Rough Interview

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by SCTeachInTX, Apr 20, 2011.

  1. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    My thinking... Each one of the job seekers brings something different, new, and exciting to the table. You can see from the answers of four potential teaching candidates how difficult the selection process can be. When you are interviewing, you really are selling the most valuable product that you own, yourself. I will leave you with these last two interview questions and when I get home tonight, I will let you know who won the job. But know this, each person had strengths. Each person had qualities that would have made him/her an asset to the team.

    Interview ? #3: Our district believes in a lot of professional development. We offer opportunities after school and on weekends for teachers to learn more about our current programs of instruction, and best teaching practices. It will involve time outside of your school day. Are you willing to make that kind of time commitment?

    Vet Teacher: Absolutely. I am new to this state and district. I certainly do not pretend to understand how things "work" in this state or in your district or even in your school. I am willing to stay late, and work hard to meet the requirements of the district and thereby meet the needs of my students. Let's face it, I am not even sure how you get supplies for classrooms, much less what type of math curriculum you use. But, I am smart and able. I will ask tons of questions, and do whatever it takes to be a part of this team.
    New Teacher- Yes! I can do whatever, be wherever, and take as much training as I can handle. I don't have children. I don't even have a boyfriend right now! So, I have the time and energy to be there!
    5 Year Teacher- I will be honest. I am a mom first. I will come to trainings whenever I can make it work for my family. My children will only be small once, and while I WILL make every effort to go to trainings and to stay late on occasion, I will always put the needs of my family first. In my previous district I worked really hard, and was very successful at managing my time and family.
    2 Year Teacher: Yes, I can do that. I like trainings and I like learning new things that will help me be a better teacher. So, I can do that.

    Interview ? #4: What is your greatest strength and your greatest weakness?
    Vet Teacher: That is an easy one! Ha-Ha! My strength is being a team player. I am always ready to learn something new, and I know that there some great teaching strategies out there just waiting to find me. So, I like to reach out to my team mates and help to create transparent classrooms where we can learn through and with one another. My weakness... well here I sit in front of you. I NEVER dreamed that I would be moving to a different state, learning a new staff, and meeting new people at this stage of my career. Life throws you curve balls. And I feel extremely vulnerable. What if you guys can't see my potential? Worse yet, what if you think that as a teacher with a few more years of experience that I am not willing to learn and what if you think that I won't be willing to try new things? My weakness right now is my fear that I won't be able to do what I love most in the world, which is to teach. Is that a weakness? Right now, I feel like it is.
    New Teacher- I think my strength is my ability to be able to communicate well with others. I am willing to work hard, learn, and put in some long hours to do what I am passionate about pursuing. My weakness would be planning. I have great ideas and I want to do them ALL! I know that I need to have some guidance in this area so that I am focused in my instruction. But I promise you that I WILL be an effective teacher!
    5 Year teacher- My strength is my determination to find what works for each child. I don't teach to a group of students. I teach for each individual child. I find their likes and dislikes. I find their strengths and weaknesses and I teach to the child building on those strengths. My weakness- My absolute belief that family should and will come first. I know that this job is important and I need it. But I will not compromise my marriage or my children in order to have it. I think that sometimes when a "gung ho" team wants to stay at school until six each night, I am perceived as someone who is not as committed. I am committed! But I feel like my time could be better used DURING the workday and during planning so that I do not have to stay at school until 5 or 6 each day. I feel like staying late (until 5) once or twice every few weeks is sufficient in helping me stay just as focused for my kids as the teacher who wastes time during the day, does not use planning time to plan, and spends half the time that she is staying late running off worksheets to keep her kids busy. I will not say I am sorry for my perceived weakness. But I know for some persons it would be considered a weakness that I always put my family above my job.
    2 Year Teacher- My weakness would be not being more vocal with adults. I love children. I love being around kids and learning what makes them tick. I love speaking to parents, making home visits, and getting to know the families. When I have a problem with a student, I don't have to worry about what the parent may say or think because I have built a relationship of trust that shows that I care about their child. But, as far as working with adults outside of my team, I am not vocal. I will never toot my own horn. I think that if good things are happening in my classroom that others will find out. My strength is also mixed in with that weakness. I am all about the children.
     
