What do you think got YOU the job?

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by Elm512, Aug 3, 2010.

  1. Elm512

    Elm512 Companion

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    Aug 3, 2010

    I have my 3rd interview (ever) tomorrow. I'm hoping, praying and crossing everything that the 3rd time is the charm. It is for 4th grade, which is the closest yet to my experience (15 weeks student teaching in 3rd grade).

    What do you think really helped put you above the rest? I will definitely be dressed the part. I've read through the interview thread countless times and practiced my answers.

    What do you put in a mini portfolio and how is it presented? I have an online portfolio- this has my picture, Bio, philosophy, 2 week teacher work sample, letters of recc, student teaching evaluations and resume.

    I really, REALLY, just want to knock this one out of the park. I've had one so so interview, and one with a panel where I was a finalist and didn't get the job.

    Thanks for any tips!
     
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  3. heymiss

    heymiss Comrade

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    Aug 3, 2010

    Last year, I had 2 interviews at public schools and 3 interviews at charter schools, two of them being at the same school. I finally got hired about two weeks before school started.

    This year, I had one interview at a public school and got hired in June.

    I didn't have a brochure or portfolio. I'd applied online and brought hard copies of my resume and cover letter, but the interview panel had already printed out my online application, so I didn't bother giving them the resume.

    I wore a gray suit skirt with a short sleeved white button up shirt with a gray argyle sweater vest. It was a little warm (hello, Texas in June), but I looked professional without having to wear a suit.

    I think 4 things set me apart from the competition:

    1. My test scores were pretty awesome. I was the only math teacher for two grade levels, and my new school was amazed that I'd done that well with two grades and no help during my first year. You obviously won't have this going for you as a first year teacher, so read on.

    2. I was able to answer every question with, "In my class this year, we...." instead of having to use hypothetical scenarios. USE your student teaching experience and any subbing experience that you have. Don't get caught up in trying to use the correct jargon. Sometimes people can create these really elaborate answers full of buzzwords, and what they're saying doesn't actually MEAN something. If you don't know what something means, ask!

    3. I was EXCITED. I could imagine myself teaching at that school, and I really wanted to be there. I wanted to be at a school that would actually HELP the kids instead of just pushing them into the next grade. I know that when I talk about teaching and why I'm in education, I get this big ol' goofy grin on my face because I'm so excited. It's real and it shows that I'm sincere.

    4. I was also lighthearted and was able to joke with the interviewers. It turned out that one of the panel members and I are from the same hometown, and we joked about that as well as how Type-A/organized I am and like my classroom to be. You don't want to be sitting there, terrified of saying the wrong thing. They called YOU and they want to talk to YOU about hiring YOU, so be yourself. :)

    Good luck!
     
  4. Starista

    Starista Cohort

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    Aug 3, 2010

    In a nutshell, my enthusiasm.

    I had the tests taken, the certification, the portfolio, the resume, the letters of reference... but so did the other candidates.

    If you love what you it will shine through your eyes and your demeanor.

    I have been told countless times that I have been selected over another candidate due to my enthusiasm and obvious "passion" for education.

    Make your eyes sparkle and glow when you share your philosophy on education and activities that you do with the children.

    Convey your love of the children and of education.

    Listen intently to everything the person(s) interviewing you has to say.

    Let the administration know that your top priority is creating a safe and nurturing classroom where the children can thrive and grow!

    Be real. Be yourself. :) Don't put on airs or pretend to be anything you're not.

    The right school has a classroom with YOUR name on it. :hugs:
     
  5. teachnew

    teachnew Rookie

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    Aug 3, 2010

    I second the idea of "be yourself". I would add to that "Be honest". At my first interview for the school that ended up hiring me, one of their questions was "Tell us what you know about the state standards." Gulp. I was interviewing out of state and although I was familiar with the standards in the state where I had gone to school and done my student teaching, I had not yet familiarized myself with the standards in the state where I was interviewing. I thought I was sunk right there. I was completely honest, and said that I knew little about the standards, but I was confident that I would be able to learn and be comfortable with them very quickly. Although I was thrown by the question I kept my composure and answered the rest of the questions. They called me in for a second interview and I made sure I knew A LOT about the standards so we could talk about them. They were happy with that and I got the job!

    No one is perfect. No one knows everything. Be yourself, be honest and don't be thrown when you don't have all the answers.
     
  6. heymiss

    heymiss Comrade

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    Aug 3, 2010

    Good advice, teachnew. I remember being asked if I took part in PLCs in one of my early interviews, and I came right out and said that I didn't know what a PLC was! The principal was impressed with my honesty and took a lot of extra time (my interview was 75 minutes long) to give me great advice. I didn't get hired at that school, but I used the advice she gave me to get hired at my current school.
     
