a.k.a. ”What Not to Say During a Teaching Interview” (or any interview for that matter)
Enter cast: Principal, Vice Principal, Interviewee (me!)
Vice Principal: So I talked with your mom last week while trying to get a hold of you…
Me: Oh yes, she’s really good at explaining why my phone number has changed again.
Principal raises eyebrows.
Me: (Realizing that sounds like I’m irresponsible) I mean, why my international number changed to a Chicago cellular number…
Principal: (a very Hispanic, well-educated businessman) So what did you teach while in Costa RRRRica (He rolls his RRRs to emphasize his hispanic-ness?)
Me: While in Costa RRRica (I attempt to roll my RRR too but it doesn’t work as well… I think then I just look dumb), I taught English as a Second Language in 4th grade and 5th grade.
Vice Principal: What reading curriculum do you currently work with?
Me: Well, my district gave me the Making Meaning curriculum, but I have found that it is too advanced for my students, so I have supplemented it with the structure of the Daily 5, strategies from CAFE Literacy, and by giving students lots of time to read independently.
Vice Principal: You mean, you’re not following your district’s curriculum? (Her brow is furrowed… uh-oh, not good…)
Me: Um… well, no. I understand that as a teacher I have the flexibility to decide what is best for meeting my students’ needs. I okay-ed the other materials with my current principal.
Principal: So you’re allowed to choose what you teach? How are you sure you’ve taught everything as well as you should? (His arms are crossed, this isn’t going well…)
Me: I have a checklist of objectives that I am sure to cover. I also check with the Illinois Standards and Common Core Standards to be sure I have covered everything.
Vice Principal: Well here at our school we have very structured days, plans, and lessons. We have Guided Reading followed by Read Aloud followed by … (She keeps talking but I kind of zone out from all the structure… yikes! Maybe not my style….) Do you think you could adapt to teaching within such a structure?
Me: Of course! (I don’t think my voice sounds confident enough!)
All that to say… that particular interview did not go well. When I walked out, I felt like I was defending what I do instead of describing what I can do with a group of students.
Thankfully, I had another interview a week later for a position I really wanted. Because the previous interview had not gone as planned, I was over-prepared for this one. I had quick, confident answers ready for each question from the panel of 4 (Principal, bilingual teacher, gifted teacher, the Director of Gifted Education… you know, the usual lol). By the time I left, all were smiling at each other like, ”We found our next teacher!”
So an interview-bloopers-post is turning into a job-announcement-post —
For the 2012-2013 school year, I will still be in the same district as a 4th Grade SET SWAS teacher (Spanish-English-Transition School-Within-A-School Teacher)… a.k.a. working in the gifted bilingual department!!! : )