What is your weakness????

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by love2teach_art, Apr 26, 2010.

  1. love2teach_art

    love2teach_art Rookie

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    Apr 26, 2010

    How do you answer when asked about my weakness?
    Please help.

    Thanks so much in advance!
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Apr 26, 2010

    Well, my weaknesses aren't the same as yours.

    Why not give us your top 3 or 4, and we'll work one of them into a good answer for you??
     
  4. mathematics

    mathematics Rookie

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    The best way to handle this is put a spin on it so that your weakness is not all that much of a weakness, or by making it look like you are well on your way to fixing the issue.

    For example, my weakness is that I tend to be a perfectionist, that I an overly critical about my lessons. I need to focus more on the positive outcomes of the lesson, about what went well.

    Or, my weakness is that I spend too much time on paperwork. I am learning to handle every piece of paperwork as soon as it comes in, so that I don't have to deal with it several times, wasting time.
     
  5. darlibby

    darlibby Companion

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    I say my weakness is math. It's the truth, and I never interview for a math position so it's not really a weakness.
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I'm not sure of your area of certification. But if it's elementary education, that would be a HUGE RED flag to me.

    Say it's computation-- that you really need to work on computational accuracy. It implies that you know your stuff, just need to slow down and be careful.

    But just saying "math" would end the interview for me. I wouldn't want any teacher likely to infect a whole class with insecurity about math. (And this is coming as a mom and a former chair, not simply because it's the subject I teach.)
     
  7. TiffanyL

    TiffanyL Cohort

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    Please do not say that your weakness is something that others would view as a positive (i.e. I'm a perfectionist, I work too hard, I'm hard on myself, etc.). I have sat on many interview panels and it never goes over well.

    Determine what your weakness truly is (top few, like Alice suggested) and address why it is a weakness. Then choose one that you are willing to develop a plan for and develop your plan.

    For instance, "my weakness is teaching reading...I'm much stronger in math, science, and writing. I've addressed this by attending several workshops on balanced literacy and incorporating the Daily Five into my classroom. Because of this, my reading scores increased by 15% last year and I'm proud to say that 95% of my students reached proficiency in their reading levels. I continue to search for ways to help me grow in this area."

    Another example: "My weakness is parent communication. I often get so wrapped up in my stronger areas, such as curriculum and data analyzing that I must remind myself of how important parent communication is. I have resolved this by writing a weekly newsletter to the families and making 3 positive phone calls home each week. The families have responded very positively to this so, next year, I plan to...........????

    So, make sure you state a true weakness and how you have successfully addressed it. There is no such thing as a teacher who is strong in ALL areas. Basically, they are looking to see if you are self-reflective. I can't tell you how many teachers are NOT. We all have weaknesses....its how we recognize and address them that matter.
     
  8. Grover

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    I would disagree with this. There is no such thing as a teacher who is equally strong in all areas, but there are certainly teachers who are not weak in any that are relevant to teaching. The fact that we all have weaknesses in the broad sense is not pertinent, unless you want to hear that a candidate is afraid of heights or can't hold down spicy food.
    I think the people who ask these questions reveal more about their preconceptions than they discover about those that answer them.
     
  9. TiffanyL

    TiffanyL Cohort

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    Did you seriously just say that there are teachers who are not weak in ANY areas relevant to teaching. In my book, that would be someone who thinks they have reached their peak and no longer believe that they have room for growth. I was a darn strong teacher, if I do say so myself, and never did I think I was done growing and/or working on my weakness. Of course, my area of weakness may still be strong compared to another teacher....but it was still my own personal weakness.

    I apologize if I misunderstood your post.
     
  10. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    Tiffany-
    My response would be sincere but, I am not sure that your team would like it. My weakness has always been balance. I DO spend too much time on school work, that detracts from my family. Now, that I am a little older and wiser, I am better at balancing my school life and family life. For years though my husband truly felt like he was competing with my students and my chosen profession for his attention. I think having children helped our relationship the most. You just cannot put kids on the back burner. We waited seven years to have kids though, so during the interim, we had lots of arguments and I truly would still say my biggest challenge and weakness is putting family first and realizing that MY family is just as important as the families that I serve. Yes, I could stand to be more organized in my classroom. (Don't open a closet door because something might fall on your head!) But, the visual in the classroom is always neat and attractive. But, Lord, don't open a drawer! What do you think?
     
