Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Interviews

Today I had the opportunity to be on an interview panel in my school. I have never been able to do this before. Our human resources department is overhauling some of the ways that they do things and are giving more say to the schools and school personnel in hiring staff for their buildings. It hasn't always been this way. I'm not honestly sure why that is but I'm really excited about some of the changes that they have made because the more voices you have coming from people in the particular school and at that grade level, the better you'll be able to see how a person would fit into your staff and community.

While I can not (and would not) divulge particulars about the interviews, I did want to share some thoughts after being on the "other side" of the table.

1) Preparation is everything -- I think this might seem like a no-brainer but after seeing the interviews today, it really stuck out to me. You can never be too prepared. You always have to anticipate that something might not go as you had thought it would and be able to improvise. We have to do this in our classrooms too and it's important to remember that if you're asked to provide a demonstration lesson in an interview.

2) Know your standards -- It might be tempting to just slap some standards down on the lesson plan and call it good, but I think it's important to own them for that particular lesson. This is true even in your own classroom as you plan and reflect upon whether or not you have met your target objectives. It's important to not only know your standards but to be able to speak to what you want kids to be able to do with that standard.

3) It isn't just about who you know -- While that may be what gets you into an interview initially, you have to rock the interview. Be confident. Own your answers and choose your answers wisely. Providing examples really helps the interview panel to understand you better too. Buzz words are fine but only if you truly can back them up with evidence of how (and why) they matter.

4) Ask Questions -- I think this is the one that really stuck out to me the most. Not only that candidates asked questions but the actual questions themselves. It was really interesting to note the differences in the questions that the candidates asked us about our school and the position. I never thought about how important that is until I sat on the other side of the table.

Not a huge epiphany-inducing list but since I have never felt the most confident in my own interview ability (since I've had so few as a teacher), I found it very helpful to reflect on not only what we asked but how the candidates answered them. I will say that I do think confidence comes across in what you say but also how you say it. If you're unsure of an answer, I think that is valid but you have to own that and be able to explain why you're unsure. 

I'm really, really glad that I had the chance to be on this panel. Not only because it was really good experience but also because this person will become my grade level partner for the rest of the year since Mr. 4th Grade retired two weeks ago. I'm excited to see how it all pans out.

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