I have an interview on Thursday.

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by bros, Oct 7, 2014.

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  1. bros

    bros Phenom

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    It's for a 4th grade maternity leave position in a nearby district that was heavily affected by Sandy.
     
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  3. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Good luck!
     
  4. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Good luck
     
  5. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Should I mention, at least offhandedly, that I am disabled?
     
  6. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Only if it will negatively impact your ability to do the job. Yep, I read all of the fine print on those applications. They can ask about reasonable modifications that would be needed, but beyond that, if you say you can do the job, it doesn't matter. If those modifications include a new ramp and an elevator, that can be considered. If it simply means that you wear sneakers instead of high heels, it means nothing. Good luck!
     
  7. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I think you should mention that you can't do the job without technology and that you can't write. If I was an employer, I would definitely want the heads up. It wouldn't necessarily take you out of the running, but if I didn't have the resources you need to perform the job, I would have to decide if I could or could not get those resources for you.

    I don't think you need to mention that you can't walk long distances, lift heavy items, or stand for longer periods of time.

    How do you plan to get to this job if they offer it to you?
     
  8. bros

    bros Phenom

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    I'd take a taxi. It's 2 miles from my house.
     
  9. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Will this job affect your social security payments? I don't really know much about that. We are trying to get social security for our son right now (he will never work) so I'm interested in that issue right now.
     
  10. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Yes, I will not receive SSI for the months I work, but due to the fact that I will not exceed 9 months of earning over the SGA threshold, I will be able to keep my SSI after the LTS position ends. I will also be able to keep my medicaid through a state program (NJ WorkAbility).

    Here's some resources:
    The SSA Blue Book - the guide to SSA Disability Evaluation
    The SSA Red Book - the guide to Employment Supports for people on SSI/SSDI.
    SSA POMS (Program Operations Manual System) - the primary source of information used by SSA employees to process/handle claims for Social Security.
     
  11. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    It seems that your disabilities might be the 'elephant in the room' if you don't mention them. You should be honest about your needs...
     
  12. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Well they aren't really outwardly visible - I have skinny arms and I look skinny, but aside from me gesticulating to excess when nervous, my disabilities aren't noticeable unless they have me pick up a pen/pencil or have me try to do a dexterous task.
     
  13. bros

    bros Phenom

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    I think I have calmed my anxiety down enough so I can go to sleep for the interview tomorrow. Luckily it is in the afternoon.
     
  14. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Good luck today, bros. Hope you got some sleep.
     
  15. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Back from the interview (lasted about 10-15 minutes). Unsure how it went.

    They asked me:
    1. Tell us about yourself.
    I briefly mentioned how close I live to the school and that I have cerebral palsy, which makes it so I am able to empathize with students who might have difficulties in the classroom. I also stated that I finished my student teaching in December 2013, that I was rated an Accomplished Professional Intern, and that I graduated with a 3.6 GPA.

    2. How would you run your LAL block?
    I said that how i'd run it would depend on the curriculum, but i'd like to have some independent reading in it as getting students to read is of the utmost importance.

    3. How would you run your Math block?
    I said it'd depend on the curriculum, but I would try to come up with creative ways to teach the concepts, as math can be a dry subject for some students.

    4. How would you contact parents?
    I said I would contact them through e-mail, phone calls home, notes home, whatever was most convenient for the parent.

    5. Classroom Management?

    I told them that ideally, I would prefer to allow students to have a hand in the rules of the classroom. Then they clarified their question by stating "Since this would be a temporary position, how would you handle going into a classroom with rules and procedures already in place?" I stated that I would go with the flow and keep the current style of management in place.

    6. How would you motivate students?
    I said it would depend on the subject, but if it were something like a case of the Mondays, I would try to get them to do a little bit of physical activity at their desks while reviewing something from the previous day.

    7. Are you familiar with iPads in the classroom?
    I stated that I was, from my student teaching.

    8. What about other technology?
    I stated that I was familiar with SMART Boards, anything Microsoft Office, and if you put a piece of software in front of me, I would understand the basics of it in 30 minutes easily.

