Summer of Learning 2017 – interviews
There are more interviews going on this summer than ever before (at least in our province). The readjustments coming out of the Supreme Court ruling on BC Schools has led to a great range of positions – in classrooms and specialty positions and PVPs.
Not sure if it was coincidence or serendipity that Mindshift had an article come out on questions for future ready educators: https://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2017/07/10/7-questions-principals-should-ask-when-hiring-future-ready-teachers/
I like these types of questions because they align positively with my own view of the future of education (collaboratively personalizing the learning journey). But there are still some root questions that base almost any interview….and need to:
- who are you – this isn’t just about you liking to climb rocks and drink interesting beverages….it’s about who you are in this realm that is more than just a job – who are you as an educator? there is no right/wrong answer. As the overarching theme I keep seeing in the interviewing process continues to be: are you the right fit at the right time for the right position <– I am self aware that I can do the job, but even I ask myself if I am the right person at the right time for the position being talked about.
- why? this ranges from why this job to why teaching to why now? Again, no right answer – and sometimes honesty helps….I’ve been told “it’s a job to get me a contract in the greater district” and I’ve been told “I’ve wanted to be in this school since I was a student”. This has led me to hire people who had just gone on maternity leave, because they were the right fit….when they were able to return.
- what? I want to know what you have done as well as what you want to do …… next. Some will want to focus on doing a great job in the classroom, some will want to reach beyond the classroom walls (and some beyond the school boundaries). During the interview I hope to get to know what the pathway of the educator is going to be (and sometimes this has led to me phoning a colleague because of a connection that was made)
- how? how the educator works is extremely personal. You can’t be the teacher who inspired you, you can only be yourself. But I like to try to understand how an educator thinks and how they want to act. This can be the trickiest because the traditional interview is a very artificial way of measuring this….
If anything this traditional method is almost too artificial. I have been lucky enough to be able to bring teacher-candidates into the classroom as a TOC to see how they fit with the class and the school…..but this is a rarity. But I’ve also read that frequently a decision for “fit” is made within the first few minutes. I’m also hyperaware of how nerve-wracking interviews can be (and in the case in BC right now, many veteran teachers are now getting ready for their first interviews in many years because of the opportunities to move around their district – or move to another district).
breathe. take some time. use wait time – it works in the classroom and can work in the interview setting to ensure that you are about to answer the question in the best way possible.
be ready. think about the key themes of education and why you wanted (and still want) to be an educator who makes a difference.
prepare. think about some responses to common questions (and when answering behavioural questions, remember to have an answer that has a personal connection AND share what the resolution was based on what you did) that can be found either by a google search, or links from my earlier blog on interviews: https://technolandy.wordpress.com/2016/03/21/spring-break-2016-repeat-blog-links-for-teachers-to-be/
Qs with As: http://teaching.monster.com/careers/articles/8943-15-popular-interview-questions-answered
Qs with some opinions: http://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/teacher-blog/2014/jan/29/teacher-job-interview-questions-top-ten
Big list of Qs: https://www.udel.edu/CSC/pdf/InterviewTeach.pdf
My bias: I like giving (and getting!) questions in advance – My own work with self regulation means that I know I want to get thoughtful responses to my questions, not just speedy answers (same approach I take with times tables and spelling) though I also sprinkle in some ‘surprise’ questions as well….but usually talking about answers provided to the questions provided the day before take me into deeper understanding of who the educator is that we are talking with.
Interviews aren’t easy. Lots of over-thinking happens. Comparisons occur. Finding the right fit is not a perfect science. But it’s always good to be aware that the anxiousness to do the ‘right hire’ is felt on all sides of the room!
and for fun(?)