Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by Aliceacc, May 3, 2006.
May 3, 2006
Tell me a little about yourself.
As you can see from my resume, I've been a Stay at Home Mom since 2000. I have 3 kids: Brian, who is adopted from Korea, is 7. Six months after he arrived I was pregnant with Julia, who is 6. Kira is three.
In the time I've been home I've been busy. I do volunteer work greeting infant Korean adoptees at JFK and helping clear them through Customs & Immigration, then bringing them out to meet their new families. I'm also President of the Parent's Board at Kira's Nursery School.
Last summer I started Freelance writing. Right now I'm one of several people working on a 5th grade math textbook for a major publisher. The math is easy, but the formatting is a killer!
Aside from that, I'm a bad cook and a really bad houskeeper. But I'm a great math teacher-- my explanations are clear and I have a knack for getting the kids to understand difficult concepts. Now, if only I could get my kids to cook or clean, I would be all set!
I am eager to resume my teaching career after exploring special education from a different perspective. During the last few years, I have expanded my knowledge by taking classes on Autism and other spectrum disorders. In my current position, I am an effective advocate for a caseload of 27 developmentally disabled adults. I have excellent organizational skills and a desire to grow and improve in the field of special education.
Are you asleep yet... I want to be concise yet get them interested. Help please!
Alice, you sound like a natural... I sound like a textbook... what I say is authentic.. but I don't think it is giving a clear view of who I am.
I also do volunteer work which I didn't get to mention
I only have a sec-- I'm in between Brian's homework and 4:30 tutoring.
Honestly, I think a little self-depreciating (sp) humor is a lifesaver. Tell them something non-teaching related that you're really bad at. Thnk of the interview as a glorified cocktail party-- minus the glass of wine. I think the objective is to be yourself, but your best self.
So, for example, tell us a little more about your current work-- what's its greatest challenge? Is there a funny story you could insert, or a real heart warming one?
And tell us more about the volunteer work. I think that's a biggie-- it really speaks of your committment to a cause and your work ethic!
I wanna play-
I have an interview on Friday,
All of the above, I have homeschooled my children, I taught for 4 years in 3 different age-group areas-all self-contained special education rooms within the same district, I did subbing at my children's school for 1 1/2 years, I worked as a training instructor for developmental disabilities for 1 1/2 years, moved, and now here I am, however I have lousy organizational skills, maybe I should leave that out, huh?
Volunteer work I have done is I led Brownies for a year, Bible School teacher 1-2 grades for 3 years, and just at our coop for homeschooling, OOOh I don't have a chance-do I/?
To be your best. Here is a biggie-how have you handled a behavior problem in your class? your turn, this is really fun. Lori
May 4, 2006
OK--I'll answer: "How have I handled a behavior problem in my class?"
For starters, I'm a firm believer that there's only so much authority in the world. The more I give away- to the dean or the AP, the less I have for myself. So, for misdemeanors, I tend to handle my own problems.
Because I've been away for 6 years, I can't come up with a specific example (unless you want to count my 3 year old getting into the vaseline and using it to paint the walls!!!).
But my first line of defense is a good offense. I have high expectations, but I don't believe in being demanding-- a polite request, said with the right tone, can get the same results as a barked demand. The difference is that the first will get you respect, the second resentment. (I can't do the whole tone thing online, obviously, buy you know what I mean... "John, could you please stop tapping your pen?" , said the way I would imagine Colin Powell would say it.)
I honestly think that setting the right tone from the beginning prevents a lot of problems. Consistency and fairness round out the tone-- treating the A+ student's mistakes the same as the potential axe murderer in the back.
however I have lousy organizational skills, maybe I should leave that out, huh?
Volunteer work I have done is I led Brownies for a year, Bible School teacher 1-2 grades for 3 years, and just at our coop for homeschooling,
OOOh I don't have a chance-do I/?
Why on earth would you think that??You bring a lot to the table that other people don't.
