Posted by Lunney on 6/6/2021, 5:24 pm, in reply to "Interviews "
This is info Doug Fulwood previously posted. Itís great so I copied it and saved it! |
Before the interview:
1. Research the school district and program. Everything from numbers, to ratings, town rivals, athletic records, community involvement, campus improvement reports, TAPR reports, etc...everything you can get your hands on. This will paint a more accurate picture of what you are walking into and allow you to speak to the overall picture and how you and your employment fits in their scheme.
2. Plan in advance what you will wear...send to the cleaners if necessary to look your very best. Dress conservatively and professionally.
3. Clean your car so that there is no chance you walk in with a grease spot on your pants or shirt/blouse from a door jam.
4. Make additional copies of job documentation you have already submitted and bring them with you(resumes, cover letters, letters of recommendation). Have any videos or recordings available to review should they want to see them. Bring a laptop if possible so you are in control and comfortable with the technology functioning.
1. Be prepared to surrender your license at check in to the campus for security purposes...some do, some donít.
2. Smile and interact with the office manager/campus secretary...that individual WILL be asked how your demeanor was while you are waiting. We in admin donít make our office managers angry by hiring someone who was not nice...you wouldnít like our office managers when they are angry😬.
3. As you are waiting, watch interactions with adults and students in the office. Stay off your phone. This will give you an initial snapshot of climate and culture if you are watching carefully.
4. When they come to get you, shake hands In a STANDING position and look them in the eyes...some people are super critical of a weak hand shake or overly strong hand shake. Sounds silly, but that is still a consideration. Edit...obviously adjusted for a global pandemic, so a fist bump and unscented hand sanitizer may work, or explain that normally you would shake hands, but COVID 😬
General Questions to be prepared to answer(but not an exhaustive list):
1. Tell us about yourself?
This is your opportunity to share the information that you want us to know about you...this question is almost always the first thing out of the ďshootĒ. Employers like this one because you will potentially drop information that they would not want to ask directly. (Married, kids, church involvement, etc). So knowing that they want to know that, it doesnít hurt to drop that information. Donít make them fish.
2. Why are you interested in this job?
This is where you show that you have done your homework. You talk about the good things youíve noticed in your research and how being a part of the success and growth of the program is exciting to you. This is a good time to mention your love of helping kids be successful and how itís exciting that your values seem to align well to theirs(donít say this in a cover letter...say in person)
3. What is your philosophy of education?
Answer how you want here...but be prepared with an answer...and some examples. A textbook answer with no thought or examples of you putting it into practice means nothing. This is why some level of experience working with kids is so important. We want your philosophy...not someone elseís 😬
4. How do you deal with and address discipline issues?
Again answer how you would like. I recommend including that it is critical to classroom management and FEWER discipline issues that expectations and procedures are communicated to the kids on day one. An organized structured class in which kids know what to expect goes along way to preventing and eliminating discipline problems. When there are issues, discipline must be consistent and fair and in line with district and campus policy. Wherever possible, you will try to keep discipline issues in your office unless it must go to a referral situation.
5. If I walked in your classroom what would I see?
I recommend including procedures on the board, students engaged in activities, appropriate feedback in between performance of lesson material, and opportunity for student reflection and input. Humor in lesson delivery is critical...kids learn with a higher degree of retention when there is humor associated with the material. I personally want to see a ďback and forthĒ with the kids in instruction and questioning. As a side note, I LOVE to see a director/student back and forth in the Sight Reading room.
6. How do you support the studentsí academic success?
This is another chance to showcase the research you have done. Yes fine arts existence supports academic success anyway, but not every administrator buys that...so be able to suggest things like your older kids tutoring the younger kids, checking grades periodically, and communicating with parents and classroom teachers. It may be that you being involved with Johnny about his grade is what that teacher needs to get that student over the hump. You can also speak to TAPR reports and Campus Improvement Plans and how you could be of service there. Donít have the mind set that you are your own island and just want to be left alone to do your job. Make yourself potentially valuable to them.
7. What method of communication do you use to keep parents updated?
Email, updates website, Remind, Charms, etc. Make sure you talk about the importance of an updated calendar, advanced notice, and how exactly you will use the above. Even if you are brand new and donít know exactly what you will do, have a preliminary plan for this. Itís also good to be able to speak to how you will involve parents in your program and give opportunities for their input. Itís about communication AND involvement.
8. Whatís your vision for the program(For Head Director Positions)? This is a moving target. Your vision can and will change...begin with where you stand on the importance of culture, climate, ratings, participation, quality, quantity, community connections, college readiness, overall experience, etc. Use the research to drive what you feel is important...just remember that administrative and community expectations are important to recognize and include when speaking about this. Your vision is a living breathing thing that will grow and develop as the program does if you approach it correctly.
9. How do you work to build appropriate relationships with the students?
What I personally want to hear are things like ďI get to know them, their families, their interests...If they have non-band events I try to come support them or at least ask them how their event went. I pay attention to body language and check in with them when they seem to be having an off day. I work to create a family atmosphere in which the kids feel safe and secure and free to be themselves. I also work to create a program that is supportive of the other groups and activities on the campus and in the community. We are all on the same team.Ē You do have to mean these things...you canít just say them 🙂
10. Describe an area in which you feel you could grow as an educator?
Teaching is about reflection my friends. If you arenít better this year than you were last year, something is wrong. Reflection on our practice and adjusting is the key to improvement. Just like in the study of music, we never arrive in our quest to be the best musician or the best educator. There is always something to learn or do better. Come in with ways in which you already know you need to improve. If you seem untouchable and arrogant you will become ďun-hire-ableĒ.
Lastly, there are a million possible questions people could ask so feel free to PM me if you would like thoughts on how to approach anything specific. Campus Admin will likely shy away from music specific questions. However when interviewing with Fine Arts Directors or Band Directors be honest with them about your knowledge base. Letís say you get a bassoon fingering question or you truly have know idea what the 4th valve on a euphonium(or what a euphonium is for that matter) is for, be honest about it. There is nothing wrong with saying ďIím not sure of that answer, but I have some resources that I can look to for that answerĒ. This is honest and real...and that is what I want to see modeled for the kids in my programs. I want my kids to know that learning is a journey for everyone involved. It has to be safe to say ďIím not sure, but I will find outĒ If you make something up, how do I know you wonít do that in the classroom with my students? Or with parents?
3. Answer honestly and sincerely to the best of your ability
4. Reflect on your performance and improve based on that reflection
5. Repeat and donít give up!
Again, do you want to work for them if these things are not important to them? I am happy to visit with anyone struggling with jobs and give you my thoughts. on scenarios, materials, etc...most of us that have been doing this for a while feel the same way and are here to help you. Where we can assist educators, we indirectly can help create a better experience for kids. There is no magic formula or recipe but the above has served me very well in the last 20 years(and yes the material here is years of reflection and improvement of my own practice). Thanks for reading friends and happy hunting!!