Weaknesses

Discussion in 'Job Hunting & Interviews' started by Teri22G, Jun 16, 2006.

  1. Teri22G

    Teri22G Rookie

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    Jun 16, 2006

    I have an interview in a couple of days and the question that always comes up is What are your weaknesses? We all have weaknesses, but what is the best way to answer this question when you really want this job and by not answering it right, you could lose it?
     
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  3. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Jun 16, 2006

    We always have that question on our end of the year evaluation. I almost always put the same thing - Time management - I work on always being aware of the time that I am using and to plan carefully. The other area for improvement for me is organization. Simply put, I have a lot of stuff! I need to work on keeping it put away in a logical order that allows both myself and the students easy access to the materials we need.
    Just think of an area that you feel you need some strengthening. You're not saying that you aren't qualified as a teacher if you say you need to work on a specific skill. But, make sure you have some ideas of how you can improve in that area. For example reading a book for ideas or something similar.
    Good luck!!
     
  4. Teri22G

    Teri22G Rookie

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    Thank you so much for your information. It really helps me. I get so nervous and stumble over my words in an interview that I am trying to write down all my answers and review them a lot. I know I am a great teacher, but during interviews I am not so good at delivering that message. I have subbed there all of last year. The only reason I am looking for a job and was last year too was because my school closed because of finicial difficulties.
     
  5. Jame

    Jame Comrade

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    Jun 16, 2006

    I will just echo Christy's great advice, and maybe add just a thought. Maybe you could say something like:

    "Time Management" (or whatever) is an area that has been a challenge for me, but because I am aware of it, I am always on the lookout for ideas to help me better manage my time. Some things that have helped me are:________________________.

    That way they can see that you are honest and can be objective about yourself, AND that you are willing to take whatever steps you need to to be the very best you can be. :)

    The very best of luck in your interview!!! I know just how you feel; I have always struggled when expressing myself orally, too. Just keep believing in yourself and be sincere. You are going to do great! They already are thinking that you just might be exactly what they are looking for, or they wouldn't be interviewing you!!! :angel:
     
  6. Teri22G

    Teri22G Rookie

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    Thank you very much. Your answer has helped me tremendously. I know there is some tough competition out there for this job because there are very few actually almost none in my area.
     
  7. hescollin

    hescollin Fanatic

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    Jun 16, 2006

    Good Luck and Best Wishes.
     
  8. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Teri, has any of the kids you've taught given you something that will fit easily in your pocket? If so, make sure it's in your pocket when you go to the interview, and when you feel yourself stumbling, put your hand in your pocket and remember that you're not alone - the kids' goodwill is with you.
     
  9. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    Aw, TG -- that's such a sweet thought.

    It's funny though- I also have this difficulty expressing myself orally, but with the kids I think I'm pretty good. The older they get, the worse I get... hence the problem with principal interviews!
     
  10. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Ah, but please note, Bored, that every grownup was once a four-year-old - and, when push comes to shove, still is inside. (The best principals, in my experience, are the ones who know this.) So don't focus so hard on the suit and do focus more on making sense to the little kid, okay?
     
  11. ViolaSwamp

    ViolaSwamp Habitué

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    I agree with Jame and in fact I think I've heard a similar idea in an interview help book. It's not believable if you say you don't have a weakness or if you say something like, "I work too hard and shortchange myself." They say to pick something minor you do need to work on and it's not something they absolutely wouldn't hire you for.
     
  12. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jun 18, 2006

    I think your weakness should be something that could really use work, but is easily remedied or compensated for. In my case, it's the technology gap-- I'm returning as a math teacher and have never used a graphing calculator. The fix, of course, is to have my teenage babysitters tutor me over the summer!
     
  13. paperheart

    paperheart Groupie

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    Jun 18, 2006

    the weakness questrion is a trick question....answer something that you are improving instead and focus on how you are improving it rather than how much of a weakness it is.

    I wasn't asked this one recently, but my prepared answer was: "II do not delegate as well as I should. Sometimes I get too excited about teaching and won't stop working and preparing until way passed working hours all because I got an idea and decided to go with it and not wait until tomorrow and ask for help. This can lead me to get a little burned out, but I started working my to-do list differently and, by prioritizing and delegating, I am able to work much more efficiently now than in the recent past and continue to focus on working efficiently".
     
  14. Mizz Lucy

    Mizz Lucy Guest

    Jun 19, 2006

    Try to think of a weakness that you cannot control or leaves open ended. Like "I've never taught in a school that has Title 1 math."
    Or "I've only taught in a school that has computer labs and you have computers in the classroom. That is exciting for me to build on"
     
  15. shadowrose45

    shadowrose45 Rookie

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    Jun 19, 2006

    HI

    I've been asked that in every interview, and never know how to answer it, either.

