Fear of bombing another interview

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by sunshine24, Jun 20, 2014.

  1. sunshine24

    sunshine24 Comrade

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    Jun 20, 2014

    I have a panel (5 people) interview scheduled for early next week for a Kindergarten position. I have been looking for my first teaching job for the last 4 years. In the interim, I sub for our public schools. Over the last 4 years, interviews have been VERY hard to come by, but I have gone on several. The problem is that I always seem to bomb them!
    I have great communication skills and I know what I want to say, but for some reason when I interview my mind goes completely blank. I over prepare ahead of time and practice questions/answers and try to be confident when I walk through the office door. But, my face gets red, I start to panic, and everything that I know about teaching, including all those key words and terms, seem to fly out of my brain. I feel myself mumbling and getting more and more flustered. Obviously, I always get a rejection.
    I am truly at my wit's end here. I need a job and have a gut feeling that this one would be perfect for me. However I am so nervous about the interview (especially with 5 people!), that I am even considering cancelling it.
    Does anyone else interview badly or get flustered in high pressure situations? Any feedback on how to cope when sitting in the interview chair?
     
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  3. SleekTeach

    SleekTeach Comrade

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    I wouldn't prepare so much. Give your brain a break. You're talking about forgetting key words and terms and it's not really that kind of test. If you truly know this stuff, you'll be able to explain answers without using all of those terms. (There are too many to remember anyway.) Try focusing more on the impression you give. Make an effort to not look flustered even if you are. Make yourself smile, and make yourself think before you answer a questions. I think it's normal to be nervous but you have to fake it until you make it! These are all things I had to tell myself.
     
  4. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Ok. I'm on an interview committee and you are right. A candidate who appears calm and confident is more approachable than one who can't shake nerves.

    If you know you are going to start out nervous, one approach is to just tell the panel you are nervous then take a deep breath and enjoy the interview. The key is showing you can leave the nervous behind and the function normally. Nervousness that is maintained throughout an entire interview may leave the panel questioning your personality style - is she always this high strung?

    Think about having a conversation with the panel. Don't worry if you don't have all the terms memorized. No one expects new teachers to know all the lingo.

    Also, you may want to look into doing mock interviews with a professional trainer.
     
  5. Teacher Gii

    Teacher Gii Companion

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    Jun 21, 2014

    Sunshine24 - It is like me and you share the same brain. I am not the greatest interviewee. I definitely do not get quite as nervous anymore, but I still hate going on interviews because once I am there too, its like every thing I learned in school just takes a break while I am being interviewed. Like, "Bye. We will be back AFTER the interview." In my job search, interviews have been far and few between and I think that sikes us out because we want to do sooo well and do end up over-preparing and over-thinking things. So to sum it up, no you are not the only one :)

    Most of the interview questions are going to be similar anyway. I try to remember what it meant to be, will be. Maybe the interviews we "bombed" just meant that that particular school wasn't the right one for us. I know it is frustrating after many years of interviewing and searching, and it is certainly hard to stay positive. I actually got a job at what I thought was my "dream school" and it turned out it wasn't a great fit for me at all.

    If you ever want to vent or anything. Feel free to PM me!!
     
  6. sunshine24

    sunshine24 Comrade

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    Jun 21, 2014

    Thanks for the responses :)

    Special-t: thanks for the tips. I try to calm myself down, but unfortunately the more I think about how flustered I am getting, the more flustered I continue to get. I didn't know there were professional interview trainer...I will be looking into that.

    Teacher Gii: You definitely have a point. I have been searching for so long and work so hard to prepare that I end up putting sooo much pressure on myself. I practice common interview questions and try to have answers prepared for them, along with some stories that I can spin into different scenarios. My interviews have been only with the principal (some with the AP as well), but never 5 people on a panel. I am driving myself crazy just thinking about sitting in front of them. I feel like: how can I possibly do well in front of so many people, when I bomb interviews with only 1 person?!
    It's so stressfull! And right after I leave the room, everything that I wanted to say comes flooding back to my brain. Last month, I even thought I had an interview go pretty well, only to get a rejection email a week later :( I am starting to think that I will never land a job because I cannot interview well.
     