  2. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Based on questions 3 and 4--definitely the veteran. While I had the 5 year teacher a close second, she lost out on these last two. I'm not saying that our families aren't our number one priority, but by making such a point of it during an interview is sending up some red flags to me.
     
  3. dcnuck

    dcnuck Companion

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    Have to agree with Mrs. C. I thought the five year teacher until the last post.
     
  4. cartwheels

    cartwheels Rookie

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    Based on additional information, I would also choose the veteran. She seems to have a depth of experience and she is also flexible and dedicated.
     
  5. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Apr 22, 2011

    :yeahthat: Based on the questions, the fact that she's 45 so not as close to retirement, and she's had several years in a testing grade, I would choose the veteran teacher. Can't wait to hear who was chosen!
     
  6. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Yep, 26 year vet for me as well.

    Her answers to #3 and #4 were absolutely perfect. She knew exactly what concerns thoughts the committee would have of her and addressed those very directly instead of trying to cover them up with standard answers full of meaningless jargon.

    She gets straight to the point in every answer, says what needs to be said, and then stops talking. Her vast years of experience show through in every aspect of the interview so far.

    I also REALLY like the weakness she listed. Very original and (once again) very honest. No sugar coating and sidestepping the issue. Here it is and here is how I'm dealing with it.

    Her willingness to adapt her years of experience to the school system and improvement of the team makes her the most valuable candidate possible, in my opinion.

    Yes, she does have the years in to retire, but I agree that she also still has several good years ahead of her if she doesn't retire. Given the fact she is in a brand new state, she will probably be more willing to stick with the job for the social factors as well as the financial ones. The potential risk of her leaving in the next year or two is miniscule compared to the value she can bring to the school and her team.
     
  7. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    I agree with the others - it's going to be the veteran. You really can't top her interview responses.

    As to the question of age - Cerek, I know you're right about retirement - in my state, it's really to your benefit to work 30 years to attain the highest amount possible due to our high cost of living - but this teacher is near the 30 year mark. However, it saddens me to think that some teachers potentially won't be hired because of their high level of experience and/or the fact that they are potentially just a few years away from retirement. What if they have to move, but can't retire yet for financial reasons? It all just seems unfair. (And this is coming from someone who is at the COMPLETE opposite end of the age/experience spectrum...)

    Anyway, I digress. ;) Sorry!
     
  8. puff5655

    puff5655 Cohort

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    Come on now, I'm intrigued. Read through all 5 pages, where's the answer!? Sorry, I'm impatient :p
     
  9. donziejo

    donziejo Devotee

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    the vet teacher....now the answer is....
     
  10. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Apr 22, 2011

    SC~Since she came from out of state, she hasn't paid into TRS (TX's retirement system for teachers)....but can you transfer your retirement from one state to another? I know that you came from SC so that's why I'm asking. And that would better help to see how long she has until retirement.
     
  11. SwOcean Gal

    SwOcean Gal Devotee

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    We need to wait a few more hours, I think, because she did say she would post tonight.
    I have to agree- it looks like the vet. I loved her answers to questions 3 and 4. Wow! Her other answers were most impressive too. That one with the kids, holy smokes, bad idea! Keep it in your head, do not say that in an interview! Then the other one saying I can devote my life to you I do not have kids or a bf now. Personally, I think that is TMI- don't need to know that, sounds a touch desperate.
     
  12. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Apr 22, 2011

    SwOcean~the fresh-out-of-school teacher sounds that way from the answers provided here. I cringed when I read her answers!
     
  13. LUCHopefulTeach

    LUCHopefulTeach Habitué

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    Question...

    How does this 45 year old woman have 26 years of experience? That would have made her 19 when she started teaching....
     
  14. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    LOL Good point!!! I can't believe I didn't do that math on that one...:lol:
     
  15. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I am 57 and have 38 years of experience. I finished high school early and completed an AAS degree and then taught while finishing up the BS. It can be done.
     
