Interview Update

May 22, 2008 at 11:21 pm Leave a comment

My screening interview with Urban School District today went, as far as I can tell, quite well.

I arrived a little later than I’d intended, which wasn’t an auspicious start; fortunately, my watch and my interviewer’s watch didn’t agree, giving me the undeserved appearance of earliness. I ended up in a corner of the district offices I hadn’t known existed in what might be the nicest cubicle I’d ever seen, complete with frosted glass door, a wall of bookcases, and enough room to turn around.

The interview started off on strong footing because I had had the good fortune to meet my interviewer before. In fact, I’d invited her to come in and observe my class while I was student teaching. It hadn’t been a particularly sterling day of instruction, but she had enjoyed herself and had a lot of good things to say about me at the time – including a very positive district evaluation sheet such as they would use for an in-service teacher. (Thank you to the CHS math teacher who suggested I try to get a recommendation letter from the district department head! She couldn’t give me a letter, since she’d be interviewing me, but it was DEFINITELY worth it to have her observe me.)

Interviewer (let’s call her Mrs. I) started off by asking me about classroom management situations. I told her the story of two girls and how I had been able to reach one but not the other, and we had a nice frank discussion about how difficult it can be to find the right way to connect with some students. Next Mrs. I asked a couple of questions about how I incorporate grammar, technology, etc. into my instruction.

When Mrs. I asked me whether I thought journaling was valuable to students, I responded “Absolutely.” She raised an eyebrow as she started to take notes, so I continued. I talked about how it can help with writing confidence and fluency, how it can help a student develop their own voice. I told her how every writing class I’d ever taken had urged us to journal, and that I had never been successful at keeping a journal until I tried doing it on a computer. I told her how powerful I had found it. Then I came back to the question and acknowledged that I believe that the way that journaling is incorporated into some classrooms is NOT effective, at least not to all students. I talked about some of the drawbacks of classroom/structured journaling and about how I would try to avoid those drawbacks. I admitted that it seemed more helpful with older students than younger, but that I hadn’t seen it used very often with younger grades; Mrs. I told me about how she used journaling in a second grade classroom before moving to administration. Then she asked me about privacy issues in journaling, and I got to expound on that for a while. (This paragraph, and this question, were really interesting to me – I think I’ll save details of my opinions for their own post, whaddaya think?)

The next question is apparently the one that EVERY teacher gets asked: what are you reading? I had forgotten about it, but fortunately was ready with an authentic answer. I’d just finished one book and was starting another, and we were able to chat for a moment about the two books. She recommended another book to me based on the one I’d just finished, and my new book (I’m reading that Twilight book that all the high school girls are carrying around – curious as to what all the hype is about) prompted a brief discussion of vampire literature.

At the end of it she asked if there was anything else I would like her to know about myself. This was awesome; it gave me a chance to talk about school atmosphere and how much I buy into the “whole school” – school spirit, colors, mascot, athletics, performing arts, etc.. I got to talk about my strengths in content knowledge and technology, too.

Finally Mrs. I asked if I had any other questions. The primary one, of course, was whether or not there were likely to be any job openings this summer. She believes that there may be – very good to hear.

Basically, Urban School District screens all of their applicants and then gives them a rating based on that interview and their resume, transcript, letters of recommendation, and test scores. That rating goes anywhere from 1 (someone they would never consider hiring) to 5 (top prospects). The rating is completely confidential, and I will never know what I received (although if I get a 1 or a 5 I will probably figure it out eventually). When a principal realizes that he or she will have a job opening that will not be filled by an in-district transfer, s/he calls up the district office and asks for a manifest. They then receive a list of the top-rated applicants to call for a second-round interview.

I feel like I did well. The interview was easy, because I “knew all the answers” – I feel confident about my teaching experiences and philosophy, and just had to tell the truth when she asked questions. I know that my transcript is good (although I sure do wish I had more endorsements) and my test scores are strong. Three of my letter-writers showed me a draft before sending in their letters, and they were quite positive. I don’t have other resumes against which to compare my own, but I know mine is very pretty (hooray for a tech writing background). 🙂 I can’t say with any confidence what rating I believe I received, but I also can’t think of anything I could have done to place myself higher.

So now we have the waiting game…

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Entry filed under: JOB HUNT. Tags: , .

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The Bee’s Knees

This is the teaching journal of a student first-year second-year THIRD-YEAR (!!!) English teacher. I am writing this blog as a reflection for myself, a way to keep friends and family updated, and a sharing-ground between other educators online. I love comments!

I am striving to maintain anonymity on this blog so that I may more freely interact with my fellow edubloggers. If you know who I am, please help me protect my anonymity in your comments. I use pseudonyms or initials for everyone I write about to preserve their anonymity as well.




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