  11. TiffanyL

    TiffanyL Cohort

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    I think the way you phrased it does sound very sincere. The only downside is that it pertains to your family rather than your classroom. So it would be the perfect answer if your family members were interviewing you. ;)

    The key to any interview is determining what information the panel, or interviewer, is seeking for each question. For this particular question, they are seeking to determine if they can depend on you to self reflect on your own as well as find a solution. That is one key piece to being an ideal employee.

    So, let's say I had a teacher who was constantly negative and labeled kids before she gave them a chance. I sit down to speak with her about this and ask her what she thought her weakness was and her response is......"um, I take on too much for my team rather than delegating the work with them. I need to be okay releasing some of the work to them, even if I know I can do an outstanding job myself." Okay, from my perspective, my job just got a lot harder because she can't self-reflect and see what her true weakness is. She is too self-centered and focused on her own wants, needs, etc., as apparent by her answer.

    Let's take your organization issue....this would be a great one. A good answer would be......"In my early years of teaching, I struggled with staying organized. I was surprised at the amount of paperwork, curriculum, etc., that I needed to account for. I quickly knew that a good system would help me keep my stress low as well as be prepared for my students. I continue to address this area by color coding folders and filing items as soon as I get them. I also plan my lessons ahead so as I don't begin to feel overwhelmed or behind."

    The beauty of it is that, often, when you truly find one of your current weaknesses, the interview process can help you to REALLY make a plan for it.....something that will benefit you in the end anyway!
     
  12. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I agree with Tiffany here.

    I've been teaching for a LONG time. What's a weakness to a newer teacher had better NOT still be a weakness for me.

    But we all have areas that could stand improvement. I would hate to think that the teacher I am today is the best I'll ever be; that I won't learn more and improve more and become still stronger as the years pass by.
     
  13. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    :yeahthat:

    I sat on hiring committees at the college where I used to teach and I can't tell you how much discount store weakness answers turned me off.
     
  14. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Apr 26, 2010

    :lol::lol:
     
  15. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    I like that answer Tiffany. :) And you are right, I was thinking of me personally. Good thing I consider myself a learner. I just made a definite school to self connection and will take your advice to heart! Thanks! Hey my new goals for next year are coming up... I think you have given me an idea! Thanks!
     
  16. Grover

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    As I said, no one is equally strong everywhere. "Weak" on the other hand, has a specific meaning. So, yes, I believe there are teachers that are not weak anywhere as regards teaching. This doesn't mean they are perfect or have no room for growth. An oak tree becomes strong long before it stops growing.
     
  17. TiffanyL

    TiffanyL Cohort

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    I am glad it was helpful, SCTeach. I am always learning myself so we have that in common. :)
     
  18. Grover

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    If that's what the question is about, it would be better to ask, "What areas do you feel you most need growth or improvement in?"
     
  19. TiffanyL

    TiffanyL Cohort

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    Not necessarily because at that point there would be no determination made as to whether or not you could self reflect. If you asked what area do you need growth or improvement in.....then we are pushing you to self reflect. Most people can self reflect when asked to.

    With a weakness question, most people are going to say they are a perfectionist, or they don't delegate well, etc.....they are going to toot their own horn, so to say, or use a canned answer.

    Only true reflectors will say, "Hmmmm....what is my weakness, where do I want to continue to grow? If I could offer more to my students, where would it be? If I could be even better than I was last year, what would I need to change/improve upon?" These are the educators who are self-sufficient, who care about kids and who continue to get stronger and stronger each year.
     
  20. WhatchaDoin?

    WhatchaDoin? Comrade

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    Apr 26, 2010

    I'm so glad I found this thread. In college (many moons ago :) ), I remember being told to use a negative that could easily be turned into a positive - I think perfection was the example given. Obviously, spelling is a weakness, but I'm worried that would not be a wise answer.

    It's so nice to have your input, Tiffany. It just gives more "umph" to all the great discussions here on AtoZ.
     
  21. mistah

    mistah Rookie

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    Tiffany- my response has always been that I don't have an "off" switch, which is a blessing and a curse, but I'm not always able to leave issues at school, and I always compare myself to teachers I read about, and I become discouraged....
    Is there a way to improve that answer, or swing it in a more positive light as you have done in previous posts? Not to make it about me, but I reflected on this answer, and never thought it was an issue until I read these posts....any thoughts?
     