About your organizationational skills-- be more specific-- keep them home-centered. Maybe something like this:
"Although I'm great with paperwork, somehow that just doesn't translate to home. I can't balance a checkbook or keep fresh milk in the fridge" type of stuff.
And I'm pretty sure you'll get a followup on homeschooling: something along the lines of "Why did you decide to homeschool?" and "Why do you want to teach in a school if homeschooling is what you prefer?"
I have some ideas on answers (although personally I'm not a homeschooling fan myself-- I coached debate for 18 years and can normally plead both sides of most arguments) Let's see what you have to say first.
I am going to try again.. please bear with me... I am currently working as a case manager for developmentally disabled adults. As a result I spend a great deal of my time working independently and managing my time and schedule to ensure that I can devote enough time to each consumer. My days are usually spent multitasking from handling paperwork, to face to face meetings, and follow up phone calls I am always on the go. I tend carry this level of energy over into my personal life as well, I do volunteer work with my agency and take out 2 individuals on the weekends to provide respite to thier families. During this time, I have the opportunity to work one on one with my individuals in the community as well as provide fun opportunities for them. I volunteer tutor for North Shore Child and Family Guidance Center, where I work on one one with a second grade student in reading and math as well as any homework matter. In the very little free time I have, I enjoy spending time with my husband and family. I enjoy cooking and entertaining and love to spend time at home. My philosophy is home is where the heart is and I tend to put great care in running my household as I would my classroom to make it a positive environment that others would enjoy. I also am always looking for new topics to learn and ways to increase my knowledge in the field. I completed an Autism Training and will be taking some additional courses at Stonybrook this spring. I am interested in pursuing a BCBA because my best friends son was diagnosed with autism and since that time my interest has been sparked.
I hope this was slightly improved... I will take all suggestions just be gentle... LOL
Follow up question:
Tell me about your weekends with the disabled adults. Where do you take them and what do you do?
This is the stuff that sets YOU apart from all those other applicants Chrissy! Use it!!
Okay, that was very good to read-you are one busy gal, I couldn't keep my life straight, I would be kicking the dog in frustration-but that is great you can do so many things so well. I like your philosophy of home is where the heart is-that speaks well of you. I worked with developmental disabled adults also-that takes dedication-I tell you-I had a bad experience with a co-worker-loved loved the clients to death, but this person who was under me-was like the gate keeper, and you had to know the password or something and noone told me-so she really ruined it for me, but I loved so much working with them-how severe are they? We were required to work with all of them from the very severe-basic babysitting, had to watch-one pica case-and then rec and work skills and I got to program one girls Dynavox and I did the centers' newsletter that went to the parents-I loved mostly working with the ones who could actually read and write-but they were all funny and special. sorry for my tirade.
Aliceacc, I just thank you so much, as I was spending my time thinking about my experience-I do have a lot-and varied, but when I told the placement office that-he said to me "just because you have experience doesn't mean you are a good teacher" so he wanted me to show on my resume the result of all my experience-like where my kids are now, or how they are doing-like my homeschooling, I was passionate about teaching my kids the right way. I wanted them to have a good jumpstart and since my life was teaching, I wanted to be the one to teach them. I am very proud of my kids and I would venture to say because of that experience, I am closer to them than most? parents. Just that we bonded in a special way, and now that they are teenagers I really do enjoy them, and they are smart-on the honor roll, focused, went into their classes way ahead of their peers because they could actually read-I read to them all of the time-I love reading-what a joy!!! So that is why I homeschooled them-I simply wanted the best for them, and that was my best. Which is what I want for my own classroom-the best! Sorry, okay, can I ask another one-what curriculum would you use, and if you had $300 to spend, what would you spend it on? thanks for reading all of this-
Good answer to the homeschool question--you can be pretty sure it will come up. But I firmly believe that anything that sets you apart from the pack of other teachers with the same technical qualifications may get you the interview. So play it up-- how it forced you out of your comfort zone into different subjects, how it forced you to treat them as individuals and to see their strenghts and weaknesses.
