I have an interview on Friday. Tips?

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

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  1. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Apr 23, 2014

    In fairness, they are sticking to discussing things that he himself fully concedes he is unable to do. There was a thousand post topic over this. Bros has a lot to offer in terms of legal knowledge and desire to help children with special needs, but he also has some unbelievably large hurdles to hop over, to the point that I'd say it would be impossible for him to teach on a day where his school had a lengthy power outage. Nobody here is telling him anything that, going by his own words, those who know him and have worked with him in "real life" have not already told him.
     
  2. allaragallagher

    allaragallagher Comrade

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    In fairness, he posted about advice on his job interview -- not his career. He never said he couldn't do something. He said it is harder for him, and that in certain situations he needed help or accommodations. My mind is blown by the "why should my child have to wait 20 seconds longer" comment. Seriously? I sure hope your child never has to wait 20 seconds longer to get on a bus behind a student confined to a wheelchair, or be in a classroom and have to wait 20 seconds while an autistic child gets ushered out of the room. I would hate for your child to have to learn empathy and patience because she has a teacher who might take 20 seconds longer on something.

    I just can't believe how this is how grown professionals talk to another grown professional. Yes, bros does not drive. Get over it. As long as he makes it to work on time it should be none of your concern how he gets there. Yes, he lives with his parents. I don't know his circumstances. I haven't lived a day in his life. Maybe living independently is not in the cards for him. If he can perform his job as a teacher with reasonable accommodations than more power to him. He said he needed help getting a button down shirt on? Shame on you if you imply he is lazy or making excuses.

    It's just kind of sickening to see him treated like this and for him to keep making such level headed responses. I *understand* he didn't have key supplemental materials and, it's been mentioned, he had a rough student teaching experience. So do plenty of other people. He's young. Nobody's perfect. A girl in my graduating class didn't bother to get any letters because her family just wanted her to have a college degree. She isn't even working now. Maybe he was treated like he is being treated on these boards. Maybe his cooperating teacher thought he would never actually try to get a job, so why bother writing a letter. I don't know these things but neither do you. He is trying his best.

    /rant
     
  3. Lurker

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    You're taking something I said out of context. We all have things we don't do well, or can't do, but hopefully there's something to make up for it. Am I the best teacher? No, but I speak three languages fluently and have two certs. That's what I'm bringing to the table. I knew a teacher who could play instruments. That made up for her short comings. My question to bros was what makes up for his short comings? Why should he be hired? Why is he the best person for the job. NJ is not a state hurting for teachers. There a lot of people with more to bring to the table who have portfolios, who have letterS of recommendation, and actual classroom experience. His response to that is either his disability or his empathy. How is that good for the students? Are you a parent? I don't care if an Olympic gold medalist is teaching my children. If they tell me "I don't know" or "I don't do something because I was never taught" I will FLIP OUT. I'm a momma bear.

    The things we do know are things Bros is telling us. I wasn't a member, but I read here often. Have you read his student teaching thread? I wouldn't let him be in charge either from the things he told us. Bros, requires a lot of hand holding. Look at other threads on here. People ask for advice. It's almost like Bros wants us to the do work for him or special treatment. If this is wrong, I'll apologize. On the other hand, Bros this is how you're coming off. It's your word we're going off of.
     
  4. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Apr 23, 2014

    I've been kind but honest with bros over the past several months as has most every member. It actually surprises me that anyone who is aware of his journey thus far can defend him. Maybe it's a matter of rooting for the underdog?

    Man, I seriously want you, bros, to have a happy and successful life. There is nothing you've ever said that makes me dislike you. Sometimes I want to shake you (lol), but only because I sincerely want you the best for you and I feel you're your worst enemy. None of my advice or reactive posts come from a mean place. Just know that.
     
  5. kcjo13

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    There is a LOT of history here, beyond this thread. A LOT of time invested in helping this young man, most of which was tossed aside, argued with, or just ignored.

    Two things:
    1. All of that advice wouldn't have been given if people didn't care.

    2. Most people who ask for advice take it, modify as needed, use it, and sometimes report back how it worked. Bros tends to ask, argue, and do what he wants to anyway. Repeatedly.
     
  6. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    I totally agree. Well said.
     
