► Applicant: “I wanted to become a teacher to be able to make a positive difference on the future of children. For me, it is great/fulfilling challenge: stimulating the next generation to become lifelong learners. I have always been grateful to the educational system for implanting values in me and at this juncture, I feel I should contribute what I have learnt and experienced over the years. This way I will be paying back and at the same time can fulfil my desire of enhancing the education system.”
Clearly, the applicant seems to be concerned about the present educational system and by mentioning the word ‘contribute’ he/she states his/her strong sense of motivation and thus, distinguishes his/her candidature from the rest.
Further, the applicant can state and validate his/her basic interest in the job profile. By doing so, he/she will catch the interviewer’s attention and the interviewer will understand that the applicant is aware and interested in the nature of the job profile.
► Applicant: “I can’t think of any job as important to society as teaching. I have always loved to give young people the best start in life. Interacting with kids is great. Be it on educational grounds or recreational activities, it is a lot more fun interacting and learning with kids. As a hobby, I have been giving tutorials to kids at the neighbourhood community center.”
The applicant has been able to put forward his/her reason for interest in the job profile. ‘I love to interact’ and ‘I have been giving tutorials’ highlight the fact that the candidate is aware of the intricacies of the job and has some sound experience in the same.
The applicant can further state his/her skill sets that are the prerequisites for the job in question.
► Applicant: “I want to be a teacher for developing a new generation of thinking individuals. Being a goal oriented person with tons of patience, I am sure I will be able to gel with kids and train them in the required subjects with utmost care and concern for achieving the educational goals.”
Since being focused on achieving educational goals and being patient are key abilities that a good teacher must possess, by mentioning these skills, the interviewee finally wins the heart of the interviewer. Keep in mind all of these points, and be honest and assertive while answering the question.
• Questions about classroom discipline and the way you establish your authority.
• How do you handle a discipline problem? What about noise in the classroom?
• Are you a “tough” teacher or an “understanding” teacher?
• How do you handle a gifted child who is a discipline problem?
By having a set of classroom rules and consistently following your own guidelines – a clear set of behavioral expectations with clear consequences – you have a good chance of controlling the class. Give examples of rules and consequences. Simultaneously, present yourself as a good listener and adapter, flexible to individual students’ needs. If possible, give an example of where you had to work around your rule for a difficult student.
Working with Parents
• Give an example of a difficult phone call to a parent.
• How do you handle parent complaints about teaching methods?
• How often do you report to parents? What is your communication method with parents?
Your goal is to work in the child’s best interest, together with the parents. In general, you report as often as required and welcome parents’ contribution. Complaints and problems that have not been resolved are addressed to the school principal if necessary. Communication can be any possible way – text, email, phone or a note home. When parents object to teaching method, it is best to have a principal explain and defend the teacher. Parents are not usually as knowledgeable as they think.
If a child is caught cheating or continuously disturbs, this would be a difficult call to make. I would first look over all the child’s work and make a list of his/her good qualities and accomplishments. After reporting that pleasantness, I would factually describe the problem, making sure not to exaggerate. End with another nice comment, and listen to parents. Next I would try to work out a plan with them, or interest them in the plan I worked out. Close with a nice comment about how easy it was to speak with them, or some such compliment and wish them well.
Tell us about your education and teaching experience.
I received a bachelors degree in elementary education from University of North Florida. I graduated with honors: magna cum laude (MAG-na coom LOUD-ay). I am currently a substitute teacher in clay county serving all schools, grades, and subjects. In fact, I have subbed at this school more than once. I am also working on obtaining a Masters degree from UNF in Professional Elementary Education with a specialization in technology.
If a lesson went wrong, what would you do?
Things don’t always go according to plan. Give a specific example of when a lesson didn’t work. Focus on how you analyzed what went wrong and identified the weaknesses with the lesson. Describe how you went about improving the lesson by various means such as changing the complexity level of the content, using available resources, asking for advice from other teachers and reviewing your classroom management. It is important to acknowledge that failures do happen and indicate that you have the insight and maturity to deal with them.
How would you use assessment in your classroom?
I feel that the more you know about what and how students are learning, the better you can plan learning activities to structure your teaching. while the students would be given some formal assessment, I would be using mostly simple, non-graded, in-class activities that give both me and my students useful feedback on the teaching-learning process.