As to the placement officer's comment-- the only way to really determine who is a good teacher is to let them teach; the interview won't accomplish that. But you can use your resume and interview to showcase the strenghts that will carry over into the job; strengths they might not even have known they were looking for until you came along, ya know??
The curriculum: I can't WAIT for NY State to switch back to what the rest of the country calls high school math. For 20+ years, we've been doing "sequential math"-- a little algebra, a little geometry, a little logic, a little probability.... each year. Of course, to accomodate all these different add-ins, something had to go-- like a rigorous study of word problems. (Yet the real life math that people actually use is ALWAYS a word problem!!!) So that's my dream curriculum, and NY is finally making it come true.
Me, personally: I would pay off bills and update our house. I would set aside some money for the kids for college. And we would take the kids to Disney before they're too old to enjoy it.
As a school, I would invest it in perks and salary increases for the faculty. A happy faculty is a hard working faculty.
Now I believe the same thing, but I always say 'Why' I want something to happen. Even at home, that avoids the how come questions.
As for me. I have been home the past 10 years with my 5 children and husband, so maybe that makes 6 kids. Currently I am chasing my four year old and home schooling my 8th grader who was not working at grade level. After researching our options, bringing him home was his best chance at success. He has improved by leaps and bounds and will be attending the high school in the fall. I have spent the past 10 years volunteering at school as Chairperson to various PTA committees, I am a Cub Scout Leader, Cub Scout Assistant leader, Girl Scout Troop Leader, church school teacher and basic entertainer to the neighborhood children. I am extremely organized (in the past 10 years we have only missed one lesson because I forgot) and am blessed with a creative mind. I taught the first and second grade for 9 years and was a member of various committees. I have continued my education by taking several graduate courses independently.
I handle the majority of my discipline problems in the classroom. I firmly believe that the standards need to be set the first few days of school. We have consistent procedures in the classroom and the discipline policy is posted and reviewed not only in the classroom but also with the parents.
Now, Tell me about communication with Parents?
As for myself, I send home a weekly folder ( I did when I was teaching). In this folder are the papers I believe necessary for the parents to review. Inside this folder is a page where the parents are to sign and date so I know they received the folder. THere is also a section for questions and comments that the parents may have. A newsletter is included each week in the folder. I think e-mail plays an important part in communication. So many people do not have time to telephone and e-mail is a convenient method.
Yee hah this is fun-
Good answer on the parents, Lesley! That will be my answer tomorrow almost to the tee-I need that feedback from them, and also it can alert you to head off a problem before it gets too big-a crisis! I think I, if I can, will take pictures of the kids because I don't know how many of them can read-so our schedule will have pictures and I would like to start a scrapbook for them at the beg. of the year and complete it to take home at the end. With snippets of their work, stories, accomplishments, awards, etc....that can be compiled together.
Oh YEah, as for the homeschooling-thanks for the comments, but I was IN my comfort zone doing it, and I LOVED the personalized, taylored curriculums to their needs, my kids were day and night different in learning, one by the book-the other very social-my book learner learned early and then lost interest later, my girl social butterfly-learned later, struggled so much at first, but then took off, and is really a better reader than my son. The same with writing. 2 different styles. I used punishments accordingly also.
Another question: How will you schedule your teaching? For me, the answer is obvious-structure academics in the am and content-fine arts, pe, etc. in the afternoon, that is not a good quesiton, I have some others, but right now I have to go buy my suit. later. Lori
scheduling: When I was in public schools, fine arts, pe, etc was a set schedule from the principal then everything else was scheduled around them. I also had to make sure I had the number of minutes required each week for each subject.
Thank you all for the answers and ideas!! I am a teacher trying to return to the classroom after staying at home for 6 years. I feel that I am constantly trying to justify taking time away from the classroom to raise my children.
