Sunday, May 18, 2014

Graduation and Interview Tips

I did it! I am officially done with my undergraduate college career and I could not be happier or more scared! I graduated this past Thursday, my department ceremony in the morning and the entire school ceremony in the evening.

Waking up Thursday morning for my 9am ceremony was a struggle! My college hosts a senior week for the 3 days prior to graduation.  Essentially we all move back into our freshman dorms (aka twin beds, communal showers and bathrooms, and eating in a dining hall).  Thankfully it was only 3 days! During senior week the college buses all of the students to a bunch of places.  This year we went to a bar, a nightclub, and the boardwalk as well as many events held on campus.  We were basically busy from 9am, all day until 2am.  Needless to say there was little time to sleep during those 3 days.  Oh and our guest speaker... you may know him from Breaking Bad... Rj Mitte.  He gave a great speech and even stayed after at our senior picnic to talk and take pictures. 

I unfortunately did not get a picture with him because I was too busy eating, riding a mechanical bull (23 seconds..woo!!), and running through inflatable obstacle courses. It was a blast.

Anyways.. getting off track.  I cannot believe I have finally graduated and am looking for a job! It has certainly been an eventful experience so far.   I've already had five interviews and I have another one tomorrow.  Of the five I have had, I made it to the final round of two of them but I didn't get either job unfortunately.  Finding a teaching job is tough!  I'm still waiting to hear back from two of them though so hopefully I'll be getting called soon.  This whole process is so stressful... the interviews and demo lessons, and worst of all, waiting for the call to hear if you've made it to the next round!

Although I've only had 5 interviews, I'm starting to get the hang of how these interviews work.  I get asked the same questions all the time.  When I walked into my fifth interview I wasn't even nervous like I had been for the others (you know when you get really hot, your face turns red, and you have butterflies in your stomach because your so nervous... yea that was me).  Thankfully I'm past those nerves now.

Now, so this post isn't all pointless ramblings from me, here are some things I have found most helpful in the interviewing process so far.

1. Always, always, always arrive at least 20 minutes early! I always want to be in the building 10 minutes before my scheduled interview so I always plan to arrive 20 minutes early so that I can sit in the car and now feel rushed when going in.  

2. Research the district... and the school.  I always look at the mission statement, diversity of students, academic achievement, and anything else I can find that may be beneficial to know about the school.  That way I can answer questions in a way that matches with the school and its students.

3. Practice your responses to the most commonly asked questions, Why did you decide to teach?  If I walked into your classroom on any given day what would I see? How do you handle discipline problems?   Examples of how you differentiate?

4.  To help with #3 make a portfolio and make the categories big buzz words that way when they ask you about something you can just open up to that topic and have multiple examples to show.

My categories are labeled cooperative learning, differentiation, assessment, behavior management, and technology.  These are the topics I get asked about the most.  This is also extremely helpful if I ever blank on what to say because then I just turn to the category and I have examples of things to talk about.

5. Be yourself! Don't try to put on a show for the interviewer.  They want to see the real you. If you have a good sense of humor show them! If your more calm or serious show them that! They want to see your passion for teaching and for the students, not if you can put on an act to please them.. so relax and just be yourself!

Hopefully these tips will help out anyone who is starting their job search like I am and please if you have any more tips feel free to share them in the comments, I'd love to hear what you have to say.

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