Saturday, January 13, 2018

Your Most Creative Lesson?

Creating dynamic and energizing lesson plans is what good teachers do.  Any principal want to know if you are "up to speed" on lesson plan designs as well as the elements that go into a well-rounded lesson.  Here's a question that's typical of those asked relative to classroom planning.

     What’s the most creative or innovative lesson you taught?

     A:   During the fifth week of student teaching I contacted a family friend at Prospect Hill Cemetery.  He provided my fifth grade class with a tour of the Cemetery.  When we got back to the classroom we divided the class into several teams.  One team worked on a PowerPoint presentation, another team created a timeline of important events in the life of the cemetery from the Revolutionary War to the present, another team looked into burial customs from around the world, another team of students developed an annotated bibliography of books about death and dying, and the final team gathered oral histories from some of the docents and volunteers at the Cemetery.  What was originally conceived as a three-week project eventually turned into a two month multi-disciplinary project that combined social studies, art, music, language arts, and reading into a most exciting thematic unit.
This is a grand opportunity to provide a specific and concrete example of how you went “above and beyond” the usual lesson planning for student teaching.  Be sure to provide specific details and any reactions you obtained from supervisors or administrators.  Show, as much as possible, how you are willing to pursue projects that are somewhat out of the ordinary – projects that engage students in creative or innovative ways.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

A Successful Teacher?

One of the major themes of any interview revolves around your personal philosophy.  What do you believe?  Why do you do the things you do?  What sets you apart from every other candidate?  Here's a question that pops up in almost every single interview - no matter whether you're applying to teach Kindergarten or AP Calculus in 12th grade.  In one form or another, expect this query:

     What does it mean to be a successful teacher?

     A:   I believe successful teachers have five distinctive qualities – qualities that set them apart from the so-called “average teacher.”  For me, a successful teacher is one who is flexible – someone who can take charge no matter what the situation or circumstances.  Second, I think successful teachers must exhibit a sense of fairness throughout the classroom – that is, a fair teacher treats all students equally in the same situation.  Third, I believe all outstanding teachers have high expectations for each and every one of their students.  Fourth, and this is absolutely critical, successful teachers have a consistently positive attitude.  They don’t let the little things get them down and they serve as positive role models for their students.  And, finally, I believe that the most successful teachers are those with a sense of humor.  Not cracking jokes all the time, but rather looking at the bright side of things…laughing out loud…and using self-deprecating humor when appropriate.  As elements of successful teachers, those items are also personal goals for me as I begin this lifelong journey.
This is a question designed to tap into your personal philosophy.  It is strongly suggested that you respond in the first person, rather than in the more distant third person.  Let the interviewer know that you are, or you have the potential to become, a successful teacher.