Essay Critique #1 - Outstanding Teachers

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by slytherin, Jun 3, 2012.

  1. slytherin

    slytherin Rookie

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    Hey everyone! Just wondering if I could get an essay question critique. Among other things, I'm worried it's too long (583 words). I could probably cut out a point to shorten it if necessary.

    Anyway, I'd appreciate any feedback! I tried to focus on why I'm an outstanding teacher and not just a theoretical answer.

    ===================================================

    ***Describe the skills or attributes you believe are necessary to be an outstanding teacher.***

    ===================================================

    Outstanding teachers possess a variety of wide-ranging skills in essential areas of education. They exhibit professionalism, flexibility, content mastery, availability, concern, and respect in order to ensure effectiveness in teaching. These attributes are essential to student achievement, and outstanding teachers constantly work to develop and improve these skills throughout their career.

    Professionalism hinges on consistency, punctuality, preparation, and cooperation. I am dedicated to demonstrating professionalism in all my interactions. My students count on my behavior and my classroom management methods to be consistent and fair. My professional conduct provides a safe and reliable environment for students, which encourages positive relationships and learning.

    A teacher with flexibility is able to adapt their methods to best serve students with varied learning styles. Flexibility also means recognizing when a particular activity is not working in the classroom, and being able to change on the spot to a more successful method. I had the perfect laboratory in which to test my flexibility when I taught English as a Foreign Language in China. I taught 15 classes of 55 students each the same content every week, and I was required to develop my own curriculum and materials. It became immediately evident when an activity was not working, and I was able to change my method for the next class and try again. I learned not to become too attached to a particular activity or idea, to be aware of the success of an activity, and to think quickly on my feet.

    The foundation of effective teaching in secondary education is content mastery. While teachers cannot be expected to know every minute detail about their subject area, it stands to reason that they must have a strong grounding in the content and a desire to learn more about it. I have been engaged in theatre arts since grammar school, and I have a theatrical family background. My studies in theatre are well-rounded, including all areas of acting, technical theatre, and directing; this has prepared me to teach and manage all aspects of student theatre.

    Students are not always able to convey their academic needs in the classroom. Teachers must make themselves available to their students through additional office hours or alternate forms of communication (such as email) so students will feel comfortable bringing up concerns or questions. When teaching summer school at Decatur Public Schools, I frequently held afternoon office hours to speak to students about their concerns or to provide them additional time to re-take tests.

    Ultimately, students respond best to teachers who demonstrate a genuine concern for them, academically and personally. Students are willing to work harder when they believe what they do is important, not only to them, but to others. My students are quick to point out that they know I care about their achievement and will do what I can to help them succeed. Students who have evaluated my classes have said that I show concern for them on an individual level.

    The most important trait a teacher demonstrates in the classroom is respect. By treating students fairly, listening to student input, and deliberately giving students responsibility for their own success, teachers show that they respect students as people with valid ideas, concerns and goals. I treat each of my students with a great deal of respect, which sets a good example of how others should be treated. When I treat my students with respect, they are far more likely to have confidence and purpose in their actions, and will work harder to succeed.
     
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  3. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Jun 3, 2012

    variety and wide-ranging seems repetitive (1st paragraph).

    agreement error (3rd paragraph) ... "A teacher" (singular noun) paired with "their methods" (plural pronoun).

    "on the spot" seems too cliche for the tone of your writing (3rd paragraph).

    Overall, nicely done! :)
     
  4. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Groupie

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    Do you honestly think a principal is going to read this entire thing in applitrac? They get thousands of apps through that for each job and I highly doubt they would take the time required to read the whole thing. I would stop after the 1st paragraph so I would make it much shorter if I were you. Hopefully a principal can chime in and let us know what they typically do.
     
  5. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jun 3, 2012

    Do you honestly think that giving feedback this rudely is helpful?
     
  6. chasisaac

    chasisaac Comrade

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    Jun 3, 2012

    Except I agree with AlwaysAttend. Most of the principals I know would not want to read that much x100.

    :2cents:
    OR even 583 words that after reading 30 others. Maybe on the plus side they see it and say, hey someone took the time to write this out and says most of what I think already, I am going to read it.

    Kudos to KU_Alum

    :2cents:
     
  7. slytherin

    slytherin Rookie

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    Well, my last AppliTrack essays were really short - maybe just one paragraph. I thought maybe my answers were too superficial and shallow to actually demonstrate what kind of teacher I am. So I do honestly *hope* that a principal will read it, since AppliTrack applications give you literally no other way to stand out from other applicants with the same training and/or experience as you. Also, as far as I know, district HR looks at applications in my state before they send it on to principals, so hopefully they've got the time to do that since it's their only job.
     
  8. slytherin

    slytherin Rookie

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    Thanks so much for your feedback. Changes made. :)
     
  9. slytherin

    slytherin Rookie

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    I can understand that; as I said above, HR looks at it before it ever goes to principals. And there are only 2 essay questions; the other will be much shorter (it's about differentiating instruction) - as I see it, this is the only place I get to put my teaching philosophy out there, so I might as well make good use of it. I'm willing to cut it down a little, too. Just looking for a bit of a consensus before I do.
     
  10. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician Groupie

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    It seems generally well-written, but as mentioned, a bit too long. I like how you give specific examples of things you have done that qualify as outstanding as opposed to just giving generalities. What I would do is just pick say two of the traits to explore in great detail with lots of specific examples from practice. The other traits can then just briefly be mentioned in the introduction. (Something like "while there are several key traits, I will consider just the two most crucial".)
     
  11. chasisaac

    chasisaac Comrade

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    Brevity is the soul of wit.
     
  12. slytherin

    slytherin Rookie

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    Unfortunately, it's also the soul of lazy people. :rolleyes: Length or a lack thereof can both be interpreted incorrectly by any particular HR person or principal. Seems like either too long or too short would be a risk. I did 85 apps in a year with only 3 interviews and no job, and my essays were too short, I think. So, makes sense to try the other way since my experience and training haven't changed. ;)
     
  13. slytherin

    slytherin Rookie

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    Thanks for the sound advice. Seems like a good way to cut it down a bit. I'll work on that.
     
  14. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Groupie

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    I didn't think it was rude. I thought it was as simple as I could make it. Would you rather I lie? These boards have been confusing to me today.
     
  15. slytherin

    slytherin Rookie

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    I think it was the use of the phrase "Do you honestly think" - sometimes in text that can be read as a hostile attitude. No worries, though, I appreciate your input and understand what you were getting at.

    ETA: I guess the point here would be if I didn't "honestly think" someone would read an essay that long, I wouldn't have written it that long. Just for clarification.
     
  16. tonysam

    tonysam Comrade

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    I seriously doubt anybody even looks at it. All it tells any recruiter is whether you can write.
     
  17. slytherin

    slytherin Rookie

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    Sort of like the essays on the Basic Skills Test. In which case, length isn't really a problem as long as it's coherent and well-formed, one would assume.
     

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