Friday, July 12, 2013

Teacher Cheat Sheet: Acing the Interview

Let me start off by being completely honest. Due to certain circumstances i.e. budget cuts, better job offers, moving out of state, etc.  I have been around the block when it comes to sitting in the interview chair. Whether you are interviewing for a charter, public, or parochial school here are some (of the many) key terms and phrases that you should be knowledgeable of BEFORE participating in a phone interview or a "face to face."

1. Common core standards- if you don't know what they are you should research them as they pertain to your content and if you are asked to show a sample lesson plan, you should highlight specific standards. 

2. State Standardized Tests-  depending on what state you hail from this may vary by grade level and or subject area. (NY- Regent Exams, PA- PSSA exams, etc) 

3. Differentiated Instruction and IEPs- you should give your employer an example of how you differentiate your instruction. Try to give at least one specific example while interviewing. 

4. Use of Technology- employers want to know if you have a background in technology, from Smartboards to the everyday educational apps. Do your research and become familiar with some of the free resources out there. 

5. Blooms Taxonomy and Rigor- schools want to choose a candidate that is aware of the taxonomy and who knows what that looks like in a classroom setting. This does not mean you should memorize the pyramid but instead have an idea of higher order thinking. Talk about your rigorous instruction and how you guide your students to master a specific concept. 

6. Engagement- the number one question is how do you engage your students? Think of the strategies you have used in the past that have captured student’s attention. Maybe you use hands on instruction, technology, partner activities, or maybe it’s your enthusiasm and tone in the classroom. 

7. Classroom management- can you control your classroom? Every school has different rules for handling different behavior crises; however they want to know if you can manage your classroom without another teacher, behavior specialist, or principal present. 

8. Teaching Style- principals want to know how you kick off your show. Do you greet your students as they arrive? Is there a Do Now posted immediately? Are you the type of teacher that stands in font of the room the entire time? (I sure hope not) They want an employee that can teach from any angle of the classroom and who diversifies their lesson planning. 

9. Collaboration with Coworkers- across content or in your department, employers want to make sure that you are willing to share and learn from your peers. Some charter schools require their teachers to co-plan, while others leave it up to individual teachers. 

10. High expectations- tell the employer that you have high expectations for your students and explain to them what that looks like in your classroom. 

11. Data collection- collecting data is hot right now; basically employers want to see if you use student assessments to drive your instruction. For instance, maybe students did poorly on a section of homework, what do you do to address this? 

12. Professional feedback- I have gotten this question a lot. What was the last piece of constructive feedback you received? What did you do to change the issue?  This can stump a lot of people, but I'm warning you now...take time to think about this one. 

Like I've stated before, I'm not a master at this, I am simply paying it forward. Interviews can be scary, but remember...they want YOU! 

(Feel free to add anything you deem helpful in the interview process)

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