I had an interview this past week. I think it went well.

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by bros, Mar 15, 2015.

  1. bros

    bros Phenom

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    It was for a special education position at a small elementary school. They had just recently created the position and were looking to hire someone ASAP. They said they'd call back end of school day Friday (They didn't) or by mid-day Monday either way. But I think they liked my answers to the questions during the interview - I brought up my knowledge of special education and used my disabilities as a way to demonstrate empathy for students with disabilities - as one of the students they referenced tends to shut down when doing writing activities, so I referred to my own experiences when I was that age, and told them that I knew what it was like, and I went through the process exactly how I thought of it in my mind as to how I would help with motivation issues and to get the students to do work. I also referenced previous field experiences and discussed how I would apply things I learned (I gave specific examples of how I would incorporate things I did/saw in, let's say, student teaching in Kindergarten and make it grade-level appropriate for the class they wanted me for)

    If they decide to call me back, I will have to do a demo lesson on Tuesday. I assume it is just like a regular lesson, but maybe a bit shorter and on a topic of their choice?
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    A demo in my district is typically 1/2 hour.
     
  4. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    This sounds like a promising opportunity for you to be a teacher and advocate.
     
  5. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Also, I was one of only 9 candidates interviewed for the first interview. They are going to narrow the 9 down to a few people to do demo lessons.
     
  6. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    If you get the job, how will the logistics work for you...getting to and from the job, handling the daily demands of the job, communicating with parents, etc.?

    Hope you get good news!
     
  7. ktmiller222

    ktmiller222 Cohort

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    The Special Ed position I was in the running for a little over a month ago provided me with about 3 IEP goals to incorporate in an ELA lesson of my choice. It was in a Learning Support classroom in front of about 7-8 students. It wasn't so bad. They said to not go over 20-25 mins. They will tell you what they want to you if you make it to the demo round. I just went in for a round 1 interview last week in a different school district. I'm hoping to make it to round 2. If you don't mind me asking, what questions did they ask you in your interview? I always like to hear what other people's experiences are. It's also a huge help when preparing for an interview.
     
  8. bros

    bros Phenom

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    I'd take a train 16 minutes, then take a taxi 10 minutes to the school.

    I would be in-class support. They asked me about communicating with parents, I said that I would use email and phone contact based on the behavior and parental preference. They liked that answer.

    1. This is for a fourth grade position, we see on your resume that your student teaching was in a Kindergarten. How would you make that adjustment?

    2. This is a co-teaching position. What kinds of co-teaching have you experienced or observed and what would you want it to be like in the classroom when you are co-teaching?

    3. How would you manage behavior in the classroom to make sure students behave?

    4. How would you keep parents apprised of what is going on in the classroom and how would you keep in contact with parents about behavior, both good and bad?

    5. The student in this classroom tends to shut down when doing certain activities. How would you help motivate the student when they shut down?

    6. Do you have any questions?

    7. Since you are an avid reader, what book would you recommend I read?

    There were a few others, but I forget what they were.
     
  9. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Did you send a thank you note or email? You've mentioned in the past that you don't think doing so is all that important.

    I recently got a new job, and I'm certain that part of it had to do with the fact that I sent a thank you email. One of the people on the interview panel had a very long, unusual name that wasn't spelled like it sounded, so I had to look it up on the school website. When I went in to sign my paperwork, she told me that no one ever gets her name right and that she thought I was very resourceful to find her name like I did.

    I really think that my email may have been the tipping point for them to go with me instead of another candidate. Mind you, I have zero experience in the field to which I applied. Zero. I had to totally sell myself, and part of that was through a follow-up note 1) reminding them who I am and 2) demonstrating that I am professional and polite.
     
  10. bros

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    No I forgot to send one. I was one of their last interviews, so I hope they would remember me. They did like when I mentioned that I had an excellent knowledge of IDEA and special education law in general.
     
  11. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Just curious how you answered some of these...care to share?
     
  12. bros

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    1. "Honestly, I would find the transition relatively easy. If you look at my resume, you will notice that I performed my pre-professional field experience, which was one day a week for 15 weeks per experience, in a fourth grade classroom and a fifth grade classroom. I actually prefer the upper elementary students, as you can have different kinds of conversations with them, compared to the younger ones."

    2. "I have seen teach-assist in action, but primarily and ideally, I have seen and would want to be a co-teacher who teaches with the general education teacher, with each of us bouncing off each other to teach the students."

    (They also asked "If we were to walk into the classroom while you were teaching, what what we see?")

    "In addition to teaching with the other teacher in the room, I am also very skilled with technology - I incorporate it into almost every lesson, I am very good with computers, have been since an early age, as I had to be - I have a disability that makes my handwriting illegible - dysgraphia. I know Microsoft Office, Powerpoint, all that stuff, I know how to make SMART Board lessons quickly, and I could put a box of computer parts in front of you and instruct you how to put it together in probably 30 minutes."