What would you do with a student who was a continuous problem?
Keep an open communication with the parent, remind both of the school and classroom rules. Work together to develop a goal and plan to help the student improve. always stay firm, consistent, fair, and patient with all students.
Explain your behavior policy.
1. Respect others.
2. Raise your hand for your turn to speak.
3. Keep your hands, feet, and objects to yourself.
4. Keep the room clean.
5. Be in the class when the bell rings.
Describe a lesson that went well.
I taught a science lesson on evaporation to a group of second grade students. In this lesson all the students were actively engaged in the lesson. Filled several jars with water and placed them in different areas of the room, some with lids on them and some without. I let the students picks the places, but I made sure to direct them to cover two in shade and two in sunlight, each with one lid on and one lid off, I let students help me mark where we filled the water, everyone was so excited. I make a POE worksheet in which the students were asked to predict what would happen if… we also answered why do you think that will happen. I loved that lesson not only because the students were so interested, but because they were able to dig deeper into their critical thinking skills.
How would you differentiate a lesson?
Provide students with different ways to learn what I am teaching. This could be through a research paper, role play, diagram, poster, etc. The key is finding how your students learn and use a variety of methods to meet their specific needs.
What would you do if a student’s parents gave him or her no support at all at home?
Offer a steady safe environment for the student. Remember to encourage all students to do their best and remind them that you care. continually invite parents into their childs school life by offering and suggesting a variety of ways they can help.
How do you enlist parent support for the students in your class?
I provide a variety of opportunities for parents to volunteer, each with different types of time limits and ability requirements. Parents these days range anywhere from the busy both parents working full time type families to the stay at home parent. I plan to have a volunteer basket in my room. I saw a teacher with this type of basket and parents at any time could come and check the basket for an item or description, pick it up and get to work on it. these range anywhere from making copies, cooking goodies at home, pulling out pages from books, donations of pencils and ink, to the fall festival and tutoring students. I also want to add that when parents do volunteer, I think it is imperative to say thank you either orally or written.
Name a book you have read recently related to education.
I recently read the book “Classrooms Teachers Survival Guide” by Ronald Partin. I thought it had some really good suggestions on management techniques. It also had a lot of pre made forms in it.
Do you have any questions for us?
1. Do you have a mentor program?
2. I noticed on your website you have a lot of extra curricular activities including run walk club, are there opportunities to help out with any of these? If so what area do you have a need for. I have a lot of experience with computers and with art.
3. Do your teachers team plan, or do they work individually?
4. How often does the grade level have team meetings?
5. I have always been successful with getting parents involved in the classroom, how active are parents at this school or within the school district?
6. I am well-versed at integrating computer technology into the classroom, what kind of resources does the school have available?
How would your students describe you?
What are the three(3) most important traits, characteristics or attributes a teacher should possess and why?
flexibility, creativity, and passion:
1. Flexibility- because you often have to adapt lesson plans, make last minute changes to suit the needs of your students and be prepared for many situations that can arise.
2. Creativity- you need to create lessons that reach each learner based on ability and interests, capture their attention, make them want to learn as well as find way to make those lessons intertwine with their own lives and experiences.
3. Passion-because you need to love what you are teaching, be committed to it and be enthusiastic about it and be genuine with those feelings.
What are 5 adjectives that describe you?
Tell me about yourself.
I received a bachelors degree in elementary education from University of North Florida. I graduated with honors: magna cum laude (MAG-na coom LOUD-ay). I am currently a substitute teacher in clay county serving all schools, grades, and subjects. In fact, I have subbed at this school more than once. I am incredibly exited to be a teacher and an just waiting to get started, while I am waiting, I am working on my masters degree in Elementary education with a specialization in technology. I just took the GRE and should start classes in January.
What is your philosophy of education?
Every student deserves an education tailored to his or her strengths and needs.
Name a class you enjoyed during college, and why you chose it?
I enjoyed my second literacy methods course because the teacher stated up front what she was expecting of us. she told us what we would be learning and what we would know by th end of the course. She then provided the students with all they needed to pass the course and was always there to answer questions. Mrs. Wilder was a great teacher to me.
What personal strengths can you bring to our school?
