The entire interview/hiring process for teachers is so tedious and stressful. I can't think of many other industries where the hiring process is similar to this. I feel like I haven't slept much in the past few weeks (probably because I haven't!). I'm pretty stressed out, so I'm venting/sharing, if you all don't mind. About 3 weeks ago, I did a demo lesson at a school in Brooklyn. We'll call that School A. I received nothing but positive feedback from the administrators afterwards, and they told me that they'd let me know the following week, and advised me to be patient. I hadn't heard anything after almost two weeks, so I contacted the administrators. I was informed that they received their budget and had unexpected cuts, but they hoped to let me know ASAP. That didn't sound too promising, but nothing I could do about it. Two weeks ago, I went on two interviews. The first one at school B was a screening interview with the principal, who scheduled me for a demo lesson the following week on the spot. The second interview was with School C. Oddly, the interview with School C was a first interview, but also a demo lesson. I haven't ever experienced a demo lesson during a first interview before, so I thought it was strange. They told me to arrive early, because parking can be "challenging". Challenging was the understatement of the year. It took me an hour and 10 minutes to find parking for my car, and I could tell by the area that this wasn't a fluke incident. From the moment I arrived at the school, I just had a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach. The school itself turned out to be an overflow school from another area that I had avoided applying to in the first place. The school was very small, and the principal interrupted me during some of my answers during the interview. Out of all the schools I've been interviewing at this year, this was the only one that I felt bad about during the interview. My demo lesson was in kindergarten, and the teacher had to leave unexpectedly because her son was sick. The paras were watching the kids and bringing them up from PE; since the teacher left early, they didn't have a sub, and the kids would have multiple periods of PE that day? Needless to say they were off the wall and the paras were screaming at them from the moment they got upstairs. I taught my lesson, which IMHO was the worst demo I've ever done. The lesson was a bit too advanced for this particular class, and there was one student who was doing everything he could to test me. Making noises the entire time, I tried using positive reinforcement, selective ignoring, called on him calmly when I asked the kids a question for his response to redirect him...nothing. He acted up the entire demo. I tried not to seem fazed, but man did he test me! I felt like nothing was working. I left the building exhausted and feeling like I wasted my time. Shortly after, I received a phone call from the school offering me a position. I talked with my parents and friends, and wound up turning the position down. It didn't seem like a place that I wanted to work, between the parking situation and the way the students were spoken to (or should I say yelled at) during the time I was there. I know that beggars can't be choosers, and perhaps I made a big mistake turning them down, but they seemed a little too eager to sell the school to me and hire me. I just had a bad feeling all around. This past Monday, I did a demo lesson for school B. I was told to do a 5th grade math lesson, and I was familiar with their math program, so I looked up the curriculum and planned a lesson on coordinate graphing. The principal told me that they had SMART Boards in every room, so I spent pretty much my entire Father's Day planning a SMART Notebook lesson on my parents' couch. The lesson was interactive, and I used real life examples such as maps of the areas the school was located in the lesson. I also found a short SMART Board game from Teachers Pay Teachers for guided practice. For an independent activity, the students were to draw a "blueprint" for a treehouse using plane shapes, and would copy the coordinates of their shapes on a separate piece of paper and trade with a partner, who would then graph the coordinates themselves. I came prepared with all my materials, including multiple copies of my lesson plan and printed out slides of the SMART Board lesson and game attached to the lesson plan. Lo and behold, I get to the school and the laptop that is connected to the SMART Board somehow doesn't have SMART Notebook installed on it? (A first, if you've ever used a SMART Board before). Now, I know that one has to be prepared for anything, as technology fails and teaching always throws us curveballs. However, this wasn't an example of technology failing, rather, the school didn't even have the program that they told me they would have. That was a bit frustrating, especially since it was a graphing lesson and I spent so much time preparing. Once I realized the program wasn't on the laptop, I turned the SMART Board off and dragged a dry erase easel to the carpet area and winged it. The lesson was not as organized or well done as my initial planning, but I kept calm and went with it. The students were well behaved and participated, and were engaged during the independent activity. In fact, their designs were incredibly impressive, some of them really got into it! As I circled the room, I could see that there was definitely a bit of confusion among some of the students with how to list the coordinates when shapes overlapped, so I called for the students attention and drew an example of the source of their confusion on the dry erase board and talked them through it. After the demo, the literacy coach and AP interviewed me and talked to me for almost 50 minutes. They handed me a copy of a student's persuasive essay, and asked me to read it