I have an interview question that I need help with -
What is your greatest weakness? I know there is a way to spin this so that your weakness is actually perceived at a positive....help!!
I'm also going back after 6 years home with the kids. I think my answer will be something along the lines of the technology gap between me and the newer teachers. I'm a math teacher, and have never used a graphing calculator. I don't even know what Power Point is!
I figure that those are valid points, but certainly don't overwhelm the 20 years of classroom experience I have. I could bridge the gap in a relatively short time.... and I know how to do those graphs without the calculator!!
now how about me... when they ask me about a behavior problem.. what do I say. Quite honestly, the reason I left my last school was because of the behavior problems and lack of support, but in any event, after that whole experience I am more prepared. How do I address this in an interview?
Name one with your CURRENT job that worked out OK. For example, you took two of your charges to Broadway Mall and......
If asked, you can be honest about your last job: you were in an inner city school, a brand new teacher from the 'burbs, and you were in over your head. A mentor would have been a tremendous help, but unfortunatley there was no such system in place. In fact, down the road a bit, you would be interested in participating in such a program on the mentoring side, in order to prevent another teacher-- and her kids-- from the unnecesary stress you experienced.
How does that sound?
I didn't coach debate for 18 years for nothing!!!
Miss Frizzle: It is the mistakes we make from which we learn!
A little about myself:
I graduated with my degree last spring from such and such university. I got married this past August and I am currently working as a 5th grade reading and math teacher as well as creating and teaching my own technology curriculum to the 5th and 6th graders. I enjoy being able to work with the students daily, but I really am looking forward to having my own classroom, full time. I feel that I could be giving so much more to my students, but I am not given the time.
I really am looking for an opportunity to exercise my creativity and strengths with technology. I am currently pursuing a master's of education degree in K-12 Informational Systems and Technology. I think that as an ever present force in our society, technology is one of those subjects that cannot be overlooked. It is important to educate our students early in this ever expanding field.
Other than that, I enjoy spending time with my family, getting involved in teams and organizations, (I love to express my opinions and actually get something done about it!) In my spare time I enjoy golfing and playing tennis. I like to stay organized and on top of things. My classroom, like my home, is usually neat and clean, but then again, I don't have 30 kids running around my home, either!
When they ask your discipline issues, also state things you do in the positive.
In my classroom I try to reward the students who are doing the good things with compliments. I also have a fun activity I call the Puzzeler Surprise. It's much like the game Wheel of Fortune but when the whole class is working together they can earn a letter and when all the letters are reveled they earned that reward. Sometimes it is a little extra recess or it is to choose where they want to sit or something.
Just a thought.
Thanks Alice and Pecas! I just registered for a 1 week course entittled Teacher Effectiveness Training... the course book is the first days of school by Harry Wong, which I heard is the new teacher's bible... I am also hoping to get a chance to utilize these strategies this fall, so if I do get interviewed I'm sure it will be a plus
Throw me another hot interview question someone
Here's one I had....What do you do with the student who crosses his arms over his chest and says he refuses to do what you ask? or
How do you motivate students?
I would think the discussion with the child who crosses his arms would not occur in front of the rest of the class. THis needs to be a time when the two of you can sit and discuss the issue w/o interruptions. It could be as simple as he is having a horrible day. Or he is bored. At that point you both need to determine what the next step is. IF that does not get you anywhere, bring in the parent(s) to get their input.
Motivation: School should be fun. I am not talking about the teacher standing on his/her head and juggling, but hands on activities, discussions, group work,along with the normal lecture and cooperative groups. There must be a wide variety of techniques used in the classroom to motivate the students. Celebrate things in the classroom. Not big partes, but recognize the achievements of the kids. It is impossible for them to separate their school life and their home life the two mix, they affect each other.