  7. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Apr 23, 2014

    For those that are new to the forums, the OP is a long time member and well known to all the regulars. There is a long history here, and the frustration on the part of many is evident. At this point, nothing has been posted out of spite or sheer meanness, at least in public. If Bros receives any additional mean or nasty PM's, he's free to report them and we will deal with them appropriately. If Bros feels attacked in any way publicly, he's also free to report those posts and we will take his feelings into consideration. As of now, I don't feel like the advise that has been posted is at all out of line. Sometimes it's painful to give or receive advise that isn't what the receiver wants to hear. It's not mean to say such things as long as they're said politely, and for the most part all of the responses have been quite polite, though some of them do have a frustrated tone to them. These are the honest opinions of the membership, and as long as they're worded politely, they will stand.
     
  8. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Apr 24, 2014

    My focus on my health was highlighted during my recent neuropsychological evaluation - where I had clinically significant elevations in the areas of anxiety, health concerns, phobic response, and social detachment.

    I try to dress myself. Every time I have a dress shirt on after I have slipped the mostly-button shirt onto myself, I try to button it. My fingers shake and I can't move my fingers dexterously enough to manipulate the button into the hole.

    No, I would say it is a fair assessment I would be unable to live alone without assistance at this time. I can do a lot of chores around the house, but some daily living activities, like dressing myself in a professional manner, cause issue, along with things such as using a knife to cut food, or even really preparing food beyond things that go in the toaster oven or microwave, which are not healthy in the slightest.

    In the event of a power outage, when I did my student teaching, I had my laptop with me with a spare battery, giving about 7 hours of battery life. I keep multiple copies of electronic presentations/lessons, including two copies on separate flash drives.

    If I get a teaching job, I plan on purchasing a projector or two - I would get a heavy duty actual projector, like around $800-$1200, then I would get a battery powered projector (around $300 for one that lasts 2 hours). Sure, battery powered projectors are very dim in terms of lumens, but they would suffice in the event of a power outage.

    It is a valid question to ask how I would get to work each day - I would set up a daily pickup schedule with the cab service I use, or perhaps I would provide them with a monthly schedule of pick up/drop offs for me.

    Living independently is not something I forsee for at least a few years and neither do my parents. My parents are fine with it.

    Their making excuses argument is valid when approaching it from the point of view of "He is good at analyzing what students need to succeed, why can he not focus on himself and see what he needs to succeed?" which is a good point to make, as I have not spent much time looking at adaptive clothing, as most of my time during college was spent on classwork or applying for social security/doing SSI related things. My mother was the one who was able to find the six shirts we have that fit me. It's rare that a dress shirt fits me.

    I make level headed responses because I take time to consider my replies before making them. I do not wish to tout my abilities, but I can be rather verbose in writing, whereas I sometimes lack eloquence while talking nervously (one of my doctors described me as being very loquacious).

    No, my afternoon cooperating teacher, at the very least, thinks I have a chance at getting a job. She asked me when I saw her back in January if I were on the sub list yet (Still haven't been called in for an interview - the person in charge of them has been busy since they got my certs, they've been dealing with arranging testing or something like that, last called them two weeks ago before they went on spring break)

    The way I have overcome obstacles is through the use of technology. I engage students through how I seamlessly integrate technology into almost all of my lessons.

    I don't need hand holding, but the way I prepare for something the best is if I have a list. I am a very list oriented individual. If I have a list of what I need, or a list of things I should do, I do it.

    The purpose of this topic was pretty much asking what I should bring to the interview and if anyone had any tips for me. Not asking what I should say in response to any and all questions I may be asked at the interview.

    My student teaching was a bit of an odd situation. Looking back on it, it was much better than I felt parts of it were at the time, as for parts of it, I thought I was going to fail miserably, because I did not think I would be able to do well at all in a Kindergarten class, as prior to my student teaching, my only experience was in third through fifth grade classrooms, where I did rather well.

    Sometimes I am my own worst enemy, be it overestimating my disabilities or a dash of learned helplessness. I understand the urge to want to shake me. Is it because I am perceived as.... stubborn, may be a good word to describe how I react sometimes? Perhaps routine-oriented.

    Yes, I remember some of the advice given in the student teaching topic that I tried to act on, but was seen as not enough by the posters here, which was probably valid.

    I tried to act on the advice given, but I sometimes take a little bit, be it a few hours or a day or two, for the advice to actually get to me. Sometimes my replies in the student teaching topic were rather terse, as they were made rather spur-of-the-moment, which I tend to avoid doing. One example of advice that is currently sticking out in my mind is around the middle of December - around two weeks before the end of my student teaching - I believe you or czacza implored me to ask the principal to come watch me teach a lesson, which I was ultimately unable to do due to the principal having a death in the family, then spending the days before winter break evaluating every teacher in the school.

