writing sample in interview??

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by Calif_teacher, Jun 15, 2007.

  1. Calif_teacher

    Calif_teacher Rookie

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    Jun 15, 2007

    Hi all,

    I was hoping if someone can help me. I have an interview next week and have to write a response to some prompt. I don't know what the topic will be or what they are looking for. I was just told that I would be given approximately half an hour to respond to that prompt.

    Has anyone else been through this? Usually what kind of topics are addressed in writing samples in interviews? If you have any ideas, I would love to have your advice.

    Please reply!
     
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  3. MBooks22

    MBooks22 Rookie

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    Jun 15, 2007

    I had to do a writing sample for a recent interview(which I got hired from!). I sub a lot and talked with the teachers at the different schools I work at on what the writing prompt could be. We decided(and this could have gone wrong) that it's hard to write a long, well researched and thought out paper in under 30 minutes(my writing sample was 20 minutes) so the topic cant be too broad.

    They helped me to come up with a few ideas that could be written out in about 20-30 minutes. Most of them have to do with sending a letter home. They talked about writing up a homework policy, sending a letter home about a fight or behavior problem, bullying policy, composing a field trip letter, coming up with a letter for open house night, creating a welcome to school letter for students and their parents, etc. Basically, they were all one page letters in regard to a situation, what I would do or how I would handle it. I looked at mock ups for those type of situations and what not.

    Now I probably put too much emphasis on those type of prompts because it could have easily been a short answer question about NCLB or my thoughts on school funding for example but I thought an example of communication from me would be more helpful.

    As it worked out, my writing sample was to write a letter home to parents in regard to the schools bullying policy and how I would handle bullying in the classroom.

    Hopefully that will give you an idea or help in some way.
     
  4. Teach2Inspire

    Teach2Inspire Comrade

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    Jun 15, 2007

    Calif Teacher - What district are you interviewing for? I have an interview next week too and failed to ask if I would have to do a writing sample and if it was going to be a panel interview?
     
  5. loman

    loman Rookie

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    Jun 15, 2007

    My 30 minute writing sample:

    Write a letter to the school newspaper introducing yourself to parents and students. State your goals for the year in your letter.
     
  6. Calif_teacher

    Calif_teacher Rookie

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    Jun 15, 2007

    Thank you so much MBooks22!! Yes, your response did help me a lot.

    Frankly speaking, I hadn't thought about those topics until I read your post. I was more focusing on general education related topics e.g. behavior problems, classroom management, diverse background in schools etc. Now, I will start preparing the topics you mentioned.

    I agree, the time is so limited that it is hard to write a well researched and well prepared paper in 20-30 minutes.

    By the way, how long the writing sample should be? Word counts? May be three paragraphs (Intro, middle and conclusion)? How did you do?

    If you could think of any other advice/suggestion which could be useful for me, please do let me know.

    Thanks again.
     
  7. Calif_teacher

    Calif_teacher Rookie

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    Jun 15, 2007

    Hi Teach2Inspire,

    This is for a charter school in the SFO bay area.

    Calif_teacher
     
  8. Calif_teacher

    Calif_teacher Rookie

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    Jun 15, 2007

    Wow !! This is a wonderful example - thanks a lot for sharing it with me.

    By the way, what did you write? I am just looking for some clues.

    Thanks very much for responding!
     
  9. MBooks22

    MBooks22 Rookie

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    Jun 15, 2007

    Not a problem. :)
    I had requirements with mine. It was not allowed to be longer then one page. I was taken into a room and given a computer and was told to compose it on msword. They also told me what they would be focusing on(grammar, communication, etc) and I had 20 minutes to complete it. There were no word limits, just one page in size. I didnt really have a super concrete beginning, middle, end, just made sure that my ideas flowed.
     
  10. Calif_teacher

    Calif_teacher Rookie

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    Thanks again!

    Good that you were given a computer! In my case, I will have to handwrite the sample using pen/pencil. It is easier to make changes on msword.
     
  11. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jun 16, 2007

    I had one last year at an interview-- I think it was on my philosophy of teaching or something similar.

    I wasn't given a desk or anything; I wrote it on my briefcase. I wasn't necessarily expecting a sample, so I hadn't given it any prior thought. I just wrote whatever occurred to me at that moment.

    I got the job offer.

    The moral to the story is this: don't sweat it. Be honest in your responses, be sure your grammar and spelling are on target, and give it your best shot. I think the honesty is key. That way, if there's a follow up question in the interview, you don't have to scramble to remember what you wrote. You can just expand on what you really do think.
     
  12. mincc

    mincc Companion

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    Jun 16, 2007

    I had 45 minutes to write 2 essays, one about my most memorable teaching moment and one about my greatest "learning moment" as a teacher-they wanted to know about something I did wrong and how I fixed it and applied it to my teaching in general.
     
  13. njeledteacher

    njeledteacher Cohort

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    Jun 16, 2007

    Wow, 2 essays??? THat's a bit much don't you think? I had to do a demo lesson (it was a bust btw) and then get grilled by teachers, and then after all that do a writing sample. I was there for an hour. I wasn't given a time limit, just told to write about my thoughts on inclusion. I came up with 3 paragraphs, and I think it was pretty good. I actually wasn't that worked up about it because the interview panel was a bit rude to me anyway. But I had to write it out on paper, which is not as convenient as MS Word. You can't make mistakes!

    Good luck!
     
  14. mincc

    mincc Companion

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    That was the interview where the jobs did not exist-found that out through the grapevine. It was ridiculous. All for a paper trail. I am 99 percent sure they did not even read them as I got my rejection letter one day later. Not the only one this happened to, it was really a nasty experience. :(
     
  15. njeledteacher

    njeledteacher Cohort

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    Oh my, that is terrible. After all that effort and then a stinky letter the next day? That means they already had it ready to go. I doubt mine was read either. That's why I wouldn't worry too much about a writing sample. I dont know of many other professions that get this intense during interviews!
     
  16. MATgrad

    MATgrad Groupie

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    Jun 16, 2007

    I had to do one where the question was "Describe how you will create a warm and rich learning environment."
     

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