Interview Question stumped me

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by happybat4, Oct 31, 2014.

  1. happybat4

    happybat4 Rookie

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    Oct 31, 2014

    I had an interview morning and I was asked how I approach teaching at a multi-cultural school. I do know that the school was 70+ percent minority.

    I was not expecting the question and I know I did not answer it that well. I said that I have taught at schools with large minority percentages. I explained about how I teach lessons from multiple view points. I brought up during the depression I have students do a gallery walk where they read primary sources from different cultures about what life was like for them during the depression. I just said I show different view points and I give them a platform for debate.

    I don't know if that is what they are looking for. It seems like a slippery slope where someone can start stereotyping.
     
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  3. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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  4. happybat4

    happybat4 Rookie

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    Thanks for the info. I read it and it is someone helpful. I feel weird about it though. Should I teach differently just because of someones background? The stuff I read in that article seem like they are not actual in class suggestions, just information about being more open and reaching out to parents, something I would do regardless of race.

    I feel it would be best to give students options where they can research their cultures. Also it is important to teach history (my subject area) from all view points since text books tend to be from the white american view point.

    I just feel like the reading portrays it like you should see a minority and think that kid is at risk and needs extra help. I never feel that way. I just see a kid like any other kid that I want to help graduate and prepare for life.
     
  5. P Chang

    P Chang Companion

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    Nov 1, 2014

    Note…I'm not yet a teacher, so feel free to disregard what I write.

    The question you were asked in the interview, was a multi-cultural question, not a multi-economic question. If it is a Title 1 school, then perhaps you can delve into the topic of poverty, but a multi-cultural school does not necessarily mean you will have students who are economically classed as living in poverty. Perhaps that is what they were checking to see…if an applicant would associate the term "multi-cultural" with poverty.

    I would have answered the question by focusing on the fact that the funds of knowledge of the students will be different based on the cultural backgrounds of the students, and lesson plans would need to take that into account. Additionally, you may have some ESL students, so incorporating things like word walls, pre-teaching vocabulary, and coral reading may need to be added to your teaching. I would also note that the atmosphere of the classroom would need to be one of acceptance, and the decor could help with that. I could go on, but I think you get the points I'm making.
     
  6. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Nov 1, 2014

    I would also add a couple of things you might want to keep in mind (sorry if some has been said already)
    - parents are often non-English speaker, or are struggling with it. How will you communicate with them? How will you involve them in their child's education?
    - the children are often, but not always are English learners. ESL / ELL strategies should be used
    - if you have a choice in the literature used, include a wide variety of cultures, not just the ones present in your classroom, but others as well
    - incorporate the following concepts in your lessons, and in your classroom expectations: tolerance, how to deal with racism, prejudice, bullying, cooperation, accepting various religious views, etc.

    You don't need to change what you teach or even how you teach, just keep these things in mind and try to incorporate them with additional activities or lessons.
     
  7. ready2learn

    ready2learn Comrade

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    Nov 1, 2014

    I remember looking for my first teaching job and being stumped by that question. I had a phone interview with two assistant principals and one asked me that. I forget how I answered but I remember thinking I gave a poor answer. In what I still believe was a mistake, I got a phone call from the principal later to come in for an interview. I was prepared for the question that time, but I still feel my answer was poor. I talked about the different cultural experiences each school I had been involved with taught me and how that prepared me to teach in a multicultural setting. Although I didn't feel my answer was great, I did get the job offer.
     
  8. happybat4

    happybat4 Rookie

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    Nov 2, 2014

    Yes it was multi-cultural, not multi-economic. Part of me thinks they ask the question just to see if the person says something racist or something. At the very least I feel better prepared incase I get asked that in an interview again. Hopefully I get the job.
     
  9. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Nov 2, 2014

    Also, maybe you should actually take some extra multi-culture in education classes in college, study different languages, etc., so on future interviews, you can tell them all your knowledge in the field.
     
  10. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Nov 2, 2014

    Studying 'different languages' wouldn't be much of use, especially the time it would take to actually do it. Studying just 1 language would be at least a year, and that means the person will have a basic understanding of it, and maybe able to make a basic conversation. It would provide understanding of what multiculturism means to a teacher and to students. Wouldn't really help with the question or being more knowledgeable.

    I think it's more about the attitude, to be tolerant and appreciative of others' differences, and also instead of just tolerating it, celebrate it.
    There are several books out there on this, reading some of them would be helpful.
     
  11. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Nov 2, 2014


    You may not be a teacher yet, but if this is representative of how you think, I predict an easy job search for you. This is exactly the type of answer that would impress me if I was sitting on an interview committee.
     
  12. P Chang

    P Chang Companion

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    Nov 2, 2014

    Thanks mmswm. Fortunately, I'm not rushed at the moment to find work…just concentrating on my studies and the upcoming CELTA that I'll be doing 2 weeks from now. But, I'm hoping to interview to get on the county's sub list in mid-December prior to the holiday break. Should be an interesting experience since I've not interviewed for anything in ages. :eek:
     
  13. happybat4

    happybat4 Rookie

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    Nov 3, 2014

    Thanks for all the responses. I was also asked what is the most difficult challenge facing students today. I know I did not give a great response for that one either.
     
  14. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Nov 3, 2014

    Background knowledge can be different depending on a student's cultural experience, so I would have headed in that direction with the question.

    In a multicultural classroom, kids may be coming to the classroom knowing different folktales or not understanding figurative language. They may not have experience with traditionally well-recognized cultural events, activities, or foods (like popular sporting events, regionally specific music genres, certain weather types, or typical "American" food). So, realia (real objects they can touch), videos, and photos are important in building background knowledge so that students understand what they're learning about.
     

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