her. I also work in Florida, I was a lead teacher at 19 (with one year assistant experience). I had/have the same credentials you have. I became a VPK lead teacher at 20, so it is possible to be a lead under 21. Don't be discouraged! I have never been asked to provide 35 modifications, like others said a few is fine. I hope the first job works out for you!! Keep applying you will find a school that works for you!
     
  8. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Jan 15, 2013

    Well, everyone has said the same thing......steer clear of the second place.

    That said, I think did a great job trying to hang in there. The only part of the interview I might use as a take away learning opportunity is that by brushing up on lesson planning on the fly you will be able to concentrate on looking great under pressure. You must have looked fine under that long and intense pressure since she didn't turn on your youth and manner of dress.....that would have been a gateway topic for just ripping you apart PERSONALLY. She didn't. Hold onto that as a point you have WELL EARNED just by being in her presence and surviving.

    Make test lesson plans and find out what you process is. When in an interview during the "um" time, vamp with a discussion of how you lesson plan....and speak aloud each section. That will serve to show that you do know HOW to lesson plan and that you can teach (explain) and it will keep you calm because you won't be losing you audience during thinking times.

    Sounds like a win/win.


    Now, DO NOT TAKE THE 2ND JOB EVEN IF IT IS OFFERED!
     
  9. Missus James

    Missus James Rookie

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    Jan 15, 2013

    Thank you for all of your advice! Though I had a very sour experience with the second director, I will definitely take this as a learning experience. I've decided to create a small portfolio with better lesson plans, assessments, and modifications. I can do those things, I was just caught off-guard by her demands and felt very unprepared because no one had ever asked me things like that.

    Do any of you have any suggestions about what else I can include in my portfolio?

    If she were to offer me a job, I would absolutely reject it. I've been in toxic work environments before they were miserable experiences.

    @mrs_sarahscott, modifications in lesson plans are kind of like alternative ways to going about a lesson. For instance, let's say I had a lesson plan about insects. The goal of the lesson plan is for the children to identify different insects (beetles, grasshoppers, spiders, dragonflies, etc). In the orginial lesson plan, the children will learn about insects by me reading a book during circle time. Then noting the differences and similarities between the insects.

    Some children might understand right away from that circle time lesson. Other children might need a music and movement activity where there is a song that the children can act out being each kind of insect. Some children might need an art activity where they pick an insect they want to make and tell a story about that insect's day.

    Those are modifications. You take into consideration the different learning styles in your classroom and you accommodate them through modifications to the lesson plan because no one child learns the same. I hope that helps.
     
  10. mrs_sarahscott

    mrs_sarahscott Rookie

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    Jan 15, 2013

    Thank you for the clarification! It sounds like it's similar to what I've been taught as "cross-curricular activities". Math, language arts, music & movement, art, etc. all relating to the circle time theme. I'll definitely remember the modification term so that it doesn't catch me off guard!

    :) Sarah
     
  11. Missus James

    Missus James Rookie

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    Jan 15, 2013

    UPDATE!

    I've heard of cross-curricular activities. That and modifications are very similar. You will most likely hear 'modification' word more because it's a more "professional" and "scientific" term. People in childcare and education LOVE to toss around fancy words, lol.

    But I come with great news! The company from the first interview contacted me back today and I GOT THE JOB! I am so happy. They don't know when they want me to start yet, but they do want to hire me. I am so happy! :)

    They want to offer me one of two positions that they think will be a perfect fit for me. I have my heart set on one particular one though because it is very close to family and my mother's business.

    Thank you so much for your advice and support.
     
  12. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Jan 15, 2013

    Congrats on the job!

    BTW: Here cross curricular & modifications are 2 totally different things.
     
  13. mrs_sarahscott

    mrs_sarahscott Rookie

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    Jan 15, 2013

    Congratulations, Missus James!!! I hope you continue to keep the board updated!

    And, kpa1b2, you're totally right. It was bothering me so much that I looked it up. I know modifications as "accomodations" that can be made for a students with special needs when following their IEP.

    It's interesting how terms vary. I had to look up VPK, too. Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten seems to solely be a Florida program.

    :) Sarah
     
  14. Missus James

    Missus James Rookie

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    Jan 16, 2013

    Yes, VPK program is for Florida.

    I do have a question for everyone. The company and I have been talking about compensation and they want to pay me 10.72/hr, but if I take some classes before my employment, I can make 11.27/hr. Is that a reasonable price for a lead VPK teacher or would I be underpaid?
     
  15. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Jan 19, 2013

    Here in Oregon that is a very good rate of pay.
     
  16. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jan 19, 2013

    More than 'fancy words', modifications and cross curricular teaching are two different things.

    Modifications are changes made to curriculum expectations in order to meet the needs of the student. Modifications are made when the expectations are beyond the student's level of ability.

    Cross curricular teaching involves integrating a theme, topic or skill across content areas. Writing across content areas is one example. Measuring rainfall in science, reading a poem about the water cycle to teach unit vocabulary, and creating diagrams depicting the water cycle are ways of integrating math, language arts and art into the science curriculum.

    Modifications tend to be geared toward ONE student's needs, while cross content teaching helps all learners develop deeper understanding.

    Congrats on your new job!
     
  17. msaly

    msaly Comrade

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    Jan 19, 2013

    In my experience in VPK in Florida the median pay rate is between 11 and 12.50 depending on experience. May I ask what classes they want you to take? Will you get a raise after 90 days (some places do this) or at a year?
     

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