Saturday, October 10, 2015

Five More Mistakes
You Don't Want to Make
     In the last posting I talked about some of the big mistakes that can doom your interview.  If you go back and read that list you will note that all of those errors are under your control - that is, you have the power to stop them from ever happening.  What you will see below is an additional set of mistakes that teacher candidates often make.  Think about how you might control these, too.  By thinking about these errors well in advance of any interview you can prevent them from ever sinking your chances of a successful job offer.
1.  Has No Questions for the Interviewer
     You may be surprised to learn that many professional interviewers believe that asking questions in an interview is much more important than answering them.  By asking your own questions you are demonstrating an interest in that particular school or district.  Don’t make the fatal mistake, when asked if you have any questions, of saying, “No, not really.  I think we’ve covered pretty much everything.”
2.  Has a Negative Attitude
     Listening to someone with a negative attitude is always a drain – emotionally, psychologically, and personally.  The same holds true for someone who is always badmouthing other people.  Principals don’t hire “bad attitudes” – they want people with a positive outlook, a good sense of humor, a sunny disposition, and an engaging personality.
3.  Is Unprepared
     Principals will know, within the first 2-3 minutes, if you haven’t prepared for the interview.  Simple solution: Be prepared!
4.  Doesn’t Know Current Educational Issues
     Are you up-to-date on the most current educational trends, issues, and concerns?  Do you know what’s “hot” in the field of teaching?  Are you reading a variety of educational journals and professional publications?  Are you aware of any current or pending educational legislation in your state?  If you can’t answer “Yes” to all of those questions, then you have some homework ahead of you. 
5.  Displays No Knowledge of the School or District
     Give yourself an advantage.  Do your homework (many will not) and conduct some research on the school or district.  What is their overall philosophy?  How many schools do they have and where are they located?  Do most of the teachers have master’s degrees?  How much does the local community support the school/district?  How many students are in the school/district? 

Friday, October 2, 2015

Don’t Mess Up!
Top Ten Interview Mistakes
You Can’t Afford to Make
            I want to provide you with the most practical information on how to have a successful interview.  I also wanted to let you know about some of the mistakes teacher candidates typically made – mistakes that often doomed their chances, cost them the job, or derailed their chances for employment.  These are the mistakes that pop up often enough that they deserve your special attention.  These events happen so frequently and in so many interviews across the country, that they seem to be persistent – a virus that far too often sneaks its way into an interview and “contaminates” any chance you have of getting hired.  Following are the biggest “boo-boo’s” teacher candidates make in their interviews:
      1.  Uses a Cell Phone
      Here’s a fact of life: your cell phone will not help you get a job, but it does have the potential to make sure you never do get a job.  Here’s the best piece of advice I can give you, and I know it will be painful for some: leave your cell phone in your car.  DO NOT take it into the school, DO NOT take it into the interview, DO NOT even think about it.  If you spend any time on your cell phone while in the school or in the interview you will be sending a very powerful (negative) message to the interviewer: my business is more important than your business.
      2.  Is Tardy
     First impressions count!  Get to the interview late and you will make one of the worst impressions ever.  It makes no difference what your reasons are or what kinds of excuses you use (one of my favorites - “Your secretary gave me really lousy directions.”).  If you are late, you are out!  In case you think this is not a common occurrence, one recent research report showed that 50 percent (yes, 50 percent) of job candidates were tardy for their interviews.  If you really want the job, then you’ll really be on time.  Don’t be rude, be punctual!
      3.  Presents a Poor Appearance
      O.K. here’s your basic list:  Don’t wear clothing inappropriate for an interview, get rid of any body jewelry, cover up any and all tattoos, don’t use an excess of perfume or after shave lotion, take a bath or shower (with real soap) the morning of the interview, use a deodorant, go light with the jewelry and the makeup, get a haircut or a hair styling, trim your nails, brush your teeth and use a mouthwash, ditch the gum and cigarettes, and put on your best smile.  One more thing: don’t drink any alcohol before an interview.  You definitely won’t be doing yourself any favors.
      4.  Lacks confidence
      If you don’t walk into the school or into an interview room with a degree of self-confidence you will be putting yourself at a disadvantage.  Practice all the tips, ideas, and strategies in Ace Your Teacher Interview and you’ll have the confidence you need to impress an interviewer and do well in the actual interview.
      5.  Is Not Focused
      Jumping around from topic to topic, not completing an answer, losing your focus, stopping and starting several times when responding to a question, and a plethora of incoherent or incomprehensible thoughts will surely doom any interview.  Trust me, it happens – more than you might imagine – and if it continues, it is a sure sign that the interview will probably end prematurely.
(Next Posting: Five More Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make)

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Revised and Expanded 2nd Edition of

Ace Your Teacher Interview

is currently in production.

