Archive for June, 2010

Watchout Sunrise, Here I Come!

As of today, I accepted a position teaching Physics!

Stay tuned for updates on prep throughout the summer and the new series: First Year Teacher Diaries!

Online Engineering Resources for Kids

My dad – a Civil Engineer by trade – was participating in a middle school career fair the other day and wanted some input on his presentation. He did a great job of giving kids exposure to all the different types of engineering.

I was particularly impressed by the American Civil Engineers Society page for kids, parents, and teachers! There are fabulous resources and games for all ages about the opportunities associated with becoming an engineer.

Check it out!

Preparing for An Interview

Since I’m in interview mode, I figured I would share what I am doing to prepare.

Update the Portfolio

I’m updating my portfolio by adding my TAR Research and another lesson plan.

Make a Folder for the Principal

I printed out my resume, teaching philosophy, test scores, student teaching observations, reference list,  and final graduate school transcript.

Review Educational Philosophy

I’m taking the time to review my teaching philosophy by answering sample interview questions to myself:

  • Why did you decide to become a teacher?
  • Have you ever taken care of someone? Did you enjoy it?
  • Do you consider yourself a risk taker? (Give an example to back up your answer.)
  • Are you a positive and energetic person? (Give an example to back up your answer.)
  • If a student said she thought you were the worst teacher she ever had, what would you say?
  • If I were your principal and we were setting goals for next year, what would they be?
  • What is the last book you read?
  • Have you ever considered publishing a book?
  • Some people say you should demand respect. Do you agree or disagree?
  • Tell me about yourself.
  • How would you rank these in importance and why? Planning, discipline, methods, evaluation.
  • If a student came to you and said, “None of the other students like me,” what would you tell him/her?
  • Are you an empathetic person? Give an example.
  • How can you tell that a person is a good listener?
  • Are you an objective person? Give an example.
  • What do you want to do with your life?
  • How do you feel if a student does not meet a deadline?
  • It is the first day of class, you are writing something on the board and a paper wad hits you in the back, what would you do?  Later the same day, if all the students drop their pencils, what do you do?
  • What was the most frustrating thing that happened to you as a student teacher?
  • What was the best thing?
  • Do you believe you should build rapport with students?  If yes, how?
  • How do you give your students recognition?  Do you think a student can have too much recognition?
  • How do you encourage students to learn?  Can a student be forced to learn?
  • How do you handle a child who seems gifted, but is a discipline problem?
  • How do you feel about computers in the classroom?
  • How do you present a new word to a class?
  • What are your strengths?  What are your weaknesses?
  • What is the role of the principal?  Does a conflict exist between your perception of a principal’s role and his/her role as your evaluator?
  • Describe your student teaching experience.
  • During your student teaching, were you ever involved with a situation at school involving racial tension? If so, how did you handle it?
  • How do you establish authority/discipline?  What do you do when a discipline problem arises?
  • What subjects have you taught?
  • Are you patient?  Give an example.
  • Do you ever feel angry towards your students?
  • What will you be doing in five years?
  • What is your educational philosophy?
  • If you could create the ideal school, what would it be like?
  • Do you like to be challenged? (Give an example to back up your answer.)
  • What do you like most/dislike most about teaching?
  • How do you feel about noise in the classroom?  How do you handle noise in the classroom?
  • How would you handle making a difficult phone call to a parent?
  • Describe your college experiences.
  • Tell us about your experiences working with students at this age level.
  • In what ways do you encourage creativity in your classroom?
  • Tell us about a lesson in which you’ve used differentiated instruction.
  • How do you teach kids to utilize higher-order thinking skills in your classroom?
  • What do you do to prepare your students for state or standardized tests?
  • Do you make learning fun for students?  How?
  • If I walked into your classroom on a typical afternoon, what would I see going on?
  • How do you measure student performance in your classroom?
  • Describe a successful lesson.  Tell why it was successful.
  • What would you do if a student wasn’t handing her homework on a regular basis?
  • How much homework do you give?
  • Besides lecture, what methods of teaching do you use?
  • Tell us about your discipline philosophy.
  • What are your classroom rules?  How do you make students familiar with the rules?
  • What daily or weekly routines would be incorporated in your teaching?
  • One student hits another student.  What do you do?
  • A student throws a pencil across the room.  What do you do?
  • Explain what you would do if a student was swearing in your class?
  • What would you do if a student was complaining about an assignment you’ve given?
  • What would you do if a parent complained about an assignment?
  • Describe some methods of “positive reinforcement” that you might use in your classroom.
  • Would you describe yourself as a “tough” teacher or an “understanding” teacher?  Explain.
  • How would you create a behavior modification for a student with ongoing behavior problems?
  • What are some ways you can avoid behavior problems?