  7. ktmiller222

    ktmiller222 Cohort

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    Jun 21, 2014

    We could possibly be twins! I'm the same way and I have also been waiting for four years. I have a 3.9 in both of my teaching programs, dual certified, masters, and two years teaching experience in another state. You think someone with this on their resume would sound so great at an interview...nope! I sound like I've never studied education before!

    This is the first year I have actually been called for screening interviews and I've done a little better each time. My last interview was on Thursday and to be honest, I was not nervous for some reason. One of the reasons is that it's #2 school district in the county and I went into it already knowing I would not have a chance but I went in thinking that it's just a great opportunity. I did goof up twice but overall I did 100% better then on my previous interviews. I even had the balls to ask them for advice at the end (possibly quitting my full-time non-teaching job and go into subbing with how competitive teaching is in PA). I was afraid it would make me look bad on my resume but they insured me that it wouldn't because it seems like I have a passion for teaching.

    I hope that I'm not as nervous in my next but I know I will. I actually have a sub interview in two weeks in the #3 district in the county. I hope I do well. I've prepared so much but I always go blank. I'm just going to in and be honest with them about the changes I'm about to make and let them know I can help out the district as much as I can as a sub. Fingers crossed for all of us on the same boat!

    Also, I try to think "you never know what might happen." With my current job, even though it's education but non-teaching, I did really bad but they called me a few weeks later and offered me the job! I know it's way different for teaching jobs but I guess you never know! I just pray that a district sees my potential because no one is perfect or knows everything!
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2014
  8. Teacher Gii

    Teacher Gii Companion

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    I felt I bombed an interview before for a position that I didn't even really apply for. I got hired for another unrelated position at that same school, and then a couple of days later, I got offered the original position that I interviewed for..so crazy.

    I don't interview well at all..its like..I feel like telling them, just because I don't interview well, does not mean I am not a good teacher and would not be good for their school. Its just a matter of someone willing to take a chance. Someone was hired over me at this one school that I am pretty well known at..and it turns out the person they hired wasn't so great..I wanted to be like, "Guess you should have hired me after all.." BUT that is being poor-spirited and I am trying very hard to be more positive even when things are a bit difficult.

    My interview skills must have improved a little bit because somehow I got hired for summer school lol.
     
  9. sunshine24

    sunshine24 Comrade

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    ktmiller222: Exactly! I also hold dual state certification in Childhood Ed and Spec Ed, master's in Spec ed, and had a 3.9 GPA in undergrad and graduate school. It's crazy that I cannot verbalize myself well enough to show that I know my stuff!
    Good luck on your sub interview!

    Teacher GII:I know exactly what you mean. I know my stuff and feel like I would be a great teacher, but I cannot get my thoughts across in an interview. I have always been uncomfortable giving speeches, presentations when a lot of eyes are on me. However, this seems to only apply when speaking to my peers or people of authority. I have no trouble speaking in front of a class of students...thankfully. I wish the people that I interview with could see that I am just really nervous and take a chance on me. Even when I try to calm down and focus, I come up with nothing. I can be calm all the way up until I walk into that room and shake the interviewer's hand. Then, my face turns 100 shades of red, I get so hot, and I start to fumble my answers.
     
  10. Teacher Gii

    Teacher Gii Companion

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    Jun 21, 2014

    OMG we are twinsies!!!!! I have always felt like I was the only one that went through all this interview anxiety and there have been a few people on here that have not been the nicest when I have vented my frustrations. We can't help the way that we are, but we can just keep practicing and trying to improve.
     
  11. MissD59

    MissD59 Comrade

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    Jun 21, 2014

    I started making a list of common interview questions on here, and typed up sample interview answers based on those questions, many using scenarios and examples to support my answers from my teaching. I printed them on Avery mailing labels and stuck the question on the back of an index card and the answers on the back. I keep the notecards with me before interviews and review them the night before just to jog my memory and get myself in the "interview" mindset.

    I don't give canned responses, but I think that my interviews have gone much smoother now that I've put thought into my responses and have seen that certain questions tend to come up often in interviews.

    I know that you say you do prepare, but I think having the answers in a quick index card format has helped me to quiz myself and start the interview mindset a bit when my nerves are getting to me or it's been awhile between interviews.

