April 13 – Mock Interviews!

Class tonight was mostly taken up by the mock interview sessions, and we started out with some bell work to get us thinking about the goals that we had in our interview sessions – or in future real interviews. (Such as: articulating our teaching philosophy, talking about a particular lesson plan…)

The weekly quiz was focused on synthesizing all the ideas and theories and philosophies and concepts that we have been reading about and trying to put into practice all semester long . That’s a lot to ask for in six questions, but the class had a lot of excellent discussion last week in the process of helping Chris and Kristin prepare this quiz, and they proved that they really are putting it all together.

This was affirmed by some very positive comments from the interviewers who generously gave their time and energy to help out tonight. We all learned a lot, but we also were paid some nice compliments on how well we seem to be prepared for upcoming teaching job interviews.

Not to say we didn’t learn a thing or two from the sessions…

Here are some of the tips that we got from the interviewers, all of whom are currently working for school districts in some capacity, or have in the past, and still work in education. (Initials only, since we did not get permission to quote or misquote these nice folks.)


  • no repeating the question allowed at RCSD interviews (may not always be the case?)
  • be sure to close your response
  • some questions may need lots of responses – not all have to be great or defended


  • if you are going to talk about “inquiry”, be ready to define it and talk about it
  • tap into the 7 guiding themes of reform-based teaching in your answers
  • be aware of who the interviewer is (scientist or administrator?)
  • focus your answers on the LEARNER (the learner is as important as the teacher)
  • refer to “standards” at least once in your interview (you can balance theory and reality)
  • show your excitement!

The 7 themes – just a reminder:

  1. Explicitly build on students’ prior knowledge and interests
  2. Engage students in the authentic practices of science (model-based inquiry)
  3. Explicitly teach what science is and how it is different from other ways of knowing
  4. Engage students in a community of learners
  5. Link instruction to core concepts – focus on connection-making
  6. Teach students to think about their thinking (metacognition)
  7. Individualize and diversify Instruction


  • in your responses, wants to hear how you are going to put kids first in every way
  • your excitement should show in your responses (in your face and tone)


  • (paraphrased) “not all city students are interested in science, so teaching in the city can force you to be the best teacher you can be”
  • if you want to teach in the RCSD you should know something about the “Rochester Instructional Framework
  • administrators are concerned about classroom management (and that you can take care of most of it on your own)
  • try not to sound like a textbook (why is what you are discussing best for kids?)


  • feels that resume should have your certifications front and center
  • “how will you prepare your students for the 21st century?” (not just via technology



  • be sure to update something weekly in your online application to keep your application “fresh” in the system (schools may be forced to weed out by most recent applications)

Other Resources:

  • And if you’re still feeling really nervous, maybe watching some of these folks make some interview blunders will make you feel a little better…

Video Clip: What not to talk about in a job interview

Video Clip from the Hills: What not to say…

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