Yesterday, I spent four hours at my now-former MS sitting in on
interviews with the applicants for my position. There were two
conference-calls and two in-person interviews. There were three other
applicants as well, but they apparently didn't make the cut. It was
quite an experience. Besides the principal and me, our NCLB coordinator
was there as well as a teacher aide. We took turns asking the questions
from a set, then gave the applicant an opportunity to ask us questions
and make further comments. I just wanted to pass along some tips for
those of you who will be interviewing this summer.
1. Listen/observe at least as much as you talk. One applicant talked
on and on, even after the principal told her he was looking for someone
who listens to the students (and, presumably, the principal). She
visited my classroom a few weeks ago and it was extremely difficult to
get away from her so I could wind up my lesson.
2. I'm not a naturally bouncy person myself, but one applicant sounded
'waaay too timid and quiet to deal with MS students. Sound like you're
3. Don't denigrate the standards. One applicant stated that she knew
the standards and that "there was validity in some of them (italics
mine)." At least act like you love and approve of all your state standards!
4. Make sure you're up on current educational practice, both in general
and in art.
5. Be ready to explain your classroom management techniques, even if
you've not had a teaching job before. Read up on Harry Wong and Fred
Jones and adopt some of their techniques as your own (and name-drop like
6. One applicant came across as though this job would be a sideline to
her other pursuits (doctorate, personal art work). Don't sound too busy
The person who I think will be offered the contract came across as
extremely passionate and committed to teaching art in this tiny, rural
district. She already has her doctorate, but still wants to teach
here. She's very interested in collaborating with other teachers, isn't
afraid of or overcommitted to be putting in the extra hours for
community outreach. Granted, she was the most experienced of the bunch
and already had her management skills down as well as curric, but it was
her enthusiasm after all those years that struck us (especially ME--I
only lasted 21 years!). I guess my best advice is to anticipate the
questions and have some definite ideas even if you've not taught before,
and make the kids your very top priority. Good luck to all who are
looking for jobs.