I am very good with technology, in fact I am working on my masters degree in educational technology. I want to learn new ways to incorporate the knowledge I have in technology into the curriculum. for instance, I taught a lesson on Africa and instead of describing Africa,I accessed Google Earth and took the students on a trip to Africa to see what is looks like. this was not only a great hook to get them interested, but I think students learn more with real life applications.
What experience do you have working with kindergarten (or grade interviewing for)?
I pre-interned in a Kindergarten class. I have also subbed in many Kindergarten classes, in fact I am scheduled to sub at one on Monday.
What do you know about developmentally appropriate practices for this age group?
A developmentally appropriate classroom is an active one. Both teachers and students learn from one another. The teacher sets up the environment to facilitate development of skills, to pique interest, and to allow for independence.In a developmentally appropriate preschool classroom, teachers help children solve their own problems by asking questions like: Is there another way you could try it? How did you make that happen? Why do you think your plan didn’t work?
Describe what your classroom will look like?
Upon entering my classroom you will find a lively and colorful room completely centered upon children and active learning. Sight words, the alphabet, numbers, and inspirational quotes cover the walls while large bulletin boards proudly display students’ work. A large area contains a carpeted reading or group corner specifically for storytelling, show-and-tell, weather discussions and calendar and day-of-the-week conversations. This classroom includes an abundance of age appropriate reading materials and student mailboxes where children place personal journals, home reading books and workbooks in the morning and then collect newsletters or other parent communication at the end of the day.
What was the most valuable thing you learned in your student teaching?
To over plan and to be flexible. I feel you should have a plan and procedure for everything. It makes the day smoother and makes for less chaos. I do also feel that no matter how prepared you are you should always be flexible, it is rare for things to always to as planned, so be flexible and ready to throw in your backup plan.
Name a strength.
creativity and technology.
I list two because for me they go hand in hand. I am able to sift through countless ideas on the internet and find the most relevant to what I need and use it to spark a beginning for me to build upon when coming up with a creative way to teach a new concept.
Name a weakness and how you overcame it.
Answer – Your response could include something that may have been a challenge in the past, which you have taken steps to rectify. It is important to be truthful, they will be testing your honesty. In addition, they will be checking to see if you provide a weakness that is critical to success in the position. For example, the interview will likely end quickly if you answer you have a difficult time management the classroom. The key to answering the question is to turn a negative into a positive.
Think of this question as an opportunity to sell yourself. Here is an example: You wouldn’t say, “I have a difficult time organizing my day.” Instead, rephrase the answer by saying. “There are so many creative activities I plan for my students and class time is limited. It is difficult to incorporate all of the activities that I would like my students to learn from. Over time, I have realized to prioritize what lessons are the most important to enhance my student learning. I now realize that I can’t do everything I would like to.”
What strategies would you use to develop students’ critical thinking skills?
– I would use a variety of teaching methods to encourage students to think “outside the box.” I would use questioning techniques aimed at going further inside a students’ head or thinking. I would encourage students to answer the “why” and “how” questions. I would encourage students’ to relate the subject matter to their own lives and put themselves in the situation and ask them how they would handle the problem or the content we were learning about. I would use problem-solving, open-ended questions, logic puzzles, and analogies to extend lessons.
How do you assess students to determine appropriate level of instruction?
I would use a mix of informal assessments (teacher observation, interest surveys) and formal assessments (pre-tests, comprehensive tests, TAKS scores, any subject-specific test recommended by the district).
How would you address different ability levels and learning styles in the class?
– I would use a variety of reading material, tiered questions and reading material, pair-share, lecture, graphics, and technology to reach each student. This would address the different ability levels as well as the different learning styles that are sure to be in any class. I would constantly monitor students to ensure that they understand the material. I would offer students choices for assignments, such as written, or verbal, or art work to show me they understand and can relate to the subject matter. I would have students work in small groups so that each student could contribute to the end product, using their learning style to shine.
– Task Cards. There are three levels of tasks: Modified, On target, Challenging. They all measure the same standard, but the activities are different depending on the level.
Discuss an appropriate evaluation process and subsequent development of an education program for a student with special needs.
– An appropriate evaluation process for a student with special needs would include conferencing with the students’ parents as well as his / her other teachers. In addition, I would use both formal and informal assessments to determine any needs for modification that might warrant intervention.
