I am going crazy trying to think of a weakness!

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by tripletsteacher, May 25, 2008.

  1. tripletsteacher

    tripletsteacher Companion

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    I have spent three days trying to think of a good answer to what are your weaknesses? I know my tue weakness is that I am not naturally organized but I could never use that in getting an elementary teaching job. I have been told not to use the overused
    I am a perfectionist
    I am a work-a-holic
    Any ideas here? I need to focus on other questions but keep coming back to this one. Please help!!
     
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  3. jw13

    jw13 Groupie

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    I think this is by far the worst question ever. If you are honest, you could completely ruin your chances. For example, I can be a bit disorganized or am still working on my classroom management skills. If you use the examples you gave, you are saying what would seem an asset is your flaw, basically that you have no flaws. It's so hard to find a flaw, that isn't going to turn someone off.

    So, my only advice is...whatever you think your flaw might be, be honest, but relay what you are doing to manage that flaw..ie classes, time management, etc.
     
  4. teacherfan

    teacherfan Cohort

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    I agree, I really do not know what to say when asked this question. I really feel that as a new teacher I constantly need to work on classroom management but I don't think that answer would go over well in an interview. I was told by an administrator not to say something when answering any question that can put a little bit of doubt into the interviewers mind.

    Lately to answer that particular question I have been saying something in regards to technology, I want to become more computer savy and build my tech skills. I am looking into an ed tech masters program to further myknowledge.
     
  5. jw13

    jw13 Groupie

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    That's a great answer teacherfan. It's honest, yet you are showing initiative by working towards improving your tech. skills.

    Interesting that an administrator would say not to say anything that would put doubt into their minds. Couldn't any answer potentially do that? It's like a catch-22.
     
  6. buck8teacher

    buck8teacher Devotee

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    A friend of mine gave me good advice to answer this question. Answer it, but what you would do to fix it.
    Her's was organization and she talked about the tools in place that she used to compenstate:
    1. I have a to do list I must accomplish before leaving.
    2. I post our daily schedule, so I can manage my instructional time efficiently.
    3. I spend the first ten minutes of my plan filing any papers I need to file.

    So if you talk about organization, then talk about the supports you would use to fix it/overcome the challenge.
     
  7. lemonhead

    lemonhead Aficionado

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    I agree with what Buck8 said. My problem is that I underestimate how long some things take, so in effect, I tend to over-plan. I have gotten better, by keeping a closer eye on the time, planning for better transitions, and managing my own time better.
     
  8. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    I wish they would just stop asking this question all together. It is such a trap, which may be why they like it? It would be really unprofessional to ask THEM what their weakness is - right - but it's ok to ask the interviewee. Bah.

    Anyway, the answer is, like Buk8 said, give an area you are working on improving along with your plan and how well it is working so far.
     
  9. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I agree with buck8. When answering this question, make sure that it is something that you can work on. Mine is organization too, so I use that, but also tell them the oranizational systems I have in place to help me with that.
     
  10. Teacher2Be123

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    My one professor last semester was also a career adviser type person. He told us to be honest in the answer to this question BUT tell them how you have improved on it and what you are continuing to do and change with the weakness. For example if you have poor organization skills tell them how during student teaching you worked harder on that and got many great ideas from your cooperating teacher that you feel you can implement. Turn your weakness into a positive.
     
  11. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    May 25, 2008

    Good advice.

    You could also say that you tend to take your work home with you, or that you feel it too strongly when you have students who come from difficult home lives, etc.
     
  12. wig

    wig Devotee

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    I like this. Only I would begin with "In an effort to remain organized, I...
     
  13. Yank7

    Yank7 Habitué

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    AS a teacher,no matter how many years we spend in the classroom,we can always learn new things,thus I am counting on more experienced colleagues to help me improve in all areas during the school year,and thus improve on any weaknesses I might possess.
     
