Sunday, July 29, 2012

Frequently Asked Questions Document - "Get a Teaching Job" Series

Resume preparation is everywhere on the web, so I’m not going to waste your time talking about what to include and how to format and all of the other small things. I’m going to recommend you look at some samples from friends and go from there. However, I am going to add a sprinkle of advice regarding something to go WITH your cover letter and resume combo… a third sheet! Within my “Hey! Check me out!” packet I left at schools I included:
1st: Cover letter (individualized)
2nd: Resume
3rd: Frequently Asked Questions document 

What is a “Frequently Asked Questions” document? Well, let me tell you!
As I applied online I found the same questions coming up. After my first interview I had this overwhelming feeling that preparing a document with answers to some of the “biggie” questions would be good for me to put time into. I decided that I’d ‘get crazy’ and include the FAQ document behind my cover letter and resume, and I believe it worked to my advantage. I also took the FAQ document into my interviews, so the interview team could add it to my file and perhaps (my thinking anyway) remind themselves of why I’m so great for the job when comparing candidates. Let me state here: I have no direct proof that this helped me stand out from the crowd… but it didn’t hurt!

The Frequently Asked Questions Document in my interview notebook... Yes, I didn't want people stealing my answers so I smudged them out... sorry!
So, without further ado, here are the questions that I included in my FAQ document. The state, county, district, or school may have different trends than the pool of districts I was applying in, but hopefully my list will give you a start!

Frequently Asked Questions
What is your philosophy of education?
What are your areas of certification?
Describe the skills and attributes you believe are necessary to be an outstanding teacher.
How would you address a wide range of skills and abilities in your classroom?
Describe how you integrate learning standards within the instructional day.
Describe the procedures you use to engage parents in their child’s education.
Outline the process you use to plan for a week of instruction.

Some other ideas I had for questions to answer but did not include:
Elaborate upon your knowledge of the Common Core State Standards and their impact on your teaching.
How comfortable are you with collaborative planning among grade level peers?
(Or something about working collaboratively with co-workers)

I hope this post gave you some ideas. Having these answers prepared was appreciated by the interview teams (because they could refer back to them later) and allowed me the opportunity to thoughtfully craft my answers in ways that nerves and time constraints don’t allow during formal interviews!
If you use this idea in your job search I’d love to know how it works out for you!

About this Series...
I had an incredible experience applying for jobs – learned A LOT – and now I am excited to share some of my experience with you! Several teacher friends have asked for advice and tips with applying for jobs and the interview process, so by the third request I thought it might be easier to put it all in one place and not have to give it a go every time someone asks! Hence, my series titled “Get a Teaching Job!” (my motto throughout the entire spring of this year). 

Jack suggests you have a few friends look over your answers before allowing potential bosses to see them!

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