    9. Are you familiar with DRA?
    No.

    10. How about cloze reading?
    I stated that I had learned about it in one of my classes.

    11. Do you have any questions?
    I asked about what kind of technology they have in the classroom. They answered.

    They said I should know by Friday (I don't know if this Friday, or next Friday), as they have a board meeting on the 21st, so they are moving quickly.
     
  16. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Oct 9, 2014

    Sounds like you had some solid answers ready to go.
     
  17. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Take these questions, regardless of whether you get the long term subbing position or not, and develop plans for each one. Type them up and put them in a portfolio. That way when you are asked these questions again, you can flip to that part of your portfolio to help you give more details. That will help you be more successful in future full time interviews.
     
  18. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Oct 10, 2014

    Flipping thru a portfolio searching for answers to basic questions is not a good thing...flipping thru a portfolio to show examples of teaching moments that illustrate ones philosophy and pedagogy, however, is a good thing...answers to basic questions as to how you would manage behaviors or teach literacy/math should be reflective of the candidate's identity as an educator....yes, one can tailor answers to fit a school's outlook but should be true to the educator in question....what is true and personal should not need to be looked up in a portfolio...it should be who one is.

    Your responses seem a bit light, bros..but I'm judging from a highly competitive district in North Jersey...consider fleshing out your responses though...it's a competitive state for any job and you want to be a compelling candidate.

    Did you hear anything today?
     
  19. bros

    bros Phenom

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    I had no idea what kind of responses they would've wanted to those questions.

    Didn't hear anything today. So they probably meant next Friday.
     
  20. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    For most candidates, yes, I totally agree with you but bros has shown he interviews very quickly. Maybe having something in front of him might help him flesh out his answers. He needs to do something different. His answers wouldn't get him hired here and this year my school just about took anyone with a pulse.
     
  21. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I'm sure the interviewers were looking for responses that indicate a candidate has a firm grasp on the curriculum, strong classroom mgt skills, passion, experience and capability to not only bring one's own strengths and style to the position but to also fit easily into an already established classroom culture. Grade 4 in NJ is a PAARC testing grade and 4th grade teachers' yearly evaluations depend, in part, on student growth percentile. A LTS in a fourth grade classroom needs to have a strong understanding of how to effectively deliver the CCSS so as to best facilitate student understanding. The interviewers may have been looking for this awareness and a plan to deliver such instruction in their questions about the teaching of ELA and math.

    Good luck, bros.
     
  22. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    I think your answers were okay, like cza said, a bit light. Give more detail as to what your literacy and math blocks would look like. By that I mean, use examples. Give examples of how you use ipads or cloze reading.

    Good luck.
     
  23. bros

    bros Phenom

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    The position wasn't just ELA and math - it's an inclusive fourth grade, where the students switch teachers for Math.

    All they asked was if I was familiar with cloze reading. As in if I knew what it was. The principal whispered, audibly, to the director of curriculum "He should know this." (And I said "Yes, I believe I learned about it in one of my classes")

    They understood that I wasn't familiar with DRA - one of them said to the other in a hushed tone "Yeah, not much place for DRA in Kindergarten."
     
  24. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Bros...you wrote of being asked and answering the ELA and math interview questions...These are the content areas tested in PAARC. Fourth grade is a high stakes position. You were asked several questions about the teaching of these subjects which shows the importance placed on this content in their minds. Administrators want candidates who have a more complete understanding of teaching strategies and practices outside of just having read or heard of such in a college class. They are looking for you to expand your answers to demonstate this deeper understanding. Even in other subject areas, CCSS calls for all teachers to be teaching reading across the content areas. A more solid grounding in these areas and understanding of best current practices in the delivery of instruction would put you in better standing.

    The principal and director of curriculum whispering about what you wouldn't know is not a good sign in terms of how they were perceiving you as a candidate for the position:sorry: (and also bad form as administrators :rolleyes:)
     
  25. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    :yeahthat::sorry:

    Bad form as administrators or unprofessional?