  14. tripletsteacher

    tripletsteacher Companion

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    Thanks for all of your advice. A few finding a teaching job books and articles state to absolutley not say anything weak about organization. I am not going to use that because of what these books are saying. I am trying to think of something else but am drawing a blank. This is what I have come up with:
    Sometimes I spend too much time on details that I have to remind myself to focus on the big picture. For example,while student teaching, I would sometimes spend hours on creating my sample booklet, searching for the right computer graphic for my newsletter etcc. I had to remind myself of the original objective in order to focus on other more important things. Ughhhhh--it is terrible. I can not spend the rest of this precious time before interviewing focusing on this one question. You watch-they will not even ask it:eek:hmy:
     
  15. Beezus

    Beezus Cohort

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    My standard answer for this is time management..."sometimes I get so excited about all of the things I would like to do with my students...my eyes are bigger than the plate, more or less. I'm working on being better able to gauge the time available, the time it will take to complete tasks, and to prioritize, too....to decide which of the tasks will be most engaging, effective and successful".
    Or something like that.....I think I come across more eloquently in person.
     
  16. lou reed

    lou reed Companion

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    I've always just said that I've been told I talk too fast, and it's something I try to work on... both things are true. It's not like any potential employer's gonna keep egging you on for some deeper flaw if you've already answered some question. Just give them something behavioral (ie, sometimes my voice is way loud, I have to watch my handwriting on the board because sometimes it can be sloppy) rather than personal or social and add some kind of self-imposed solution (I try to alter my voice to fit the lesson/I pre-write the things I need for a lesson) before they ask for one. It is such a pointless question, I feel for ya.
     
  17. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    May 26, 2008

    It's been a few years since I've had an interview, but my answer would be similar to upsadaisy. I tend to spend too much time at work, and sometimes don't know when to "leave it at the office". I also care "too much" sometimes about my students, and struggle when they are experiencing difficulties due to circumstances beyond their control.

    (My biggest weakness, and one that I wouldn't admit to in an interview, is that I hate to make phone calls! I do it, but it is the task related to my job that I dislike the most).
     
  18. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    I need to come up with a weakness too! I was thinking something along the lines that I tend to be quiet among my peers, until I get to know them and speak up? Except that doesn't sound right.

    (I am loud and animated with the children. lol I swear they can hear me in the office.)
     
  19. lemonhead

    lemonhead Aficionado

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    I would include the part about how you are with kids for sure. I remember you mentioning that weakness before and I think it is fine but I think you need to say how you are working on it.
     
  20. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Working on it? hahaha how do you work on it? It is who I am, but I do speak up once I'm comfortable around the group.


    Ok maybe i should come up with a different one.
     
  21. lemonhead

    lemonhead Aficionado

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    well you know, they say you are supposed to state your weakness and then what you are doing about it.

    Or you could say it like you have it an add the part about how animated and loud you are with kids.

    Heck I don't know, I just got up!
     
  22. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    me to! Drinking my tea. Trying to motivate myself to work on portfolio. But I really want to go dress shopping!

    Ok so say something like I tend to be quiet around my same age peers until I get to know them. In my classroom I don't feel comfortable right away and can be animated and loud when I need to be or quiet and calm when the situation calls for it.


    brb making another cup of tea lol.
     
  23. lemonhead

    lemonhead Aficionado

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    The good thing about yours is that you can tell it is an honest answer.

    I tend to be quiet around my same age peers until I get to know them. In my classroom, I am not that way. I feel comfortable right away with students and can be animated and loud when I need to be or quiet and calm when the situation calls for it.
     
  24. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    OH thanks Leon. I think I'm going to go do some chores.
     
  25. tripletsteacher

    tripletsteacher Companion

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    Thanks for all the input! I would love to use some of the suggestions but was told many are overused and considered canned. For example:
    Perfectionist
    don't know when to leave work and take work home
    Any input on the one I mentioned about being too detail oriented? Also, they could ask weaknesses in general or related to teaching. Would you use one related to teaching regardless of how they ask it?
     
  26. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I think that the important thing is to be honest, and not to look for an answer that "they" will like and/or think is genuine. I would try to keep my responses related to teaching and not to your personal life.

    For me, overused or not, my work habits/hours are a definite weakness; I rarely say, "no" when asked to take on a task or responsibility and I often end up spending 9 hours at work at least 3 days a week and taking more work home with me. I then end up, like I am right now, exhausted and stressed.
     
  27. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I agree that your answer needs to be honest, not what book says is the "right" or "wrong" answer or what advice is given on here unless it matches your weakness.
     
