Saturday, April 23, 2016

Teacher Interviews - A Review

Dear Friends:
     I just received this review of the Ace Your Teacher Interview book.  I thought you might find it as interesting as I did.

"As a professor in education at the University of Miami, I see how hard my students work to become effective educators.  They have the skills and knowledge and passion—but there is one thing missing –the information and skills needed for preparing for those all-important teacher interviews so they can finally begin their careers."

"Thanks to Dr. Anthony Fredericks’ stellar book, Ace Your Teacher Interview, the angst is over.  Ace Your Teacher Interview contains a wealth of essential information that includes everything an applicant needs to know "before," "during" and "after" the interview.   Written in an inviting, engaging way, readers will be both informed and captivated.  A look at the table of contents will have you hooked--some of my favorite chapters include, “Don’t Mess Up! 43 Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make,” “32 Questions to Ask Yourself,” and “The Single-Most Important Question You Must Always Answer!”   A page turner! (Really)"

"Based on a lifetime of experience, Fredericks’ Ace Your Teacher Interview will help candidates learn what they need to do to differentiate themselves from all the others, and have the confidence to address the hard questions.  This book is a must—and the perfect gift for the graduate!"   

Anita Meinbach, Ed.D.
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Miami
Department of Teaching and Learning
Merrick Building, # 222 D

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

What would you like to change?

Teachers are never "finished products."  They are always a "work in progress."  That goes for those just beginning their teaching career as much as it does for us "old dogs" who've been around for a few years.  I've always maintained that, "The best teachers are those who have as much to learn as they do to teach."

In that vein, here is a question that, in one form or another, often pops up in many interviews.  If you're not prepared for it, it will certainly throw you off.  Be ready for this one - it's a great question and how you answer it says a lot about who you are as a future educator.

     What aspect of your teaching style would you like to change?

     A:   Like many teachers I guess I have a tendency to ask far too many low-level questions.  I learned from my professors that students can become more involved in a topic when they are asked significantly more high-level questions.  “Analyzing,” “Creating,” and “Evaluating” questions provide additional thinking and problem-solving opportunities for students.  I’m working hard to make sure I include more of those kinds of questions in each and every discussion I have with students.
Never try to come across as the “perfect teacher.”  You are just beginning in this profession and the interviewer knows it.  She or he knows that you have some “rough edges” – and she or he wants to know if you are aware of that.  Take the time before the interview to list some of your minor issues or concerns and (specifically) what you are doing to alter or change them.  Show that you are always improving; that you are always trying to be a little bit better than you are.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

One of the Best Questions!

Here is one of the best questions in any interview – for both the interviewer and the respondent.  Always be ready for this one!

     What is your greatest weakness?

     A:   People sometimes tell me that I come up with too many creative ideas.  I’m always trying to think “outside the box” when I design lesson plans, units, or extended projects.  I always want to include more activities and more projects in my lessons and sometimes find myself getting impatient when I don’t have enough time to do them all.  I’m still learning how to be more patient with my creativity.
This is not the time to rant about all your imperfections or, even worse, the imperfections of others.  Don’t admit to a weakness in teaching a particular subject, or in classroom management, or disciplining students.  Select one or two personality attributes that are more general than specific.  For example, trying to do too much, being a perfectionist, running out of time, not getting to everything on a “To Do” list.  These are “imperfections” we all have and that we all wrestle with.  This is the only time you don’t want to be too specific.  Select an “innocent” weakness and frame it in positive terms.  Above all, keep your response short and sweet.

Check it out:

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Your Philosophy of Teaching

     Before any interview, write out your personal philosophy of teaching.  If it’s not included as part of the job application form, it will certainly be included as part of the interview.  Being able to express your personal philosophy at the drop of a hat is critical and will provide you with a solid foundation for a successful interview.

     What is your philosophy of teaching?

     A:   I believe teachers act as facilitators of the learning process rather than monitors.  When we sincerely invite youngsters to select and direct their own learning experiences (and teach them to do just that), they can achieve a measure of independence and motivation that will carry them beyond the four walls of the classroom.  In short, the way we teach is as important as – if not more important than – what we teach.  Indeed, I believe the chief role of a competent educator is to guide students in their own explorations – providing them with the tools they need and the necessary instruction to use those tools and then giving them the chance to discover the joys and excitement of learning as a personal goal rather than a dictated one.

Check it out:


Saturday, March 26, 2016

A Master Teacher

Are you cognizant of what it takes to be a master teacher?  In the question below, the interviewer wants to know if you are aware of the qualities of outstanding teachers AND how well you match those qualities. 
What characteristics make a master teacher?

     A:   I believe there are three qualities every outstanding teacher should have.  First, he or she should be a constant learner.  They should realize that education is as much about the journey as it is the destination.  Continuous learning is an essential ingredient in every teacher’s career.  Second, they need to develop a positive partnership with their students.  They need to create a classroom that is truly a “Community of Learners” – one that supports and encourages learners of very stripe both cognitively and affectively.  And, third, a master teacher must be willing to admit mistakes.  Teaching is never a perfect science and we will all make some mistakes along the way.  Good teachers – just like good students – learn from their mistakes to become stronger, better, and more accomplished.  I believe I have those three qualities.
From your answer the interviewer must be confident that you are keenly aware of the expectations of teachers and must be equally aware that your skills and talents are in line with those abilities and/or philosophy.  If you are not directly asked this question, it would be a good one to use as a wrap-up to the interview – particularly in response to a question like, “Is there anything else you would like to say or add to this interview?”