Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Preparing for your Interview Questions

While working with my clients, I like them to prepare for a variety of questions that might be asked in the first or second interview. When interviewing, remember, the interviewer(s) wants to know YOUR responses, answers, thoughts, about YOUR perspective on teaching and learning.

When preparing for an interview, ALWAYS review the district and school website-- know their mission, their values, what is included in the school improvement plan, how the students perform on state assessments, etc.; this will separate you out as someone that has done their homework, rather than just one of 400 applicants for that one position. Also make sure that this district or school is a match for you as a teacher.

When formulating your responses, think about what YOU really believe, value, your successes about teaching and learning; not what you did in your student teaching or what your cooperating teacher did. For example, when asked, "What Classroom Management Structure Would You Implement?" be prepared to answer that question based on best practices, the grade level that you are applying for and your teaching experiences. Responses for this question might include:

1. Creating an Environment of Respect and Rapport-- developing relationships with students
2. High Expectations for all students - value in the work of students, perseverance, challenging work
3. Procedures and Routines - student engagement, seamless transitions, effective use of instructional groups
4. Managing Student Behavior - clear expectations, monitor student behavior, response to student behavior
5. Set up of the Learning Environment - physical arrangement, safe, use of resources

Do these 5 items look familiar? They are from the Danielson Framework for Teaching, they are research based on WHAT highly effective teachers do in their classroom. It is KEY that you include researched based practices in your responses, and then of course, add a story, a scenario, or specific example from your experiences to personalize your response.

Prepare your responses for major teaching and learning issues such as assessment, instruction, Common Core, Differentiation, RtI, balanced literacy, etc. with researched based practices with your stories and experiences woven into your answers.

Now... practice, practice, practice, so that it becomes automatic. Practice in the car, in the shower, on your run! This will make you more confident and comfortable in your responses. You will be less likely to get "lost" in a response, when you have a framework for your response and then examples to support the framework!!!

Friday, June 7, 2013

End of the Year Reflections.... A MUST!!!

It is the end of the year!! The students are gone for the summer, you have cleaned your room, had your end of the year celebrations and now what?

End of the year reflection on your teaching is the NOW WHAT! Reflecting on what worked, what didn’t work, strategies, approaches, relationships, are some areas that you can start with. Effective teachers reflect to provide insight into their practices and then make changes if necessary.

You could start a teaching journal that outlines these reflections at the end of the year and then add your goals at the beginning of the next year! This will provide a “story” of your journey.

Some guiding questions might be:
What worked well?
What bombed?
What did I learn?
Did I meet my goals?
What was my Aha moment?
What would I do differently?
What did my data show and what did I do differently as a result of looking at it?
How did I grow as a teacher?
How did I get along with my teammates?
How did I communicate with parents?
What did I struggle with?

Posing these questions to other colleagues about each other can help with the reflective process. You might start next year by sharing your reflections, or better yet, get together over the summer and share your reflections. That will allow you to start the school year after you have thought about your discussions.

Check out this teachers reflection and begin yours today!!

“It is when you lose sight of yourself, that you lose your way. To keep your truth in sight you must keep yourself in sight and the world to you should be a mirror to reflect to you your image; the world should be a mirror that you reflect upon.” C. JoyBell C.