Interested in Head Start Pre-K Position. Info/tips?

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by av71523, Jun 16, 2016.

  1. av71523

    av71523 New Member

    May 22, 2015
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    Jun 16, 2016


    I am located in GA, and I'm interested in applying for a Head Start Pre-K lead teacher position in my county. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education, but my classroom experience is limited to tutoring during middle school and high school, my one-year high school elective as a pre-k teacher assistant (3 year olds), and my student teaching experience in a 5th grade classroom.

    During my clinical observations, I did not have the opportunity to visit a Head Start classroom. If any Head Start employees could give me an insight into your typical day, your curriculum (again, I'm located in GA, but I'm interested in feedback from all areas), the pros and cons of the job, and the hiring process (especially interview tips), I would be so grateful!

    Thanks in advance for your help.
  3. ChildWhisperer

    ChildWhisperer Groupie

    Jun 25, 2015
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    Jun 16, 2016

    This will differ depending on if you're full day or half day. We have a few classrooms that are full day (kids are there 9am-3pm Mon-Fri) and the rest are half day classrooms (AM: 8-11:30 and PM: 12:30-4, but only Monday-Thursdays. Fridays are teacher planning days).

    There is A TON of required paperwork (CACFP, attendance, meal count sheets, snack count sheets, status changes, portfolios, anecdotal notes, 2 different types of assessments for each child, accident reports, unusual incident reports, parent/teacher conference forms, home visit forms, etc etc.) If it's not written down, it didn't happen.

    Here was our typical day this year (I taught half-days):
    8:00 - Children get dropped off either by parent or by the bus
    8:10 ish - Bathroom / Wash hands
    8:20-8:45 - Breakfast
    8:45-9:15 - Circle Time
    9:15-10:15 - Center Time / Brush Teeth
    10:15-10:30 - Story Time
    10:30-10:50 - Gross Motor / Recess
    10:50-11:05 - Snack
    11:05 - Get ready to go (get backpacks, coats, pass out notes for parents, etc)
    11:15 - Take kids out to the busses / wait for parent pick up
    11:30 - Bus departs
    11:30-12:20 - Teachers get their lunch break
    12:30-4:00 - Start all over again

    On Fridays, half-day teachers work 8:00-2:30 since there were no kids, we don't need to be there a full day. That was our day to do lesson plans, catch up on anecdotal notes, and prepare for the next week.

    3x a year we get observed from an outside organization that does CLASS (Classroom Assessment Scoring System) observations on all the teachers. If you score too low, you will go into "recompetition" for government funding & all that, so it can be stressful. You may score well & do great, but you're also depending on your fellow teachers to do great as well! Luckily, we've scored near or above the national average & never had to go into recompetition.
    Your supervisors will also observe, someone from the govt might also come and observe. Just be prepared to get observed a lot :)

    Children are absent A LOT throughout the year. Parents either just don't put them on the bus, or they can't drive them to school, or they just don't care (I'm not kidding). So I put the kids' names on everything. It helps me keep track of who's gotten each note, who's done which project, etc.

    One big pro is we follow the district's calendar so when they're off, we're off as well :) It probably helps that we're in the district schools (they lend us their empty/unused classrooms)

    For many of the children, YOU are their one constant thing in their lives. Their home lives may be normal, but it can also be pretty bad. They just love you so much. I had kids cry on the last day of school this year because they didn't want school to end.
    This is also their very first preschool experience. These kids are at the same academic level as the 2-year-olds from the area I used to live in. I went from teaching reading, writing, addition/subtraction, etc., to teaching colors, shapes, letters, numbers, counting even though it was the same age group.

    Here are some interview questions that I remember:
    -What would you do if you went on a home visit and the house was messy and the family was still in their pajamas?
    -What would you do if a child came to school and told you he was spanked with a belt?
    -What would a typical day in your classroom look like?

    Those are the only ones I remember actually.
    The first interview was really just a meeting with the HR manager and we just talked about my experiences/history and then those ^ questions were asked during a panel interview a couple weeks later. THEN, if you're patient, you have to get approved by the board, so really the whole process took about a month. I interviewed at other places during this time just in case.

    I just finished my first year in Head Start and honestly, I loved it. It definitely helps to have great coworkers! I went from teaching in a wealthy affluent area to one of the poorest areas in the country (or so they say), and I still loved it just the same :)
    Let me know if something is confusing or if you have other questions

    PS: Home visits are for you to talk to the parent about their child's education and see if they have anything educational in their home (even if it's just pencil, paper, books) and to see if they need any referrals or resources (you ask them). You are not there to judge their home, which many of the parents will think. So you have to remind them you are NOT with CPS or DCFS and you're not there to judge them.
    av71523 likes this.
  4. av71523

    av71523 New Member

    May 22, 2015
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    Jun 17, 2016

    Wow, ChildWhisperer, you gave me some wonderful information. Thank you so much! I'm still giving the position some consideration, so if I think of any other questions, I'll be sure to give you a shout. ;) Again, thanks for your feedback!

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