Very weak on discipline question at interviews

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by SpecialEdTeache, Aug 28, 2009.

  1. SpecialEdTeache

    SpecialEdTeache Companion

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    Hi everyone,

    Well, I didn't get either job I interviewed for. In the second one, she asked how I was with discipline, and I said I teach expectation and reward positive behavior....and she cut me off right there and said I could go look at the room with the other teacher. While in her room, she said they needed a disciplinarian b/c three boys that would have been in my class were "something." This is an elite private school and they have 16-20 per class.

    I feel like I could have gotten it if I'd nailed the discipline question. Does anyone have suggestions for how I could have successfully answered that?
     
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  3. l8ybugmom

    l8ybugmom Groupie

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    :hugs: Sounds like to me, the P didn't give you a chance to fully answer the question. Did you get an opportunity to respond after seeing the three boys that required strict discipline?

    I just dislike the broad questions like tell me about your discipline plan or your reading block.
     
  4. SpecialEdTeache

    SpecialEdTeache Companion

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    Actually, I was interviewed by the HR person. She wore several hats. Was also in charge of the curriculum. School wasn't in session yet, so no I didn't see the boys.

    I found the perfect suit for THAT school the night b4 on sale at JC Penneys and thought I was confident except for the root canal pain from not even 24 hrs. earlier. So, maybe that played into it.

    But, I NEED To get together some sort of standard discipline answer for interviews and can't seem to put it together.

    Is there a RIGHT way to answer this question? I feel that the best answer is to have stimulating, relevant lessons that are well prepared and executed along with building relationships with students. One way that I do this is to give them a reading inventory in which they list their likes/dislikes. This not only helps me to get to know them, but I also use this information to aide me in planning lessons that are high interest and in suggesting books for them to read individually.

    NOW, from here, what do I say about what happens when they act up? I know that's what they're after. Clip a Strip works pretty well for whole class, so I might say I've decided to use that. But, what about the chronic acter uppers? I've used a reward chart that worked well in the past. The rule is if I've called their name three times during a lesson, they forfeit a star for that day (I give them a warning the second time). With some students I’ve given a choice to follow the rules and work with the class or work independently. If they choose the group and still are disruptive, they go to a study carroll and work the rest of the period alone.

    For some reason I never seem to get this out in an interview.

    Anyone have suggestions as to how I can remember to articulate this at an interview or better yet a stronger way to answer the question?
     
  5. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I don't think there is a 'right' answer to discipline. So many schools deal with it differently that there is no way to know what a particular school does for an interview.
     
  6. l8ybugmom

    l8ybugmom Groupie

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    I usually preface my discipline plan with of course I would handle behavior according to the school's policies. I would, then, give an overview of my behavior plan. I always emphasize positive reinforcement over consequences because truly that is how I would handle my classroom. I also add something about students who continually break the rules or have behavior issues, having a specific behavior plan.
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I don't teach special ed, so take this for what it's worth.

    But I think the key to effective discipline is prevention. Little problems don't become big problems if the little problems are caught early.

    One aspect of this is routine. Kids do well if they know exactly what they should be doing at all times during the class period.

    Another is transitions. Any teacher I've ever observed who had problems with discipline always had a problem with transitions. So that's an area that teachers need to consider: how to minimize transitions, how to keep them short, and how to make them effective.

    Physical presence is another component. A teacher who is moving around the class is probably less likely to have issues than one who, like me, tends to stay at or near the front of the room. (I teach math, so I'm pretty much tied to the blackboard.)

    Finally, the kids have to know that you're the authority. I don't mean that you have to act like a dictator on a power trip, but there should be no question that it's your class, your rules, your authority. They should know that you like and respect them, but that the room is yours.

    Does that help at all?
     
  8. SpecialEdTeache

    SpecialEdTeache Companion

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    Yes, it all helps! Thanks everyone. Now, I need to get all of these points down on a card and review them b4 my next interview :)

    Thanks again, everyone!
     