    Some of the advice I would rebuff on the basis of not being told that by my professors or not having learned it in a class, which is a rather dumb thing to say on my part, as teachers are lifelong learners and should realize that you must be open to suggestions and be willing to collaborate with others in order to succeed.

    There have been times I have felt I have been attacked in posts, but then I go back and read it the next day, and I realize that was simply my anxious self reacting.

    So here is my list for tomorrow:
    1. Get up early so I can get a dress shirt put on (As I feel it would not be good to go to the school I student taught at wearing a t shirt and pants, as that just feels very unprofessional)
    2. Write up a cover letter
    3. Print out copies of my resume (Five?)
    4. Print out copies of the cover letter (same amount as the resume)
    5. Make copies of both of my certificates, staple the pieces of paper together (same amount as above)
    6. Make copies/print out copies of my transcripts (same amount as above)
    7. Print out some good lesson plans that I have taught

    Now here are my questions:
    1. How does that list look?
    2. With regards to a formal portfolio as many have mentioned, I am wondering if the Teacher Work Sample I was required to write for my student teaching is what you are calling a portfolio? Here is a description:
    A Teacher Work Sample is a process that enables teacher candidates to demonstrate teaching performances directly related to the implementation of a standards-based instructional unit by planning, instructing and assessing P-12 student learning. Candidates analyze student learning and reflect on their teaching effectiveness.

    The Key Process of a Teacher Work Sample are:
    Educational Philosophy, Contextual Factors, Learning Goals, Assessment Plan, Design for Instruction, Instructional Decision-Making, Analysis of Student Learning and Self-Evaluation and Reflection.

    The thing is, my TWS is around ~40 pages with all of the graphs.
     
  9. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    It would not bother me to hear "I don't know, let me find out" as a parent. Sometimes the fact is we may not know the answer to everything. I had a parent ask why her daughter's struggle with reading hadn't been identified before 10th grade. I have some guesses, but I didn't have her in class so I don't know for sure. I've had parents ask when the last day for seniors was. I had to check with our P to see if they picked a day yet (it depends on their behavior and other factors).

    I would want the teacher to say she or he would find out and then email me the answer. We're all human. I'm certainly not all-knowing. I've had to look things up for the students before too. Just yesterday they asked if Elie Wiesel was still alive. I was pretty sure he was, but I looked it up before giving them the answer.
     
  10. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    An interview panel will never ask to see your portfolio and having them flip through it is a waste of time. You need to USE your portfolio. When they ask questions about lesson planning pull out your portfolio and SHOW them a great lesson you planned. When they ask about your philosophy, pull it out and use it as your own reference. When they ask about a 'typical day in your classroom' pull out a hypothetical schedule and SHOW them. When they ask about assessment, pull out an example from your portfolio to SHOW them and discuss with them.

    You need to create a portfolio that is accessible for YOU so you can use it as a tool to demonstrate your skills.
     
  11. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Connoisseur

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    GOOD LUCK with your interview tomorrow...... :thumb:
     
  12. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Yes, I plan on organizing it with my cover letter in the front, then my resume, then my letters of recommendation, then my stapled together copies of certificates, then stapled together copies of transcripts, then my lessons in the back of the folder.

    And if my teacher work sample is something I should put in my portfolio - I'll put that in the right side of the folder.

    If it isn't, my lessons will go there.

    Thank you. I just got an email from the school confirming the interview.

    Question - if I get the letters of recommendation and they turn out to be in a sealed envelope, should I open the envelope so I can make copies of it? I spent like 30 minutes debating myself about that in my head before my mind let me fall asleep.

    My cooperating teaching emailed me back, she said that the letter should be ready in the office today, I just need to call the secretary to make sure it is ready, then I can go and get it (well i'll have to wait for the taxi to come and pick me up)
     
  13. teach1

    teach1 Companion

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    Best of luck, Bros! I've read and followed most of your threads, and I say with honesty that I hope everything works out for you. Try to relax tomorrow. Worst case scenario... it won't go well, but it will be a learning experience :)

    You have no idea who will be on that hiring committee. Maybe someone who has a relative with special needs, or a person that has overcome challenging obstacles in their own life. Let the hiring committee see all of your potential. Maybe *you* are exactly what they are looking for. Personally, I think that you have many things to offer and bring to the table.

    I admire how hard you are working toward your goal. I agree with others that there are other positions in the "education field" that seem more suited to you on paper. However, if you are dedicated to trying your hand at getting a teaching job, more power to you.