  22. teacherfan

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    I always say my weakness is in the area of technology
    (and it really is!). I feel that I do not use the resources available to me effectively. In trying to improve my skills, I try to consciously incorporate technology in my lessons at least twice a week.
     
  23. TiffanyL

    TiffanyL Cohort

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    Mistah, can you explain what you mean when you say that you always compare yourself to teachers you read about and the become discouraged?
     
  24. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    When I was interviewing 4 years ago (after 6 years as a SAHM) I honestly identified it as not being familiar with how to use a graphing calculator. (They reallly came into their own during the years I was home.)

    I identified it as a weakness, then stated that my plan was to hire the college kids across the street as tutors over the summer. It got some smiles and a couple of job offers.
     
  25. penguinpc

    penguinpc Comrade

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    This is a good thread. I know what some of my weaknesses are, but I could really use some help on how to present them.

    1. I get tunnel vision. I will get so focused on what I need or want to do for my class that I will sometimes ignore or let slide the things that I should be doing for my team. By which I mean the things we do together, which is what makes us a team. This is not meant to sound like one of those 'weaknesses that is really a positive.'

    2. I don't like to teach writing. I like writing, it's just the teaching. I get frustrated with the kids because no matter how many times I model it, many of them just don't seem to get it. Things such as flow of the writing, and understanding that five lines of the paper that have been written on are not the same thing as five sentences. Understanding that just because the rubric says you need at least three sentences in a paragraph, it doesn't mean you can just stop and have a finished paragraph if three sentences doesn't complete the entire train of thought. You can't leave your audience hanging. (Any way to show this one in a positive light? BTW, I taught third graders.)

    3. Multitasking. Supervising students as they multitask. I'm not real good at multitasking and I hate supervising it. However, I've been reading the Daily Five and I think it's going to help me with that when I get back into the classroom.

    Thanks for your input. :)
     
  26. mistah

    mistah Rookie

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    Yeah....Basically one of my biggest weaknesses is that I have had some of the best teachers as mentors (i.e- Natl. finalist for teacher of the year), and it truly is a blessing and a curse, but the reason I say it's a weakness is b/c I have all this knowledge of what a master teacher looks like, and it effects me b/c I set high expectations for myself and I want to be at that point but I have to realize that as a second year teacher, I hope to get there, but it takes time and patience and that's something that I need to work on.
     
  27. TiffanyL

    TiffanyL Cohort

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    Ahhh, I see. So your weakness is really that you are strong at long term goals but struggle with short term goals. You have probably addressed this (or plan to) by determining your long term goal and then breaking it down into manageable steps. For instance, "One goal is have is to achieve National Board Certification (just an example). In order to accomplish this, I know I must address multiple areas of my classroom effectiveness. I have listed those areas and am accomplishing them one by one."

    Now, you are clear about your weakness but you have a way to address it.
     
  28. mistah

    mistah Rookie

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    Wow....I never thought of it that way!! Thanks.....That is magical right there....u need to be a bug in my ear during my interviews...that way all for sure get a job :D).....J/K...but seriously...thanks for that...I will def. use it.
     
  29. mistah

    mistah Rookie

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    i meant to say that i'll for sure get a job** but you probably inferred that.
     
  30. JoshCHT

    JoshCHT Rookie

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    I hate this question too. I never know what to say and I know I've given horrible answers to it.

    When asked this question at my first interview I panicked and I couldn't think so I said disciple (yeah I know huge mistake) even though I didn't have problems with discipline when doing Student Teaching. So I tried to salvage it by saying that most Student Teachers get better at discipline as the experience continues and that I didn't have any problems by the end.

    At a different interview I said that when I did my Student Teaching that at first I wasn't giving enough individual praise to students but I had improved by the end (this was something my Supervisor actually worked with me on) but they didn't seem to like that answer.

    At another interview, I actually said that I didn't have any weaknesses. But I was being snarky and hoping to get a laugh out of them but I failed miserably as they didn't get what I was doing.
     
  31. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I think, as Tiffany said, that this has to be answered sincerely. Snarky won't do, neither will a canned answer.

    You're willing to work and grow, right??? So find a real weakness and explain what you're planning to do about it.
     
  32. WhatchaDoin?

    WhatchaDoin? Comrade

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    Okay, now I can't stop thinking about this question.

    I see this as an area that may change... depending on one's goals.

    Right at this moment, my weakness may be my lack of experience in public school. I came from a private school with no teacher observations or reviews, no standardized testing, and a general dislike by the admin. of all things public school.

