Are you getting ready to interview for a teaching position? If you aare you will want to read these Tips...You've got this! have an interview scheduled for your first teaching position...Now what?  This is the day you have been waiting worked hard in college, completed your student teaching and now you've got your first interview. You are excited, nervous, anxious, happy, feeling elated and overjoyed, but maybe a little concerned as well. Those are all the feelings I had and maybe even a few more when I had my first interview. I remember it as if it was yesterday and that is pretty darn good as I have 30+ years of teaching under my belt and I am now retired!!!  No memory loss here...excellent memory for an old timer! However, I do have a bit of current experience as well...I coached my daughter for her first interview almost 10 years ago and have encouraged and supported many of my student teachers and a few colleagues through some interviews as well! I LOVE mentoring and supporting others who have chosen teaching as their profession. are a few tips to enhance and support you through your interview.

1. Remember you are in a win win situation...why? You are wondering...well every interview you have is experience...meaning the more you interview, the better you will interview. It is somewhat like practicing a sport...the more you practice the better you become. You need to go in with a positive have nothing to loose and everything to gain. You have made it this far so you are headed in the right direction...forward.

2. Portray confidence...dress confidently...look professional...that means something that is not too flashy. You want the interviewer to see and be focused on you...not your sequined gown! If your hair is long pull it back so you are not tempted to play with it, which shows insecurity. Accessorize, but forget the long necklaces...if you are like me, when you get nervous, you will start to fiddle with it and as a result it might just break and fly across the room #kidding #notkidding...but you get the point. When you walk into the interview make eye contact and confidently shake the interviewer's hand (a firm handshake, but not so hard that you come off as a sumo wrestler)...say something like:"Hi, Mr. Johnson, I'm Kathy. It is so nice to meet you! This shows confidence and leadership which are important qualities for teaching and life.

3. Be prepared. It is impossible to know everything, but research some common interview questions that might be asked during an interview for the teaching position you are seeking. Here is the first question I was asked...are you ready for this? Here goes, "Besides the alarm clock, what gets you up in the morning?" Talk about being knocked out of my chair...I am thinking in my have got to be kidding me!! My enthusiastic answer," Each day is a new beginning, a new start, what you learned yesterday can be applied to this new day and we do learn something new everyday. That is why I LOVE teaching. Everyday is a new beginning a new start, you learn new ideas and have another day of experience!" So my point is you never really can be sure of the questions that might be asked.

4. Make sure you know all the current trends in education and the buzz words like Close Reading, Flexible Seating, Differentiation of Instruction, Common Core, Guided Reading, Guided Math, Guided Discovery, QR Codes, Responsive Classroom and what not. Go onto the district's website and search what they are doing so you can be aware and understand the district policies, trends, buzz words and get a feel for it.  Get to know where you might be working!

5. When asked a question, make sure you give an example of the practice. It can be a life example, a student teaching example and example from your practicums, cooperating teachers, camp counselor days, but it is important to give an example. A principal once told me that he can tell when his is interviewing when someone is just throwing the BUZZ words and current trends out there, but if you give an example, then you are demonstrating the concept with your example and will definitely score!!

6. When you are finished, make sure to thank the interviewer for the opportunity and ask something like: "When can I expect to here from you again? or "When will you be making your decision about this first grade position." Oops! I almost forgot...remember you are selling and marketing a handwritten thank you or an e-mail a day or so later. You need to make a memorable impression!!! 

PS Don't forget to show those pearly whites...a smile is worth a thousand words, but really a SMILE will bring a calmness to the most stressful situations !!!

Oh...I think I have another tip...#7 If you have gotten this far, then I know you are passionate about teaching so show that passion.  Just pretend you are talking to your mom or your best friend about what you that passion for teaching...get that enthusiasm!!

If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me at GOOD LUCK!! You can do this!! Knock him dead!

Do you have anything you would like to add to these tips that you feel will help others who are interviewing, please leave your ideas in the comment section!