  • Without giving any names, describe the most challenging student you’ve ever taught.
  • What would you do to calm an angry parent?
  • Do you have an example of a parent newsletter that you can show us?
  • In what ways do you communicate with parents on a regular basis?
  • A parent calls you because they are worried about their child’s low grades.  What would you say to the parent?
  • A parent writes a note and tells you that their daughter could not complete their homework assignment because she had a dance recital the night before.  What do you do?
  • How do you keep parents informed of their childs’ progress?
  • How do you use technology to enrich your lessons?
  • How computer literate are you?
  • Do you think it is appropriate for children in school to be using the Internet?
  • Give an example of a time when you’ve worked on a team.
  • Describe one time when you’ve acted as a leader.
  • How do you feel about team-teaching?
  • What can you do for a student that is extremely gifted?
  • Describe a gifted student.
  • How would you recommend a child for special education services?
  • Most classes have students with a wide-range of reading abilities.  What can you do to meet the needs of students with high reading abilities and low reading abilities at the same time?
  • What is your least favorite age/grade/subject to teach?  Explain.
  • What is your favorite age/grade/subject to teach?  Explain.
  • What are some of the most important things you learned when student teaching?
  • What was the most satisfying moment throughout your student teaching?
  • What was the most frustrating thing about student teaching?
  • Describe one college course that taught you the most about being a good teacher.
  • Who influenced you to become a teacher?
  • Describe the biggest challenge you’ve ever had to face.
  • What books are you currently reading?
  • A student confides in you and tells you that his parent abuses him.  He asks you not to tell anyone.  What do you do?
  • What is your definition of a life-long learner?  How can you promote life-long learning in your classroom?
  • Would you be willing to help out with extra-curricular activities?  Which ones?
  • Have you ever been a substitute teacher in this school district?
  • What do you look for in a principal?
  • How do you communicate with administrators?
  • Would you like to be part of our new teacher mentor program?
  • What kinds of inservices would you be eager to attend?
  • What professional teaching organizations do you belong to?
  • Have you ever received an award for anything in your lifetime?  Describe.
  • Describe the differences between a good teacher and a great teacher?
  • What were you like as a student?
  • If you teach a lesson and your students don’t seem to be “getting it,” what do you do?
  • How do you provide support for students who are not performing as well as they should?
  • What can you do to meet the needs of students who do not speak English?
  • In what ways can you teach students to be accepting of one-another?
  • How would you teach conflict resolution to your students?
  • Name a book that you’d like to read to (or with) your students.  Describe the book and tell why you chose it.
  • How do you feel about working in an inclusion classroom?
  • How do you meet the needs of a student with an IEP?
  • How would you teach the writing process?
  • Describe a high-interest project that you might assign to your students.
  • What can you offer our school that other candidates cannot?
  • Do you think you are a flexible person?  Explain.
  • What do you like to do when you’re not teaching?
  • How do you incorporate writing into your curriculum?
  • Can you show us what your lesson plan book would look like?
  • How closely do you follow your lesson plans?
  • Where do you plan to be ten years from now?
  • What part of this job are you looking forward to?
  • What part of this job scares you?
  • In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges that teachers face today?
  • Why do you want to teach in this, particular district?
  • How can you make your teaching connect to students’ real-world experiences?
  • Tell me about your references.  Who are they and how do they know you?
  • If I were to call your references, what might they say about you?
  • How can teachers reach out to the community?
  • How do you make sure you are teaching to the state standards?
  • What kinds of materials and supplies would you need to do your job well?

Get Your Outfit in Order

Make sure everything is ironed and laid out the night before so there aren’t any wardrobe emergencies in the morning!

Take a Bubble Bath!

Since I’ve done all of the above, I’m going to do something relaxing – no need to over prepare!!

Photo Wall

One of the things I want to incorporate into my classroom is a photo wall of science. It will include pictures from myself, my students, and any other contributor of pictures of what science means to us. I have had quite a few opportunities to take some pictures for it over the last few weeks between driving across country and settling in Las Vegas, so I wanted to share some with you:

A GM Factory in the MidWest

Mesas in southern Utah

GPS technology brought us safely 2700 miles away from home and found us food and cheap gas!

Spring gardens at the Bellagio

With the generators at the Hoover Dam - my happy place!

The Michael O'Callahan-Pat Tillman Bridge (to be finished November 2010)

I think using a photo wall will be a great way to initiate conversations about the Nature of Science and perhaps some debates over what science is!

Ms Frizzle gets an Interview!

I definitely did not expect getting an interview so early in the summer, but tomorrow I’ll be strapping on my teacher shoes and hoping to get the job! It feels like months since I’ve had my teacher hat on, so I’m in boot camp today!!