  7. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Aug 3, 2010

    Passion
     
  8. Rachael84

    Rachael84 Rookie

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    Aug 3, 2010

    I spent the last 2 months interviewing for a transfer to another school in the city, so I already had a job, but was very unhappy in my current school.

    All the other schools were a formal interview, but the school I just got hired at, the Principal only asked me two questions. She asked me to explain the 2 areas I've taught in, and why I want to transfer from my current school. No real teaching questions. I explained how my school isn't a good fit and I don't feel supported by the Principal. She told me that it's so different at this school; how the teachers are friendly, and she supports the teachers and leaves them alone.

    I ended up getting hired because she was looking for someone who was unhappy at their school, because she told me she wants someone grateful for working in a good, supportive school like she has.
     
  9. TeacherApr

    TeacherApr Groupie

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    Aug 3, 2010

    I didn't carry around a portfolio and no one ever asked me for one.

    My confidence and enthusiasm as well as persistence got me my job. Just the way I like it = )
     
  10. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    Aug 3, 2010

    I did carry a portfolio and the principal and AP poured over it. I got the job because my enthusiasm matched what they saw in the pics.

    A portfolio doesn't GET you the job, but it is a tool that can be useful. My principal also remembers the brochure I made (well actually modeled after someone who shared on here). Do what fits your personality. Good luck!
     
  11. UVAgrl928

    UVAgrl928 Habitué

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    Aug 3, 2010

    I agree that this is what got me hired. Luckily my student teaching and practicums were numerous, and very different types of placements. I did three Headstart classrooms, home based early intervention (birth-age 3), a very white/middle -upper class 1st grade, and another very diverse 1st grade class (I had a nonspeaker, high ESOL, T1, low SES). I used things that I learned from all them in my interview! I spoke of how the EI placement gave me a chance to see how family/home life can affect a child's education, my nonspeaker taught me how to use visual cues, etc. I walked away with each of those experiences as a stronger teacher, and use examples from each. I made sure to use some of the key words (such as differentiation), but back them up with a specific example.

    I also did my homework ahead of time on the school. I looked up the demographic and found out that they were T1, 85% Free and Reduced lunch, etc. This gave me tools to prep a little better for the interview. I knew that I would talk about why the school was a good fit for me (ie. I would rather work with a group of struggling students from a diverse background because I really feel that I can make a difference in their lives).

    I think in the end, if it is a good fit, you will know it, and they will know it!
     
  12. ami6880

    ami6880 Companion

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    Aug 3, 2010

    Its hard to say what set me apart in my interviews because I don't know what my competition brought, but looking back at my interview where I was offered a position:

    I really played up maturity. I was a first year teacher, but I was a non-traditional student who went back and a little older than most first year teachers. I brought this up a couple times and explained that I thought I had a maturity and dedication that maybe some other first year teachers may not have.

    I also showed a lot of enthusiasm and explained many times during my interview how excited I was and that I knew I was ready to take on a classroom. At the end of my interview he asked me if there was anything he didn't ask that I wanted to talk about and I said that I didn't think there was anything he asked that I wanted to talk about but I just wanted to let him know again that I am excited and ready to dive in to the classroom and I left them on that note.

    Lastly, I always tried to find one unique thing about the school. Sometimes they didn't get real excited but othertimes you could tell they knew you were serious about the interview and did your research. For example, at my school on the website it was voted "Kindest school in Kansas City", I simply asked about it and told them that it appeared to be a big honor and the principal became excited and told me about it for about 5 minutes! I think this could have been what really made me stand out to him.

    Hope this helps you! Just do what you can to show excitement and try to set yourself apart :)
     
  13. Geauxtee

    Geauxtee Comrade

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    Aug 3, 2010

    When they ask you, "Do you have any questions?"

    I asked, "Do you have any issues with my qualifications and the needs of this position?"

    This will bring up any issues they have with you and this is your last selling point! During my interview they said they were looking for someone who was ESL certified and I didn't have my ESL certification. I brought up my student teaching experience with ESL students and my willingness to get certified in the next few months. They didn't even hint about any ESL problems until I asked them this question. I was able to save myself and prove to them my experience with ESL student without any experience on paper.

    I brought Adam Waxler's teacher interview book (from a to z) and studied Job Interview for Dummies. I studied both of these and made flash cards with potential questions.

    Additionally, craft a one to two minute commercial about yourself and your skills/qualifications for the job. This gives you a very strong lead when they ask you, "Tell me about yourself."
     