    Remember: it isn't bad if you pause a bit and think before answering a question on a panel. Sometimes, you need a moment to digest the question, and no one is going to judge you for it. In the same vein, asking them to repeat the question is okay as well!

    You know more than you think you know. Remind yourself of that before you walk into an interview. You know your stuff. You are a good teacher. Think carefully about the questions and don't psych yourself out.

    Are there certain questions or topics that tend to make you freeze up more than others?

    One thing that I've found to help me is researching the school as much as you can beforehand. If I know how the school is performing, the population of the students, the types of reading/math programs that are in place, the school's philosophy I tend to feel more confident and am able to think of how I'd tailor my responses specifically to that school beforehand.
     
  12. Auter12

    Auter12 Comrade

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    Jun 21, 2014

    I do the same thing in interviews. I was once asked if I knew anything about RTI. RTI?? :dunno: I completely drew a blank. The SECOND I walked out of the building, I was like, "Response To Intervention! Duh." I, literally, had been implementing it at my previous school, but in all honesty, nobody ever called it RTI after our initial training, and I was so nervous that I didn't make the connection. I petty much kissed that job goodbye. Luckily, it was one that I didn't really want that much.


    If it is at all possible,try to meet the panel members ahead of time (not to discuss the job, though). Maybe, if they are I a group of people you may know. I say this because when I walk into a room with people I recognize on the panel, I'm not so freakishly nervous. My last interview panel had a former coworker, and a lady who gets her hair done by my aunt (who, btw, is my boss now :) ).
     
  13. MissD59

    MissD59 Comrade

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    Jun 21, 2014

    Sunshine is in NY, and I've found that these things tend to vary substantially depending on the area of the country you are in. I'm on Long Island, and I can tell you that if I requested at any school to meet with the panel members ahead of time, that would be a very strange request (not to mention nearly impossible, considering the workload that principals and staff have nowadays). It would never, ever happen.

    Long Island and NYC schools require you to sign in and present your license before they let you past the front door. It's difficult enough to get a principal on the phone, let alone meet an entire panel in person before interviewing.
     
  14. eternalsunshine

    eternalsunshine Rookie

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    I'm terrible on interviews as well. It's almost to the point where I feel like I have a complex about it. What I started doing was watching teacher interviews on you tube. And I noticed that no matter how bad their answers were, if people said it in a composed way, with energy in their face it turned out well. So I started recording myself on my phone just to make sure I had "energy" in my face while I was talking. (Think of Kim Kardashian when she does her commentary on her reality show. Why did I have to go there, I know. But it works! She always seems calm but has energy in her face and you want to listen.)

    I also drive to the school the night before so I won't get nervous about getting lost. I do breathing and stretching exercises half an hour before the interview to relax me. And I make sure to do a lot of research on the school before hand.
     
  15. sunshine24

    sunshine24 Comrade

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    Jun 22, 2014

    Teacher gii: I am starting to think so as well lol
    They say practice makes perfect so that is what I am hoping for. I've been on about 5-6 interviews so far so I'm hoping that I strike gold sooner rather than later.

    Missd59: Thanks for the index card tip. I never thought of doing it that way...I have a list on my computer with common questions and my responses, but will definitely try the index card thing :)
    There is not one area that stresses me out more than others. Unfortunately, when asked a question, my mind blanks so badly that I probably could not tell them how much 2+2 is lol.

    Auter12: The same thing happened to me last year when a principal was asking me about the components to reader's workshop. I love that program and know it up and down, yet I froze and could barely muster an answer. I got so flustered that I had to admit I was having trouble thinking and the principal had to prompt me with the answer. Obviously, I was mortified and did not get the job.
    I cannot meet the panel ahead of time. This is for a brand new school opening up. I met the principal 2 months ago briefly but everyone else on the panel is a surprise ( I believe 2 people from the network and 2 from the union).

    eternalsunshine: I will check out some videos as well. I try to maintain some level of enthusiasm when speaking so at least my passion for teaching may come across even as I stumble on my words, but I do not know if it comes off that way to others.
    I, too, often test drive to the site so I know where I am going and since this is NYC and parking is terrible, I usually bring someone with me to sit in the car while I interview just in case I cannot find legal parking. Just one less thing to worry about...
     
