Has "Not My Job" Syndrome
Show that you are willing to take on any and all assignments that may come your way. Don't tell an interviewer about all the duties and assignments you'd rather not be doing ("Hey, I'm a teacher, and the only thing I do is teach kids!"); rather, let him or her know how you are willing to "go the extra mile" and do a little bit more than you're asked. I hope you're not surprised to discover that teachers do more than just teach—they have bus duty, hall duty, cafeteria duty, bathroom supervision duties, after-school duties, study hall duties, tutoring duties, and a whole host of other duties that frequently take place outside the four walls of a classroom. Ultimately, principals want people who will make their job a little easier, not more challenging (see Chapter 6).
Never blame students for the fact that a lesson went wrong, you received a low evaluation in student teaching, or the third grade Christmas play fell flat on its face. Don't even try this! It may be difficult to believe, but blaming kids pops up in more interviews than you would care to imagine. This will be a certain "nail in your coffin" if you assign blame for your shortcomings, faults, or failures to the students you worked with in student teaching or in your field experience requirements. If you blame students in an interview, it's certain you will blame them in a classroom. And nobody wants that!
You'd better be excited about teaching and kids! If you don't demonstrate any excitement or enthusiasm about the education profession in an interview situation, how are you ever going to share that passion with the students in a classroom environment? You're in teaching because you want to make a difference in the lives of youngsters—show it, say it, radiate it in every response to every question. Be excited about teaching, and the interviewer will be excited about you!
FROM THE PRINCIPAL'S DESK:
"Two keys to a successful interview: Show excitement about the profession, and exude a love of children."
Engages in Inappropriate Behaviors
These have all happened in teacher interviews—more than you could ever imagine. Don't let them happen in yours.
Plays with objects on the interviewer's desk.
Cracks an off-color joke; cracks several off-color jokes.
Uses sexist language ("Well, you know women!").
Uses the first name of the interviewer.
Is way too friendly ("Hey, dude. What's happenin'?").
Makes comments about the interviewer's family ("Your wife is cute. Are those your kids?").
Challenges the interviewer's ideas ("You don't really believe that, do you?").
Doesn't shake hands.
Keeps watching the clock or checking his or her watch ("Are we almost done, yet? I have to pick up my boyfriend.").
Talks too loudly; talks too softly.
Scratches his or her body...often (Think: lice).
Has a severe case of halitosis.
Hasn't been near a bar of soap in, say, a week.
Volunteers Inappropriate Information
Don't share any of the following:
"I'm taking medication for my depression."
"I'm taking the pill, so I won't be having babies for a while."
"My parents are getting a divorce."
"I'm thinking about coming 'out of the closet.'"
"I'm a Republican."
"My boyfriend is in jail for about the next six years."
"I'm 42 years old."
"I've got this really cool dragon tattoo on my shoulder and this really neat navel ring. Wanna see?"
You should not volunteer or share any information regarding politics, age, religion, marital status, sexual orientation, family, mental or physical health, sexual behaviors, body art or body decorations, receipt of unemployment benefits, spouse's legal issues, or children. Oftentimes, too much information is simply that too much information.
Is Dishonest or Deceptive
Dishonest or deceptive individuals are easy to spot. They rarely give straight answers to questions. They are evasive about events in their lives that might have negative implications (being fired from a job, taking a decrease in salary, switching jobs frequently). They appear to have something to hide, something to conceal. They often change the subject when the conversation becomes too personal. And they often shift their gaze around the room, seldom making eye contact when answering questions. Any of these behaviors will quickly grab the attention of the interviewer.. .in a most negative way.
Here's a harsh reality: The interviewer is not interested in hiring you. He or she is interested in hiring the best-qualified individual for the position. If it is you, then that is fine by the interviewer. If it is someone else, then that's also fine for the interviewer. In short, you are not the commodity; you just happen to be the person sitting across from an interviewer who wants to fill an open slot in his or her faculty. You can assist the interviewer tremendously by keeping the focus off you and directly on the contributions you can make to the welfare of the school. If you frequently use "I" or "me" in your interview, you will send a negative message to the interviewer—a message that you are the most important part of the equation. However, when you use "you" and "we" throughout the conversation, then you are shifting the emphasis to where it should be—away from you and on to them.
FROM THE PRINCIPAL'S DESK:
"Keep all your answers kid-centered. You can't go wrong there.
Doesn't Follow Up
Read Chapter 13. Please.