Monday, July 23, 2012

Neither lazy nor hazy, Crazy days of Summer

It's a common theme for summers to be even more hectic than the school days, since the hours are less structured and every day is something different.  I started this blog during a lovely 3 week window where I didn't have the kids I've been babysitting, and that's why I was able to post so frequently.  The kids came back and I've been driving around, trying to fill the days with interesting activities, and coming home at night suffering from too much time in the sun.  This is my last week with them, and I'm going to miss them a lot because they're moving to Palm Beach, FL.  I'm also in the process of moving to a new place, and it's slow going on these lovely Texas days where it's hot enough to bake cookies in your car.  In the meantime, I've heard back from the VP at the school I want to work at, and they're not currently hiring, but perhaps that will change after registration.  Here are some more interview questions.

Q: If a student came to you and said, "None of the other students like me," what would you tell him/her?
A: I'd tell them they aren't alone in this feeling - everyone feels like people don't like them at one point or another.  The great thing is that this feeling doesn't last for very long.  As you move up in school and you get to know more people, you find a group of friends you can feel at home in.  Perhaps I'd let them know that I often felt this way, because I went to 6 different schools between kindergarten and 6th grade.  I'd tell them not to be afraid to try to talk to new people, and step outside of what they know to find new friends.  Maybe at recess, this student chooses to play on the playground - perhaps there are friends waiting in soccer fields, or over on the bars, or in the basketball loop.  They should remember that they have the chance to talk to a different person every single day, and at least one of those people could be a friend.  If, in the mean time, my student wanted to someone to pay attention to him or her, I could try to be there for them by having lunch with them, asking them to help me with projects, or just setting aside some time where we could talk.

Q: Are you an empathetic person? Give an example.
A: It used to be that I didn't think of myself as empathetic.  I thought that I was good at making people feel better when they felt bad, but I couldn't actually put myself in their place and feel what they felt.  However, when I was student teaching, and I was in a 5th grade class, I met a boy named Kyle.  Kyle was on the Autism Spectrum, and was having trouble fitting in as kids around him got more and more social.  One day at lunch, I saw Kyle sitting by himself.  He looked upset, and there were tears running down his face.  It turns out that he had sat down next to a boy from his class, and the boy got up and moved to another table.  I felt so terrible for Kyle, it was like someone had hurt me the way they had hurt him.  I brought it to the attention of my mentor teacher and she talked to the other boy and he went back and sit by Kyle, but I have never forgotten that intense feeling of wanting to right a wrong because I could feel how much that hurt.

Q: How can you tell that a person is a good listener?
A: They say it's important to make eye contact with the person who's talking to you, but I don't think that's necessary.  A good listener can hear what you're saying, process it, and respond without having to stare you down.  A good listener is someone who can dissect what you're saying, and break it down into words, phrasing, tone, and context.  They then respond in a way that shows they have taken all of these factors into account.  They know when you're asking, "What time is it?" because you really want to know, and when you're asking, "What time is it?" because they're running late and you don't want to be rude.  You can't know if someone's a good listener until you come to them with something important and they show you what they can do.

Q: Are you an objective person? Give an example.
A: I am more objective when it comes to other people than I am when it comes to myself.  I'm also more objective when something is between two people I care about than if it is between someone I care about and an outside factor.  When I had 3 of my third graders fighting with each other over who got to play with a ball that one of them won from the Boosterthon fundraiser, I was able to sit them all down and talk rationally without taking sides, because these were all my kids.  I tend to be a bit harsh on the kids outside of my class if they get into an argument with one of my kids.  I try to consider things from all sides, but sometimes one side is more personal to me than the others and I let passion overrule rationality.      

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