  16. Teacher Gii

    Teacher Gii Companion

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    Jun 23, 2014

    Eternalsunshine - Was there a specific search term that you used when looking up videos or just "teacher interviews"? I never even thought of doing that.
     
  17. vateacher757

    vateacher757 Cohort

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    Ooh Eternalsunshine I like that youtube answer can you point me in the direction I have tried searching youtube for something like that and have come up empty....I have 2 interviews this week and I am a nervous wreck. I feel like I too freeze up and don't interview as well as I would perform in the classroom....I think I also worry about more seasoned and experienced teachers also interviewing and getting the position over those not as experienced.
     
  18. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Jun 23, 2014

    I was once taught to mentally reframe nervousness as excitement. It's basically the same physical sensation.

    Before doing interviews I would pump myself up in the car on the way there, telling myself how much I love doing interviews, love meeting new people, can't wait to find out more about the school I was visiting, etc.

    You have to talk yourself into a calm enough place to be able to have a conversation with the interviewers. I know it may seem easier said than done, but positive self talk can really make a big difference.
     
  19. sunshine24

    sunshine24 Comrade

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    Special-T: thanks for the tip. I will definitely try that out for future interviews...it certainly cannot hurt :)
    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    My interview is scheduled for tomorrow. I have been preparing all weekend. I have folders with some sample materials and a brochure to hand out to each panel member and a flash drive with some lesson plans and powerpoint presentations to leave with them. I am been trying to build my confidence and thought I was doing pretty well. That is, until today. I am now so nervous that I am really thinking of cancelling! I just cannot see the interview going well despite being told it would only be 15-20 minutes at the max. I have tried telling myself to suck it up for that short amount of time and give it my best shot. If it ends up going well...great... and if not, well then I was expecting that.
    However, I am finding myself getting more and more anxious as the day goes on and am at the point where I am exhibiting the same nervous behavior that I am anticipating tomorrow. It's crazy...I am just thinking about sitting in front of those 5 people and am in a complete panic. I am never this bad, I really think that it is the whole 5 person panel thing that is really driving me nuts. Not sure what to do...gonna sleep on it but may end up cancelling in the morning. I am just a wreck over it and don't see it going well at ALL.
     
  20. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Jun 23, 2014

    It won't help for tomorrow, but since your anxiety is actually interfering with being able to get a job ... Would your doctor consider prescribing a low dose of Valium to take the day before and the day of an interview?

    Or, try vigorous exercise to combat the anxiety. Do you have time to go for a run or spend an hour on a treadmill before your interview?
     
  21. sunshine24

    sunshine24 Comrade

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    Jun 24, 2014

    I have thought of going to the dr for this, but I do not have health insurance since I don't have a full time job. And on a sub's salary, it's hard to gather the money needed to pay for an office visit and then for the prescription. I've looked at OTC stuff, but nothing seemed promising.
     
  22. Teacher Gii

    Teacher Gii Companion

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    Jun 24, 2014

    My very first interview was with 9 people in the room!!!! You can certainly do it with 5. Do you have some friends that could all get together and ask you some interview questions as practice?
     
  23. hep223

    hep223 Companion

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    Whew! Glad I am not the only one out there that looks great on paper, but seems to stink at the interview!! Thank you for posting your question. I am going to try some of the tips in this thread for my next interview.

    I am sure you rocked your interview today! :)
     
  24. sunshine24

    sunshine24 Comrade

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    Wow. I cannot imagine a 9 person panel. I would have died lol
    I'm trying to convince myself to go but it's a continuous battle today. Even as I'm practicing, I'm noticing myself fumbling my thoughts. I'm trying to tell myself that 15 minutes is not that long and that it will fly when I am in there. I just don't know what to do. I want the job desperately, but I just know the interview is going to bomb.

    Everyone that could help me is unavailable or working. My appointment is this afternoon, so not enough time now to gather anyone.

    hep223: Thanks for the kind words :) My interview is not until later so I am still stressing out unfortunately. I wish it had been earlier and would have been over with already.
    You are definitely not the only one who gets nervous. There are more people who suffer with this than I thought. I, too, have taken the tips given here into consideration and will be trying them out. Good luck to you!
     