    3. "One of the things I saw during my student teaching, despite it being Kindergarten, could be easily adapted to a fourth grade classroom - the basic concept of it was when a student did something nice, or got an excellent grade, they got an entry in a drawing where at the end of the week, they could get a little something - be it a special eraser or pencil or something of that nature, as fourth graders still enjoy little trinkets like that."

    4. "I would try to send out a weekly newsletter of what is going on in the classroom and I would ask parents what method they would prefer for receiving it - a paper copy in their kid's backpacks or by e-mail. With keeping in contact with parents for behavior, depending on the behavior and the circumstances and what method the parent prefers for communication, I would make a determination as to the best way to contact them about their child's behavior."

    5. "As I previously mentioned I have a disability that makes it difficult for me to write, and I was very much like this student you are describing when I was in fourth grade - so I would probably do what I wish my teachers had done back then. I would go to the student, try to figure out why they are shutting down - as I am a very analytical person in that sense - and I would probably let the student have a short break, one to two minutes, then ask them to complete a few more problems, then depending on their level of fatigue, I would either give the student a break, or urge them to continue. If it appeared that they did not grasp the concept, I would take them aside and reteach the concept to them. If they had grasped it in the past, I would use prior work to show them that they know what they are doing. If the activity were something like reading, I would figure out why they were displeased, if it is independent reading and the book isn't of interest to them, I could help them find a book that might be more interesting to them, as I am an avid reader myself and I know quite a bit about books."

    6. "What kind of technology do you have here?"

    7. I asked him what kind of books he likes to read, he said non-fiction, so I recommended a historical text that wasn't very dry that we had to read in my History of Witchcraft in the Western World course.
     
  13. Bunnie

    Bunnie Devotee

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    Seems like you're getting better with interview answers bros.

    I would be wary of saying a weekly newsletter will be sent out. (You don't want them to hold you to it!) Honestly logistically it's hard for most teachers to commit to that weekly. Personally, my team has a hard time sending a monthly newsletter.

    Keep us updated with the process. Good luck!!!!
     
  14. bros

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    It would be a very short newsletter :p
     
  15. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    We are required to send out weekly newsletters. It really is not a huge time commitment--takes me about 10 minutes or so. :)
     
  16. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Any news yet?
     
  17. bros

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    Nope. Getting nervous.

    I'd call the school, but that might be bad.
     
  18. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    If the demos are tomorrow and you haven't heard yet, I don't think you'll be getting a call.
     
  19. bros

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    Tried calling during normal school hours - nobody answered in the main office. Checked their website, turns out they had today off?
     
  20. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Unfortunately, it probably means they called candidates on Fri :sorry:

    It still couldn't hurt to drop them an email and let them know how much you enjoyed the interview. They might keep you in mind for another opening later.
     
  21. olivecoffee

    olivecoffee Companion

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    I would still send a thank you follow up e-mail. I agree with Caesar - sometimes your thank you e-mail/letter is what gets you the position. I applied for an elementary SPED position and I have zero elementary SPED experience. Absolutely none because I'm EC SPED. It was even difficult for me to come up with some answers. I mailed a handwritten thank you note expanding on a few questions. I was offered the position, and I honestly think it had something to do with my thank you note because I didn't walk out of the interview with a good feeling.

    Just send a quick e-mail to those involved, thanking them for their time during the interview. Remind them of your special education background and what a wonderful advocate you'd be for the students; how you would be able to meet the needs of your students because of your experience. You could even mention something along the lines of, what better way to understand your students than based off your disabilities? What a light you could be for their parents because you could show them that there is hope for their children beyond a diagnosis. Then tell them you'd welcome the opportunity to work for their school.
     
  22. bros

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    Seems a bit late to send one on the day they are possibly doing demo lessons with the people they wanted to see more of.
     
  23. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    But what could it hurt? Maybe they don't love the people doing demos and they want to reconsider you. Remind them about what you have to offer and why they called you for an interview in the first place.
     
  24. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    We have had to reopen positions before. I'd send one. They can APs keep you in mind for future positions.
     
  25. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    For gosh sake's, not everything you do is for the immediate. If you send a follow-up thank you e-mail, it might stick in their mind about how you were appreciative for the interview and following proper interviewing etiquette so the next time they have a position open, they might remember you were the one who followed up with a thank you even though you didn't get a call back.
     
  26. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Learn from this. Send a stinking thank you note!!!
     
  27. bros

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    Okay. I'll send one. I guess I just feel a little down on myself because I really thought I did well on this interview and that they liked my answers.