    I would love having you teach a child that is close to me, as long as you were hired by a competent hiring committee that was confident you could perform your duties. I have no issue with the fact that you might need to tell me "I don't know" sometimes, or that my child might need to wait a few seconds longer for one thing or another.

    However, in order to teach, you need to get hired. Stay on top of everything :)
     
  14. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    bros, I've got to say that your most recent responses are the most introspective posts I've ever seen from you. I think you're making progress. :) Chase that!

    Good luck tomorrow!
     
  15. bros

    bros Phenom

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    My anxiety is more under control recently than it has been in the past - further separated from major anxiety inducing events, like the start of my student teaching, which caused a lot of anxiety.

    When would be a good time to call the school to ask the secretary if the letter of recommendation is ready? Hmm. Probably within the next hour.
     
  16. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Connoisseur

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    I remember my first interview. It was at the school where I did student teaching. I knew the P, his secretary, the AP, and I was still pretty nervous when the questioning came! So, if you are nervous, that's normal....
     
  17. sue35

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    One thing you could do is ask for letterhead from the school. This way you could make copies of your letter of reccommendation on the letterhead. It looks better than just on computer paper. This is something I was told from my cooperating teacher.

    Good luck today and tomorrow!I am also a list person and it makes me feel so much better just writing one out
     
  18. bros

    bros Phenom

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    According to my CT who emailed me, the secretary is printing it on letterhead.

    And I just got an email saying that the letter is ready for me to pick up. Cab should be here within an hour.

    Yay for paying $16 roundtrip (before tip) to travel a total of 2.8 miles.
     
  19. bros

    bros Phenom

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    And i'm back with the letter of recommendation. They complemented my punctuality, knowledge of technology, and how students enjoyed working with me during small group instruction and that I was able to reach learners of all levels when teaching skills throughout the course of the school day.
     
  20. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Excellent! That should help you.
     
  21. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Okay.

    Made five copies each of my licenses.

    Made five copies of my letter of recommendation.

    Printed out five copies of my resume.

    Now I need to try to write a good cover letter describing why I am a good fit for the district.

    Anything else?
     
  22. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Connoisseur

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    Just go kick some a$$!!!!!!! :D
     
  23. sue35

    sue35 Habitué

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    Bros is it possible for you to walk one way to the school? I forgot what you said about that. It would save some money in the long-run.

    The idea between asking for more letterhead is that it doesn't look as professional if you have a zeroxed copy of a letter. If you zeroxed it onto letterhead it looks better
     
  24. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    None of the schools I have taught at would just give out letterhead paper. They will print as many copies as you want but you could type anything on that letterhead.
     
  25. bros

    bros Phenom

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    With the school I student taught at, I would not be able to walk there, I would have to cross a highway. I sometimes have difficulty telling how fast cars are going.

    With the school I am interviewing at, there wouldn't be a highway in my way, but it would still be too far for me to walk - I can walk about half a mile before needing to rest, the school I am interviewing at is 2.4 miles round trip.

    Basically if I get a job, i'm thinking by spending $500 a month on taxis, or around $5000 a year (since September-June is around ~9-10 months), I am spending somewhere around what someone might spend on a car a year - including gas, insurance, and maintenance.

    Or maybe a bit more. Or less. I have no idea. Never had a car.
     
  26. MissD59

    MissD59 Comrade

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    None of the districts I've worked at would ever just give out letterhead. All of my letters of recommendation have been written on school letterhead; I scan them into my computer, save them as a PDF, and print them out as I need them. Someone as tech savvy as Bros claims to be wouldn't be "xeroxing" letters of recommendation, he'd probably do them this way. I'm able to tweak the contrast of the letters so that none of the white paper detail is shown, and when you print it in high resolution, it looks just like an additional copy printed on the original letterhead. :) This is also good for applying to jobs online; makes uploading your letters of recommendation as PDFs easy, and they're already on the school letterhead.
     
  27. sue35

    sue35 Habitué

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    Really? I have gotten letterhead at every school I've worked at. I didn't ever request it, they gave it to me
     
  28. sue35

    sue35 Habitué

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    I never thought of that so I guess it's good I got the letterhead:) But that is a smart idea
     
  29. bros

    bros Phenom

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    I have a pdf of my letter of recommendation along with a high-res .png.
     
  30. bros

    bros Phenom

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    And I am getting ready to go to the interview now
     
  31. gr3teacher

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    Good luck!
     