  25. lynnjess

    lynnjess Rookie

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    I am so glad I'm not the only one. I don't get interviews often, but when I do, I'm a nervous wreck. I had a screening interview a few weeks ago and I was literally gagging before and I thought I was going to be sick.

    I also hate the waiting game. I'm not a very patient person and I just want to know NOW!

    Good luck on your interview today! Let us know how it goes!
     
  26. sunshine24

    sunshine24 Comrade

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    lynnjess: I definitely know how you felt. I am so nervous right now, just thinking about the interview later today, that I am hyperventilating! My thoughts are already fumbling and I know my mind is going to go blank once I get there.
    I hate the waiting game also. Even when I know it doesn't go well, it still takes weeks to hear back (or I hear nothing at all). I would prefer to know on the spot or within a few hours if I am not being considered anymore.
    Thanks for the kind words :) I will post here after the interview, if I actually make it to that point. I'm still contemplating not going at all, but will update.
     
  27. Teacher Gii

    Teacher Gii Companion

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    Jun 24, 2014

    No contemplating!!! You will go and you will be great!!
     
  28. sunshine24

    sunshine24 Comrade

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    teacher gii: I may make that my mantra lol. I'm trying hard to think: you gotta be in it, to win it. And if I don't go, I will always wonder how it may have went.
     
  29. vateacher757

    vateacher757 Cohort

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    sunshine24 You will go on that interview (you may be there now) and you WILL be great.....just relax......I know easier said than done I have 2 tomorrow and I am a nervous wreck.

    Generally the panels I have interviewed in front of are just reading questions from a paper and I guess they divided who would ask what.

    I always feel as though I am the best qualified but being new to the teaching field I may not answer with the "buzz" words they are looking for.......what do you do?

    Good luck!
     
  30. vateacher300

    vateacher300 Rookie

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    I went on a bunch of interviews last year to land my first teaching position. I was definitely nervous for them so I understand where some of you are coming from!

    This year on my one real interview I tried to set a couple of small goals--show enthusiasm for teaching and highlight my knowledge in the curriculum. Don't allow yourself to be too nervous that your personality doesn't shine through! Admins want to see an authentic version of you in an interview. Stop worrying about buzz words and super-perfect interview answers and be yourself!

    In fact, what apparently got me the offer from that interview was not anything that I said specifically about teaching, but rather my comments about how I could feel walking into the building that the school had a really great morale amongst students and staff and how it seemed to be a really fun environment to work in. Simple flattery goes a long way!

    Think positively, take deep breaths and know that you can do this!
     
  31. SleekTeach

    SleekTeach Comrade

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    Lol...is reading all these posts about people's nerves relaxing or something? It seems like it would make the problem worse.
     
  32. Teacher Gii

    Teacher Gii Companion

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    Vateacher300 - Great advice. I get caught up myself about using buzzwords and picture perfect responses..Though I have had a couple of interviews where I thought I was being myself, but maybe I wasn't. Where in VA are you located?

    I'm certainly glad you guys are at least getting interviews. I would love to get at least ONE interview this summer. I know the summer has just started though, so we will see.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2014
  33. Kelster95

    Kelster95 Companion

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    Jun 24, 2014

    The only way I found to overcome my nerves, was to tell myself that if I was meant for the job then I will get it. Thinking this way let me relax some and I found that not rehearsing and stressing about the interview allowed my answers to flow more naturally.
     
  34. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jun 24, 2014

    How did it go, sunshine?
     
  35. sunshine24

    sunshine24 Comrade

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    Jun 24, 2014

    Wow...thanks to everyone for the new comments and tips!
    And thanks to all for the words of encouragement. They are what kept me from cancelling this interview this morning.
    ___________________________________________

    Well, I did, in fact, decide to go to the interview. However, what awaited me was far worse than I thought lol. The hiring committee kept me and 4 others waiting for 2 HOURS! It was incredible. They were all there and taking their time and going on a dinner break, while we sat for hours in a dark, un-airconditioned hallway. I didn't step into that room until exactly 2 hours after walking into the building!

