Please please please can we start a new one? (Or am I the only person preparing for an interview this early in the year?) Here are some of the most common and difficult to answer questions that I've been mulling over, plus my answers. If you have others, or critiques, please add!! Tell me about yourself. I moved to AK because.... At my first teaching job in Koyuk, I learned a lot... but decided to leave because... I ended up in Akiachak after that, and loved that region.... but decided to move on because... I am now teaching in Nuiqsut, and my job is great here, but before the plane even landed I knew I missed the Delta region (where Akiachak is and the district I'm applying for is) because... Everything I've heard about your district is positive.... I think I would be a good fit. What are your 3 biggest strengths? (or) Why do you think you would be a good fit at our school? 1. Flexibility and adaptability 2. Experience teaching in rural AK- you can be sure you won't get someone who will step off the plane, take a look around, and get back on (yes this actually happens sometimes) 3. Love of teaching What are your 3 biggest weaknesses? 1. I'm not Yup'ik (this would be sort of a joke.. the kids are Yup'ik, and obviously it would be great if all their teachers were too, but there ain't nothing I can do about that!) 2. I hate confrontations- I'll turn this into a positive by saying because of this I make sure to establish good rel'ships with parents 3. I won't take on too many added duties if they might interfere with my main responsibility as a teacher. Take me through a typical lesson. Assess prior to teaching- and make sure they know the vocab I'll be using before I teach a concept (ELLs) Today I taught rhyming- used the gradual release model First explained what and why- it will help you learn to read I do: modeled rhyming matching game We do: play together You do: pair kids who can rhyme with kids who can't yet- peer tutoring, to play on their own. Reassess informally. Later work in small groups with those who aren't getting it. How do you plan a unit? Right now doing a storytelling unit. First, looked at state standards Then, came up with goals- linked to standards Next, looked at prof. literature, worked with colleagues to come up with ideas for lessons Planned activities and assessments, making sure to include mult. intelligences and making it cult. relevant. Then, while implementing, adapted as needed. How do you integrate curriculum? University's ECE program really stressed inquiry approach and integration of subject matter- making it meaningful to kids. Science/SS don't need to be done separately- in a theme based curriculum, the themes are science or ss themes that are used to teach literacy and math skills. In today's lesson, we read "The 10 legged bear." The kids listened to the story without pictures (comprehension), sequenced the story, drew and labeled the parts of the story (writing), made sure they had 10 legs on the bear (math), and discussed new hunting vocabulary (science and SS). What would your math program look like? I use the gradual release model in math as well. I assess what they know, including vocab Then I explain the what and why, and directly teach the concept, giving examples. Then, individual white boards and we work together After that, we do workshop- work on new and review concepts with games. Use peer tutoring and small group or 1:1 for struggling students. Tell me about your reading program. I think it's especially imporant for ELL's to have a balanced lit. program where they have a lot of time to have conversations and discussions and develop their oral langauge. So I keep lecture to a minimum. I use both theme based curr. and direct instruction of concepts In K, schedule would start with a morning message- shared and interactive rdg and wrtg, Then reading workshop (daily 5) while I do guided reading groups Next, project work- promoting higher-level thinking This includes a read-aloud or choral read, discussion, research, followed by a writer's workshop, which is linked to the topic we're studying. Also make time for open-ended play, where I pull my RTI Tier 3 (or is it 1?) kids for their extra small group support. During this time kids are participating in all sorts of literacy activities of their choosing. If I walked into your room, what would I see? Kids independently following routines, having conversations, helping each other. You would feel a real sense of community in the room and a sense of joy in learning- the kids would be highly engaged, and could always tell you what they are learning and why. You would see kids working entirely independently while I worked with small groups, and very little behavior issues. Describe your philosophy of teaching. Believe in inquiry approach- child-centered learning All kids can learn DAP/Multiple intelligences Assessment/intentionality in teaching Importance of collaboration with colleagues and parents Cultural appropriateness Describe a lesson that went badly. Beginning of last year, taught a lesson on patterns. Was doing color patterns, they weren't getting it. Found out they didn't know color names. Had to stop and immediately adjust lesson. Did shapes instead, they picked it up much faster. Worked on color names the next few days. How would you adjust your teaching for ELL students? (All kids are ELL in this school) -Use a lot of visuals, constantly be reading their faces and responses for understanding. Go back and rephrase sentences. -Longer wait times to allow time for processing language -Gradual release model -Stay away from lecture, encourage kid's talking, build vocabulary -Lots of hands-on experience Do you enjoy collaborating with colleagues? -Important to have a lot of vertical dialogue in a small school -Last year, did reading buddies with 3rd grade -Have weekly collaborative meetings with elementary, brainstorm ideas for lessons with coworkers. What is your behavior management plan? -If kids are engaged, you have a good relationship with them, and they know what is expected of them, for the most part behavior problems are eliminated. -First day of school, we make up rules and model how to follow rules and routines. We practice them over and over. -After first few weeks, rarely any problems. -Ongoing problems need further assistance and planning. (I would give example) How do you involved parents? -I send home weekly newsletters, parents tell me they enjoy them -Something important, I call -Get involved in community events, talk to parents "on their turf." -Make sure they know they can come in anytime How do you differentiate instruction? -throughout day, -peer tutoring -small groups and 1:1 -Right now I'm doing this..... Most satisfying teaching moment? -When kids first learn how to read and are so proud. -One child last year was struggling all year, and the first time he could read a whole predecodable, he was so happy and I told him, "Wow, (name), you are SO smart!" The next day, he was reading again and I commented. He said, "Yep, cause I'm so smart." It wasn't even a question, he was sure of it! Tell us about your most challenging student. I had a 1st grader reading at a 3rd grade level last year. He was bored to death when we did phonics lessons. -Worked with coworkers and parents, decided to send him to 2nd grade for reading time. Worked out. -During workshop, he read a chapter book and wrote reviews at the end of them. What teaching methods do you use? -very little lecture -workshops -think-pair-share -class discussion -peer tutoring -white boards How do you use assessment? -before teaching, check background knowledge -Here, I use aimsweb, curr. assessments, my own checklists based on the standards, Individual learning plans, notes, portfolios Where do you see yourself in 10 years? -hopefully in your district -still in the classroom- no plans to move to administration -with my master's degree- i start working on it this fall part-time. -with more knowledge about the culture and teaching Why do you want to teach here? I've been looking for a combination of a good job and an area I enjoy living to make my home. I haven't found that yet, but I already know I love the area where your district is, and I've heard nothing but good about your school- that the teachers are happy, turnover is low, there is flexibility with the curriculum, and it seems like the district really cares about what the kids need and about keeping their culture intact. What would your writing program look like? -journal as part of the daily 5 (work on writing) -writing workshop integrated with current project- mini-lesson starts it out, focusing on the 6 traits and the standards What questions do you have for us? -What would my class size be? -What curriculums are available to help with planning? -What added duty activities or sports might be available that I could help with? -How far is teacher housing from the school? -The school's report card from last year looks really impressive. Is it accurate? And what do you believe makes your district unique from other villages that it is performing so well?