– If I noticed that a student was struggling and might require special modifications, I would assess the student using informal and formal methods. I would use teacher observation coupled with intuition. I would document the students’ progress or lack of progress. I would collect data using a variety of methods. I would also contact the parent and explore whether or not the parent has noticed the student struggling. I would document as much as I could, then encompass my findings in creating a plan that addresses this student’s needs.
Explain how you use ongoing assessment data to differentiate instruction to ensure success for all students.
I would say something asuing a pretest or check-in to see what students already know. Then i would create activities, questionsm projects, etc from the information gathered through this pre-test (doesn’t have to be a test, can be a KWL chart or another way to see what students already know). From there i would do another check-in a following week to see where the students are currently at as some may be progressing faster than others. I would re-evaluate my lessons to fit that.
How do you assess the level of engagement of students?
Direct observation walk around the room and visually observe small groups. Also you can find out how on task students were when you were looking at the group across the room through assessment. also I like to ask my students things like, what did you learn from listening to your partner when they doing a turn and talk.
How do you show flexibility with your students?
– I show flexibility by differentiating instruction to meet the diverse needs of my students. My schedule and planning is also flexible if students are getting into a certain concept I might spend a little more time on that concept. If a concept needs to be re-taught, I might have to move my lesson plans around to meet their needs. Also, because assemblies, emergency drills, and other events can occur without warning in the school day, I show flexibility with my students by always knowing what to do and keeping calm.
How would your co-workers describe you?
I know they considered me to be hard working. In fact, the other team members often thanked me for the extra hours I put in. In addition they have described me as being a reliable team member, when I say I will do something, then I do it.
What’s an innovative idea you’ve introduced or could introduce in your school?
When I was in 5th grade in Germany I attended a school that had a program called “Read to Succeed” It took the traditional reading log a step further. The students recorded what they read, how many pages, etc. but the school offered rewards and incentives including a reading party for the students. I enjoyed this program as a child and was found myself loving reading. I would like to take that program and make something similar and introduce it to the school.
What are some strategies you would use with struggling readers?
I make sure to meet with my lowest level small reading group on a daily basis to ensure that they are receiving as much exposure to literacy as possible (in a guided manner). I work on decoding skills with them to be sure they can read and understand the print. I also work on simple comprehension skills such as the basic story elements of character, setting, and plot. Once they have mastered those skills, we continue to work on higher level thinking skills. Throughout this process, I constantly assess the students with running records and comprehension exercises to be sure they are making progress and feeling successful.
Describe your behavior management plan.
I currently use a traffic light behavior system in my classroom. Each day, the students begin on the green light. After repeated warnings, the student’s name tag is moved to the yellow and then red lights. At the end of the day I mark the color they ended on in a daily behavior report which goes in the student’s daily folder. The parents have the opportunity to make comments and questions in this folder. All students will begin the next day on green, regardless of where they were before. If a child is not responding to this system or is in need of something more, I don’t hesitate to work with the child and the family to create an individual behavior plan, such as a sticker chart or a number chart. This becomes necessary when non-verbal cues, discussions with the student, and meetings with the student and family have not helped the behavior.
How would you handle a situation where a student is repeatedly disruptive in your class.
I believe that the students are responsible for their choices. What I do is in response to each specific choice. I let the students know that they are causing a problem for someone in the classroom and they need to find a way to solve the problem. If, after time has passed, they haven’t figured out a solution and the problem still persists I give them two options. The options vary depending on each special situation and special individual. The student then chooses an option with the understanding that their previous choices are what put them in this position. If a student thinks the options are unfair, they can tell me quietly and we’ll have a conference to figure out what would be a fair option. If a student is repeatedly disruptive I follow these guidelines, but create a signal (only known to the individual student and myself) to let them know they need to think about their actions. I would work with the student to come up with some strategies to get their behavior under control.
What are your 3 highest priorities in your teaching?
1. Creating a safe and positive classroom community.
2. Instilling values and a love of learning in my students.
3. Reaching all of my students by incorporating a variety of learning styles and student interests.
What is your relationship like with parents?
One of mutual respect and teamwork: I have an open door policy where parents know they can come to me and discuss any problems or concerns their child is having in class, and we can work together to help their child. From the very beginning, I let the parents and students know that we are all in the school year together.
What is your relationship like with students?
One of mutual respect and teamwork: The students and I share a classroom community that we work on from the very beginning of the school year. From the very beginning, I let the parents and students know that we are all in the school year together. I show the students that they are active participants in our classroom and their education.
