Day 109 (of 183) the mid-season interview
Sometimes stuff happens. That’s what happened at our school this month. A teacher needed to “adjust” their schedule. That means someone else gets to join our learning community. It also means I get to do a couple of interviews – which is a good thing, except that the number of applicants and who makes the list is very impressive (that plus the mindset that there are also other, bigger jobs that I want to keep people eligible for) makes it difficult to whittle the list down!
Here’s my mindset leading into the interview:
What are the needs of the class.
What are the needs of the “majority” teacher.
What are the wants of both those stakeholders.
What do I need to know as we go into the interview knowing that in many cases the first five minutes make or break an interview candidacy.
Also…I do my interviewing a tad differently. I do send the questions to the candidates the day before. I am not looking for quick responses, I want quality considerations to be shared. Our school’s number one goal continues to be it’s work on self-regulation and anxiety, and for many the interview process can be one of the biggest sources of anxiety….so it would be a touch hypocritical of me to not model this.
- What are the most important things I should know about you, your life, your experiences? Who is the real _________?
–> for this question, I like to know where people are coming from. Community experiences matter. I have even questioned directly why specific people would even be applying for the school I was in – due to commute time, their background (city girl applying for rural school? she had more in her background than what the paperwork indicated and has been a fabulous fit!)
2. Tell us your vision of partner-sharing a grade 2/3 class.
–> in this question I am looking for examples showing how collaboration occurs – especially asynchronous communication. It’s not easy job sharing with someone who you may never actually see at school so I’m curious if they’ve done some pre-thinking around this.
3. One of our school goals is on anxiety & self regulation. What are your experiences with this topic – what fears and questions do you have?
–> everybody gets anxious. This question lets me understand experiences people have had either themselves, or with others on this topic. With it being our main school goal, I want to make sure that candidates are aware of why we are doing what we are doing. We do breathing breaks. We do action breaks. We use common language (based on Zones of Regulation with some Mindfulness thrown in) to understand how our brains our working – or not working as the case may be!
4. Our school uses eportfolios. What are your experiences with this assessment topic – what fears and questions do you have?
–> this is where I am looking for examples of how candidates assess, evaluate, and communicate student learning. Our school has been moving more and more towards formative assessment and communicating student learning in an ongoing basis. It also lets me test their willingness to take risks; use technology; better understand their learners; try something new.
5. What if your students don’t “get it”?
–> in this case I will often probe a little more – but I initially leave the question rather vague to see what direction their thinking goes. It’s interesting because sometimes it goes to the academic side of school, sometimes to the social-emotional side. I like it when samples of empathy come up and of course one of my favourite words: differentiation (even if it is becoming one of “those” words – that people say but don’t do).
6. Tell us about a time when you took a risk and failed (our school supports risk takings and First Attempts In Learning) – Landy will provide an example in the interview.
–> with this question I am looking to see if candidates are willing to be vulnerable. Again, I’ll choose one of my many “misses” to lead the way. I support (and even encourage) teachers to take risks and make mistakes along the way and want this mindset to come through from the start of the interview process. It’s also helpful to probe to see what “next steps” occurred. It’s fine to fall down, but I’m curious to see how you get back up!
7. Question to randomly be chosen at the interview.
–> yep. I have a couple of envelopes (duplicated so each candidate may answer the same question) to be chosen. Within the envelope is a question – todays Qs were:
-when I visit the classroom with my camera, what will I be videotaping/photographing
-what do you read on a day to day basis
Neither of these questions are “right vs wrong” but allow me to still see how the candidate thinks on the fly (without having to pre-think what all the questions might be) and allow me to ask further questions – whether it’s asking what “engaged learning” might be or finding out “what was the last education book you read” was.
And sometimes I am disappointed because the same question is chosen by the candidates…. but it’s not about me….right?
8. Questions for us?
–> I like to close with this to see what their thinking was overnight. Part of the reason for sending the questions the day before is that they should be thinking about our school…and they should have some questions!
That’s the mindset I went into tonights interview with – looking forward to seeing how the candidates respond and how it influences both myself and my partner-interviewer!