Monday, May 30, 2016

Other Teaching Experiences

In most interviews, the interviewer wants to know if you’ve had varied and diverse opportunities in working with children.  Have you experienced diverse populations of kids and have you been involved in an eclectic array of child-centered activities?
 
What experiences have you had working with students other than student teaching?

A:   For the past three years I have been a volleyball coach at the local YMCA – working with the junior volleyball team.  I have been an after-school tutor at the West End Community Center on Thursday evenings – helping youngsters with various homework assignments.  Each summer I am a volunteer reader at Long Valley Regional Library where I share books and stories with three to five year olds.  I’ve been a camp counselor for four years at the Big Mountain Nature Camp and I’ve helped supervise playground activities during the annual Spring Fling held each year in Centerville.  I guess I’ve always been attracted to kids and take every opportunity I can to work with them, teach them, and be a positive influence in their lives.
Bottom line: The more programs and activities you’ve experienced – beyond student teaching - the better your chances at obtaining a teaching position.
 
Check this out:
 
 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

A Positive Classroom Environment!

Here’s a query that often pops up in many interviews - one that offers you an opportunity to answer two questions in one.  First, what is your philosophy of teaching?  And, two, have you sufficiently thought about and planned out those critical first days of school?
 
To establish a positive classroom environment, share what you will do the first few days of school.

A:   I know that those initial days of a new school year are critical, as well as anxious – especially for ninth-grade students.  Some of the things I would do would include 1) meeting and greeting my students at the door to my classroom.  I want to shake their hands, call them by name, and welcome them into the room.  2) I want to establish a seating pattern or seating chart early on.  I’d want to assign them to desks alphabetically, at least initially, so I can learn their names quicker.  3) I would want to talk briefly about myself – sharing with students my own education, my family, and especially my philosophy of education in general and English education specifically.  4) I’d want to take attendance each day, making sure I add a positive comment about each student as I begin learning their names and the correct pronunciation of those names.  5)  I would also share an initial set of rules and classroom expectations – no more than five in number – and invite them to help establish additional classroom procedures throughout the year.  Finally, 6) I would inform students about my expectations for each class and each period.  They need to know my expectations about bringing textbooks, note taking, homework assignments, and appropriate behavior.  I know it’s a tall order – but one that will be essential to the eventual success I envision for each and every student.
 
Most important:  You want the interviewer to know you have planned ahead, not that you’ve just made up the answer right there on the spot.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Biggest Challenge for Teachers

Be sure you are up to date on the latest educational theories, initiatives, “hot topics,” and issues.  You will, sometime during the interview, be asked about your opinion or your experience in dealing with one of these concerns.  Here's a good example:

     What do you think is the biggest challenge teachers face today?

     A:   Teachers are challenged from all sides – the media, parents, government officials, elected leaders, and communities.  We are in the proverbial spotlight – constantly.  That’s why I think that one of the greatest challenges we face is that of assessment.  That is, are students learning to the best of their potential and are teachers providing their students with the best quality education possible.  Educational initiatives such as “No Child Left Behind” and “Race to the Top” have put educational assessment on the front burner, so to speak, of educational reform.  Are we teaching what we should be teaching and are students achieving as they should be achieving?  During my student teaching experience I was able to fully integrate assessment throughout all my lesson plans – from beginning to end.  For that, I can thank Dr. Cranshaw, who showed me how to effectively integrate assessment throughout any lesson, any unit.  I certainly don’t have all the answers regarding assessment, but I’ve received some excellent training and excellent experiences I can use throughout my career.
Be sure to demonstrate how you have addressed an element of that issue sometime in your pre-service training.  If you don’t you will be sending a very powerful message to the interviewer that you don’t stay up to date and that you are unaware of what is happening outside the classroom.  This is a mistake you can’t afford to make.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Ace Your Teacher Interview - new reviews :-)

Dear Friends:
     WOW!!  Ace Your Teacher Interview just received two new (incredible) reviews.  They're posted on Amazon.com, but I thought you might enjoy reading portions of them here.

(5 Stars)  "From creating a good first impression to how to answer expected and unexpected questions, Dr. Fredericks provides readers with proven, practical, and thoughtful strategies for acing an interview."
- Suzanne

(5 Stars)  "Absolutely the best book out there for those of us searching for teaching jobs. The answers are clear and concise."
- JC01

     WOW!!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

If I hired you....

Here's a common question that offers you an opportunity to show how well-prepared you are and whether you have thought sufficiently about the future.  You can really solidify your standing with the interviewer by responding with a very concrete and very well-planned response. 
 
If I hired you today, what would you do first?
     A:   First I would obtain the entire fourth grade curriculum and all the associated textbooks.  I would try to learn as much about the program as I possibly could.  Next, I would want to interview several of the other fourth grade teachers and see what challenges they have faced over the past year and how they have addressed some of those concerns.  Third, I would pull out some of my college textbooks, or perhaps talk with one or two of my former professors, to review important information on classroom management and discipline.  Above all, I would do my homework and make sure I was ready to “hit the ground running” on the first day of classes in August.
Identify two or three specific points and why you consider them important.  Show that you have thought about this question well in advance of the interview by being succinct, direct, and focused.  The ability to plan ahead is a key factor in any teacher’s success – this question (and your response) shows that you are one who can.