  9. newbie23

    newbie23 Comrade

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    You may want to mention that you will be sure to inact your discipline/reward model the first moment you enter the classroom. I usually mentioned, "I may be the first to have students in detention but by the end of the year, my students will know my rules and dentention certainly will not be the norm." I also included that parents would be contacted after strike 2.
     
  10. Zelda~*

    Zelda~* Devotee

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    Don't forget to say "how" you will teach expectations. Give real life examples. :)
     
  11. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    I would direct the majority of my answer to prevention, as Alice already posted. I will admit I'm not an interviewer, but if I were, that's the kind of answer I would be looking for. So many discipline problems are preventable, and if you can set kids up for success, you don't need to use clips or stickers or red lights/green lights.

    (Not that I'm saying these things are bad... I've certainly used them from time to time doing behaviour intervention over the past year... they have their place, but prevention is best.)
     
  12. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    This helps me a lot. I hadn't considered this aspect of running my class. With 90 minute blocks, I certainly will have a lot of transition time. Do you have any suggestions?
     
  13. l8ybugmom

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    I don't have time to completely post but there is a behavior managment system called CHAMPs. I had to take it as a PDS for student teaching last year. It seems like a good program...basically you tell and give the students a visual as to what your expectations are while they are working, etc. I'll post more details later but Google it if you want to get more of an idea in the meantime. There is also a book called CHAMPs but I'll have to dig it out to find the author's name (we got it free :) )
     
  14. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Our classes range from 29 minutes (on mass and Pep rally days) to 38 on full period days, so it's less of an issue for me.

    Part of the answer is routine-- the kids know exactly what they should be doing and you don't wait for those who don't move quickly. So if I ask them to pass up their quizzes and take out a notebook, there's already something on the board or screen for them to copy-- I don't wait politely for Tom to finish his chat and get started. I'm alway pretty much onto the next thing, so there's very little time for them to hang out and talk. While I'm checking the homework, they're doing the Do Now problem, and we go over it right away, so there's again no time to hang out if they don't want to find themselves behind.

    Let's break this down-- what transitions do you forsee?
     
  15. SpecialEdTeache

    SpecialEdTeache Companion

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    Upon reflection, after reading all of these great posts, I realized that the reason I have trouble answering that question is because each child is an individual and the same strategy does not work for all, esp. children with disabilities. You really have to know the child to know how to head off disruptive behavior or to give them consequences. I have answered that way b4 in a job that I GOT in another state. But, apparently it doesn't fly in Indiana.
     
  16. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    You have a point, but if I were interviewing I wouldn't consider the question answered. (ANd I'm not in Indiana :)) I would want examples of some ways that you could head off those problems, some concrete approaches and ramifications.

    Otherwise, how can he tell you from a candidate who just plans to wing it and hope that problems don't appear??

    Of course there's no one-size-fits-all approach for discipline or anything else. But as someone being interviewed, you need to make it clear to the interviewer that you do have some real concrete strategies, not just starry eyed optimism.

    Since you're special ed, you might talk about how an autistic kid who behaved in a particular fashion might warrant a different approach than a kid with ADHD, and exactly what those approaches MIGHT be. Sure, it's not a guarantee. But it shows that he can have reasonable expectations that you'll be able to handle the situations when they come up.
     
  17. l8ybugmom

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    Okay...so now this leads me to...I never know if I'm talking too much during the interview. I know you are supposed to thoroughly answer questions but with broad questions like tell me about how you'd handle discipline in your classroom, it would be easy for me to talk for 15 minutes on this alone. As I said I give an overview of my discipline plan, talk about praise, etc. But I don't know that I necessarily get into everything that would encompass how I'd handle discipline because 1. I know I'm not the only interview 2. Half the time the P's are reading my resume while talking 3. They start looking at their watches so you know they are trying to keep the interview into a certain time allotment. So my question is: How info should you give?
     