What is your relationship like with coworkers?
One of mutual respect and teamwork: My co-workers and I have a collaborative relationship where we share ideas. I am always a team player when it is in the best interest of the school and the students. I enjoy collaborating with staff members and building upon each other’s ideas to make the school the best it can be.
What do you look for in a principal?
1. He cared about the students.
2. He cared about the teachers.
3. He developed a “family atmosphere” in our school. By that, I mean that we cared about each other, and looked after the needs of each other.
4. He tried to give us lots of opportunities for stress relief. Every faculty meeting started with something fun.
5. If a parent had a complaint, he always checked the situation out thoroughly. If the teacher was right, he supported her. If she was wrong, he worked with her to help learn from the situation.
6. If he came in the classroom for a surprise evaluation, and it wasn’t a good time, you could just say, “Can you come back at another time?” and he didn’t hold it against you. You could do that once a year.
7. He recognised when we were stressed out, and treated us accordingly.
8. He treated us with respect.
9. He was accessible
1. Marble jar for entire class
2. Treasure box
3. Friday lunch with teacher
What would your language arts program look like?
My language arts program is a combination of reading and writing. In terms of reading, I feel that it is essential to cover all aspects of it, from shared reading to guided reading and even read alouds. I use literacy to hook my students into lessons in math, science, and social studies by sharing different genres and subjects with them related to what we are studying. In terms of writing, I love teaching both the mechanics and the process of writing. In the mechanics portion, I teach my students about proper grammar and sentence structure. In process writing, I teach my students how to take an author’s craft and incorporate it into their own writing. In process writing, I care more about the students gaining experience and confidence in their writing than whether or not they have 5 sentences in the paragraph.
Talk about Balanced Literacy
Balanced literacy is a way of incorporating writing and reading throughout the school day in various forms. There is shared reading, interactive reading, phonics, guided reading, and read alouds. There is also guided writing, interactive writing, and independent writing. All of these aspects of balanced literacy combine to give the student an education that encompasses all areas of reading and writing.
Describe your planning process for a major project or unit.
First I would decide on the objectives of unit and how I would best meet them with my students. I look over the Sunshine State Standards and the district curriculum to make sure I include the necessary information for my students. I compile a document with background information for myself. Based on my students learning styles and interests, coupled with the unit’s objectives, I start designing activities and assessments that reflect the content and the students. After planning out the activities and assessments, I confer with colleagues. Before, during, and after teaching the unit or project, I reflect on what goes well and what doesn’t. I keep notes about the reflections to guide me with updating or changing the unit or project in the future.
Describe the skills or attributes you believe are necessary to be an outstanding teacher.
An outstanding teacher is organized, prepared, flexible, and creative. A solid knowledge of developmentally appropriate practice and early literacy education is a must, as well as a willingness to include families and build a caring classroom community. An outstanding teacher sets clear expectations, encourages children to make choices and ask questions, and fosters a love of learning and literature.
I believe outstanding teachers are known for their adaptability. I have learned from my student teaching and experience as a reserve teacher that no two days are ever alike, so my “plans” are constantly shifted, even though my expectations for the students are consistent. Outstanding teachers are overly organized, which is a great trait to have when teaching a number of different classes. Effective teachers must have a passion for the subject if they expect to have motivated students. I adore history and finding ways to make history relevant to today’s students. The final attribute that makes an outstanding teacher is the ability to look upon your subject with perspective and teach the students to be objective when confronted with new information. I understand that everyone who enters my classroom enters it with a specific viewpoint that is different from everyone else. This variety of background knowledge enhances the classroom. I believe one of my strengths is to have the students participate equally and bring their past experiences into the classroom with them.
How will you meet the needs of children with many different skills?
I would address a wide range of skills in my classroom through assessment and intentional planning. Throughout the year, I would observe closely, take notes and collect documentation, and use both formative and summative assessments. I would use this information to determine strengths, needs, and interests of each child, and plan curriculum based on these findings. I have found that I often differentiate far more than I think I do just by making sure that my lessons are varied and exciting for the students.
Define teacher effectiveness.
Students are learning (as shown by formal and informal data). The teacher actively teaches and moves around the room. The teacher differentiates instruction to appeal to all the learners in the classroom. Students understand and demonstrate classroom rules and procedures. The teacher communicates well with parents and is organized.