    Good luck with the interview.
     
  16. Malcolm

    Malcolm Enthusiast

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    Jun 20, 2006

    FWIW I never answer that question directly. It is worthless psycho bable that can only get you in trouble. I tell the interviewer that I think that what I consider a weakness he may consider a strength, and vice versa. Then I throw him something innocuous and obvious, like I don't have much experience teaching in K12 yet.
     
  17. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    I would think that but never say it! It is true, though. Do you think they appreciate your analysis of the question instead of a direct answer? I just don't know if that would work... :confused:
     
  18. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    That question reeks of "Okay, let's see what the candidate does with this..." It's probably less the case that evaluators are looking for A Particular Right Answer than they are looking to see how you frame and support the answer you choose.
     
  19. Malcolm

    Malcolm Enthusiast

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    I try to side step the question as diplomatically as I can, and with a bit more verbiage than I used here. You know, hem and haw a bit, be a bit apologetic, and then throw them the bone. And I watch their reactions so I can modify my approach if necessary. But ny experience has always been positive. It is not the kind of answer they are used to. I don't know if they are glad to hear an honest answer, or a new one, or they just plain think the same way about the question as I do. Now, whether someone else can get away with it is another question...
     
  20. ViolaSwamp

    ViolaSwamp Habitué

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    Jun 21, 2006

    Yes, but have you been offered a job yet? Not that an interview rests on this one question but I really don't feel like analyzing the question is what I would want. If I gave a test and the student psychobabled their way around answering it I wouldn't give them credit for their answer. Maybe partial credit if they at least partially hit on the answer. I think saying that you don't have much k-12 experience is a valid weakness--but I don't think I would use it. I think lack of experience is a big concern to interviewers. Totally my opinion (of course!).
     
  21. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    There's nothing wrong with telling them a REAL weakness. When I sit on interview committees, the "textbook" answerers and the "sidesteppers" are never the ones high up on my list of favorites.

    I didn't have to interview for my position. (I'd subbed for them a lot the year before, and I guess I had a year-long interview.) Now I know that my biggest weakness is knowing how to effectively work with students who cannot read or read WAY below grade level yet aren't in special education classes. I have an English degree, and I don't have a clue as to how to actually go about TEACHING someone to read from scratch. However, that's certainly something I needed to work with some of my 7th graders. My school is, however, aware of this weakness--even though it wasn't brought up in an interview--and they've been quite helpful in getting me more training in that area!
     
  22. Lanie

    Lanie Cohort

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    Jun 21, 2006

    I have to admit, I gave 'real' answers when I was asked this question. My weaknesses: I wear my heart on my sleeve too often. I get along with almost everyone I've ever met, but I tend to do everything myself because I worry that others will let me down if I don't take on all the responsibilities of a task on my own or I do more than my fair share when I do work with others because I feel like a group's responsibility is also my sole responsibility. That's just me though.
     
  23. shadowrose45

    shadowrose45 Rookie

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    Jun 22, 2006

    HI

    I answered this question with : Memorization is my weak area. To compensate, I write everything down. A hold over from being a police officer, I think, but if it isn't written down, it didn't happen.

    Then I add...

    But this weakess has made me hyper organized as far as preparing for class.
     
  24. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Patricia that is a good one! I have been lucky I have had three interviews and no one has asked me that. I have actually out of 7 interviews only had it asked once.
     
  25. Malcolm

    Malcolm Enthusiast

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    Jun 22, 2006

    ViolaSwamp, I got the job every time I was asked that question.

    Interviewers who actually know what they are doing are looking at more than the answer when they ask a question like this. They are looking for how you handle it because the answer itself is meaningless unless the interviewee is stupid enough to admit to something that would be deterimental to their being hired. Then the person should not be hired because they are just plain dumb.

    Usually the question is just being asked it because it is on the approved standard list or the interviewer doesn't know how to conduct a meaningful interview. I have conducted hundreds of interviews and never even considered asking that question. I have however asked a candidate for a database administrator job what the difference between a turbojet and a turbofan aircraft engine was. He listed that he had been an aircraft mechanic in the Air National Guard and I wanted to see how honest he was being about his experience. Interestingly, he could not answer the question.

    FWIW I am not suggesting that anybody else use my approach. It works for me. You mileage may vary. You should use an approach that is comfortable and effective for yourself. Giving any innocuous answer is safe. Don't sweat it.
     

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