    And you know that all this waiting did was increase my nerves. I tried to go over what I wanted to say and to try to breathe calmly so I would make it through. It was so hot that I just about sweated through my suit lol. Finally, they called me in and I was extremely nervous and it definitely showed. I was talking really fast and my face was red and I'm sure I looked like a hot mess. However, I did try to keep my rambling to a minimum when I felt my words were getting away from me and despite my blank mind, I do think I hit on some important things that I wanted to get across. I left materials with them which they seemed to appreciate and I did ask a great question which got a phenomenal response from the panel.

    So, all in all, I am not expecting a great outcome here. I just sent out my thank you emails and will wait for the dreaded rejection email which I believe will come sometime this week. I just hope that they actually look through my materials and realize that I do know my teaching stuff, but that I was just sooooo nervous. I know the interview is an important factor in getting hired, but it should not be the ONLY factor to consider and I sincerely hope that it is not.

    Thanks again to everyone for the kind words this weekend :)
     
  36. Teacher Gii

    Teacher Gii Companion

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    Jun 25, 2014

    That is ridiculous to have people waiting 2 hours..To me, scheduling is important. I could understand if they were behind maybe 20 minutes because that has happened to me before, but to have you guys just sitting there for 2 flipping hours, it is rude and shows that they clearly don't value your time. I digress..

    I'm glad you got through it though!!! May I ask what question you asked them?
     
  37. sunshine24

    sunshine24 Comrade

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    Jun 25, 2014

    I completely agree. I thought the waiting time was so unprofessional and uncalled for. I understand stuff happens and sometimes people run a bit late and I wouldn't have minded waiting (even up to 30 min), but 2 hours was insane! I was so worked up by the time they called me in. Anyways, as I said, I'm not expecting a great outcome even though I think this school would be perfect for me :(
    Since the school is new and opening for its first year, I asked them what they would like people to say the strengths of their school are in a few years time. They all seemed pretty blown away by it and even went so far as to say that it was great question. I doubt it got me the job, but at least my mind retained that I wanted to ask that lol.
     
  38. Teacher Gii

    Teacher Gii Companion

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    Jun 27, 2014

    That was a really great question!!! If I were on the panel, I would have been like :eek: "This girl is on point!!"
     
  39. sunshine24

    sunshine24 Comrade

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    Jun 27, 2014

    Thanks :) I thought it was pretty good too and though it seemed to impress them, I do not know if it truly helped.

    I still have not heard anything back (other than a "Thank You" in response to my email after the interview). I am still kinda hoping against hope that maybe I was better than I thought and I will get a phone call with an offer. Despite my nerves, I tried to show how prepared I was and my type of work ethic with the amount of materials that I left behind for them to look at (No one else sitting for the interview had anything other than a small portfolio). However, I am expecting a rejection email to come any day now. Yesterday was the last day of school here, so I thought phone calls with offers would have been made yesterday or today? The waiting sucks as everyone knows.
     
  40. Teacher Gii

    Teacher Gii Companion

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    Jun 27, 2014

    What sort of things did you leave behind? That could be my problem as well. When ever I have had an interview, if they didn't already print it off, I usually just left a resume and a brochure. Most of the ones I have had around here, already print out everything that I had to attach when I applied with the district.
     
  41. sunshine24

    sunshine24 Comrade

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    Jun 27, 2014

    I always leave behind a folder with each person. Inside the folder are: my resume, my list of references, my brochure, some work examples (IEP goals, assessment maps). Since this is a new school that is opening, I decided to leave a flash drive also. I prepared materials specific to their new school to put on the flash drive, including PowerPoint presentations, Kindergarten lesson plans, other CCSS aligned lesson plans, and a mock class newsletter.

    I assumed that I would have trouble verbalizing what I wanted to say to the panel, so I figured that the flash drive would be a nice touch to show that I absolutely know what I am talking about and to show all of the ideas that I have for this new school. Preparing the materials to put on the flash drive took me the entire week before the interview. So, I sincerely hope that at least 1 person on the panel took some time to look at it. I figured it would be a way to make me stand out.

    I always used to leave just a resume, then a brochure when I started coming to these boards. Now it's easier for me to just have the folders prepared ahead of time and grab them whenever I get a call for an interview. It sucks that I am losing the money that goes into them, but I'm hoping that eventually I will not have to interview anymore.
     

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