    Background for A to Z readers: "Those children" were spoke about in a negative way, and we were discouraged from Cont. ed. opportunities that gave us an association with other teachers.


    I'm working on this area by subbing in a public school system and attending P.D. courses in a neighboring county. I'm also gaining a very positive attitude towards public schools, because of the excellent experience I am having as a parent of a public school child.

    (Yes, now my son is one of "those children.":lol:)

    Would this work as a weakness, or would I be shooting myself in the foot? Ten years of experience seems to be my selling point at the moment.... Obviously, I would clean it up, a little. I don't want it to sound like school bashing. Suggestions?
     
  33. dlotus205

    dlotus205 Rookie

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    Choose a weakness that you have worked on to improve and describe what action you are taking to remedy the weakness.

    For example: "I'm not a very self-confident person and used to find it very difficult to talk to people I didn't know well, but my Saturday job in the local library meant that I had to help people with all kinds of queries and that helped me a lot. Now I'm perfectly happy talking to anybody on a one-to-one basis and I've joined the debating society this year to give me experience of speaking in front of an audience."

    Goodluck in your interview!
     
  34. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    How does that relate to your performance in the classroom? I think the answer, and almost all answers you give, should have that as their frame of reference.

    As much as those doing the hiring would love self-reflective, well rounded individuals, their primary focus is on finding people who will find success in the classroom.
     
  35. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I was overwhelmed with paperwork when I first started. I did, however, work on it. My first year I concentrated on a system for developing portfolios. I also developed a good system for the students' reading assessments. My second year I was good with the portfolios but I wanted to take the reading assessments organization even further and do long term tracking. I also wanted to be able to look at the assessments more accurately and really have data guide my instruction even more than I did previously. Because I was a relatively new reading teacher, I turned to our reading specialist. She not only gave me terrific examples of resources but decided to share these at a faculty workshop and had every teacher bring their examples as well to share with one another. I also made an appointment with her at minimum every two weeks. This forced me to stay on top of the paperwork, really watch what I was doing and be prepared in advance for any questions I might have or just to go over the results and what I have done thus far. This helped me keep better tracking for their reading levels, their assessments, AND my lessons. Being accountable to someone else helped not only to keep me organized but I was able to use her expertise and advice to help me grow as a reading teacher. So in effect, this solution actually helped me with two areas for growth.
     
  36. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Without reading all the posts yet...

    I, too have said the 'ole "I'm a bit of a perfectionist" reason before, which is indeed true for me. I mean NO ONE wants to mk mistakes. I still don't see anything wrong w/ that answer, but if you want to say something more original, that's up to you.

    I still believe that the tactic is for them to see that it's hopefully not a severe weakness, but something minor & easily fixable. So, a previous poster said about not really having good parent communication. I definitely wouldn't say that (unless you've fixed the problem) because to me, that's not too minor a weakness! :eek:

    I'm sure someone's already said to perhaps say something that was truly your weakness IN THE PAST, but say how that's no longer how you do things anymore or it's something you've since fixed.

    As I'm thinking, how abouit saying:

    "I tend to not ask for help/assistance as much as I maybe should. I try my best to figure out things as much as I can first."
    Well technically, that shouldn't be a weakness, but a GOOD thing to do, but on the other hand, it's always been said to ask for help if you need it! But, you want them to know that you're not someone who'll bother them about every little thing! ;)
     
  37. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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  38. Michelle88702

    Michelle88702 Rookie

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    Ok this has me 2nd guessing my typical answer. I usually say something along the lines of, " My weakness is being a recent graduate without a lot of actual experience teaching in my own classroom. What I lack in formal experience I make up for with enthusiasm, etc...."

    Would this be a bad answer? I just figure I'm not telling them something negative that they can't already figure out from my resume, and it's something I can put a positive spin on.
     
  39. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    I honestly wouldn't say that imho. I would fine a weakness that you may have struggled in the past and how you over came it.
     
  40. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Mine is having a cluttered desk....I don't look organized on first glance, but my lessons are well executed, my kids are enthusiastic learners and I can put my hands on what I need at any moment...just don't judge me by the PILE on my desk by the end of each day!:dizzy:
     
  41. SpanishTeacher4

    SpanishTeacher4 Rookie

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    say you OVER plan...sounds like a weakness, but is always a positive. has worked for me everytime in an interview
     

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