Please be specific!

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by waterfall, Aug 5, 2015.

  1. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I just came back from another interview trying to fill our open sped position. School literally starts in a week here and we cannot fill this position because everyone has been interviewing so poorly! It's like each one is worse than the last, and honestly our standards are pretty low at this point. Everyone we've interviewed this year has had the same issue: they're not specific when answering questions.

    A lot of the people we've interviewed have worked in other teaching assignments and have just gotten their sped degrees, or worked with sped populations other than mild/moderate. We know that they don't have experience in this exact job yet, but you need to answer the question as it relates to the position you are applying for. For example, when asked how they teach literacy, the gen ed teacher only talked about what her classroom looked like and gave no additional information about how she would do things differently in a sped setting. The severe/profound teacher was talking about tube feedings :confused:.

    Many others even with mild/moderate backgrounds are just being so vague that we can't tell if they have any idea what they're talking about. For example, "I ask the teacher what they're working on and then I support that." Today when we asked the candidate about an important professional goal she had, she talked about getting her teaching license :rolleyes:! BTW, this woman had 9 years of teaching experience and the biggest goal she could come up with was getting her license! I am so frustrated with this process right now that I thought I would at least use my annoyance to help others that might still be interviewing. Be specific when answering questions and use examples, even if they are from student teaching or other settings with kids (volunteering, etc.) Make sure you relate your answer back to the position you're interviewing for, even if you don't have any experience yet with that specific grade level or type of position, such as, "This is how it looked when I was teaching 1st grade, but I would do _____ in 5th grade." Also, if anyone wants a sped position in Denver, let me know. At this point you probably don't even need to be certified in sped :lol:.
     
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  3. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    I think they are thinking about what they have done instead of what they would do. The question, "how do you teach literacy" should have been phrased, "how would you teach literacy if in the xyz position with xyz types of students". They probably just need a little nudge and would give better answers.
     
  4. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    We had that with a few candidates this year too. Unfortunately for them, there were enough who came in and nailed their interviews. That's really sad because there were a few who I thought would be good but we couldn't really tell from the interview.
     
  5. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    The question is already phrased like that. I was just summarizing.
     
  6. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I wish we had some that would come in an nail their interview! At this point, we're honestly looking for someone who is minimally competent to get us through this year and then we can start looking in early spring next year to hopefully get someone good before they're all snatched up. Unfortunately no one we've interviewed has even fit that bill. I would kind of understand if these were young brand new graduates with no experience, but almost everyone we've interviewed has had at least 5-10 years of experience.
     
  7. jadorelafrance

    jadorelafrance Cohort

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    I would love to sit in on an interview or be a part of an interview panel. I think that would be a great learning experience, especially if I were to need to interview again in the future. It would be nice to know the kinds of questions they ask and how they like them answered, and to debrief later on. However, teachers really aren't in on the interview process in my district...
    It seems like these candidates should have gotten mock interview experience while in school. I didn't get that unfortunately and my first few interviews were not good. I recall once someone asking me the same question twice, but the second time with more frustration. I guess I didn't answer it to his satisfaction.
    Maybe there are ways to rework a question if it's not eliciting the response you're looking for, the details you need. Perhaps "Can you elaborate on the support you would provide? Can you provide an example of when you gave support to another teacher?" "What tools/resources do you use to provide support?"
     
  8. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    It has been really eye opening and I think would really help me if I ever interview again in the future! I was an interviewer last year too, but we found good candidates quickly (it was early though, in the Spring). I have no plans to leave my current school, but you never know. That's too bad teachers at your school can't participate. I know I didn't interview very well right out of school either. I'm surprised anyone ever hired me! But everyone we're interviewing is experienced!

    I so wish we could ask teachers to clarify or ask other questions. Unfortunately, HR makes us ask the exact same questions to every candidate so that everyone has the exact same interview experience for legal reasons. I think it might be a statewide thing, because that's been true of all 3 schools I've worked in. Even if a candidate asks, "Did I answer all of that/ did that answer your question?" all we can do is repeat the question. We also give the candidate the questions in writing in case they want to refer back to them while answering.
     
  9. Boba

    Boba Companion

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    While it may see silly, if they are all stumped on the same question, it may be time to reword your question or change it altogether.
     
  10. newteacher14

    newteacher14 Rookie

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    I completely agree that being specific in an interview is important. My struggle is that most of my interviews preface the questions by saying "This is a quick 15 minute interview." And this could be with anywhere from 5-20 questions! I've actually had an interviewer stop me because "we were out of time."

    So I am just trying to say that perhaps the teachers you have been interviewing are worried about time constraints so they do not elaborate on their answers. Just my 2 cents as a teacher going through the interview process.
     
  11. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    It's not one question- it's all of the questions :lol:. I was hired with these questions and so was my awesome teammate from last year (and we were choosing between 3 really good candidates then!)
     
  12. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    We have 9 questions and then the 10th is to ask if they have questions for us. We block out 35 minutes for interviews and tell people this up front and have a clock in the room, so I don't think they could possibly be worried about time. Many of our interviews this summer have been less than 10 minutes because people are saying so little! We did have one "rambler" last year that drove everyone nuts, and my principal did kind of cut her off. She was giving 4-5 lengthy examples for every question. Although that's certainly preferable to not really saying anything, everyone basically just got annoyed with her. She was out of the running really quickly last year when we had better candidates. Compared to this year's candidates though, if she came in again I think we'd hire her!

