I have an interview on Friday. Tips?

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by bros, Apr 21, 2014.

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  1. bros

    bros Phenom

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    It's my first interview with a school - and my second job interview ever (my first was a 10 minute interview at a company two weeks ago).

    Any tips as to what I should bring with me, other than a copy of my resume? Maybe a copy of my college transcript? I have an opened official copy that the school gave me.

    Any tips in general for what to do/how to act/whatever?

    I know that I shouldn't mention my disabilities, or at least the extent of them, unless it comes up, like if they ask why I got into education.
     
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  3. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Good luck!

    Bring a copy of your portfolio. Generally, your portfolio will have your transcripts, several lesson plans, your educational philosophy, unit plans, etc. You may want to have a mini-portfolio to give your interviewer, also.

    The biggest tip is to try and relax. It's easier said than done, but going in relaxed really does make it easier. Go into the meeting, introduce yourself, make sure to give everyone in the room a handshake, etc.
     
  4. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    I wish you luck as well.:thumb:

    Let your passion show through-I know that's hard sometimes when you are nervous or trying to analyze what they are asking. But that's the biggest thing that separates people from each other when we interview.
     
  5. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    What job are you interviewing for?
     
  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Read the interview threads here on the forums.
     
  7. bros

    bros Phenom

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    A few problems.

    I don't have a portfolio.

    Or a unit plan - my cooperating teacher for student teaching didn't let me do one.

    So I have a copy of my transcript from the university I attended, I should print out a transcript from my community college I attended - I don't think i'd be able to get an official copy in time for the interview.

    I can pick my best lesson plans - how many is a good number, four? Should they all be from student teaching or can they be any lessons I have taught?

    Yeah, most of my therapy session last week was starting to prepare for the interview, and this week we'll focus more on how to not get overwhelmed by anxiety in the interview.

    Yes, hopefully I interpret everything they say with haste and deliver an appropriate response.

    All I was told was that it was for one of the elementary positions I applied for. I applied for Teacher of Elementary – Computers/Basic Skills Instruction and Teacher of Elementary – Highly Qualified in Language Arts and Social Studies.

    I have been looking over them a bit.
     
  8. Bunnie

    Bunnie Devotee

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    No interview I have ever been on has asked for my transcripts. I wouldn't include that.

    It's a misconception that you need a unit plan in order to have a portfolio (even though I did when I didn't have teaching experience). Here's what I have in mine now all in a 1/2 inch binder:

    Résumé and letters of reference
    Certification, test scores and seminars
    Recent lesson plans (I've been teaching for 6 years)
    Student teaching lesson plans and observations with feedback
    A student teaching video I hand to principals.

    Honestly I should remove most of the student teaching stuff except the video. Principals love getting a video of you teaching.

    I once went into an interview where another candidate had TWO 2inch binders FILLED to the brim with papers. So unnecessary. Sometimes principals don't even bother flipping through it.
     
  9. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Bros, it's Monday. Interview is Friday. You can, IF YOU HAVE THE DESIRE, put together a decent portfolio by then.

    Your college transcripts are not enough. Neither is throwing in a couple of lesson plans.

    Please stop saying that your cooperating teacher didn't let you do a unit plan. You could have done something, and you didn't. She didn't control what you did outside of school-you very well could have put together a unit plan based on what was going on in your classroom at the time. But you didn't.

    How are you going to prepare for an interview that could be one of two positions? You will need to have specific answers at the ready for each. What do you plan to do about that?

    Bros, if you continue to make excuses about why you don't have this, that, and the other, Friday is not going to go well for you. Consider how many other candidates WILL have a portfolio, and WILL know what job they are interviewing for, and WILL NOT be overwhelmed by anxiety by talking to a group of people. What are you going to do to stand out from that bunch?
     
  10. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I don't think you should bother bringing your transcripts unless you have been specifically directed to do so.

    You didn't do a unit plan? Even for a college class? You could create one before your interview, but you should definitely try to create one for the next interview down the road.

    You didn't create a portfolio? Do you at least have all the things that typically go into a portfolio?

    An important part of any interview is being able to connect with the interviewer. Try to be relaxed and friendly. Make eye contact. Practice handshakes with someone who will give you honest feedback. Actually, practice the whole interview with someone who will give you honest feedback.

    I strongly recommend avoiding any mention of your disabilities during an interview. I think that you might need to come up with a different answer to the question of why you got into education.
     