Interview questions: What do you do if a lesson doesn’t work well?
Answer tips/answer samples:
Sometimes things go out of the plan. Provide a specific instance when a lesson did not run. Concentrate on analyzing what went wrong and what the weaknesses of the lessons are. Show the way you did to enhance the quality of the lessons such as making the content less complicated, utilizing useful resources, learning the experiences from other teachers and reconsidering your classroom management. You need to know that failures occurred and show that you have ability and lucidity to resolve them.
In my last column, I discussed questions you might be asked during job interviews. Some of those questions are more difficult to answer than others, and you’re probably wondering how to answer those in a way that presents you in the best possible light. In this column, I’ll address a few of the questions and offer some advice on how to answer them.
What is your philosophy of teaching?
As stated in an earlier column, to answer this question, you don’t have to boil down your teaching philosophy into a pithy three-sentence statement. Instead, write down ahead of time your beliefs about teaching and learning as a series of bulleted points. When responding to the interviewer, be specific about those points and then list the aspects of teaching about which you’re most passionate.
Why would you be a good fit for our district/school?
This is where all that research about the district comes in handy. What was it about the information presented on the district/school Web site that made you interested in that particular school system? Was it because students are highly active through learning centers and hands-on type learning activities? Was it the vision or mission stated on the Web site? Did you find a place where your unique knowledge and skills would fit well?
For example, one possible answer might be: After viewing your Web site, I was impressed with your vision of students, parent, and teachers working together. I’m a huge proponent of inquiry-based learning, experiential-based learning and integrated learning — all mentioned in your administrator letter to the community. I’m also quite interested in the personal project you require of upper-level students each year. This sounds very similar to the “Walkabout” project I required of my eighth-graders while student teaching. I have already received training in the 4-Mat planning wheel; this would integrate well with your current focus on learner differentiation, as it creates a plan to teach to all learning styles throughout a unit.
What do you think makes a good teacher?
This question can be answered using your belief statements about teaching and learning. Which of those statements are about the teacher and what he or she should do? Do you believe a good teacher facilitates learning through guiding questions or forty-five-minute lectures to the class as a whole? Do you believe a good teacher listens to his or her students and works to build positive relationships with those students? Should a good teacher have strong communication skills and be able to work in a team? To help yourself answer that question, include statements of belief about good teaching when you write down your philosophy of education.
Describe a typical day/class period in your classroom.What would an administrator see if observing your classroom? Describe the strategies and procedures you would use and how your students typically react.
You might say, for example: Students enter the classroom, get materials from their boxes, and begin working on a focus assignment posted on the board. Attendance is taken quietly and quickly from a visual head count. We go over the focus assignment as a class, which then leads into the opening activity. That activity is often hands-on or gets students up and moving. It usually introduces the concept/skill to be taught and leads directly to a 10-15-minute mini-lesson. We either discuss the concept or practice the skill as a class. Then students work in small groups either on an activity that enhances the discussion or applies the skill learned. I walk around as students work to monitor and help as needed. We come back together before the end of class to summarize/describe what was learned. Students write a brief statement in their journals and class is dismissed.
What are your two greatest strengths? Your greatest weakness?
This is one of the hardest questions to answer. Although we know the need to toot our own horn in this situation, for many people it’s hard to give a straight answer because it feels like bragging. The administrator, however, wants to know that you know yourself –including your strengths and weaknesses. At the same time, you don’t want to highlight a weaknesses that might end up removing you from the candidate pool. So how do you answer that question without bragging or revealing the worst about yourself? Your strengths might stress that you are well organized and flexible, task oriented, work well in team situations, enjoy meeting new people, relate well to others, and are good at building relationships. When mentioning weaknesses, the key is to mention a weaknesses that actually arises from a strength.
For example: I’m a very organized person, and I like everything to be in its place. That can cause me to stay too late after school to make sure everything is where it belongs. I know that spending too many hours at work can lead to burnout. Also, I have to get used to the fact that students don’t always put items in the proper place, and develop strategies for helping them get better organized and learn to put materials away properly.
Another way to handle a weakness is to show how you plan to overcome it. Under no circumstances, however, do you want to mention a weakness in an area that is part of the job description. For example, you don’t want to admit to a weakness in math if you’re interviewing for a position that requires teaching math. If you do, you almost certainly will not get the job.
