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In recent weeks the number of visitors and their emails have been flowing in.  Mostly these are aspiring teachers and job seekers, preparing for an interview or looking for strategies to land a teacher job.  Of course, the teacher interview page, receiving over 200 daily visits alone, and the numerous blog posts are a big hit.

Good news! To further help, I have lowered the price of the e-version of Road to Teaching: A Guide to Teacher Training, Student Teaching, and Finding a Job to $5.49 .  This is a fantastic resource for any job seeker looking for a teacher job, especially in light of the tough job market.  This price reduction is 27% off the original e-version and 61% off the Amazon.com print version.

This offer will only last until end of April.  I hope you will use this book and Road to Teaching’s online resources to help in landing your perfect teacher job.

Good luck on the job search!!!!

Eric

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Stop and think before you answer this question.  The interviewers really don’t want to hear your life story or the names of all your 20 cats.  Rather what they are listening for is how well you will fit into the school, work with your colleagues, and relate to your students.

Talk about yourself and 1-2 life experience, but ALWAYS tie it back to how it will help you in teaching. 

For example:

“I would describe myself as adventurous and outgoing.  Last year I traveled throughout Southeast Asia, traveling to four countries.  I love learning about new cultures and meeting new people.  This is one of the reasons I want to teach at {insert school name}.  It has amazing diversity.  I would take this same enthusiam and apply it to learning more about my students and their backgrounds.”

we-need-youWe need you!  Try your hand at answering any of the teacher interview questionsWe will then post your answer by linking it to the teacher interview question you choose.

Everyday hundreds of pre-service teachers and other job seekers visit Road to Teaching’s Teacher Interview Question page – the largest collection of teacher interview questions on the web.  This is a free resource, maintained by a teacher.  So, with your help we could turn this to the web’s largest collection of teacher interview questions with ANSWERS!

Feel free to email your question and answer to eric [at] roadtoteaching [dot] com.  Alternatively, you can simply leave a comment to this post or comment on the teacher interview question page.  We will extract your Q&A and make the link.

Please help us expand the usefulness of Road to Teaching.

Assessment is a powerful tool to improve student achievement.  Rather than treat assessment as an end result, teachers should incorporate assessments as part of the learning process, allowing both teacher and student to monitor progress and evaluate news ways to improve.   A teacher can accomplish this by
1.       Clearly defining the learning target/objective
2.       Showing student work
3.       Delivery pre-assessments to understand students’ prior knowledge and to create a baseline
4.       Continually assess students’ progress and providing effective feedback on how to improve.
5.       Teach students to self-assess and reflect on their quality of work and achievement of targeted objective.
 
If time permits provide an example of how you used assessment as part of the learning process.

Hundreds of preservice, beginning, and RIF’d teachers attended a local teacher job fair.  There was a line of teachers that streched around the block to enter this job fair.  It was record attendance!  “Hiring” principals were ready to greet each perspective candidate and then rank them on a predetermined scale.  The scale is different for each principal, but its basically from the low end of do not to call back this candidate to, as one principal said, candidate “walks on water” and must be called to interview

I listened to several principals talk about their experiences at this job fair.  Some were funny and some were scary.  Each principal had their own approach when interacting with each prospective candidate.  One principals said he listens to candidates, only asking a few questions here and there.  Another principal said she asks the prospective candidates interview questions.  Her favorite questions was, “What is your ideal classroom?”  She said that many of the candidates would be stumped and just say “ummmmm.” 

How do you think these candidates were ranked?

I solicited advice from the principals on what candidates should do to help improve their chances of being called back on an interview.  Here are some nuggest of their advice:

Social Graces

Remember your manners and how to properly greet someone.  When you (the teacher candidate) approach a hiring principal at a job fair be sure to shake their hand, introduce yourself, and make eye contact.  From the start you need to establish a personal connection with the principal.  Next, ask the principal if they would like a copy of your resume.  A principal told me that too many candidates would come up, not introduce themselves, and hand them their resume without asking.  This is a no-no.  Start off your interaction on the right foot.

Do Your Homework

When you get notice of an upcoming teacher job fair do some basic homework.  Make a list of school districts and schools that interest you.  Then, do research on the schools (see my book for research strategies/tips).  Copy down your notes and review them right before you speak with the principal from that respective school.  This demonstrates to the hiring principal at the job fair that you have a strong interest in their school and you are familiar with it.  This will set you apart from other candidates, improving your ranking.  Also, it will give you some conversation material when it’s your turn to talk. 

Come Prepared

Another tip the principals told me was that job candidates should come to the fair with their resumes and, if possible, a few letters of recommendation.  The letters of recommendation give the prinicpal greater insight into who you are.