    Either way, take this as a learning experience. Learn more about DRA and cloze reading.
     
  26. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Bad form and unprofessional.

    I'd advise to not just learn more about DRA and cloze reading but to read up on, observe and get experience (sub or aide positions?) in the current, best practice teaching strategies of language arts and math. Just 'having kids do some independent reading' is not the TEACHING of reading and having clear examples of how to effectively teach core content, motivate students and manage behaviors are areas in which all new teachers should reflect, learn and be able to effectively communicate an understanding of and capability in putting theory into practice.
     
  27. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    In reading your responses to the questions asked of you, I don't get the impression that you fully understand the content you'd be expected to teach or the strategies you'd use to teach them. The interview is the place, the one and only place, for you to show them that you know those things.

    You can never just say, "Oh, yeah, I read about that in one of my classes." You should be able to say, "Yes, I'm familiar with that strategy, here's why I think it is beneficial to students, and here's an example of a time I used it successfully."

    When you are asked to describe what an average day would look like in a particular subject area or block, you should be able to be specific. I don't mean that you should have your block planned down to the minute; rather, you should be able to describe the many and varied activities you'd do in a given block, along with the components of an effective lesson you'd use. Saying that you'll incorporate independent reading is not good enough. It doesn't inspire confidence that you understand the importance of ELA within the curriculum as a whole, that you would know how to teach a given ELA lesson, that you would know strategies and best practices for helping your students understand a given ELA lesson, or that you know what elements should be present in a given ELA lesson. Do you know those things?

    When the interviewers made the "he should know this" comment, how did you interpret that comment at the time? Now that you have had time to reflect upon that comment, how do you interpret it now?

    Going back through your play-by-play of the interview, can you reflect on each of your answers? Now that you've had time to think about your answers, which answers can you rate as being competent and complete? Which answers need some work? Maybe we can help you flesh out something a little better.
     
  28. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    In addition to what is mentioned, if you ever do run into a situation where you honestly do not know or are not as familiar with a particular strategy, assessment, etc..., I would suggest showing some great enthusiasm towards learning about what you were unfamiliar with. For example, in interviews earlier this summer before I finally landed a position, I knew that while I had a small bit of experience with the GLAD strategies, that I was not as knowledgeable nor experienced as others, and made sure that I emphasized my excitement for professional development opportunities (whether reading, talking to other colleagues, or actual PD events) to help me more effectively use the GLAD strategies.
     
  29. bros

    bros Phenom

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    I know about cloze reading. Learned about it in one of my classes. We had one three hour session of a class dedicated to cloze reading.

    District I live in still hasn't called about subbing. Applied for para/aide positions when they come up, at least the ones that are worth it money-wise and that I can physically do.

    I don't know what you mean by what elements would be present in a language arts lesson.

    If it is grammar, the concept is taught whole group, then they do a worksheet, then they get another worksheet for homework.

    If it is reading, the whole class reads a story over like two days, then they do activities to gauge comprehension of the story.

    During student teaching, it was more that the students worked on one letter for the whole week, then one day a week, the teacher would read a book to them and they'd be asked questions to gauge comprehension.

    I interpreted the "he should know this" comment at face value - as the principal, who said the comment, attended my university.

    I still interpret it the same way?

    My answers were a bit fuller in the interview, I think, but I am not sure.

    The one that just threw me for a loop was how I would teach a block - because it would vary day-by-day and lesson by lesson.

    What's a GLAD strategy?

    Also, it's not like I haven't heard of DRA - I am just not familiar with it. I know it is a reading benchmark assessment used with general education students and its efficacy can be a bit spotty at times with special education students.
     
  30. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Guided Language Acquisition Design
    The schools I interviewed for those times were ones that had a high percentage of students who were English Language Learners, so I knew it would come up.