How would you deal with an angry or upset parent?
Listening, empathizing and working together to determine a solution to the problem is the key. Those three elements are necessary for working with angry parents and should be included in your answer.
For example: I would first listen to the parent’s concerns and make note of them. Next, I would express my understanding of his/her frustration, and then describe what actually occurred in the classroom if it was different from what was described. Afterward, I would express my desire to work together to solve the issue, if possible. I believe that letting parents vent their frustration allows us to move past the anger and get to the point where we can work out a solution.
How would you handle a situation in which a student refuses to complete his class work?
Developing positive relationships with students is the first step in preventing that kind of behavior, and I think it’s important to point that out before answering the question. Then explain that, if the situation did arise, you’d begin by talking with the student one-on-one to determine the root of the problem. There could be several reasons that the student is refusing to complete the work: 1) He or she is having a bad day and just can’t deal with any more; 2) He or she feels unable to complete the work and therefore simply is refusing to even try; 3) He or she is angry with you or another teacher about something completely different and is choosing this as a way of making a statement.
There could be other reasons as well, but those few give you the idea that you need to talk with the student and find out exactly what is going on before you make any kind of decision about what to do. When you’ve learned from the student why he or she is refusing to complete the work, you can then work toward a solution. It might be that letting out the anger and frustration is enough to allow the student to get back on track. You might need to send the student to a counselor or offer to help with the assignment until the student feels more confident. If it’s a case of outright disobedience and this is the nth time the student has pulled that little stunt, you might need to refer him or her to the office with a behavior slip.
When dealing with scenario-type questions, take a few minutes before answering. Think it through carefully. The interviewer will not hold it against you that you are thoughtfully considering the possibilities before answering. Include in your answer ways to positively address the situation, rather than always leaning toward referring the student to the office or the parent to the administrator. The interviewer wants an idea of how you might handle the situation, and passing off the problem to someone else is not an answer.
With any interview question, it doesn’t hurt to pause a moment or two before answering. Collect and order your thoughts before opening your mouth. That mental exercise might help keep you from sticking your foot in your mouth. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions for clarification. Different districts will refer to strategies, special-status students, and policies by different terminology. If you don’t know what PACE is or what it refers to, ask. You might find out that PACE is that district’s program for gifted and talented students. Once you have that information, it will be much easier to answer the question.
Answering tricky interview questions in a positive manner is possible. All it takes is a little prior preparation, taking deep breaths, and pausing to think before you speak. You might feel a little dazed at the end of the interview, but at least you can be confident you did your best. Good luck to all of you searching and interviewing for your first teaching position!
Teacher Interview Question: How can Assessment Improve Student Learning?
Assessment is a powerful tool to improve student achievement. Rather than treat assessment as an end result, teachers should incorporate assessments as part of the learning process, allowing both teacher and student to monitor progress and evaluate news ways to improve. A teacher can accomplish by
1. Clearly defining the learning target/objective
2. Showing student work
3. Delivery pre-assessments to understand students’ prior knowledge and to create a baseline
4. Continually assess students’ progress and providing effective feedback on how to improve.
5. Teach students to self-assess and reflect on their quality of work and achievement of targeted objective.
Classroom management is important and has many implications for the school administration. First, if you – as a classroom teacher – can create effective classroom management then you have cleared a path to higher and sustained learning. It is nearly impossible to create a learning environment in a classroom that is disrespectful, disorderly, and dysfunctional. Boundaries on behavior and expectations for learning need to be clear to students and consistently enforced. Effective classroom management also translates into less work for the school administration. The teacher that routinely sends students down to the principal and writes a fistful of disciplinary referrals increases workloads and headaches for administrators. Not to mention those “problem” students on their way to the principal’s office are missing out on learning opportunities in the classroom.
Therefore, it is critical that you have a strong response to this question. If you cannot articulate your classroom management plan, then how can you expect to manage a classroom full of students?
In answering this question, think of your broad classroom management
philosophy. Follow this up with a personal triumph involving classroom management and then relate this example to your philosophy. For instance, in one interview I explained my belief that relationships, routines, and rigor are critical components of effective classroom management and provided concrete examples of how I incorporate them in daily class work.