  28. scienceteach82

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    Yep...I talked about the whole...classroom time management...and how I wanted to fit so many activites in...blah blah
     
  29. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Another thought I had was that if you aren't 100% honest in your answer about what your weakness is, some principals will pick up on the fact that you aren't being completely truthful with them, and they will think THAT is a "canned" answer.
     
  30. jw13

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    Though many of these suggestions may seemed "canned" or "overused", they are still quite frequently areas that many teachers struggle...organization, time management, involvement, etc. I think admins. want to hear that you don't sound "canned." That you honestly have flaws, and are working to improve yourself.

    Being too detailed oriented is a fine weakness to offer, as long as you can explain how you overcome it. Also, many times our weaknesses overlap into our personal lives, so they can really be answered both ways.
     
  31. dizzykates

    dizzykates Habitué

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    I think mine is the rate at which I speak. I speak quickly and I read an article about student's rate of understanding vs. rate of speed the teacher speaks. I have been conscience to slow my speech and pause more frequently.
     
  32. eCubed

    eCubed Companion

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    So we want to stay away from the common weaknesses, right? Some of mine-

    1. Difficulty telling the difference between different and wrong. This causes misjugment and eventually inappropriate consequences. How do you "cure" this? I haven't found a book that gave guidelines on this one.

    2. Lack of emotional intelligence. This could be a result of your upbringing. It was mine. Are going to see a counselor, reading self-help literature, attending seminars on life mastery, and writing reflectively good enough to say to trump a lack of emotional intelligence? I hope so.

    3. Lack of creativity. Yikes! I'm a math teacher, naturally left-brained- mechanical, sequential, logical. How do you fill this void? I know creativity was so unheard of when I was a student, so I have no clue. (Thanks for this thread for letting this out of me - now I know another area to research improve on that just didn't occur to me until just now. :) )
     
  33. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    yeah, that is me...so I turn it around, and say I try to do too much,

    "My weakness would be I try to do more than what is expected, and sometimes I realize a job is out of my hands. For example, I find myself looking for jobs and housing for my parents, and I realize that is the social worker's job."
     
  34. lawyer2teacher

    lawyer2teacher New Member

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    I say use your weakness. Focus on not NATURALLY organized, but then tell the things you do (i.e. to do list, checklists, color coding system, bins, etc). to make yourself more organized becuase you know having an organized classroom is important.

    That would be my answer.
     
  35. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    my weakness is my addiction to AtoZ! This is a great site and I highly recommended to you and your staff. I can't get away from it. :D
     
  36. #1 Mrs. H

    #1 Mrs. H Companion

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    Make it a positive

    I've always been told to take a "negative" and find a way to turn it into a positive for yourself. For example, you could say, I tend to get so excited about learning and introducing a new concept, that the students and I can get carried away with Q&A, and time gets away from us! Or, you could say that you care so much about your students that you have a hard time shutting that off when you leave school. Somthing like that may be better.
     
  37. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    I just realized one of my weaknesses. I am spoiled on a high salary. I am not willing to earn less than I am worth.

    Should I say that in an interview? :(
     
  38. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    No, MPK. In fact, I wouldn't bring up salary at all until you know for sure you are hired.
     
  39. nayelismom

    nayelismom Rookie

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    Okay, how about we don't use any one word to describe the weakness. I was going over this exact question with my sis the other day and she said just describe it without giving yourself a label.
     
  40. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    See, that's the thing...I've been drilling the supervisors when they call me for an interview!

    What age group?
    What are the hours?
    Is this a year round position or 10 months?
    Do I have to travel to other sites, or will I stay here the whole time?
    Does this job pay at least $40k?

    and yes, STG...I know it's wrong and some of the smaller, pickier ones are getting annoyed with my third degree questioning.

    but I don't care anymore! I don't want to waste my time going out to some school that wants to only offer me $8.00 and hour.

    Unless that's what I am willing to take, part time, maybe they have benefits, or if I have something part time on the side.

    :(

    hey, I gotta buy a new air conditioner! and not one of those little window boxes, an AIR CONDITIONER..a big old thing that sits on my roof! sigh

    sorry for the vent!
     

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