Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Interview Part Deux

I really don't know how to not do things anymore.  I spent 9 months of my life being crazy busy, and now that that's stopped, I don't enjoy a lot of down time.  3 Days seems to be my maximum of vacation before I need a project to work on or just something to DO.  It also doesn't help that I've run out of books, yet again.  Tomorrow I go back to having kids, for a least a week & at most 2.  Then it will be 3 weeks of break again, unless my coveted job interview comes and I'm hired and scrambling to put a classroom together mere weeks prior to "Meet The Teacher" night.  Don't get me wrong, I am looking forward to that.  I work great under pressure and deadlines, and once I get started on a project I try not to stop until it's finished (like how I painted my entire bedroom, by myself except for the top part where I was too short, in a day).

I have all these plans, and yes, it sucks not knowing what is going to happen in 3 weeks or a month, but I just keep reminding myself that just because *I* don't know, doesn't mean God doesn't.  He's always known where I'll be at the end of August.  So until then, I'll just keep plugging away at my interview questions, picking up odds and ends for my classroom.  Today I got 3 foam clocks, similar to this bad boy.

They were $2 each and were buy 2 get 1 free.  They're currently primary colored, but I think I'm going to "Wendy" them up a bit in my chosen color scheme (brown, blue and pink).  Why 3 you ask?  Well, because under our classroom clock, I'd like to display 3 little clocks that show the most pertinent times to my kiddos - the times they get to leave the class hehe...  One clock will be marked "Specials", one "Lunch" and one "Dismissal".  If they know that Specials are at 10:05 every day, and they get used to seeing what 10:05 looks like, they'll start to recognize it and other times that are __:05.  This brilliant idea brought to you by someone, and made famous on Pinterest.  I'm serious on telling time in my classroom, because I didn't fully master it until I was an adult.  Even now, when I have to look at my analog watch, it takes me a minute to "translate".  Other skills I didn't master early on - left vs. right.  Another fantastic Pinterest idea is to always put Smellies on the right hand, that way the difference becomes automatic.  For those of you unaware, a Smellie is the application of fun-flavored Lip Smackers and other stick lip balm to the back of the hand to create a spot that smells good.  BIG hit with the under 9 set.  Of course, this idea relies on the adult giving the Smelly to either know their R/L very well or to concentrate.

Now, since I have no concept of a smooth segue, ON TO THE QUESTIONS!

Q: Are you a positive and energetic person? (Give an example to back up your answer.)
A: While growing up, I wouldn't have labeled myself that way, I think I've found my positivity in teaching.  I like to volunteer, I like to lead the cheers, and I love to make a fool of myself if it interests and engages the kids.  Kids might be quick to judge something as "lame", but if they see other people participating in it and enjoying themselves, they start to wonder if they're missing out.  I am a fan of the goofy group dances, the kind the DJ always plays at weddings.  I was in the gym with my after-school kids, and everyone was kind of dragging that day, so I thought we needed dance time.  I told them it was purely optional, but I was going to put on "The Chicken Dance" and go out there and dance, even if it was by myself.  By the end of the song I had a good 15 to 20 kids out there with me.  Need volunteers for a silly ice-breaker game at the staff meeting?  I'll do it!  Need someone to get on the announcements and talk up the school fundraiser?  I'll show you a variety of funny voices that will get the kids to look up, even if it's just for a moment.  I think that if you love what you do, it's hard not to be positive and energetic about it.

Q: If a student said she thought you were the worst teacher she ever had, how would you react and what would you say?
A: This would depend on tone and context.  If a student came to me out of the blue and bluntly said this, with no discernible pretext, I would ask if they would tell me why, and what they thought I could do to improve.  Kids want to be taken seriously, and sometimes they resort to absolute statements like "The worst ever".  Perhaps I'd ask if they felt comfortable talking to me with the counselor around.  If, on the other hand, we're talking about someone in the middle of throwing a temper fit and lashing out verbally and/or physically at everyone around them, I'd probably use a Love and Logic response.  Something along the lines of, "I'm sorry you feel that way, I hope your teacher next year is better," because I want to discourage the throwing of tantrums and I want to the let that student know that things don't change because they have a fit.

Q: If I were your principal and we were setting goals for next year, what would they be?
A: (This is in parentheses becasue I don't have a cogent answer for this question.  The interview coach recommended we look at the CIP, campus improvement plan, for the school at which we were interviewing.  I've glanced over it once, and I didn't really understand all the data it was trying to share with me, so I need to go over it again and maybe ask for help.  Also, this is hard, because our campus is already so highly regarded, both in the district and out of it.)

Q:  What is the last book you read?
A: The real answer is that I'm currently in the middle of re-reading a Young Adult Fiction novel I picked up at Barnes & Noble.  It came recommended on Amazon, and I like to read things that I think my kids might be reading.  I want to be able to make book choices to them that are on their level, and I just plain enjoy YA fiction because its so "mild" compared to standard fiction.  The academic answer is that I read Donnalyn Miller's The Book Whisperer and Alice Ozma's The Reading Promise because, being a voracious reader myself, I want nothing more than to impart that quality in all of my students.
(I'm couching this answer by saying that I am always reading.  Always.  There is usually a book in my car and/or in my purse/work bag and several piled on some flat surface in my bedroom.  The answer to this question will be different tomorrow, which will be different again over the weekend and so on and so forth.)  

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