    And that's all I was saying - was that while you've heard of it, you are also unfamiliar with it, and so instead of just leaving it at that, pointing out that you are driven to do professional development around it so that you can better understand it and how it will tie into what you are doing in the classroom...will lead to a better chance at a job, as they will see that you are willing to take the initiative to develop yourself as a professional in areas you know are not your strongest suit. No professional will know everything; we all have our weaknesses. Most often, schools are looking to hire those that have a strong set of skills, but also the willingness and drive to be a lifelong learner themselves, and highlighting that goes a long way!
     
  31. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Oh, bros....
     
  32. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Oct 12, 2014

    Your response here about not knowing the elements of a lesson are concerning and your view of the teaching of literacy illustrates your lack of experience and knowledge of best practices. Worksheets aren't reading instruction. Of course content varies day by day based on the standards you are covering but what would reading or math or any content block look like in your class room? You need to paint a picture...and quite frankly, read a story for two days and fill out a worksheet doesn't sound engaging or motivating and it isn't the teaching of reading. It's busy work. And the picture painted by such a response is not of an educator who would be engaging students :2cents:

    Here's a description of what reading looks like in a classroom in my building:
    Students and teacher would gather on the carpet for a mini lesson in which a reading skill, comprehension strategy, etc would be taught using high interest mentor texts
    Guided practice with teacher listening in on turn and talks, higher order thinking questions utilized to bring out deep thinking
    Charting of strategies on anchor chart
    Students go off to use the skill in their independent reading...all students are in books of their own choosing at their own developmental levels
    Students saving thoughts about their reading on post its or in reading notebooks
    Students might be reading in partnerships, book clubs or independently depending on unit of study
    Teacher confers individually with student readers to check for comprehension and application of skills and to differentiate based on needs
    Group re-gathers to share and for lesson closure

    This same structure works for writing as well. Math can be similarly structured, although one could include more group think problem solving, math games and math 'talk'.
    Bottom line, an administrator walking past a classroom with this kind of structure is seeing kids who are engaged, doing the work of learning to read/write/think and communicate understanding, taking ownership of their learning. It's not about worksheets or packaged programs. Candidates who answer as you did above or as described in your interview post simply are not competitive bros..I'm not saying your answer has to match the description I just provided, but certainly you can see how such a fleshed out description would paint a compelling picture of who one is as an educator. Unfortunately the picture painted by minimalist answers about worksheets and 'making sure there's time to read independently' paints an entirely different picture.

    Does your college offer workshops for graduates in interview skills? A brush up might help. You would be well advised to also do some professional reading on current core content teaching practices.
     
  33. bros

    bros Phenom

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    I don't think they offer interview help at all.

    During my field experiences, all I saw were teachers who did worksheets - or for the teacher who did resource room, it was 20 minutes of whole group, 10 minutes of small group, 10 minutes of independent reading, and 20 minutes of READ180.
     
  34. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    I'm giving you an assignment. Read The Daily Five and Cafe books. Come back and then answer how your ELAR block would look like.

    Go....
     
  35. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Is that not just one way to teach LAL? Should I not read other ways to teach it?

    Since to the perfectly frank, my program taught things very unevenly - they assumed that everyone knew a certain concepts or thing (And they would always blame the person who taught the pre-requisite)

    One of the big examples: Centers. None of us knew what center's were, until the semester before student teaching, when all of our professors kept talking like we all knew what a center was. They acted shocked and wondered why we hadn't been told about centers in previous classes.

    Another example was how we had two classes on reading instruction - one on teaching LAL/Reading, where we honestly only did two assignments - the first of which was to evaluate a child using the Bader Reading & Language Assessment Inventory (And the professor was quite angry at anyone who didn't readily have access to a child - she was under the impression that everyone trying to become a teacher is a child of a teacher, or they have nieces or nephews they can evaluate), the second assignment was to get a children's book, read it, and pretty much give a book report on it. Took six weeks to get through ~30 book reports. It was painful.

    The second class, it was taught by a a professor who normally taught at the graduate college of education and had no idea of our requirements - like how we had previously taken a course on reading instruction. She also believed the course was for PreK-3 majors (when it was specifically for K-5 SPED majors), so all of her lectures were geared towards early intervention, then she spent a week discussing literacy in 2nd & 3rd grade - that's the class I learned about cloze reading in, actually.