  16. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    I actually liked her answers because she was being up front about the situation. First of all, I'm gonna be somewhat concerned about any parent that DOESN'T put their family ahead of their job. Secondly, if a mother tells me "Oh no, the kids won't be a problem and will not interfere with any duties the school might want", I'm gonna know she's lying. First time Suzie is home sick with a fever, mom is either calling in or leaving when the bell rings.

    I do think she went too far saying she would be willing to stay over 1-2 times every few weeks. That is not enough of a commitment (in my opinion) to be a dependable team member.

    As a single dad, I treasure every moment I have with my boys, but I also know I HAVE to work to provide for them and that means our schedules will not always be in synch. For the last year, I've usually had to work both days at the hotel on their weekends with me. The manager was considerate enough to let me work morning shift (7-3) instead of evening (3-11) so we could still go see movies or do other things, but I still had to spend 8 hours a day away from them both days. When their mother and I first divorced, I worked for a home health agency as a delivery driver. Being "On Call" was part of that job and there were plenty of times I had to leave them with my parents in the evening or on during weekend days to deliver and set-up equipment. I hated it, but it was part of the job.

    So, I understand that family should come first, but I also recognize having a job that supports that family is important too.

    I don't see anything wrong with saying "My family comes first", but I do think she may have shot herself in the foot when she said "So that means I don't stay late more than 1-2 times per grading period."
     
  17. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    You can transfer your retirement from what I understand.:D
     
  18. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    Went back and read my notes and you are right!!!!! The 26 year veteran teacher only had 22 years of experience. I wonder if that changes anyone's opinion? Sorry! My bad!
     
  19. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    Ok... the main reason I shared this is because anyone of these teachers COULD have been the right pick at the right moment at any school. And drum roll please... the winner is.... :D
     
  20. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    AH!! Who is it?!?!??!
     
  21. LUCHopefulTeach

    LUCHopefulTeach Habitué

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    .....
     
  22. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    I was on the interview team and did not include myself in the initial description.

    The team did not choose the two year veteran. She had a good response to interview question #4, she had minimal experience in a testing grade, and her references were amazing, but her lack of overall personality was not a big seller. She did not seem like a just right fit for the team.
     
  23. LUCHopefulTeach

    LUCHopefulTeach Habitué

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    So who job the job?!?!?!? :whistle:
     
  24. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    The team did not choose the new teacher even though her enthusiasm was so contagious. She would have been a fine addition to the staff and the team really did deliberate her strengths. She would have been flexible and would have gotten along well with the team. However, the next two candidates were engaging and were just simply more knowledgeable. The staff was already so young that they really needed some experience.:love:
     
  25. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    The team did not choose the five year teacher because she seemed a little too adamant that she was not willing to compromise at least at times when it came to family. The district really does have a rigorous schedule for professional development and we felt that overall she would not have been happy with the demands that would be a part of joining our team. This candidate was knowledgeable, friendly, and would have been an excellent addition to our staff. We probably would have chosen the new teacher over the 5 year veteran, however, because of these statements. Since these questions were asked at the end of our interview, it did leave a lasting impression.

    The team respected her views, but probably would have gone with the new teacher if the choice had left out our new teamie....

    The veteran teacher of 22 years!!!!! This teacher was FUNNY! She made everyone laugh. She told anecdotes about her classroom. She got along with everyone in the room and she may have been 45, but looked to be in her 30s. She WAS knowledgeable, but honestly, she was just plain fun! You could tell when you met her that she would fit in ANYWHERE. She presented herself to us as a learner. She never came across as condescending or as a "done that-been there" kind of teacher. In short, she was hired about 15 minutes after her car left our parking lot. We were THAT sure.
    ;)
     
  26. donziejo

    donziejo Devotee

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    Wow, sounds like you made a great choice....the suspense was killing me:)
     
  27. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    Go back and read the thread... It is very interesting the different perspectives. At first everyone was ready to jump on the new teacher bandwagon. Then the 2 year teacher was in the lead. A few of you were rooting for the 5 year teacher and I BET some of you were saying GO GIRL for standing up for what you believe! And finally, the veteran teacher made her way to the fore front. It just goes to show how much thought and care goes into choosing a staff. It just is not easy to pick the right people to teach our students. I AM confident that ALL the teachers would have done a fine job. :hugs:
     
  28. LUCHopefulTeach

    LUCHopefulTeach Habitué

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    The fact that the veteran teacher was chosen just solidifies that I'm losing hope of getting a job! :(
     
  29. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    The first guesses were reasonable, based on the amount of information we had - and the information we did not have. I always enjoy analyzing situations and personalities, but I admitted my first perception was colored by the fact the team members might be looking for a BFF as well as a teammmate, which made the ones closer to their age seem the better fit.

