Wednesday, May 19, 2010

awkward turtle

Awkward Agonizing
No one is home, so I have to process this interview all on my own. Which means I will blog it.

Downsides to today's interview:

She asked me point blank what I would to do teach, say, inference. And my mind went blank. Couldn't think of a darned thing. I asked for a minute to think about it but I think she could tell that I froze because she moved on. Thank goodness.

She asked how I would start a typical lesson plan and I said probably start w/ vocabulary, practicing it in context and looking at it in-text. Then reading, I might do groups, whole classroom, out-loud...I usually try to maintain a variety of methods to appeal to different learners. I mentioned I would break reading into chunks. When we read, I would have them complete prediction-question-comment-connection (but I could only remember 2 of them! ack!). She asked what kind of work I've had them do in groups. I mentioned that I sometimes have them read, letting them choose how their group wants to read - outloud, silently, taking turns, etc. - and they could fill out graphic organizers or make posters. I just felt like I was rambling/pulling stuff out of my butt. I'd studied interview questions before going in, but I felt like I should have studied my BLOG here for ideas!

First question was "What do you know about middle school?" and I had no idea how to answer it. It was just so broad. I was expecting "WHY do you want to switch to middle school?" I flubbed around a bit, saying that I enjoyed my time with the sixth graders (who were end-of-year-nearly-7th graders) during a 6 week practicum, and that I had many friends who are middle school teachers who I can call upon should I need support and insight. Awkward.

She asked about discipline, but she phrased it in such a way that I wasn't sure where to start. I can't even recall the question. I kind of joked "Hm, how do I start?" and she made a more specific question about drama queen girls and how I handled that. I recalled an incident from last year about a girl who was constantly giving attitude to other kids in the room and that I pulled her out two or three times that year to mediate. The last time, I finally firmly told her "Get out of other people's business." And then gave her the option to go back in that room, keep her mouth closed, and get along with people -- or go up to the office and try her case there. I segued into my discipline idea of "choices" so students can feel like they're making a decision about their lives (since teens so love to be independent), and that 99% of the time, when given the choice, they slink back into the classroom. Bah. I liked how I ended it but I didn't like how I floundered through the middle part, trying to remember the incident(s) with Little Miss Thang.

I kind of forgot that I had to be impressed with THEM, too, and could feel myself putting on the "I so want to impress you" vibe.

She claims class sizes are about 30 for 7th grade (which is her current opening). That number does not excite me.

I felt okay with the principal. But I'm not 100% sold.

Upsides to the interview:
I got to peek into several classrooms. They look large and the desks are nice & big, too.

I emphasized that I came from a school that was very upfront about the fact that discipline was a top priority there. And that, as a first year teacher, I received invaluable support regarding classroom management and following through on policies.

I reminded myself several times as we started walking through the halls that THEY have to impress ME. I am still considering grad school and even leaning more strongly towards it. So, drop the "I want to impress you vibe" and put on an evaluative "You have to impress me" vibe!

Many of the other teachers are young, so I would likely be able to make many new friends.

Every room has a Smartboard - which she emphasized is not just for ppt presentations or a glorified whiteboard. I told her that I've seen them and had training with them, but haven't been able to actually USE one extensively. It would be rather neat to be able to put text up and have kids "mark it up" or use it to give wicked awesome group presentations.

They have pacing guides but you are just limited to completing that information within the 9 weeks. No shared unit tests, etc. which is good.

It's been a long time since I had an interview, and now I can say I've done one recently. I shook off some of the rust, and I'm proud of myself for that.

I asked good questions. I asked about class sizes, discipline policies, pacing guide restrictions, vertical teaming, electives like band (we got a little performance from a musical rhythm class. they were so cute!), and STEM education kits.

At the end of the interview, I got the impression that she liked me. Said she enjoyed talking with me and that basically, I'm what she's looking for -- someone young but with a few years of experience. She can't hire anyone right now, but please keep in touch with her via email, and she's hoping she'll know next week what kind of offers she can make. Please keep in touch, and so on. Who knows? I'm trying not to focus on the awkward bits.

I still have no idea if I want to teach middle school. They could be fun...but then again, I love teaching those upper level classes, too. But the outlook for teaching jobs just looks so bleak right now, honestly!

1 comment:

  1. I applaud your efforts to get a job! I'm pretty sure I'd be unhappy teaching in a middle school environment, but I'd try it if I had to do so. I just finished graduate school last December, so I also see the appeal of it. Good luck!