Saturday, November 7, 2015

Know Your Themes - Part III

     We've been talking about the essential themes that show up in every interview.  Knowing those themes ahead of time can put you ahead of the competition and establish you as a teacher candidate worthy of serious consideration.
     Consider these next two themes as critical ones - they can, in many ways, make or break your interview.
5.  Professionalism
            You’re about to get a college education.  Great!  But, that doesn’t mean your learning has ended.  The field of education is changing rapidly – new technology, new standards, new curricula – lots of new stuff.  Your willingness and eagerness to continue your education is a key factor in your “hireability.”  Candidates who assume that just because they have a degree their education is over are those who never succeed in an interview.  Any principal or administrator wants to know that you are a constant learner – that you are willing to keep learning through graduate courses, in-service programs, on-line seminars and webinars, membership in professional organizations, books, magazines and journals, and a host of other professional opportunities that signal your eagerness to keep your education moving forward.
            Where do you see yourself five years from now?  What are your plans for graduate school?  In what area of teaching do you still need some improvement?  Tell me about a book you’ve read recently.  What are the essential traits of a good teacher?  Do you belong to any professional organizations?  One of my lifelong mantras as a teacher has always been: “The best teachers are those who have as much to learn as they do to teach.”  Be prepared to demonstrate how you might embrace this quotation in your everyday activities.
6.  Management and Discipline
            You’ve probably seen classrooms in which students were orderly, work was productive, and a sense of purpose and direction filled the room.  You might also have seen classrooms that were chaotic, disruptive, and seemingly out of control.  Maybe you were even a student in one or both of those classrooms at some time in your educational career.  Principals are vitally interested in how you plan to manage your classroom.  Your management skills and discipline policy will be vitally important in the decision to hire you.  Know that you will be asked more than one question in this area.  Read, research, and review everything you can – your success here will frequently be a major deciding point.
            To establish a positive classroom environment, share what you will do the first few weeks of school with your students.  How do you create and maintain positive rapport with your students?  How would you deal with a student who was always late to class?  Describe your discipline policy in detail.  Describe some classroom rules you would use.  To many administrators nothing is more important than a well-crafted discipline policy and a well-articulated management plan.  Be prepared to share your thoughts on both.