  14. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Aug 3, 2010

    Well when I landed my second position back in March/April, it was very special--- sorta like God was watching over me. I was the only candidate they were interviewing with at the time-- they said they would interview others but never bothered. The principal and I instantly connected and she already knew what exactly she was looking for-- some how I asked all the right questions and told her exactly how I wanted to teach the students at the school. So I think because our personalities connected so well, I think that really helped :)
     
  15. nogenrewriter

    nogenrewriter Companion

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    Aug 3, 2010

    Honestly, I was such a bumbling mess during my interview, I am not sure why I got the job. I know that I can do the job, but it was totally not me at my best. I did, however, do my research, speak to other teachers at the school, follow-up, and try to be myself. I think they saw some potential in me. I have the whole year to prove that they made the right decision! :)
     
  16. oppa637

    oppa637 Rookie

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    Aug 4, 2010

    did some research on the school (t1 school). Was very energetic, passionate.. constantly smiled. First question was tell me bout yourself. I was just myself. Told them my life story in 5 mins while making jokes and having fun. Told them bout my experience, my background and experience...but made it more like a story/convo then an answer talking bout all kinds of other off topic. I just made sure that I didn't stay off topic too long. Think it was my smile tho....
     
  17. allisonbeth

    allisonbeth Comrade

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    Aug 4, 2010

    I have had three classroom teaching jobs. Two of the three I landed because I had done so much research on the school. I knew the programs that they used, the teachers' names, the test scores, their mascot, what they were proud of, what improvements they needed to make...By the time I was in the interview I felt like I already taught there and knew everyone. My answers to their questions were all geared toward their schools needs.
    I also had one job that I stumbled on, did very little research, and turned down the job twice. I am not sure why I got it....I think it was a combination between knowing the right people and not being stresed during the interview.
     
  18. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Aug 4, 2010

    MY first job out of college in 1980:

    - one, I was a math teacher. That always helps, because there are relatively few of us.

    - two, I had done Speech and Debate in high school and was willing to coach it. Forensics takes up a HUGE amount of time-- practice every single day after school, competitions most Saturdays (all day) from October until the end of March, then States and Nationals.

    -three- I think my experience as a waitress helped. I wasn't afraid of hard work, and I had broken out of my shyness by necessity; Being a bit outgoing helps in the tip department as you waitress. So, even back then, I think my interview skills were pretty good.

    My decision to change schools when my current school opened up in 1987:
    - Seven years of teaching experience certainly didn't hurt. We were changing from school to another; the old Catholic school was closing down and we were opening up in the same building. There was lots of resentment from the kids. Fights-- in the hallways, in the cafeteria, everywhere-- were pretty common in those early days. It was a whole differentn world for someone who had taught all girls for 7 years. But at least the content wasn't an issue. In those 7 years I had taught everything from Algebra to Sequential Math to Precalculus for College Credit.

    - Forensics again. We were starting a team. As it turns out, both myself and the woman I coached with in the other school made the same move. She's been the dean for about 15 years.

    - Great references. The group of brothers who run our school also run my husband's school. They too have a forensics team, and several of the brothers coach. So my new principal could ask all of them at the dinner table what they thought of my work ethic. All 4 are good friends of ours for a good reason-- we like and respect each other. So I'm sure that they had good things to say about me.


    In 2006, when I was returning to work after being a SAHM: (I went back to the school I had left in 2000. But, since I wasn't sure they needed me, I looked and got several job offers.)

    - math. We're still hard to find.

    -I've learned to love interviewing. My years as Department Chair have shown me how to do them. They're simply conversations. Since the topic is teaching, they're easy conversations; I talk about something I"m passionate about anyway. They're kind of like cocktail parties, minus the glass of wine and pig-in-blanket. If I can get an interview, I can almost always get the job.
     
  19. Elm512

    Elm512 Companion

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    Aug 4, 2010

    Thanks so much everyone. I'm going to do the best that I can and hopefully that's enough. I sure hope my passion shines through, I practically feel like I'm glowing when I talk about my potential classroom/class! There are few things in life I've wanted so badly!

    Portfolio is ready, outfit is ready, I'm going to try and relax today until this afternoon.....
     
  20. brejohnson88

    brejohnson88 Comrade

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    Aug 4, 2010

     
  21. katrinkakat

    katrinkakat Connoisseur

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    Aug 4, 2010

    All of the above advice is great. For me I think there were two things, though we never really know! One: I researched the district and started off talking about the history of the school and how I would love to work at this district. And two, I told a story about a class clown who was always interrupting the class and instead of squashing the comedian in him, I gave him opportunities during the day to be funny and make us all laugh. The director of personnel said "that was me, I was the class clown!" My mom swears that's why I got the job. :D
     

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