Interview for an interesting teaching position

The timing is a little odd, it’s such a short maternity leave stint. And, it would start almost overlapping my other job 🙁

It’s very short. Her due date is the day she’s leaving, and she’s planning on coming back about 6 weeks later. So I guess it could likely be extended. And I don’t have much else right now.

It was the same situation as last time, a quick 2-part-combined-into-1 interview, where I taught part of a lesson and then did the interview.

I was probably the most relaxed I’ve ever been going into it, because, honestly, a lot of me was saying…”Hmm, I don’t know if I even want this job, or to even teach anymore!!!” 🙂

But it’s a GREAT school district, school, and the classes sound pretty good. I think the interview went well.

More on this later, I have to do so much, as the end of my semester is coming at the current school I teach at, and I need to clean up and clean out some of my stuff from the classroom, not to mention I’m behind in getting through the required material.

A day in the life of a teacher!

I’ll try to flesh this post out later with more details and some new thoughts I had from that interview!


For Those of Us Interviewing for Teaching Jobs

Don’t have all the time in the world just because it’s Summer (like I had hoped I would). My aunt put it well: “Busy people tend to stay busy.” And such is my Summer thus far, but there is hope. Back to school matters- I had an interview for a full-time French teaching position today, and I have a lot to say about it (which I may have to come back to later to add to).

Things that I must get out now:

1) It went well, yay! After real teaching experience, you can feel more confident in talking about your personal educational philosophy and the like.

2) There are still tricky questions. Here are two I particularly liked (or rather, had to really think about on the spot!!) How do you think teachers of “core subjects” view Foreign Language teachers? and How do you think the principal/administration sees your role and your place in the school? I definitely didn’t have answers prepared for this, and ending up talking about what I “hope” that they would see. I think I stumbled at first by saying it depends on the teacher and the school (but hey, that’s the truth!), and I went on to share:

a. I think it’s a shame if they don’t view foreign language as an integral part of an education that can intermingle with other academic areas, and,
b. I hope that the principal views me as a crucial part of the faculty, and that faculty and administration alike can hopefully see FL as a positive experience for all to help build courage, tolerance, and understanding.

I worded it about that well (ie poorly 🙂 ) and you can see it was hard for me to avoid talking about what I hoped instead of what I thought they think.

3) You have to remember that you’re only there for a small amount of time and you can’t get it all in. Focus on the important things, don’t stray when answering questions, let your good qualities shine, and they will usually ask you more in a second interview- if you impress them, that is.

I was pleasantly surprised that they didn’t get into some areas I was apprehensive about, and I think I did a great job answering the questions (though I need to focus on being succinct and giving answers that DIRECTLY respond to their specific question (so much overlaps it’s hard not to get into it, but anyway!)).

More on this later, as you can see, my path is heading in interesting directions. Maybe…

1st full week over, time is flying and I am falling a little behind…

Every day this week I felt like I said “If I can just make it through classes today, this afternoon I’ll do lots of work and make the classes more organized with smooth transitions”. Every afternoon, I am tired, have lots of little busy work or meetings or whatnot, and next thing I know, if I eat dinner, or do anything to relax for a minute- it’s suddenly 8 or 9 pm. They day flies, and though I’m done teaching by 2pm, I never leave my office before 4 or 5 really. And I feel like I’m already slipping into chronic sleep deprivation!

I really need to just start using more of the resources that come with the book, even though I don’t like the book that much- isn’t that awful? It’s because the book is so old (over 10 years). It also has vocabulary that is too specific at times (like “a reclined seat”) which it took me a second to recognize. I will need to look into getting another method next year if I keep teaching here.

Allez, Viens was a good series they used where I student taught. It definitely had some imperfections, but it had a lot of good cultural information and excellent teacher’s guides and notes. Maybe I can get different book people to come present their series like someone did when I was student teaching. It was fun. Who knows if the school has that kind of money (or rather, if they’re willing to spend it on that). But it is very important to like the series.

