Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Describe the best teacher you ever had and what he or she taught you about teaching.

      Q:  Describe the best teacher you ever had and what he or she taught you about teaching.
A:   That would be Mr. Hart, my 11th grade English teacher.  He was tough…he was more than tough, he was demanding, challenging, and uncompromising.  He never took second best – we had to turn in our best work or it would come back to us with “Do Over” penned across the front.  We probably had more to say about Mr. Hart – unflattering, to be sure – than any other teacher we had.  But, as I look back, he taught me more about writing than anyone ever has.  He taught me that writing is a subject of exactness, a subject of details and definitions.  “You can’t be mushy,” he would say.  And, we weren’t.  He pushed us to new heights, he prodded us into new and often uncomfortable areas, and he made us all better writers.  I think one of the primary reasons why I want to be an English teacher is because Mr. Hart took an average student – me – and turned her into a far better writer than she would have been otherwise.  I want to make that difference in students’ lives, too!

            Most of us have been positively influenced by one or more teachers in our educational career.  We get into teaching because some teacher made a profound difference in our lives.  Let the interviewer know how this person made a difference in your life and how you want to “pass the baton” to a new generation of learners – giving them the same learning opportunities as you had.  This is the time to be passionate, sincere, and complimentary.  Like you, I’ve had a few really tough teachers in my life.  I may have sworn at them (and all their assignments) during those classes, but they all planted some powerful seeds that have taken root and sprouted in each and every class I teach today.  Make sure the interviewer knows precisely how you’ve been influenced and precisely how you will influence others.