Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tips for a Teacher

Again, I am no expert when it comes to interviewing but I am not going to say I am bad either - if I was I wouldn't have received the job. I also know how it feels to be sitting in the 'hot seat' with several people sitting around a table, all eyes on your every move.
Stop me if I'm wrong... The phone rings (or email dings) to inform you that you have received an interview for the position you applied for. All of the sudden, you once steadily beating heart is now in the pit of your stomach, just briefly. Next, anticipation seizes and reality sets in. Then, your mind races to answer all the questions racing through your mind. "What should I wear? What are they going to ask? Maybe I should go and look on the computer for sample questions and read up on possible answers they want to hear. Oh my gosh, I actually have an interview! I wonder how many people will be there." Did I hit the nail on the head? It was just last month that I was going through the same thing! Unlike many I know I had an amazing mentor who helped me through everything!
To help ease the interview process here are some suggestions I was once given or wish I knew:

  1. The saying is true: The better you look, the better you will feel about yourself. *Wear clothes that are form fitting. It may not be right but the interviewers will be judging you the moment you step into the room. *Make sure every hair is in place and you take notice to your hygiene. *Don't wear too much perfume or cologne.
  2. SMILE. You are interviewing to be a teacher; they want someone who is personable.
  3. BE HONEST. Interviewers have been through this process hundreds, if not, thousands of times, they know when you are not being true and/or rehearsing the answer to them.
  4. DO NOT take too much time answering the question. For instance: "What are the three most important things you would like to know about your students?" Your response should start with, "Three things I think are most important to know is..." This will give you an extra five seconds of think time.
  5. FIRST, answer the question completely and then elaborate with examples or experiences.
  6. BE CONFIDENT. They notice the difference between nervous and not confidence. If you are not confident in a room with three adults, how are you going to be able to manage a room effectively and confidently?
  7. Pull from PERSONAL EXPERIENCES. Allow them to see your passion instead of just going by what you say. If you have a relevant experience, utilize it just make sure it is relevant.
  8. Make sure you have questions prepared for them - whether they ask you or not. This shows them that you are seriously interested in their school and the job. CLICK HERE too see some sample questions.
  9. BE POSITIVE! No one wants to hire someone who is negative. You're with children all day, they want someone who will mold the students efficiently and provide a positive environment.
  10. BREATHE! You can do it. Take a few moments before the interview to research the school and their motto. This will give you a better sense of the school atmosphere and message they want their candidate to have. Believe in yourself!

The Interview Process

By no means am I a professional interviewer, however, I have been asked many questions (by friends and colleagues) since receiving this position regarding the interview process including:

1.  What was it like?
2.  Did you get a vibe (good or bad)?
3.  What should I wear to my interview?
4.  What were some of the questions they asked you?
5.  What were your answers to those questions?



My efforts were successful and I am so extremely excited to begin this new journey in my professional career as an Special/Elementary Education Teacher :) After receiving the position, a few friends and colleagues were curious about the interviewing process and the roles and responsibilities of this new position. If asked in college, I would be able to provide text book answers. The problem with that is, we are not in college anymore and the text book answers just don't suffice. The only real way to gain this knowledge and practice is to experience it first-hand. This is how I came up with the idea of starting a blog. I wanted to share with others experiences of my first REAL year as a special education teacher. I want to provide readers with authentic scenarios, lessons and activities that have been successful, strategies for first year teachers that I liked and didn't like as well. I want to create a support for other novice teachers, like myself, to come, beg, borrow, and steal (effective classroom ideas).

As I begin this journey, I want to hear from you! Whether you are a first year or a veteran teacher, I want to hear from you. Your stories, struggles, successes, strategies and ideas. Things you wish you would have learned in college that may have prepared you better for your first years as a teacher. What do you wish you had on your first day of school. What works or doesn't work. I promise to do the same. On this blog, I will add links that may assist with interviewing skills, research I have found to help as an educator, and much much more...

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Journey

Getting to this point of my life has not come as easily as expected. Upon completion of college as an undergrad, I had the same expectations as each of my classmates, unaware that reality was about to make a striking appearance in my life. Like mentioned before, no matter how many applications I completed or job interviewed I went on, getting a full-time teaching job seemed nearly impossible in today's world. It was so disheartening, watching very few people I graduate with receive positions (mostly out-of-state) or give up on education all-together to work retail because, at least, the income was steady. Throughout it all, I tried to keep one thing in mind.. "Don't Quit!" Trust me, sometimes I really wanted to - especially with all of the debt from my student loans coming to the forefront of my mind.
"Just get a full-time job making an actually livable paycheck".
But unlike most of my friends, I knew if I did end up quitting, I would never be happy OR satisfied.  As discouraged and angry as I may have felt, I knew deep down that I couldn't waste the passion I have for teaching. During this difficult experience, I tried my hardest to stay positive and remember that everything happens for a reason.  Come back to find out where this mind-set led me...

Thursday, May 22, 2014

A New Beginning

This blog is dedicated to A NEW BEGINNING! A new beginning taking place in my life, which is occurring at this very moment. A scary, yet, exhilarating experience of finally becoming a PROFESSIONAL TEACHER! For 4 long years, I have waited for an opportunity (from any school) to demonstrate my passion and eagerness of becoming a REAL teacher. Before receiving this offer, I have been employed as a daycare worker, substitute teacher, and instructional aide. Even though all of these experiences have been amazing and a relevant source of employment, it is different than being an actual teacher employed at a district, full-time. As exhausting and discouraging as those years have been, I wasn't about to give up on my dream. So, after hundreds of hours of professional development and classes, TWO teaching certificates hanging on my wall, dozens upon dozens of applications completed, and many interviews conducted, I have FINALLY landed a position as a Special Education Teacher at a WONDERFUL school district.

"Some people can give thousands of reasons why they CANNOT succeed,

but all you need is ONE reason why you can!"