    Once you dislcosed the personalities and last two questions, I agree it was slam dunk for the multi-year veteran. EVERY answer exuded both her confidence and her wealth of experience. That only left the question of her personality (would she fit in with younger coworkers or consider herself their superior) and her willingness to adapt to the school's rigorous curriculum. Once those questions were answered, I agree the choice was very obvious.

    I think it's interesting that most of us agreed 26..er... 22 and 5 were the two top choices, but 5 kinda shot herself in the foot with the over-emphasis of family coming first. I don't know that I would have anticipated Newbie moving into the 2nd spot ahead of 5, though. More likely, I would have put her as 3rd.

    Thanks for the thread. It was a fun exercise and it sounds like your school gained a great asset to their team! :thumb:
     
  30. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    LUCHopefulTeach - That was my reaction, too!! Although I absolutely think the veteran teacher deserved it.
     
  31. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    You just never know WHO will show up for an interview or what a team is looking for. This was one instance. We hired at least 10 brand new teachers the year we opened our school. NEVER give up your optimism. It won 10 teachers a job the SAME year we hired the veteran teacher!:)
     
  32. mb_teacher

    mb_teacher Companion

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    Not necessarily. I have only 1 year experience under my belt. I got my upcoming position because I was moving to the area and my personality would blend well with the 4th grade team.
    I did present myself with confidence and when I didn't know something, I let them know. Also, instead of saying, "I don't know", I would say, I'm not familiar with ____________, but it sounds a lot like ________________" and I would go from there.
    Gosh, I even walked into the interview, asked them where I needed to sit, and made a comment about being in the "hot seat". That made them laugh.
    When they asked me if I had any questions, I asked them questions such as "What characteristics make your school stand out? What would make me choose your school over another?" and I asked questions about programs that their teachers were implementing.
    My actions let them know I wasn't just interviewing, but actively seeking a job. There is a difference.

    So, just because you don't have experience, it doesn't mean you aren't valuable and hireable. :) Don't lose hope!
     
  33. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    Not me :p I picked the vet right away :p
     
  34. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    Not at all. I'm a teacher of 25 years experience, and I know that sometimes the younger teachers are intimidated. I don't think I've given them reason to be. I share, I don't criticize, I don't offer unwanted advice, I've been trained to be a mentor teacher so I know the right words to say, but still.....

    People can be petty.

    Personally, I would have hired the experienced teacher. Having sat on a similar hiring committee, and having advocated for the experienced teacher, I was outruled and they went with the one who fit the personality of the team. (And boy, we're they wrong! It turned into a nightmare.)
     
  35. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    Nice! It's great to see the "new" veteran teacher who didn't have age thrown at her/him as a reason to not hire.

    Fun topic. I enjoyed being on the hiring committee with you.
     
  36. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    ME TOO! I hope that some of the answers to interview questions helped others on this board. It really helps to see how SOMETIMES experience does help with saying the right things at the right time. However, as one poster pointing out... just talking the talk does not mean that the candidate walks the walk. So, hiring teams have to be selective, PICKY, and choose a fit that will be right for their schools.
     
  37. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    This thread was very helpful. Thank you!! I hope there will be more like it. It was interesting and educational to see the responses given by the candidates. Often, not only seeing what to do, but also seeing what NOT to do is informative.

    I guess my main weakness is interviews :)) (can I say that in an interview? lol). I've only been on 2 interviews - so not much experience either - and got 1 job, although that was for subbing, and I'm sure I got the job based on my qualifications and not my answers.
     

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