That’s something I didn’t really think about- if you are interviewing and you know about book series- either ask what they use, or ask to see what the books they use are like.

So I’m off-topic, and that’s why I feel like I was falling behind this week. I worked a lot, but I also checked my email and read on the internet and maybe got coffee with a friend or two. I procrastinated. You can not be a procrastinator and be an organized teacher. It’s just too much work. I do like the freedom I have, but I wish it was a little more structured.

I am soooo tired still. More sleep would definitely help me think more clearly, be less tired so I could plan better in the afternoons, and I would probably even run class better and get more done.

Did I already share the quote I made up? “More than just a full-time job, teaching is a whole-time job!”

I Got a Full-Time French Teaching Job

For privacy and safety sake, I am not going to say exactly where, but I did get a job. And it was after holding out for full-time (they had offered me half-time and I turned it down earlier this Summer). It is a private religiously-affiliated high school with excellent students and a great faculty. I even know a few people teaching there (it’s very close to where I live), so that will help me feel more comfortable during my first year.

I went to a few interviews, sent out lots of interest to different schools, and had a few nibbles on the line but no real deals. I did get a call last week from a high school sounding almost desperate for me to come in for an interview. I guess it was almost August.

Of my friends and other student teacher colleagues, I’d say about half have a job lined up, 25% are still looking, and 25% I haven’t really heard from. It’s not as easy as you’d think- even with a Masters! I think it’s the economy right now.

Overall, I’m very excited and looking forward to starting planning and getting prepared. I have a lot of flexibility in the instruction and it means two things- yay for that freedom and opportunity, but, also, lots of work and a bit of pressure to up the quality of their French program.

I’ll write more as I have more meetings and orientations and such. I am supposed to be getting some mentoring, but I’m not sure about how or when. I am very thankful for my student teaching experience!

No job after second interview

So I had two interviews with a school, and I thought they went pretty well. They did, but I wish I had better rehearsed some of my core philosophies and what I might respond to potential questions.

I had to call and ask if they had made a decision (hadn’t heard back in over 3 weeks) and it turns out they said they mailed a letter and I maybe did not receive it. I think it has to do with my address needing a postal box and maybe they didn’t include it. Word to the wise= specify contact information clearly!

Even though the interviews did go well (2nd interview shows that they did like me), I think in the end the fact that I’m a newbie was the breaker. No way to know for sure, but I think that is probably what it was.

I’m still optimistic, and will keep expressing interests and trying to get more interviews. I might check schools in a few other states I’m interested in too. It’s not too late in the game, and I can just take what I’ve learned so far to improve my personal pitch.

I got an interview at a school that I really want to teach at!

I have an interview at a prestigious public high school, and I am so glad I got an interview there. I am really excited about this prospect. So I’ve been reading up online about questions they might ask educators, and I’ve been looking through all my handouts and papers about these interview things. Also, I’ve been reviewing my portfolio.

Truly, I should have been doing all this for the past two weeks, but at least I do feel like I’m getting well-prepared for the interview. I’ll be sure to share how it goes.

I really wanted to get more of the student work printed up, or put online, but hey, it’s still May, and I don’t have alllll the time in the world.

Did I already say wish me luck?!!?

Because I’m Attending a Job Fair Tomorrow- More Resume and Interview Tips

  • Have a powerful objective: objectives are one-line summaries of your resume. They clearly and concisely let a potential employer know what your goal is in looking for a specific job. While your objective may be “To get a job in the XYZ field—any job!!!”, ’tis necessary to put something like this “To obtain an upper-level management position in the coffee bean roasting industry that utilizes my extensive coffee expertise and stellar people skills” (Decent. I’d suspect them, but hire them).
  • Work history: up to 10-15 years of work history can be appropriate- for recent graduates list seasonal work “Summer 2005”, “Fall 2006”, with most recent being first of course.
  • Keep your purpose/field/objective/variety of experience in mind: what type of job is it? What is relevant? Create several resumes and tailor accordingly. Include even little jobs you had if they are relevant and remarkable.
  • Know your skills and be prepared to flaunt them in such a way as to appear that you are not flaunting them, but rather exuding them at all times: As stated- if you’ve got skills, show it. Show it like you know it.
  • Brainstorm some questions they might ask and answers you can give: with education, think of behavior management, lesson planning, educational philosophy, and so on and so forth.
  • Practice your wording and know your philosophies– Obviously you wouldn’t want to have stuff planned word for word and end up sounding like a robot or seeming rehearsed, but it’s good to know how you would describe yourself as en educator, or how you bring technology into the classroom or how you bring the language to life. Reflect on what is important to you and how you can convey your unique talents to separate yourself from other applicants.

