Sunday, March 20, 2011

Profile: Successful Job Applicant

It’s a great to hear from job applicants who are winning teaching positions! We can learn about the process and what works!

Recently, I heard from a job applicant who won a teaching position as a middle school Title 1 mathematics teacher on March 1, 2011. She graduated in the fall 2010 with a degree in elementary education and teaching concentration in special education. Here’s a timeline of her application and hiring process:
Graduation: end of fall semester 2010
Application Deadline: January 24, 2011
Submitted Application: January 17
Selected for Interview: February 18
Interviewed for Position: February 23
Hired: March 1
First Day of Work: March 2

I interviewed the job applicant. Here are responses to my questions.

What was the application process?
I submitted applications for nine job postings on However, I was invested in three job postings. The application for the Title 1 Math Teacher position was due on January 24, 2011. I submitted the online application for the position on January 17, 2011. The school selected me for an interview on February 18. I was scheduled for an interview on February 23.

Tell me about the interview for the position.
I had one interview. It was overwhelming. The interview was with the principal and two math teachers from the school. After I was offered a job by the principal on the same day as the interview, I met with the superintendent the next day. That was more of an educational conversation, but still nerve-racking because he does have the last say in the hiring process.

What interview questions did the hiring committee ask?
· Why are you right for this job?
· How comfortable are you using manipulatives?
· What assessments are you familiar with? Have you used to pre-test, post-test and what formative assessments have you used?
· What would your classroom look like if I walked by?
· I mentioned in my philosophy of teaching statement that "students are part of an aggressive society." I was questioned about this statement at both interviews.
· How would you differentiate instruction?
· What do you have to offer?
· How should you use technology in the classroom?

What advice do you have for those who are applying for teaching jobs?
* Preparation is important! To prepare for the interview, I made 100 note cards based on the survey of the most common questions asked. I developed what I thought were perfect answers and studied them every day. I studied the Title 1 Math laws and program intensely and I set up two mock interviews with teachers who I have worked in the past.
BOOKNOTE: The Guide includes 30+ typical interview questions with responses - what to say, what not to say!

* Always prepare two or three questions to ask. 1 educational and 1 personal. I asked, "Can you recall a specific memory from your first or early years of teaching that was not a cookie cutter situation to help build my confidence as I am actively seeking my first teaching position and stories like this always help build confidence....?" or something to that effect. It made for interesting conversation that was fun and it definitely eased the stress at the end of the interview and left a good impression.

* Make everything of your student teaching experience because word does travel and you want the best recommendations and memories possible.

BOOKNOTE: The Guide includes a section on how to be proactive in contacting references --examples of request letter and thank you letter.

* Create a very professional hiring portfolio to leave even if you have a account. Include extra things here, such as a copy of your teaching philosophy. I was fortunate to have videos of my teaching and interacting with students from my elementary student teaching placement included in mine. Although the videos were not from my middle school student teaching placement, I chose videos that highlighted my interactions with students and my creative lesson ideas.
BOOKNOTE: See "Look Inside" on Blog for sample of book - Developing Hiring Portfolios

Email me ( your success story! Provide the following information:
1. What was the application and hiring process?
2. Tell me about the interview for the position.
3. What interview questions did the hiring committee ask?
4. What advice do you have for those who are applying for teaching jobs?
5. Indicate the title of position (grade/content area/specialty) school, district, community, state