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Home : 2006 : Feb : 21

    By Tounces

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    Congrats! I've had the opprotunity to be on both sides of the interviewing table. Here are a few things I've picked up along the way.

    First of all, it is a bit overwhelming when interviewing with a room full of people. It is very common in teaching. Enter the room with a smile and a firm handshake for everyone present. One thing to keep in mind is that the principal will probably guide the interview while the others observe and take notes. Try to ignore the note taking and concentrate on the questions instead. They too will probably ask a few questions. Remember to keep good eye contact on all the people in the room though. Believe it or not, a lot of times its HOW you talk during the interview that is just as important as what you say.
    Research the school district before the interview. The questions usually fall in 6 or 7 categories. Instead of trying to guess at all the specific questions and remember and think out tons of answers, I usually prefer to come up with answers to fit these broad categories.
    1. Describe yourself
    This question could be-Tell us about yourself, what are your strenghts or weaknesses etc. List all your best qualities i.e. I'm creative, dynamic, enthusiastic etc. You're trying your best to sell yourself here. Don't give personal information like your age out. That has nothing to do with how you will do your best job for them.
    2.Educational Philosophy-what is it, show them you are a good match, a lot of districts have a page about what they think is important at their schools. You might put this is when they ask "Why do you want to work here"? I believe that children... I think I would be a good match because I have seen .... here.
    3.Discipline-expectations, rules, classwide behavior techniques etc.
    4. Academnics-Reading program familiarity, Math, manipulatives experience, assessments, cooperative grouping (include words from your research on the school here)
    5. Collaboration-How do you work with others in the school, special ed., speech, assistants, modify assignments to meet needs
    6. Experience with diverse populations-how do you include experiences in your room
    7.Parents-types of communication, how would you deal with a difficult parent etc.

    Give specifics when you can to back up your answers. For example, if they ask about Math instruction you can include Math workshops you took or show pictures from your portfolio for an example. This is the best way to use your portfolio. Usually they don't have much time to look at them. Work it into your anwers whenever it seems appropriate. This will also help keep you calm. Show them and you are more likely to come across as enthusiastic. Smile during the interview but keep things professional.

    Always prepare questions to ask them. If its something that they already addressed let them know that and ask another one. Keep child-centered/teamwork questions in mind i.e. how much planning time will I have with my team?
    Leave with another handshake and thank them for their time.
    Write a thank you letter and send it promptly. Restate and highlight the positives that came up in the interview. Leave phone number again and how you can be reached.

    Best of luck!

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