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Advice on interview questions please.

Advice on interview questions please.

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Hello, Help, it's time to start applying for possible jobs and I need some advice on how to answer a few questions. All of the principals and superintendents who attended my university sponsored mock-interviews advised all of the graduates to stay away from social networking sites. However, we are told to be innovative and tech-savvy at the same time. I feel like I have some great ideas to incorporate technology and social networking into my classroom, but I am worried that they will think I am being disrespectful since it goes against their advice. What do you think is worth mentioning in an interview and what should be skipped without being compromising? Thank you for your replies. Staci

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Bayyinah Abdul-Aleem's picture
Bayyinah Abdul-Aleem
New Teacher Coach

Hi Staci,
Social networking can be a potential minefield for teachers, and as a new teacher coach, I also suggest that teachers be extremely cautious when using them. Since this is such a hot topic,it may not appear during an interview. However,if it does, be honest and straight forward. Share your understanding of both sides of the issue without committing yourself to one side or the other. That shows that you are thoughtful and aware of the issues,but not naive about potential problems. The current trend with interview questions is to offer scenarios that require you to show your problem-solving skills.

sm1974l's picture
I'm a new teacher. Currently a substitute until I get a classroom of my own

Thank you so much. For some reason I was seeing this issue in black and white and could not find a middle ground. Your suggestion has really helped.

Cheska Lorena's picture
Cheska Lorena
Science Teacher from the Capital District Region, New York


Bayyinah is correct in saying that many interview questions nowadays are behavior-based. It has been a year since my graduate degree and two years after receiving my teaching when asked how I keep current with educational trends and issues, it is in my advantage when I highlight my use of social media in developing a professional learning network.

Emphasize the benefits of acquiring current teacher-development reading materials for FREE. Talk about your ability to participate in various teacher-chats like #Edchat, #NTChat, #SciChat, real-time and how these conversations allow to you reflect more deeply on your practices. Feel free to share 1-2 trending topics and your thoughts on them! Explain how your network allows you to collaborate and share ideas, curriculum, and support with teachers around the world. For example, I've shared my work as one of the many co-moderators for an open-source K12 science-teacher wikispace, my guest blog posts in online education communities, and my participation in live-streamed teacher webinars and conferences.

The main point want to let the school district know that despite not being able to find a teaching position, you are not deterred and have been hard at work continuously learning! In these interviews, focus on how using social media has actually made you a better teacher and why that school district can't afford NOT to have you on their team, especially with what you can contribute (amplified by the strengths, resources and support of a large network)! :)

Lisa Dabbs's picture
Lisa Dabbs
Educational Consultant. Author. Speaker. Blogger.

Hi All!
Here are some sample interview questions that I've gathered from my years as an admin:

I appreciate all the responses. I love the response from Ms. Cheska Lorena!
Do have to say that I disagree with not taking a stand on the use of Social Media to support learning in the classroom. There are so many research based articles now on the web that support the use of SM.
I recommend that you get familiar with and site PEW research and Horizon Report

Your University peeps may be well meaning, but seem not to be connected with current trends and research, that site support for SM in the classroom. It's here to doubt about that.
You could become a great resource for them!

All the best to you...and stay connected to us!

Sue J's picture

It sounds like the mock interviewer folks are oh, five or ten minutes behind the times and are thinking of the beginner-teachers who posted pictures of themselves drunk at parties.... and wondered why there were consequences.
I think you'll be able to tell, in the interview, whether or not the people *interviewing* you are of that mindset. I would let them know that I was aware that as a teacher, I represent my school even when I'm not in the building, and the person I am "online" also represents the school... and then I would talk about specific online ways to develop professionally. If they asked specifically about FB I'd be honest and tell 'em yes, I'm on there and chat about my epic bicycle adventures all the time...

Liz B's picture

I believe your school means not to use sources such as the facebook with students. There are sources available to have a classroom technology experience with the students that are not open to the public. I think using tech for your own educational and career advancement as well as class projects within school and district guidelines is fair to state.

Topher Mueller's picture
Topher Mueller
Director of Education Technology PK-8

Hi Staci - best of luck for your new career! Kudos for looking into this (and for Edutopia for helping out).

All the previous posts offer great advice. To add on and elaborate to Liz B's post, I'd suggest you get familiar with a couple of social networking tools that offer privacy. One doesn't (shouldn't!) have to use facebook, twitter, etc. in classrooms. Yes they are easy and there is no frontloading to do, but they are also distracting and waaay too public for most.

Learn, if you haven't already, about Ning (there are easy, free options through Pearson), or backchannels, or edmodo, among others. If you have an understanding about those tools - you can explain to your interviewers about how social networking can be accomplished in a safe and secure setting - and customized to themes and a learning environment that you want to promote. If that doesn't impress them, maybe you don't belong there ;)

Hope this helps!

AlyssaM's picture
1st grade teacher

Hi, I recently had an interview for a 1st grade teaching position. I was of course asked about how familiar I am with technology in the classroom. My response included a lot of examples from when I have used the SMART board in the past and that I feel very comfortable with technology, etc. The only time I mentioned a social networking site was when I showed her an example (from a binder I brought with me) of ways I have been developing professionally (outside of my college coursework). I mentioned that I have been a member of Twitter since 2008 in order to connect with educators around the country and to keep up with hot topics in the field of education.

The interview team seemed impressed, and I did end up getting the job! So good luck to you and I hope my advice helps! :)

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