    Maybe the other candidates all had a lot of experience or something - since this district is pretty desirable and starts out at a rather high salary
     
  28. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    You can even approach the e-mail / thank you as an opportunity, if you feel comfortable, to show them your desire to continually learn as an educator, by asking them (perhaps not completely directly...don't have much time to type right now) if they felt that there were any areas in which you could improve -- not necessarily just your answer, but just overall in your knowledge/skills/resume.
     
  29. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    It's not too late to send one but you've been advised many times to write a thank you right after the interview. It can make a difference if interviewers are on the fence.

    Yes, you are in competition with experienced, highly educated and qualified candidates. Compelling candidates interview well, can 'read' the climate of the interview, speak positively and knowledgeably about their practice, philosophy and about the zchool with whom they are interviewing. There's also an undefinable 'it' factor to some candidates that ale hiring committees just know right away that an interviewee is potentially perfect for the opening.

    Take this experience and learn from it, bros. It does sound like you have improved in your interviewing skills.
     
  30. bros

    bros Phenom

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    I think I only did as well as I did because my anxiety so so much from not seeing my therapist for three weeks that I was unable to express any anxiety or even little emotion for fear of it all just exploding out at once. Which would be bad.
     
  31. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Could the fact that you couldn't show any emotion perhaps prevented you from expressing your passion for teaching? I was on an interview team that interviewed a candidate that knew all the educational buzz words, was very technologically equipped, was knowledgeable about the job, etc. Unfortunately, the passion wasn't there. The person felt a little stilted and uncomfortable around people.
     
  32. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I doubt an administrator would say more than they found a 'better fit'.
     
  33. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Perhaps, but I can speak from experience that it will occasionally lead to positive/constructive advice and result in them seemingly holding you higher up in their minds. By no means every time, as there were many times where I got something similar to what you were saying, or simply didn't hear back at all, but it can't hurt...especially if showing emotion within the interview is hard!
     
  34. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    There's a good possibility that a hiring committee would have some questions or reservations about a passed over candidate that they wouldn't truthfully share (could open a lawsuit)...I'm in a highly competitive district and candidates have been passed on for a variety of reasons that would t be shared. To avoid legal repercussions, many districts simply would say they found someone with more experience, education, better fit rather than answering truthfully about what relative weaknesses were seen in or concerns/questions they had about a candidate who was passed over.
     
  35. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Good point. And even if they weren't legally needing to be quiet about it, many wouldn't want to be e-mailing back each candidate that sends a thank you about what they could do better.

    Though the comments I had received back, advice about my answers being more student-centered in the way I phrased my responses (not necessarily the content of the response, which was pretty much there), and specific examples that supported a couple of the areas that truly demonstrated student growth, were both extremely helpful, as seen by the fact that I have a position this year! -- so again, it's worth a shot, if nothing else!
     
  36. bros

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    I believe I got it across that I have a deep understanding of all students with disabilities, along with an excellent grasp of special education law.

    I am never good at emoting, regardless of how often I see my therapist - it was one of the comments by my student teaching supervisor - I have difficulty with changing the tone of my voice to capture interest. That is not to say that I am monotonous, more... a mix of semi-stilted speech with changing the volume of my voice when needed, if that makes sense.

    That's what I was thinking too. Especially since I mentioned my dysgraphia. They wouldn't want to get into any potentially dicey areas - even though it would be career suicide for me to file a discrimination case against any potential employer - for one, they are near impossible to prove pre-hiring and secondly, why would I want to waste my time and money on something like that, when they could always hire me in the future?

    I know a smiled a few times in the interview. A normal looking smile. Not a forced smile. At least it felt normal looking.

    Exactly what I was thinking.

    They only interviewed 9 candidates, including me, across the 2 1/2 days of interviews. So not that many replies to write, especially if they divvy it up.
     
  37. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Many schools don't even CALL candidates to tell them they went with another candidate. Once a hiring decision has been made administrators and hiring committee members return to 'business as usual'. While I know in the past my committee has commented to ourselves that we wish the best for our top choices who were not selected in lieu of a better fit, it's simply not pursued any further than those musings.
     
  38. bros

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    Yeah. The closest i've experienced is they send a bulk email out to all of the candidates who weren't picked through applitrack - and they send it after they hire someone for the position.
     
  39. bros

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    Checked their BoE meeting minutes. Turns out I never had a chance at the job. They hired a part time teachers aide from within the district.
     
  40. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    She had an in but it doesn't mean you or any of the other candidates didn't have a chance. They wouldn't have interviewed 9 people if they already had decided the aide had the job.

    It's a competitive market, as you know. You are always going to be up against candidates who interview well, know someone, have more experience or education...one has to present a compelling 'package' to make themselves stand out as 'the one' . .:2cents:
     
  41. vateacher757

    vateacher757 Cohort

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    I wouldn't think that you didn't have a chance, obviously there was something they liked or you would not have been called for an interview. Think positive.
     

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