    She didn't really teach us about it, more gave us a worksheet with a passage, had us read it, then gave us another worksheet with every fifth word being a blank space and told us to fill it in.
     
  36. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    OMG Bros...did you also suggest that students take out their slates and Mcduffy readers?

    I'm serious here...is that all you know about teaching language arts?
     
  37. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    And you had no questions about that practice, bros? Either you are misunderstanding these teachers use of response worksheets or your school did you a great disservice in preparing you. Again, while I know you aren't specifically an LA teacher candidate, EVERY gen ed teacher in elementary school pretty much teaches reading/writing. Sped teachers may use different resources but of all places, a resource room should be where there is differentiated learning focused on each student's needs. And in middle schools, there is a demand for content area teachers to be incorporating reading and writing with critical thinking skills tied to evidence in the text (CCSS standards) across the curriculum. To paraphrase the P from your recent interview, 'you should know this'.

    The book recommendation above is a great one. Other professional reading you might consider are:
    Mosaic of Thought (more philosophy than nuts and bolts)
    Strategies That Work
    Notice and Note
    Anything by Kylene Beers, Lucy Calkins

    And no, the CAFE books and Daily Five are not 'one way to teach reading'. They are both researched based and offer strategies for how to manage, teach and facilitate literacy learning through different structures.

    It's not always someone else's fault, bros..."we didn't know what centers were, I didn't know what the interviewers were looking for, I wasnt given an opportunity in ST to do this or that"....it's time, bros, to do the work you need to do to become a viable candidate for a teaching position or to reconsider if this is the field for you.
     
  38. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    It's a start, bros. You need to start somewhere if you ever want to get hired. After you read these two, read some more. I would NEVER tell a teacher to quit researching and learning. I read a professional book every year.
     
  39. Luv2TeachInTX

    Luv2TeachInTX Comrade

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    Oct 12, 2014

    Some things you might have mentioned:

    Doing a read aloud every day
    Integrating poetry/choral reading
    Putting students in guided reading groups by DRA level
    Incorporating literacy stations while you meet with your groups (Word work, writing, library, poetry, computer, etc.)
    Modeling writing in a mini lesson, conferencing with students and having them share their writing

    I would highly recommend reading Fountas and Pinnell's Guided Reading to help you with getting ideas on how to set up a language arts/reading block. :)
     
  40. Bunnie

    Bunnie Devotee

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    Oct 12, 2014

    I think you need more classroom exposure before you go for a full time position. I think subbing or being a TA will do that for you. The answers you provided won't land you a job. You need more experience. You can't blame your university for not teaching you at this point. You need to start picking up some books that were suggested here and then start subbing to get a feel for what it's like to teach. I know you have great intentions but it's not enough. In my opinion you're not ready to have your own class yet, and that's ok, most of us had terrible first years in retrospect.

    Really take a lot of the advice given here. You won't interview better until you self teach yourself the things your university didn't. It's also beneficial to sub to see how different teachers teach.
     
  41. ninnee

    ninnee Rookie

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    Oct 12, 2014

    Hi bros, long time lurker not a big poster. If I remember previously you had said you came from kean, correct? I go there now and am in my student teaching. I'm pretty sure we have an interview help service as well as cover letter and resume help. One professor just recently told us about a class that talks about interview strategies. I'm not sure where in jersey you are but you should really call kean as they should be able to help or at least lead you in the right direction.
    When you student taught did you talk to your CT or supervisor. I'm only in junior field right now but I'm learning a lot and have been included in DRE's. I have witnessed the worksheets but there is aleays an lesson or activity that meads into them. Im also suprised you never learned about centers. All my classes have bought up centers. I think we had the same professor for the LA/Reading class. I second what others have said about picking up some of those books to read. I'm rooting for you bros and I hope you'll finally get the job you deserve.
     
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