Saturday, May 12, 2018


Dear Friends:
     My wife and I are in the process of moving (downsizing) to a new home.  The move, certain renovations on the new place, and our transient status (at friends' houses) for the next three weeks means I will be without my computer and internet service during that time period (OMG!).  Thus, I must reluctantly place this blog "on hold" for a while.  I will be back sometime in mid-June with additional ideas, information, and tips on how to successfully negotiate your interview.  In the meantime, please feel free to obtain a copy of Ace Your Teacher Interview and get the most up-to-date data on how to make your teacher interview a successful teacher interview.
All The Best,
Anthony D. Fredericks, Ed.D.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Why Weren't Your Grades Better?

There's one interview question that scares every teacher candidate (it sure scared me in my first interview).  It's a question about your grades...or your lack of good grades.  Many people panic when they hear this query and often try to mumble their way through an answer.  But, this is a most unique opportunity to "seal the deal" and confirm why you want to be a teacher in the first place.  let's take a look:

     Why weren’t your grades better?

     A:   I had a great educational experience.  I learned a lot while in college – not only about the art of teaching, but also about myself.  I learned that if you want to succeed you need to devote yourself 100% all the time.  When I first got to college I was overwhelmed by all the requirements, all the responsibilities, and all the activities on and off campus.  I got involved in lots of clubs, lots of organizations, and lots of extra-curricular activities.  As a result, my grades suffered during my first two years.  It was only when I was enrolled in my teacher-preparation courses that I realized that I would need to buckle down and commit myself 100% to my chosen profession.
Whatever you do – don’t make excuses when answering this question.  Always take responsibility for your actions (or inactions).  Don’t try to bluff your way out of this question – the interviewer probably has seen your transcript and knows exactly what your GPA is.  Own up to your mistakes, take responsibility, and show how you have grown as a result.  Never get defensive or place blame.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Are You Up To Date?

When interviewed, principals want to know if you are well-versed in the current events pertaining to education.  Do you know what is "hot" right Now?  Are you well-versed on current issues?  Do you have a position about the role of education in American society?  Your ability to answer questions like those will often determine if you really "know your stuff."  Here's a typical query that gets asked in many interviews:

     What is the most exciting initiative happening in education today?

     A:   For me, the most exciting initiative is the emphasis on Differentiated Instruction.  I know that DI is a way of teaching that relies on a toolbox robust enough to provide different learning pathways to a wide range of learners.  I cannot say, for example, “I taught it, so they must have gotten it.”  What is critical for me is knowing the essential curriculum and the individual learners; plus developing the wisdom to know which developmentally appropriate strategy to use with whom.  The challenge for me is to learn, and be able to use, a repertoire of strategies that will make a difference in each and every student’s learning.
Talk to your former professors.  Read the latest journals.  Consult with area teachers.  Know what is happening in education…not yesterday, but today.  And then, show how you will address that initiative in your own classroom.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

What is Your Greatest Asset?

Not only do principals want to know about your teaching expertise; so too do they want some insight into your personality.  An interview, therefore, is designed to tap into many areas of who you are and what you believe.  Here's a question I heard in many interview - one that reveals a lot of information in a short amount if time.

     What is the greatest asset you will bring to the teaching profession?

     A:   From a very early age I’ve always considered myself a learner…a very passionate learner.  Whether it was learning how to ride a bicycle, learning a foreign language, or learning about a new piece of technology I’ve always been excited about learning.  I enjoy the challenge of learning new material, new ideas, and new perspective on old concepts.  I believe I can bring that excitement about learning and that passion for new information into my classroom.  I believe I can model the joy, the thrill, and the enthusiasm I have for learning with my students…not just every so often, but every single day.  If my students see my excitement for learning, they also will also be excited about learning.
This question is one of self-awareness.  Be sure you are able to diagnose your personal thoughts and identify the attributes that will make you an outstanding teacher.  Focus on one or two strengths and how those strengths relate directly to teaching.  Your ability to do a kick flip and pop shove it on your skateboard may be some of your perceived skills, but they’re not related to teaching…and should not be part of your response.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Your Professional Goals

Are you a planner?  Do you have goals for the future?  How will you improve as a teacher?  These are all questions in the mind of any interviewer.  Not only are you being hired for your teaching expertise; so too, are you being hired for what you might contribute to the school down the line.  principals want to know if you're in it "for the long haul."  As a result, you can expect a question just like this one:

     What are your professional goals for the next five years?

     A:   First, I want to attend graduate school and get my masters in Curriculum and Instruction.  Beyond that I would like to continue to take graduate courses and in-service courses so that I can stay current in the field.  Second, I would like to attend a number of regional and national conferences so that I can connect with other middle school teachers in addition to staying up-to-date on the latest strategies and techniques for teaching at the middle school level.  Third, I would like to contribute to some professional magazine and journals.  One of my college professors helped me prepare a paper for submission to a student publication and I guess the writing bug really bit me as a result.  I’d like to write some articles and share my ideas and thoughts on teaching social studies.
Have a plan of action – if you don’t, the position will probably be offered to someone else.  Make sure that your plan includes a focus on the school’s needs.  Don’t say that you want a graduate degree because you’ll make more money; rather say that you want to attend grad school in order to stay current and make more of a contribution to the school.