  32. K1teach

    K1teach Companion

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    Good luck!!!
     
  33. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    Good Luck!!
     
  34. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Let us know how it goes.
     
  35. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Connoisseur

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    kick some tail and do your best!! :D
     
  36. bros

    bros Phenom

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    I'm back.

    The interview was like 10-15 minutes.

    They started off introducing themselves (I knew three out of four, except for the district's curriculum director) then by saying "Well, we normally start off interviews by telling candidates about the district and school and the views of the district, but since we know you and know that you attended and did field experience in the district, we can just skip that."

    Then they asked me questions
    1. Can you tell us about your educational background?
    I touched a bit upon how I was a graduate of the school district, did field work in the school district as part of my pre-service teaching, and I graduated with a 3.6 GPA with a BA in Special Education.

    2. Given the shift to common core, how would you teach students language arts with regards to the PARCC testing?
    I don't remember my exact answer, but I said something about how I would use a lot of informational texts and have students evaluate them per the standards.

    3. You mentioned informational texts, but what about tying informational texts to fictional texts, an example being the students reading To Kill A Mockingbird, then you using informational/nonfiction texts about trials?
    I would definitely do that, as most fiction has a basis in something real - so it is possible to tie at least the theme of almost any work of literature to an informational text.

    4. On the subject of reading, how would you encourage students to read for pleasure?
    As I am an avid reader myself, I would encourage students to read whatever they could find that interested them. It wouldn't matter to me if it were below grade level, because they would be reading something. I would highly encourage them to read something on or near grade level, but as long as they are reading, it is a great thing, as a love of reading is an amazing thing.

    5. What books are you reading right now?
    I told them what I was reading. They seemed to like my general description of what I was reading.

    6. Let's say you have an in-class support teacher, what kind of teaching model would you have?
    I would have a teaching model where the in class support teacher and I would engage in a dialogue with the class throughout the course of a lesson, as a special education teacher can help more than the students who are classified.

    7. On the subject of technology, let's say you are doing a social studies project where students are required to use the computer - how would you have the students use the computer to enhance their learning?
    When I teach lessons, I tend to use a lot of technology when doing so, and I hope that some of my practices would rub off on the students, but I would also instruct students in the basics of software like Microsoft Word and Powerpoint, in order to make a professional looking presentation.

    8. Sometimes, students with IEPs have many accommodations or modifications, how would you implement these accommodations or modifications in a lesson?
    I would plan my lessons with most common accommodations in mind, along with some like reduced number of multiple choice questions or less number of questions on page to reduce visual clutter and I would read the student's IEPs and remember their accommodations to best help them in the classroom.

    9. Do you have any questions?
    No.

    Then we got up, shook hands again, they told me it was great seeing me again, and the principal of the school said I did a good job. Then the person I did not recognize, the head of curriculum, told me the timeline, that this is the first day of interviews, then from this, they'll be calling back a series of candidates to do a demo lesson, then the candidate who we think should be chosen for the job will be recommended to the super, who will recommend the candidate to the Board, and they should be approved by the last board meeting of the year.

    I looked at some of the stuff they were writing down - I think they gave me a pretty decent score.
     
  37. Lurker

    Lurker Rookie

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    Apr 25, 2014

    I think your answers need more specific examples especially question three. Question four's answer would raise some red flags, put you in the do not call pile, in my school.

    I really think you you need to rethink the role of the inclass support teacher and your potential relationship. Number six is probably your worst answer. I want you to tell me why. :/

    Second worst answer is not having anything to ask them. Did they tell you what grade it's for? If not, you should have asked.

    I think you should get started on a demo lesson. You'll need one anyway. Better to have it sooner than later.
     
  38. sue35

    sue35 Habitué

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    Apr 25, 2014

    I think question four is a great answer. The type of school I would want to work at would appreciate and agree with that answer.

    Overall, I think these are good answers especially for your first interview. Good job!
     
  39. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Connoisseur

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    Apr 25, 2014

    I think everyone here will agree that not having questions to ask your interviewer is BAD. But, not having had much interviewing experience, take this as a learning tip. The next time you get interviewed, make sure you have questions to ask. :2cents:
     
  40. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Apr 25, 2014

    Question four is something I would definitely have asked more about. Is it for free reading? Required reading? How do you challenge them to stretch their reading ability and grow?

    I am assuming you went more in detail in your interview than you did here. You definitely need to use specific examples.

    Definitely ask questions. What types of technology do they have? How often do they set aside time specifically for collaboration? What types of PD do they offer?
     
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