From the (New) Preface:
     Here you are - ready to begin the next chapter in your life and in your future career.  Others have gone before you and successfully landed their first teaching position using the ideas packed into this book.  So can you!  This is your time, this is your opportunity, and this is your chance to shine!  I’ve done all the homework, now it’s up to you to put that information into practice.  Read the book - several times - get comfortable with the preparations and advance work and you’ll succeed just like hundreds of teachers before you.
     It’s a very crowded job market out there and there are a lot of candidates applying for a limited number of positions; but you have an advantage…a very BIG advantage: you have an ace up your sleeve.  Actually, you have a unique and golden opportunity to positively Ace Your Teacher Interview.

PUBLICATION DATE:  February 2016

New features include:
  • Eleven new interview questions (and answers) reflecting the most current educational trends [Common Core, standards-based teaching, Danielson Framework, etc.)
  • Updating of all questions and answers
  • A new section (Your Personal Checklist for Interview Success) has been added
  • Common questions from readers have been compiled and answered
  • Valuable web resources to expand your interview skills have been added
  • A list of specific teacher titles (for first-year teachers) has been added
  • New material, new ideas, and new interviewing strategies for YOUR SUCCESS have been included

PUBLICATION DATE:  February 2016

Here's what readers are saying about Ace Your Teacher Interview:
  • “...a must read for every college education major and job seeking teacher.”
  • "This should be required reading for all education majors."
  • "Ace Your Teacher Interview is a must read for every job-seeking teacher."
  • "I landed the job right after reading the book."
  • "I had three interviews, was offered two jobs, and got to pick the one I wanted."
  • "Full of great insights, examples, and tips."
  • "Every question I was asked in the interview was in this book.  I was offered the job the next day."

PUBLICATION DATE:  February 2016

Monday, November 12, 2012

If an administrator visited your classroom, what would she/he see?

Q:       If an administrator visited your classroom, what would she/he see?

     A:   She would see an educational environment where every student is respected, every student is trusted, and every student is learning.  She would see an active classroom – a classroom where students are never absorbing information passively, but are, instead, actively participating in a curriculum that puts a premium on personal and meaningful engagement.  She would see students taking responsibility for their learning through self-established goals, projects and activities that are pedagogically sound and standards-based.  She would see students achieving…she would see students challenged through higher level thinking questions, specific RTI activities, and a teacher dedicated to success.  She would see a classroom that embraces every student’s cognitive and affective potential.  She would see a community of learners!

            The answer to this question should focus, not on the physical environment (“Well all the chairs would be lined up in neat, straight rows and the teacher’s desk would be placed in the front of the room and….”), but rather on your philosophy of education.  This is a question that gets to the heart of what it means to be a teacher.  Here’s where you can let your beliefs and your values shine.  But be careful – this is not the time to ramble.  Be concise and keep your answer to two minutes or less.

Monday, October 22, 2012

How have you handled criticism of your lessons or teaching performance?

     Q:  How have you handled criticism of your lessons or teaching performance?

     A:   My college supervisor sometimes mentioned that I had time management issues – that is, I found it difficult to get everything done that I had planned.  Some parts of a lesson would go too long and others didn’t have enough time to develop.  I learned that this is a common problem with pre-service teachers.  So, I took the opportunity to talk with some of the more experienced teachers in the school to see what kinds of tips or strategies they had that would help me master my time a little better.  One of the best ideas I got was to list my lesson objectives on the board for students to see and then check them off as the lesson develops.  That gave me - and the students - visual proof on how the lesson was progressing.

            This question often provides the interviewer with insight into your accountability and professional character.  How do you handle criticism – positively (as a learning opportunity) or negatively (the reviewer didn’t know what he/she was talking about).  It would be most valuable to take this opportunity to demonstrate (with specific examples) how you were able to use that criticism to become a better teacher.