Additional Resources to Get You Hired

Road to Teaching: A Guide to Teacher Training, Student Teaching, and Finding a Job

Web’s Largest Collection of Teacher Interview Questions

We can’t get through the day with0ut hearing about the economy.  Well, the bad economy has impacted education, specifically teacher hiring.  In some districts, hiring has been frozen.  Why?  Districts have no money for new hires or they are waiting to see how the stimulus money will trickle down from the the federal level to the state level to eventually the district level.  This weekend I spoke with a principal who said his hands are tied.  He can’t move on any hiring until this summer (when the District will release their budget).  This is extremely frustrating to principals who tend to want to wrap up their teacher hirings in April and May.  Its even more frustrating to aspiring teachers (job applicants) who are wondering when they will get an interview.

I asked the principal what his advice is to those teacher job applicants.  His advice was to ” keep being persistant.”  Here are some other ideas:

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Student teachers have FUN.  When planning your curriculum, imagine yourself as that student.  Would this be a lesson that you would be interesting and engaging?  If the answer is no, then inject some FUN and be a little silly.  It’s okay!  Be experimental, which means taking some risk that the lesson won’t work.  So be it.  We are practitioners, always seeking better ways to connect curriculum to our students’ lives. 

Elementary and middle-school teachers do a much better job at this than high school teachers.  Loosen up already.  Think outside the box.  Do something that will surprise the students, capturing their attention.  All in all, learning can be FUN and academic.  Not to mention, its reenergizing for the teacher and keeps our content fresh.

I write in my book, Road to Teaching: A Guide to Teacher Training, Student Teaching, and Finding a Job, about when I taught a lesson on world poverty in my middle school Social Studies class.  To kick it off the issue of world poverty, I removed most of the students’ desks and chairs.  The remaining desks represented the rich, chairs represented the middle class, and the floor represented the poor.  The number of desks and chairs were proportionate to the breakdown on income levels of the world.  When my students entered the classroom they were immediately stunned and hooked.  Some wondered out loud, “Why are there only three desks in here?”  They were desperate to find out what they were going to learn.  The lesson that followed was rich and engaging.  The students “felt” the problem.  At the end of the lesson, one of my challenging students said “we should do something about this.”  I said “okay, what were you thinking?”  The following week the entire class and I went to a local soup kitchen, resulting in an awakening experience for many of the students.

There’s another benefit to having FUN.  Injecting a little FUN may get your noticed by your principal.  I remember the principal coming in during my poverty unit to see what all the buzz was about.  He loved the lesson.  This experimental lesson led to a glowing recommendation letter, which helped me land some teacher interviews.  Also, it was a great talking point when asked in an interview, “Describe a lesson that you felt went well.”  (click here for more interview questions)

Try something new this week and get noticed!  Have FUN!

Thank you.

Since its’ launch last summer, Road to Teaching has grown considerably.  Over 11,000 aspiring, student, and beginning teachers visited this website, learning about teaching strategies and topics, discovering resources, and finding support.  

This growth couldn’t be possible without the voice of our contributors, teachers collaborating, and people around the world emailing in their insights, stories, and teacher interview questions.

We recently won “Best of the Web” by TeAchnology.  Also, we parterned with TheApple.com  to futher support student teachers.

What’s New

Road to Teaching continually focuses on three areas:  talking about student teacher topics, providing additional teacher interview questions and answers, and expanding our list of effective vocabulary strategies.

Student Teacher Topics

Our number of posts addressing student teacher topics continually expands.  To make it easier for our visitors, we have started to categorize the various topics: parent/family communication, stress management, and much more.

Teacher Interview Questions

Recently, we launched possible answers to teacher interview questions.  These are excerpts from the book Road to Teaching: A Guide to Teacher Training, Student Teaching, and Finding a Job.

Effective Vocabulary Strategies

Check out our new page dedicated to gathering effective vocabulary strategies. Please send your strategies to eric@road2teaching.com

I just returned from a workshop that taught school administrators how to use behavior-based interview (BBI) question to hire quality teachers.  The basic idea behind BBI is that the candidate’s past behavior will be the best indicator for future behavior.  BBI has been around for years, but used primarily in business.

A BBI question may start something like:

  • Tell me about a time…
  • Describe your experience with…
  • How have you…
  • What has been your approach to…

Does BBI sound intimidating?  It doesn’t have to be.  There are two great ways to frame each BBI question you are asked.

PAR – Problem, Action, and Result

STAR – Situation/Task, Action, and Result

For every question asked, first describe the problem (e.g. keeping 6th graders on-task) or situation/task (e.g. organizing curriculum).  Then, explain what action you took.  Finally, describe the end result, trying to always tie into improving student learning.  Just remember PAR or STAR when answering BBI questions and you should do just fine!

Check the Teacher Interview Questions page at for sample BBI questions.

For additional information on BBI, visit http://jobsearch.about.com/cs/interviews/a/behavioral.htm

recently recognized Road to Teaching as “Best of the Web” in its September 2008  issue.  I am excited to see how this site continues to grow.  Every day more and more teachers are contributing teacher tips, student teaching strategies, teacher interview questions, book recommendations, and much more.  Thanks to everyone for contributing to this growth!

– Eric