I'm high school. A student who refuses to participate gets a temporary bye... I won't handle that during classtime; it will only balloon into a big confrontation. BUT he WILL see me after class and explain. If he's just having a bad day, he'll get a pass, but it will not happen again. If it's more than that, we handle it as it comes.
But a confrontation with a student, particulalry a teenager, is a lose-lose situation. They will not back down in front of their peers. So it is very often a good idea to postpone the conversation until you can have it privately.
I agree about how we need to celebrate the achievements of our kids. One year I had a kid who REALLY struggled in my class. When he finally broke a 90 on one of his tests, he looked for a brass band or some other worthy mention of his accomplishments. So I went out and bought some stickers and put a big star on his paper, then told him I wanted it on the fridge. From that point on, my kids have always gotten stickers for grades in the 90's. ANd yes, these are 17 and 18 year olds, old enough to drive and work a job. But a little sticker on the top of a math test will make their day!!!
Hey Alice, I wouldn't mind if my boss gave out stickers.. it's so true.. the littlest things can sometimes boost confidence and morale.
Back to the question- as an elementary ed teacher, a student crossing his arms and refusing to work is something you could possibly encounter. First of all, I would not make a public announcement about it out loud. This would just give more attention to the negative behavior. I would continue to teach, etc and see how long the behavior lasted. Quite honestly, I know not to engage in power struggles with small children. If a child refused to work during class, I would simply send home all work not completed during classtime with a note home explaining the situation. I think consequences are the best teachers.
Motivating students- I would like to say that all my students have wonderful intrinsic motivation.. however, I think that can and should be taught. I would motivate my students by telling them what they will be learning and why it is important. I think this is crucial even in the elementary grades. I think if a teacher takes pride in his or her work and shows that they care by modeling this in their teaching their students will want to work harder to earn that praise. Kind of like going to work and getting a paycheck for a job well done. I think parents are an important factor in this. They should know the teachers accountability system and teach their children the rules in their teachers "workplace"
Do I sound too mean??? Sorry, I honestly feel that too many children have it too easy. Parents are so willing to call the teacher if their child missed an assignement, etc. Why not let the child learn on his own.
This is pretty much how I answered the question when presented to me by the principal. I explained that I would talk with the student privately and try to figure out the reason for the behavior. I also explained that losing recess time to complete work was a big motivation for elementary children. I like the idea of sending it home though!
What was the principals response?
I guess he liked my answers because he hired me!
that's good to know.. btw, did you say that already.. oops.. I apologize.. that must be a great feeling. Now you can really enjoy your summer..
May 5, 2006
Today's first question: Why should I hire you over someone with more (or less, if appropriate) experience?
I am much more prepared since my last teaching experience. My current job has indirectly given me that experience by making me anticipate situations and learn to deal with them effectively. I am continously striving to improve my classroom managment skills. This summer I partcipated in an institute on Teacher Effectiveness Training, which will again help me to anticipate problems better and spend minimal time on discipline and more on learning.
I have over 13 years working with profoundly disabled adults and children. I am patient.
Blah, Blah, Blah, I think I answered the question totally wrong. Want to redirect me to a starting point.
I don't think you should make so much mention of the problems you had in NYC. Make more of a postive statement. Here's my attempt:
Being a relatively new teacher, I can bring a freshness and eagerness into my teaching. I am enthusiastic about my work, have many new ideas to try and am not set in a specific teaching style. I am open to trying new things, have a great grip on new technology and have the desire to utilize it in my classroom. I do not have children of my own so I would be able to participate in many teacher committees that meet after school and can coach after school sports and activities. I enjoy learning new things and applying them to my teaching or in my classroom.
However, I am not fresh out of college, I do have a year of teaching under my belt, so I understand what goes on in a school, how the school year is divided up, how to plan an entire year of teaching and I am familiar with different text books and curricula. I guess you could say I have the best of both worlds!
That was great Alice... unfortunately, I am a better writer than speaker, as I tend to get overwhelmed and nervous.