  18. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    I'm not sure yet how things will be structured. That is the sort of thing I will be hammering out next week. Our department follows a pacing guide very strictly, so I will have material that must be covered on a certain day. I will have a lot of freedom in how I present the material though. Since the standards mostly align with what I would need to teach anyway, this isn't as chafing as it might be. I am planning to start with a state test problem on the board for the first 3-5 minutes of class, while I am getting things organized (attendance and the like). Then probably move into a mini-lecture to introduce a topic that ends in some group work. Depending on the topic, the group work will culminate in short presentations. Other topics, I might start with a group exercise, like showing some movie clips and then we will evaluate those in various ways. I'm told we have limited resources for doing labs (and I don't have space for it either which is miserable), so that takes out a chunk of time I was planning for.

    I think the biggest issue I will need to work on, is what do I have the kids who finish early do?
     
  19. Carmen13

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    Hi Alice, what do you mean with transitions? Thanks.
     
  20. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Carmen, I mean those times when you stop one activity and begin to start another. For example, as I'm done checking the homework and starting the day's notes, or when an English teacher shifts gears from spelling to grammar within the same class period.

    Any time there's a break in the action, the kids see it as an opportunity to chat.

    Molly, I'm not ignoring you. I'm up to my ears in housework. I'll get back on later.
     
  21. Rebel1

    Rebel1 Connoisseur

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    Transitioning is the key to my students falling apart OR smooth moves from one center to another. I have students who would stay all day long at the Construction or the Dramatic Play areas, :whistle:IF I let them. I have a song that I sing. They hear it, join in and get going. I also ask them, "GET IT?", and they respond back, "GOT IT!" The ones who love to stay at a certain area are a challenge in itself. I go to my BAG OF TRICKS, get out some toy that they love to play with and they get going with their cleaning. I am guilty of saying, "I'm moving your sticker back", or "You are going to have a RED day", or "You are going to Ms. Thang's class!". I am working on NOT USING THESE THREATS because they only work for so long, then it's just wasted air! Transitioning is becoming better now and it can make a lot of difference in making my class a POSITIVE environment where the FUTURE OF AMERICA can learn, have fun and grow @:D, and meanwhile keep my sanity.:cool:
    Rebel1
     
  22. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    No hurry! :) Your advice is generally worth waiting for.
     
  23. Carmen13

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    Oh, I get it Alice, thank you. I agree with what you said. I have come to the conclusion that moving in the class (when possible) is one of the most effective ways of keeping discipline.
     
  24. schoolteacher

    schoolteacher Habitué

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    This is a good question. I would plan ahead of time exactly what I wanted to cover on general topic questions such as this. I think a couple of minutes would be as long as I would go on any question. I would keep it short and simple, but get the meat of it in there.


    I think you bring up an important point here, about the principal reading a resume or looking at a watch while you are speaking.
    I have always interviewed well, and I believe it is because I go into an interview with a certain attitude. I know that I am going to do well, because I prepare, study and practice questions ahead of time. I am so prepared that I walk in with confidence, give my answers with confidence, confine my answers to a couple of minutes at the most (just imagine if you were the interviewer: how long would you want a candidate to go on talking about a question?).

    I have never experienced a principal looking at a watch or reading a resume or doing anything but listening as I speak. Maybe I've just been lucky. Or maybe it's because I know that I have something compelling and important to say, and the principal/interviewer responds to that in kind.

    An interview is like a psychological game. Go in there thinking that you are the most important person who is interviewing for this job, and that this person is dying to hear what you have to say. Compel them with your voice, attitude and eye contact to look at you and listen to you.

    l8dybugmom, I want you to take these thoughts:

    1. I know I'm not the only interview 2. Half the time the P's are reading my resume while talking 3. They start looking at their watches so you know they are trying to keep the interview into a certain time allotment.

    throw them out the window, and replace them with these:

    1. I am the only interview that matters.
    2. I am going to make this P look up and listen to me, because what I have to say is that important.
    3. I am going to keep this P so focused on the absolute gems spilling out of my mouth that he will be totally unconcerned about anything except what I am saying.
     