  11. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    You can create a few lesson plans TODAY. I would include maybe 2-3 lesson plans. I'm not sure if you need a unit plan.

    My portfolio included a cover letter, resume, 4 reference letters, transcripts, credential copy and 2 lesson plans.
    Except for 1 reference letter and the 2 lesson plans they already had everything when I applied, but I figured it would be strange to just have 2 lesson plans. I bought a nice leather case portfolio, it had 12 plastic sleeves so I wanted to fill it. I think it was just right. This way they had everything together.

    I created those lessons for that interview. Sure, I already had taught 1 of the lessons before, but didn't have it typed up. I also focused on the student population the position had, and the second lesson plan for a very different lesson, and instead of 1 class period it spanned over a week (it was about writing an essay)
     
  12. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Here is how the phone call went:
    "Hello"
    "Hello, is bros there?"
    "Speaking."
    "Hello, i'm <Name> calling from School District about the elementary position you applied for. We are holding interviews on April 25th at School and we have you scheduled for 10:00 AM, is that time good for you?"
    "Yes."
    "Okay, bye."
    *she hangs up*

    I have all of the parts that go into a portfolio - educational philosophy, I have a lot of good lessons I have taught (but knowing a good number of lessons to include would be nice, maybe 5?), I have a unit plan that I developed for one of my classes in college - but it was developed collaboratively with a group. However, some of my lessons from the end of my student teaching made up the back half or beginning half of a chapter in the text that the teachers followed. That would constitute a unit, though there was no cumulative assessment at the end of the unit.

    I have lessons that cover Kindergarten Math, Science, LAL and Social Studies, along with 4th grade Math, Science, LAL, and SS, and 5th grade LAL and SS.
     
  13. bros

    bros Phenom

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    I want to put together a portfolio. I was just asking what I should put in it so I do not look like a moron.
     
  14. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    If it's a lesson you're proud of, throw it in there. I'd consider 4 lesson plans to be a minimum. It does not HAVE to be a lesson you've taught, either. If I remember correctly, your student teaching experience was at a grade level you probably shouldn't actually teach, so it might be good to have other lessons, even if they are just theoretical. I was certified 1-6 in New York for El.Ed. and SPED, so I had a lesson plan for each grade level. I was certified K-12 for music, so I included two lesson plans for each level (elementary, middle, and high school). Truthfully, I have never sat in on an interview where a principal asked to see my portfolio... although I have been told that me giving them a mini-portfolio to keep helped get me my second job.
     
  15. Bunnie

    Bunnie Devotee

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    You can include the unit plan you did collaboratively. I had it in my portfolio after I graduated. No student is made to do that alone.

    What would be even better is if you had student work samples or pictures to go along with the lessons you taught, that is the only reason I still have them in my portfolio.
     
  16. bros

    bros Phenom

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    My student teaching was K, which was difficult due to my disabilities, but I did well with it. I'll include some good lessons that i've taught. What's the limit of what I should include?

    I have pictures of students doing some lessons I taught, but I don't have releases from parents, so I would not feel comfortable providing pictures to an interviewer.
     
  17. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Digitally alter the photos so their faces are blurred. Back before we had that technology, I put little smiley face stickers over the faces.
     
  18. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    This saved me a few minutes.
     
  19. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Google 'teacher portfolio sample'. Also look on Pinterest.
     
  20. Math

    Math Cohort

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    I just want to say it sounds like a nice position. Good Luck! :)
     
  21. MissD59

    MissD59 Comrade

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    Your program in college didn't require you to put together a teaching portfolio? That's extremely odd.

    That being said, I have never once been asked for someone to see my portfolio during an interview. I have been requested to email a digital version of my portfolio for job applications before.

    Everyone has given you good advice so far. In grad school, they assigned certain parts of our portfolio (philosophy of education, reflections, etc) as part of our seminar, so we were really making it the whole time. Google examples of portfolios, and see what you can throw together by then. If you'd like, you can include copies of your transcripts in the portfolio. To be honest, I've never been asked for my transcripts at a first interview, although I have had them requested just for applying to jobs AND after I was hired for a job. If you want, bring them just in case.

    If you have examples of student work to go along with the lesson plans, that is great too. Again, like the photographs of students, you can scan in the student work and blur out their names or any other identifiable markings on the work in any editing program on the computer. Copies of certifications are usually requested here in NY, so I threw those in my portfolio as well. Again, I've been asked for those by administration, so I actually like to put together a folder for interviews. My folder includes a space for my business card (you can get these folders at staples), my resume, cover letter, letters of recommendation, copies of my certifications, and unofficial transcripts. This way, the person interviewing me has all of my information in one place, and can keep it if they choose to in an organized package.

