Thursday, May 31, 2012

Miss Read's First Interview, Sort Of

Hi everyone! I sort of had my first teaching interview yesterday! I say "sort of" because the interviewers stressed that it was just a screening interview. I'm not sure if that means everyone who applied for the job  was interviewed, or if they weeded out some of the applications ahead of time, or what. But either way, it was an interview!

One great thing is that, when I first applied, I was browsing around on the school district's website, and I saw a familiar name in the staff directory. The school psychologist at one of the district's schools (although not the one I'd be working at) was actually the woman who was the social worker at the school where I worked as a 1:1 aide many years ago. Back then we knew each other very well, because the child I worked with had a lot of behavioral issues and the social worker and I worked closely together to help him. To use a term that is used much more often these days, we "collaborated" frequently! So I emailed her, she emailed me back, we caught up, she said I could use her as a reference, etc. Well, when I got the call for the interview, I emailed her to tell her the good news. It turned out, the interviews were being done in the building she worked in, because that school is already out for the summer and the other schools in the district are not. And, to make matters better, the day of my interview was a day that she was planning to be in the building (even though this is technically her summer vacation) to help with an evaluation for in incoming student. (I actually met that student while I was in the lobby waiting for the interview. He was an adorable little guy who entertained me for the entire twenty minute wait by pretending to be various animals such as a cat, a dog, a bear, a snake, and a spider.) So... my friend actually went into the room where they were doing the interviews, and told the people that she had worked with me and that she highly recommended me. She described the child I used to work with and the things I used to do for him.

(In my very first blog post, I described "Tommy," a little guy with autism who I worked with from kindergarten through second grade. I was just barely into my twenties at the time and had never had this type of job before, although I'd worked as a general aide in several day care centers. Working with Tommy was probably one of the best experiences in my life. I loved that little guy. When you're a 1:1 you get very close to the kid you're with. He was an amazingly smart boy, and also very challenged by his frustration. So one minute he'd be hitting me and kicking me and pulling my hair, and ten minutes later he'd be sitting on my lap and crying in my arms. Its a really bonding experience. I remember feeling protective of him, as if he were my little brother or something. He had a bad reputation at the school because of the ways he acted when he was upset, but really the people who thought of him as bad were people who didn't know him well, like teachers in the other grades. All of the teachers and aides who worked directly with him, and the social worker, and me, loved him... he was really a sweet little kid who just got so overwhelmed sometimes. But I digress...)

At any rate, I got a personal recommendation from the school psychologist, which at least will make me stand out from other applicants. The screening interview itself was fairly easy. They didn't ask about standards and data and other complicated things. The questions were more designed to see how you really felt about kids and about being a teacher, why you wanted to be one, what you thought the purpose of school should be, your attitude towards parents, etc. I also had to go into another room, read a pretend case study, and write some IEP goals and objectives for the fake student. I am usually pretty good at writing goals, although I've found that different people want the goals written in different way. It seems like every class I took, I was taught a different way to write goals!

Here's an example of what I wrote for a kindergarten student who needed frequent reminders to complete his arrival routine. 

1. Given a visual schedule, Jason will independently complete his entire arrival routine, on four out of five school days. 
          A. Given a visual schedule, Jason will independently hang up his coat and backpack when he arrives in the morning, without teacher reminders, on four out of five school days. 
         B. Given a visual schedule, Jason will independently put his lunch box in the appropriate bin when he arrives in the morning, without teacher reminders, on four out of five school days. 
         C. Given a visual schedule, Jason will independently move his name tag on the attendance board when he arrives in the morning, without teacher reminders, on four out of five school days. 

What do you think? I'd love to hear how you write goals at your school. 

Oh yeah... the job, if I actually got it, would be teaching an all day special ed kindergarten class!

I'll keep you updated on whether I get called back for a second interview.

Thanks for reading!


  1. This sounds like a great opportunity for you - good luck!

  2. This is so exciting! How great is it that you had a contact like that that was so willing to step up and really go above and beyond to give you a great recommendation. I think you will definitely stand out from other applicants.
    In regards to goals, our classes teach us to use "S-M-A-R-T" language.
    S - specific
    M - measurable
    A - attainable
    R - relevant or realistic (I've seen both used)
    T - timely
    (ex) Tommy will learn his numbers. NOT SMART
    (ex) Tommy will recognize the numbers 1-10 on his building blocks with 90% accuracy by the end of March. SMART

    That seems to be what you are doing with your goals too. Best of luck with your interviews!

  3. Thanks for commenting on our blog. I'm returning the favor. How fantastic for you and exciting! I am not a teacher but I know patience and kindness and understanding is what is needed, especially being a special needs mom. So it's incredible what you do. I wish you luck with the whole thing and keep us posted :)

  4. Glad the interview went well! Good luck!



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