I try to live my life following the philosophy of the book The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz...yes it can be hard to do at times, but it WILL help you become your best self and a better teacher.  If you want to see how I have applied this philosophy to teaching, then check out this post:

I have been thinking a lot lately about a book I read a long time ago called "The Four Agreements" written by Miguel Ruiz and ironically when I added the "Quote a Day" widget to my site, which I don't even have there now, one of his quotes was featured, which meant it was definitely a sign that I NEEDED to write about his philosophy.  He states in his book that there are four agreements, there may be five now...things change and we change, too although we may like to stay in our comfortable, sweet zone, we do have to move ahead... well anyway he believes, and so do I, that we should live our lives by these  four principles:

1. Don't take anything personal.
2. Do your best and your best can change in any given situation.
3. Don't make assumptions...ask questions.
4. Say what you mean and mean what you say.

I think that these agreements are a great way to live your life and I have tried to this in my everyday life as well as my teaching career.  It does take self control and you DO need to think before you respond or get caught up in the drama, but it well worth it because you WILL see a difference in your life and how you handle situations that may arise and they DO...I have to make a confession here:  It is REALLY  hard to do this with my spouse because I seem to take EVERYTHING personal...BUT I am doing my BEST!!!

1. can these principles be applied to teaching? Well, there re soooooooooo many ways. Let's think about taking things personal. Teachers make phone calls to parents many times during the course of the year...yes the dreaded phone call...YIKES!  Have you ever made a phone call or received a parent phone call and thought, "What just happened?"You may have heard a person on the other end who was angry, mad, fill in the emotion. This is the time to think,"Don't take this personal!" Think about it: you don't know what happened to the person on the other end before they spoke to you. They may have had an encounter or experience that upset them and you were the next contact so....or perhaps there are personal issues with which you are not aware. Don't take it personal, it has nothing to do with you!  

2.  Doing your best changes everyday. For example, if you have a headache you can only do the best you can with that headache. Perhaps you had a really difficult morning rushing out the door, the kiddos were late for daycare, your car broke down before you got out of your driveway, you locked yourself out of the house and the car keys are locked inside. You spilled your coffee all over yourself and had to go home and change (this has happen to me only I spilled mocha cappuccino all over me and my school computer and the computer crashed never to work again), your own children were fill in the blank. Yes, it might be a tough day so...just do the best you can under the circumstances and you will never feel down or little negative interrupting though will be..."why am I here...I can't even teach?" Focus on what you did do even with the headache and turn a negative into a positive. So instead say," I am here...I am doing the best I can and laugh about the situation because in five years from now, you WILL look back and fact you may even laugh about it while you relax that night...there is always humor in these situations...RIGHT?  RIGHT!

3.  Making Assumptions leads me to the passing of Robin Williams. We all made the assumption that he was an extremely happy person because he was funny, made everyone laugh, had a fabulous personality and had it, family and fame. We now come to find out that he struggled with depression. We make many assumptions about the children we teach, but unless we ask questions to get more information, no assumption is of value. Ask questions to students and parents to gain more information... you will never know what is really happening or going on unless you ask questions.  IF you are noticing a different and ask," Is there anything going on at home that I might need to know to help Billy at school?  He seems a bit distracted this week.  Sometimes it is nothing...other times you may find out there is some major "stuff" going on...Of course you only know what parents will share, but, I have found out that the more allow yourself to be approachable or seem approachable and make positive connections with parents, the more they will share about their personal lives. It is important as a teacher to think about this...more today in our ever changing world than before!!

4.  Say what you mean and mean what you say (Be impeccable with your word). Choose your words carefully. Words can sting or even cause people to make assumptions about feelings and emotions that may or may not exist. If a student is having difficulty, talk to the parents about the situation. Sugar coating the facts does not help the student or parent. It is only encouraging the parent to assume that everything is fine. There are many ways to say what you mean that enables parents to support their children appropriately and remember what you say today can remain with that student forever. It can damage their self-esteem or make them shine!

So, as school starts this year, put these agreements into practice. It will help you have a more relaxing year, which will lead to a better year and in turn support you to be your best self and teacher!

Have a SWEET start to the YEAR and remember:  Don't take anything personal, do your best, don't make assumptions and say what you mean and mean what you say!!

Hope this brings a little sunshine your way!