    Breathe. Research the school. You have time to throw this together.
     
  22. bros

    bros Phenom

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    I am not trying to be oppositional. I am sorry if my phrasing came across as such.

    Okay.

    As part of my capstone, we had to put together a teacher work sample, which included an introduction (how our teaching style tied into the college's pillars of Knowledge, Skills, and Values), Contextual Factors of the District/School/Classroom that we taught in, Learning Goals for a group of lessons (Some were able to do a unit, others weren't, but the lessons had to use at least one of the learning goals), an Assessment Plan for the learning goals/lessons, how the learning goals align with student needs/overview of the lessons & descriptions of activities performed and technology used, a part on how the lessons went and how you would improve, a part on how the students did before and after the lessons along with charts, and a part that was an overall reflection of your student teaching experience.

    The district has scans of my certifications already.

    Can't research the school - don't know what school the position is at, but I am familiar with all but one of the schools in the district, so there is a good chance I will be placed at a school that at the very least, I know the basic layout of (or at least what it was when I attended it).
     
  23. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    I would call HR and confirm which position you are interviewing for. This will help you tailor your answers to the individual position and will allow you to research the school.
     
  24. sue35

    sue35 Habitué

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    Bros have you thought of applying for private, religious schools? They might be more understanding of your position. I got my job at my Catholic school without a portfolio (I had one but forgot it, I had shingles-long story). Also, they have been more than accommodating due to my disease. Public school wouldn't be nearly as understanding.

    Also, did you get the letters of reccommendation?
     
  25. bros

    bros Phenom

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    I'm not exactly religious - was raised without any religion, so I am unsure if a religious school would be a good fit for me. My DVR counselor says that looking into private sped schools and sped charter schools might be a good idea, though.

    I didn't get the letters of recommendation, but maybe my CTs just gave them to HR? Since it is the same district I student taught in that is interviewing me.
     
  26. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Why not?
     
  27. sue35

    sue35 Habitué

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    You don't necessarily have to be religious to teach in a religious school, especially if you were a specials teacher, like technology. I would look into it and the schools that were recommended for you.

    Why no letters?
     
  28. miles2go4u

    miles2go4u Rookie

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    You definitely need to have a portfolio. You have time to prepare some of the things I am listing below, but this is what I would suggest you put in. Get a nice 3 ring binder- mine is about 1.5" with plastic sleeves.

    These are the basics

    -resume/cover letter
    -test scores, transcripts, teaching certficate
    - reference letters
    - evaluation reports of someone who saw you teach
    - sample lesson plans, back to school night activities, etc.

    Now spend the rest of your time researching the school and district. Look at their student population, test scores, special ed population, classes offered, etc. Write down at least two questions you would like to ask them. I've always been asked if I have any questions and it is a great oppourtunity for you to turn the tables and get them. If you show interest in their school and they see you've done your research you will stand out even more.

    How to act? Be calm, cool, collective. Smile, shake hands, and don't be afraid to take a breath and get your thoughts together before answering their questions!
     
  29. MissD59

    MissD59 Comrade

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    I don't know of any job, education or otherwise, that is going to hire you without references. It is YOUR responsibility to ask for letters of recommendations from your cooperating teachers; they don't just do it automatically.
     
  30. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    A wise woman has compared a successful interview to cocktail party conversation. Be calm, smile, make eye contact, and discuss answers to questions, don't just recite memorized responses. An interview panel isn't interested in hearing canned responses; they are interested in getting to know the person sitting across the table and connecting with them.
     
  31. bros

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    I don't know. I called multiple times and sent emails, never got responses.

    I check one of the sites that a lot of school jobs are posted on, njschooljobs.com, daily, to see if jobs are posted that fit my certification.

    I have a resume, no cover letter, I can get copies of my Praxis II scores, my transcripts, and my certificates. I have no reference letters, but I have mid-term and final evaluations from my cooperating teachers and my university supervisor. How many evaluation reports should I include? I have like 12 of them.

    I'll include some sample lesson plans.

    I already know about the district. Don't know what job the school is in - the district site only said "Elementary Schools"

    Which probably means some people are going to get transfers, because it is near the end of the year, when transfers are processed. I know about the student population etc. because I had to research that for my teacher work sample.