and write down the student's strengths and weaknesses, and told me to list the weaknesses in a hierarchy (what would I teach this student first and why). They also asked me to reflect on my lesson a bit. I did get a good impression from them; we talked for a really long time. I think it went well, considering all mishaps. I think the thing that might keep me from the job is that they have a large ELL population, and I am not certified in ELL. They told me that they would come to a decision this Monday. After the interview at School B, I had an interview that afternoon at School D. Both schools were in Brooklyn near Coney Island, so I rode the Cyclone and walked the Boardwalk to kill some time between interviews and calm my nerves. School D was located in a beautiful area, and I absolutely loved the school. They have a first grade teaching position open (one of my favorite grades), and had just recently done a Disney themed school show. I used to work at Disney World, so that was a topic of interest. The principal and assistant principal were VERY laid back and informal, almost to the point of making me a bit nervous. They asked me if I would be comfortable doing a demo lesson, and I said absolutely. They told met that they were interviewing candidates and that I would hear from them this week if they wanted me to do a demo. Sadly, I haven't heard anything from them, so I'm guessing that I'm out of the running. In between the interviews at School B and D, I received a letter from the AP at School A telling me that I didn't get the job, but that it was a pleasure to witness my teaching and blah blah blah. Shortly after, the principal of School A emailed me, telling me that PS *** was hiring, and that I should contact the principal with my resume and tell her that he referred me. Ironically, PS *** was School B, the school that I had just done my demo lesson at this morning. On Thursday, I received a call around 4:00 for another school in Brooklyn, School E. They wanted me to come in the very next day for an interview. I went to the interview which went well, and they scheduled a demo lesson for this coming Tuesday. There is a 5th grade opening there, and I have to plan a writing lesson. I loved the school and the location, and the overall philosophy of the principal aligned very closely with my own. I really enjoyed the school, so I am a bit anxious planning my demo right now. In addition to my demo lesson at School E on Tuesday, I have a first interview on Monday at School F (another school in Brooklyn), and two more first interviews on Tuesday at two schools in Queens which we'll call School G and H. So one interview on Monday, and three on Tuesday (including the demo). I am so stressed out, overwhelmed, and tired. I am a full time permanent sub at a school district on Long Island right now, where there are unfortunately no openings for next year. Fortunately, I have a wonderfully understanding principal who lets me go on interviews and is so encouraging. I am incredibly lucky in that respect, because all of these interviews take place during the school day, often times with little notice. I know from prior experience that the job market around here is incredibly competitive, and if you are not available for an interview when they would like, they tend to not be flexible at all with your schedule and just go on to the next candidate. Each school, of course, asks what you know about the school, so I have to do research about every school (naturally), but keeping them straight when you have 3 interviews in one day can be difficult! I keep a small notebook and have a page for each school where I take notes on the school, write down the contact information, the dates of the interviews, the names of the people that I interview with, and any information that I receive during the interview. I always refer to the book prior to walking into an interview to refresh my memory! I am doing MUCH better than I was last year in the job hunt, but I still feel unsuccessful since I wasn't offered the position at School B and don't have a job yet for the upcoming school year. I'm appreciative that I am going on interviews, but I can't help but feel frustrated with the entire process. I truly feel like a dime a dozen, and it is so difficult to stand out. I feel like demo lessons are completely inauthentic representations for how someone actually teaches, since you often have no idea what the needs of the students are, how many students are ELL or have special needs, what the students prior knowledge is or what the curriculum has been like all year, etc. They are horse and pony shows, and while they are necessary and I will of course try my best, they are a bit frustrating and time consuming. I see some people on these boards getting hired without having to ever do a demo, and I am very jealous. Any advice or even hugs (haha)? Was turning down the offer at School C a huge mistake? I am trying my best, but this whole process is so overwhelming at times with how they expect you to drop everything with little notice for an interview, how much preparation is involved, and how difficult it can be while working full time and job hunting. I haven't had my own classroom before (the job market on Long Island is especially horrific), but I have had experience as a TA and a substitute teacher. I feel that the fact that I haven't had my own classroom and experience is a negative in the eyes of interviewers. Not only that, but I know they'd love to see examples of student work, but that's a bit difficult to do as a sub or a TA. My examples are from student teaching, which was a couple of years ago. IMHO I'm a better teacher now, and I approach things a bit differently since then. I just hope that I get something sooner rather than later, since I've been spending all of my weekends and free time planning demos and prepping for interviews.