I don’t really know how it will all turn out. I know I’m an awesome, energetic, and creative educator. I know I’m great with technology. Now we’ll see how well I can convey it in my words.

Tips for Teaching Interviews

This is both a combo of what the Career Services head told us, and what I have heard or observed is important in a teaching interview:

5 adjectives to describe yourself: why not do some preparation for commonly asked questions, and be prepared to adapt on the fly: describe yourself in 5 adjectives, or if your previous employer had to say one thing you could have improved what would it have been, etc. Know the common ones and don’t have word-for-word responses memorized (so you sound genuine and not rehearsed)
Personal weakness– what is a personal weakness or downfall that you have, and how do you or are you working on overcoming it?
Behavior management policy: most teaching interviews include a question about your personal behavior management policy or beliefs. How will you handle misbehavior? What if a student comes to you right before class starts and says $20 he had this morning is missing from his desk. What do you do? (An interviewer wants to hear that you will address the students’ issue appropriately, without making it a bigger problem than it is. You could say you would tell the student to wait until after class starts and you’ll address it a little later)
Highlight your relevant field experience: for foreign language teacher applicants, studying abroad is very important. Any internships or experience teaching or unit planning are something that can set you apart from other applicants.
Know-it-all/flexibility: as a new teacher, schools will look for someone who doesn’t think they know it all (having just finished education coursework). They want someone who is flexible and can adapt and learn from experience. Try to convey this in the interview.
Extracurriculars in High Schools: some interviewers will want you to volunteer that you are willing to help with a sport, art, or other after-school activity. Share what you could help with before or after school, and be warned that it might not necessarily be for extra compensation.
Know the school you’re applying to: be prepared to get asked questions specific to that school. Study up on it, have a reason why you want to work there and why you are highly qualified for it. (Call as a prospective parent for more information and they are more willing to give out information)
Philosophy of Teaching: why do you want to teach? What beliefs do you have about education, the field, and yourself as a teacher? Know your personal philosophy and be ready to share it eloquently.

An unexpected teaching opportunity…almost

I’d been looking at Craigslist for days. Every day.

Faithfully checking it.

Which is difficult to sit and sift through.

And then I found it. ‘Philadelphia school seeks a full-time French teacher for immediate opening’. What more could I have hoped for or wanted in seeking a French teaching position…

And I went for the interview. My first professional teaching interview.

Surprisingly, it went way better than I had imagined. I got to be my genuine self and I wasn’t too nervous. They asked me questions I had anticipated and some I hadn’t, but overall it was not too nerve-wracking.

As I begun to think about if I could really teach 5 French courses a day, 5 days a week, at a school at least 45 minutes away from home, I questioned the paradox- could I ask for enough in a salary to make it worth my while considering the actual teaching time plus planning and transport? Would it be too much to ask considering I had no previous teaching experience (besides a few classes and the Summer Practicum)?

I eventually realized after much deliberation, that this would not in fact be the job for me. Had I had a year or two in the classroom, or if I had had all summer to do lesson plans and preparation, it might have been different.

It also brought up the issue of if I asked for too low of a salary then when I got my Masters it would be difficult to ask for a huge pay jump.

Such is life. I was so close, yet so far.

At least I got that interview out of the way and now know that they are not terrifying and daunting, just people wanting to know about you and your qualifications.