    Have you been practicing your answers to make sure you can answer the whole question and still be concise? When I was interviewing I found many people asked similar things so it was easy to practice once I'd done a few interviews. Also watch the body language of the people around you- you may be able to gauge if they're really interested or they seem like you've gone on a little too long. We take notes during interviews and we tend to stop writing once the candidate is just repeating the same thing or saying something that's not really relevant to the question. I'm sure not all teams are exactly like us (some may be required to write everything you say) but that's just something you could watch out for.
     
  13. newteacher14

    newteacher14 Rookie

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    Thank you for the information! I think if you're prefacing the interview by saying there are 35 minutes and you even have a clock for the candidates then they should be able to gauge their time better.

    I feel like I am pretty concise in my answers. I try to give 1-2 examples for each question which seems appropriate to me. The only time I was stopped by an interviewer was when there was a 2 minute time limit for each question. That was tough!:dizzy:
     
  14. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    That is an odd set up. That would make me very nervous!
     
  15. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    We have to do that too, at my college. It is so silly. It's like you have to be a robot. There have been plenty of candidates that could have been great if we were allowed to press a little. But no, everyone has to be the same, same, same.
     
  16. justwanttoteach

    justwanttoteach Cohort

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    I gotta say that after having been on the other side of the table and going on what felt like a million interviews...it's refreshing to hear that this process is just as annoying for those conducting interviews as it is for people being interviewed..gives me a tiny bit of satisfaction. But sorry things are so rough. I got hired and have new teacher orientation tomorrow.
     
  17. Boba

    Boba Companion

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    Oh gotcha. I thought it was just 1 question. I've had a few interviews in my life where I knew I answered all the questions correctly but there was always that 1 question where I didn't quite know how to answer.
     
  18. newteacher99

    newteacher99 Rookie

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    From the interviewee's POV

    I have been on a few interviews this year, and I find that the interviewers themselves are very awkward and have poor social skills. I am new to teaching and shocked at how ill-prepared these interviewers are, and it appears that most of them are on a power trip. For example, they don't know my name, are not organized, do not let me finish my sentence, and don't seem to have any idea of what they are interviewing for.

    Being from Corporate America and having worked for Fortune 500 companies gives me the confidence to know that I know how to act at an interview. If they call me for the interview, they should know how much experience I have so why are they asking me about my years of experience as a teacher? I even had an interviewer who didn't know the state's current requirements for licensing.
    It was suggested to me by a retired teacher that maybe some of these interviewers were intimidated and wanted to bring me down a notch. I thought that education wanted good people!:wow:

    It seems to me that the interview process for education needs some help.:2cents::|
     
  19. frogger

    frogger Devotee

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    I agree about being specific and give an actual experience as an example. I was asked about discipline/behavior and instead of just saying I'm firm, set expectations, model behavior expected - I started with that in a quick intro sentence but moved to a example of a student who had behavior in the regular ed classroom that was distracting himself and others. I talked about working with the reg ed teacher, talking with the student about behavior, what the "reward" would be (he just wanted to eat lunch with me instead of with class), etc., this not only answered the question of how I approach behavior but threw in the points that I work with other teachers, I address student concerns/interests and connect with them and that there was success in the example. It made me I think more memorable and individualized then just another interviewer.
     
  20. TeachCafe

    TeachCafe Comrade

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    Playing devil's advocate here I think the questions aren't fit for the position.

    Is this for the severe/moderate class? Honestly, that doesn't look like a general ed classroom at all.

    Do they have to make their own curriculum?

    On a "how would you teach literacy" that sounds like a dumb question for me because in my room all of my students were grouped together and I had one student who didn't know any letter of the alphabet other than A and one reading on an instructional F.

    When I finally got there all of my Pinterest, searhing here, Googling didn't prepare me.

    I only had one SPED interview and I think I may have gave some vague answers but just kept tying everything to their IEPs and that sounded good.

    Teaching literacy in my severe/moderate room was....have a giant Edmark and PCI Reading Program boxes and open the box and read from the teacher manual and do the reading program one on one. That isn't a "how do you teach literacy" type of response.

    If I had known that what could say? "Well....the district pays $1000 for Edmark and PCI Reading so that's how I teach literacy...I read the manual and go" because Reading A-Z and anything else was supplemental but they were strict on you go by the boxes of curriculum we have because it's geared towards low functioning students. Even my higher ones. And a lot we didn't do because it was more important for them to be able to read as many words as possible. I was told to skip a lot of the comprehension. I had one student who could honestly read a level M book but couldn't tell you a thing about it. That's not true reading becasue the comprehension isn't there but it was more important that he could read words.

    I'm explaining my reading block to people because they're lie "what exactly did you do....you taught reading and writing" yeah but not even close to what I'm about to do. Then they're Googling the programs and going "Oh wow! You sure didn't do a reader's and writer's workshop type of thing" yeah tell me about it.

    I think you guys are trying to find someone perfect. If you say you just need a warm body in the room pick someone and go. Coming from a new teacher I feel that anyone from general ed can do SPED because they know how to "teach" so to speak. They already have a good foundation on being a teacher and just ned to learn the SPED part.

    Me? I didn't know how to teach or public school SPED at all and it was rough because it was all new and I didn't have a good team to call on.
     
  21. luv2teach444

    luv2teach444 Companion

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    Aug 8, 2015

    You have to remember if they have been teaching for 5 to 10 years it's been that long since they have been interviewed. I'm a nervous wreck in an interview but you wouldn't know it other than the fact that it takes me a little while to form sentences or a giggle. That's why in my opinion it's WAAAY more important to have them teach a lesson to kids instead of talking to an adult which tells you nothing. Tons of people can interview well & are crappy teachers. I don't think fast on my feet so I'm sure I'm terrible @ interviewing (I've only interviewed 3 times in 17 yrs)
     

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