On Monday, April 10 the 2017 cohort took part in a series of mock interviews with administrators from Rochester metro area districts. We would like to begin by thanking: Dr. Thomas Hall, principal of Brighton High School; Timothy Heaphy, principal of Eastridge High School; and Donna Horn, Director of Science, Technology, Health and Family Consumer Science at Rush-Henrietta. These administrators took their time out of the day to assist us in our preparation for future interviews, and for that we very grateful. We also had the opportunity to interview with Andrea Cutt, our advisor, teacher, and all around swiss army guru of all things science education. So we would also like to thank Andrea for organizing the event and taking part in it as well. The feedback we received from all involved was invaluable.

The format of the event allowed for us to each meet with 3 of the 4 potential interviewers, for 25 minute blocks. The format of the interviews were largely up to the individual interviewers. Some were more informal; questions being asked and answered with an ongoing meta-discourse regarding the interview process and feedback being provided at will. Others followed a more formal and traditional interview process with the feedback being provided at the end of the interview. Regardless of the format the interview took the ability to take part in the meta-discourse and discuss the interview process, be provided tips for interviewing, and receive feedback was a highlight.

http://jbcstyle.com/content/uploads/2015/01/1cd534f1.jpg

On Wednesday, April 5th we also had the opportunity to attend the regional Teacher Recruitment Day (TRD) at SUNY Brockport, which consisted of both local New York, as well as national recruiters. The day began at 7:30am with a meet and greet with the larger USA recruiters. All teaching candidates alike had the opportunity to network as well as set up day of interviews, such as the Get Real Science Cohort member, Kristy Zukswert, who added on five USA interviews to her schedule. Then mid-morning, the local New York recruiters began interviewing their pre-set teaching candidates.

Each interview, whether it was local or national, lasted anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. Additionally, each interview session began with typically the same format of the candidate introducing him or herself, and then sharing his or her teaching philosophy and classroom management styles. Depending on the length of the interview, questions would be more targeted and straightforward, especially with shorter “speed date” 15 minute interviews. Of the interview questions asked, two of the most memorable included: What is a goal you have recently achieved? What has been your greatest failure? These questions required rapid, though thoughtful reflection, enabling interviewers to gain insight into each interviewee’s character, as well as individual ability to think on demand.

The day long interviews also provided interviewees the opportunities to interview the recruiters as well. Just as much as recruiters are analyzing candidates’ content knowledge and teaching potential, candidates are doing the exact same thing. Some of the qualities and questions that interviewees look for as they are being interviewed are: How knowledgeable are these individuals about the districts they are representing? Is this person engaging, personable, professional, and someone that I would want to work for and with? Does the collective school resonate with my own teaching philosophies and will I receive sufficient support to be the best teacher that I can be? Oftentimes, when interviewing opportunities arise, candidates forget that they too have the ability to inquire and ask questions. The more questions asked, the more both parties involved can learn about each other and determine if they would make a good fit in a professional setting.

While both experiences, the mock interviews at Warner and TRD, were incredibly valuable they offered different opportunities and benefits. TRD were a series of real interviews for real potential teaching opportunities. The benefits of the opportunities at TRD can not be overemphasized, including the ability to interact with a wide range of districts and to see how they differ. While the mock interviews may not have been for actual teaching positions, they allowed for a meta-discourse on the interviewing process in schools and for us to receive feedback and adjust as interviews happened. Both events however, were lucrative networking opportunities as well as learning moments. On behalf of the Get Real Science cohort, we can say with confidence that with each interview you participate it, be it a real or a mock one, you will walk away with new knowledge, about another person, school district, and most importantly, about yourself.