    I can't really think of any questions that I could ask.

    Other than like "How well would you say the teachers at the school integrate technology into their lessons?"

    I already did. I have called, I have emailed, I have heard nothing.

    I'm not very good at connecting with others. I can try to fake it though. I think I am good at that. I don't know though.
     
  32. Rhesus

    Rhesus Comrade

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    True. I am not particularly religious but I have been working happily at a Catholic school for the past six years. Among my colleagues are several other agnostics, various Protestants, an atheist, a Hindu, and a Taoist.

    The school is concerned about professional competency and if one can be at least supportive of the school's mission.
     
  33. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Unfortunately I'd then assume your contacts are not comfortable writing a letter of reference. They don't want to write a less than stellar truthful letter, so they're avoiding it altogether. If you want a position, you're going to have to do extra work on your end and impress hiring teams.
     
  34. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Teaching IS connecting--with colleagues, administrators, students, parents, the community. I know that social interactions are difficult for you, but, in order to teach, you need to work at being able to find an authentic way to connect.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2014
  35. bros

    bros Phenom

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    At least one of them seemed supportive of me when I encountered her back in January - she was asking how I was doing, if I was on the sub list yet, etc.

    But I forgot to ask her then if she would write a letter of recommendation.

    Maybe my emails are going to spam by accident.

    I know that. I am good at connecting with the students. I think parents will be the most difficult for me to interact with.
     
  36. bros

    bros Phenom

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    I *think* it might be an issue with the school's spam filter, so i'm going to shoot both of them emails from my college email (rather than my gmail account sending email as my college email address), as sometimes the district's spam filter would interpret it oddly.
     
  37. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    As a parent, I would (and am, actually) highly offended to think that a potential teacher is going to "fake it".
     
  38. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    But you said you called "multiple" times without a response. If they haven't returned your calls or emails, I would have to conclude there is an unwillingness to provide a reference.
     
  39. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    It's Tuesday. If you're going to get a letter, you need it by Friday. I find it difficult to believe you'll get it at all, but if you do, you're in phone call territory, not email. I can tell you for a fact that if you send an email, even right this second, that you would not have a letter in hand by Friday. You probably wouldn't by phone either, but it's at least possible.
     
  40. bros

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    Maybe that wasn't the right way to phrase it.

    When I am outside at like a store or something, I am much more muted than when I am at home or school. When I am at home, I am not steeling myself mentally to compensate for stressors, like I am when I am at school. After a long day of student teaching (like during conference week or back to school night), I would require a few hours listening to music or watching TV to release tension and anxiety before I would be at my normal levels of latent anxiety. I guess that is sort of an introvert thing?

    Does that make any sense or does it make me sound insane?

    When I am outside now versus five years ago, I am able to hold my head up and make eye contact with people for limited periods of time without getting incredibly nervous. I am able to engage in conversation in public places without crippling anxiety.

    When I am in a school, like when I student taught, I was able to talk to my cooperating teachers with a bit of difficulty - sometimes I wouldn't know if I could interject in a conversation to ask a question - social cue stuff. I was able to interact with the students without any difficulty, I have never had issues with that. I was also able to talk to the principal with a small bit of difficulty when she did a short interview my first day in my placement.

    I attribute my... social growth, I suppose is a way to describe it, to my current therapist along with a few people who were in my pre-professional field co-requisite class the first time I did the field experience, as we had a little "study group" where we sat in the college library waiting to go to the night class we all shared. They understood my anxiety and social awkwardness and that helped my growth a bit, I think.

    I sent them emails telling them I have an interview on Friday, and I was wondering if they could write me a letter of recommendation for future interviews that I may have. I believe that is the correct phrasing to indicate that I want it for interviews that aren't the one on Friday.

    The exact way I phrased it was:
    "Dear Mrs. <Teacher>,
    <Greetings/Salutations here>

    I thought I should tell you that I have been called in for an interview for a teaching position in the town on Friday.

    <other comments, asking how the students are doing, commenting on how much progress I read about on the district site>

    Also, I was wondering if you got my notes asking if you could write me a letter of recommendation for me to bring to future interviews. I understand if you do not feel comfortable writing a letter of recommendation.

    Thanks,
    FirstName LastName
     
  41. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I'd say if you attempt to contact them again, you do it by phone. Some people just aren't email folks.
     
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