  25. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    OK, Molly, here goes:

    I think that a lot of teachers have a hard time with transitions because they stop one activity, wait for all the kids to get ready, then begin another. Before very long, the kids realize that the slower they move, the less work they have to do.. Nirvana for a kid!

    There are 2 big ways to combat this: routine and simply not waiting.

    Routine is your best friend as a teacher. Stop and think of the transitions you classes are likely to face: handing up quizzes and taking out a notebook, the transition from you checking homework to beginning classwork, and so on. Then come up with a routine for each one. For example, my kids pass their quizzes up and I walk across the room and collect from each row. But that brings me to my next point: there's ALWAYS something else they should be doing while I'm doing that. It's not a matter of "take out your notebook and wait while I collect all these quizzes, put them in my bag, and then wait while I get set to teach." It's more a matter of: "pass up your quizzes and copy these definitions off the screen." They know that I'm not waiting indefinitely while they copy.

    Ooops-- kids are being a pain and I've got to run.
     
  26. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Alice's answers were spot on. Your presence everywhere in the classroom and your immediate intervention in a small situation will prevent larger situations.
     
  27. Dzenna

    Dzenna Groupie

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    Alice- I think you hit upon something. Each school/class/teacher has their own methods of discipline. None is the perfect method. An interviewer wants to see if a candidate has thought about a discipline philosophy. Some candidates have never had their own classroom.

    You may want to read up on some different philosophies: Love & Logic, The First Days of School, Power Teaching (I forgot the new name) and discuss your preferences and views at the interview.
     
  28. SCTeacher23

    SCTeacher23 Comrade

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    This is probably one of the questions that I do feel I have a week answer for also. I've read a few people on here mention that they know a P won't hire someone or gets turned off when someone mentions a very specific method (such as something with a stoplight, flipping cards, etc.). So I guess it's hard for me to come up with a good answer that doesn't seem incomplete without mentioning the specifics?
     
  29. l8ybugmom

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    CHAMPs

    I'm back with the info on CHAMPs, if anyone is interested. The book is called CHAMPs: A proactive and Positive Approach to Classroom Management by Randy Sprick, PhD

    I don't ever mention this in an interview because well, I have yet to read the book. I also know that it is time consuming to set up but now thinking about it, I have time so I should read up on it. I did attend a PDS as a student teaching requirement so I do know a little about it but not enough to say I truly understand the method.

    Basically, CHAMPs is an acronym for Conversation (can students talk), Help (how can students get questions answered), Activity (what is the objective? Was is the expected outcome?), Movement (can students move around the room), Participation (what does active and responsible participation look like for the activity/transition). The teacher tells the students the behavioral expectation for each activity/transition. The teacher verbally tells the students but also has a visual--written on the board or use a flip chart made by the teacher (I'm sure you can purchase something as well.

    The book goes step by step how to introduce this to your classroom based on how much structure you need for your classroom. Those that I know have used it, love it. Or they use certain parts of it like the visual so students know what they are allowed to do.

    Thank you to the original poster for presenting this question because now you've given me the push that I need to read this book. I had truly forgotten about it since our move and things like that. :)
     
  30. Dzenna

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    l8ybugmom- I didn't mean to ignore CHAMPs as a discipline philosophy. There are so many out there! I think you are smart to become familiar with one and discuss your thoughts at an interview.
     
  31. l8ybugmom

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    I didn't think you were ignoring. :) I know there are just so many out there. Just thought I would share something about one that I had heard of and taken a PDS on for those who may or may not be familiar with it. Definitely did prompt me to start reading the book and becoming more familiar with it so that maybe I could bring it up during an interview. Not sure I'll use it the way that the book lays it out but, as with anything, pull bits out that I think will work for me. :)
     
  32. SpecialEdTeache

    SpecialEdTeache Companion

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    There is so much GOLD on this thread. Thank you everyone who contributed. I am going to study for this question as if I were going to take a test on it and learn to articulate MY discipline plan :) Thanks again everyone!!!!
     

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