May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

What Should I Do? Part 2 – Preparing for the Interview

Posted: Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

by Rick Pomeroy

The phone rings, you don’t recognize the number, but it’s job search time and you take the call. “Hello, this is Pat Admin, and we would like to interview you for a science opening at Purfect High School in the Adreem Unified School District.”

So what should you do? If you are interested in Purfect High School (PHS), thank them very nicely, say yes, and begin preparing for the interview.

Prior to applying to Adreem Unified School District (AUSD), you should already have done some background work. Based on that work, you should have a good sense about PHS, for example, how many science teachers they have in the department and a sense of the classes that they offer. You should know a little bit about student activities and the demographics of the school. You might even know a little bit about parent and community involvement. If possible, read the school’s on-line bulletins and announcements the week before your interview. This will give you a sense of the most recent events on campus.

Prepare an interview portfolio that you can leave with the interviewers. This is not your large, fifty-page compendium of your work as a student teacher – no interviewer will have time to review such a massive tome. Instead, prepare a short, five to seven page interview portfolio that highlights some of the key things you want them to know about you and you will leave it with the interview team at the conclusion of the interview. There are many different thoughts about what it should contain. My list includes:

  • An updated resume, specific to the position you are interviewing for.
  • A sample set of lesson plans where you engage your students in active learning. It should be aligned with NGSS with clear connections to how you would implement it. Pay particular attention to the Science and Engineering Practices, as these are possibly the biggest changes that schools will be grappling with.
  • A succinct description of your teaching and management philosophy. Administrators understand that you are still an emerging professional so it is good to be able to explain in detail what your beliefs are and how you have handled a difficult situation.
  • Samples of formative and summative assessment you have used. If possible, include one or two student work samples (with names redacted). The artifacts you include should be examples of your best work and might stand alone if someone were to scan the portfolio after your interview. More importantly, these are things that you should be able to refer to in your interview as you answer some of the typical questions that they will ask.

Next, think about the interview questions. You can review lists of the most popular questions for science teachers simply by searching for them online; anticipate that you will be asked at least some of these, and think through your answers in detail well before your interview. Find someone to randomly ask you some of the questions so that you can practice articulating your answers clearly. Remember, most interviews are about 30 minutes in length and will probably include approximately 10 questions. You should practice your answers enough to appear prepared and knowledgeable, but no so many times that you sound rehearsed. You should not memorize your answers.

On the day of the actual interview, don’t eat a big meal before your appointment. Arrive in the community early. Plan for any traffic, weather, or travel glitches that might cause a delay and leave early enough to arrive with plenty of time to relax and compose yourself. When you arrive, it is best to check-in about fifteen minutes before your interview time (unless the interviewers have given you other specific instructions). Introduce yourself to the receptionist. Remember, your informal interview starts the minute you walk in the door –the receptionist will definitely form an opinion of you from your first interactions. Though not part of the formal interview, the interview team might later ask those opinions, for example, to give context to your formal interview responses.

Choosing what to wear is also an important part of preparing. I recommend that you talk to the teachers in the science department where you are student teaching to ask what they recommend. You might also schedule an appointment with your school administrator to get some background on their views of the interview process and appropriate attire. If all else fails, you want to be dressed professionally. Be sure that your clothes are clean and neat and that your shoes are appropriate for the rest of your attire.

At the end of the interview, when the interview team asks if you have any questions, make sure that you have something to ask. Do not ask about salary or benefits. Think of something from your school research that will show the interviewers that you’ve done your homework and that you are truly interested in this as an opportunity. Before leaving, thank each of the members of the panel.

On the same day, after the interview, be sure to follow up with a hand-written and hand-addressed thank you card. It is OK to include your cell phone number in that card as a way of indicating that you are very interested in the job. If you do, make sure that when a future employer calls, your voicemail message is professional and adult. You may have enjoyed a fun and fanciful voicemail greeting while you were in school but now, you want to present an image of an emerging professional. Be sure to return calls as soon as you can and by all means, don’t say yes to an offer if you are not sure that it is what you want.

The interview is the second major step in the getting a job process. Be sure to allow yourself sufficient time to prepare. Time spent now preparing will pay off when that interview phone call comes.

Powered By DT Author Box

Written by Rick Pomeroy

Rick Pomeroy

Rick Pomeroy is science education lecturer/supervisor in the School of Education, University of California Davis and is a past-president of CSTA.

Leave a Reply

LATEST POST

CSTA Annual Conference Early Bird Rates End July 14

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

Teachers engaged in workshop activity

Teachers engaging in hands-on learning during a workshop at the 2016 CSTA conference.

Don’t miss your chance to register at the early bird rate for the 2017 CSTA Conference – the early-bird rate closes July 14. Need ideas on how to secure funding for your participation? Visit our website for suggestions, a budget planning tool, and downloadable justification letter to share with your admin. Want to take advantage of the early rate – but know your district will pay eventually? Register online today and CSTA will reimburse you when we receive payment from your district/employer. (For more information on how that works contact Zi Stair in the office for details – 916-979-7004 or zi@cascience.org.)

New Information Now Available On-line:

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Goodbye Outgoing and Welcome Incoming CSTA Board Members

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Jill Grace

Jill Grace, CSTA President, 2017-2019

On July 1, 2017 five CSTA members concluded their service and four new board members joined the ranks of the CSTA Board of Directors. CSTA is so grateful for all the volunteer board of directors who contribute hours upon hours of time and energy to advance the work of the association. At the June 3 board meeting, CSTA was able to say goodbye to the outgoing board members and welcome the incoming members.

This new year also brings with it a new president for CSTA. As of July 1, 2017 Jill Grace is the president of the California Science Teachers Association. Jill is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach, a former middle school science teacher, and is currently a Regional Director with the K-12 Alliance @ WestEd where she works with California NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative districts and charter networks in the San Diego area.

Outgoing Board Members

  • Laura Henriques (President-Elect: 2011 – 2013, President: 2013 – 2015, Past President: 2015 – 2017)
  • Valerie Joyner (Region 1 Director: 2009 – 2013, Primary Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Mary Whaley (Informal Science Education Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Sue Campbell (Middle School/Jr. High Director: 2015 – 2017)
  • Marcus Tessier (2-Year College Director: 2015 – 2017)

Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Finding My Student’s Motivation of Learning Through Engineering Tasks

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Huda Ali Gubary and Susheela Nath

It’s 8:02 and the bell rings. My students’ walk in and pick up an entry ticket based on yesterday’s lesson and homework. My countdown starts for students to begin…3, 2, 1. Ten students are on task and diligently completing the work, twenty are off task with behaviors ranging from talking up a storm with their neighbors to silently staring off into space. This was the start of my classes, more often than not. My students rarely showed the enthusiasm for a class that I had eagerly prepared for. I spent so much time searching for ways to get my students excited about the concepts they were learning. I wanted them to feel a connection to the lessons and come into my class motivated about what they were going to learn next. I would ask myself how I could make my class memorable where the kids were in the driver’s seat of learning. Incorporating engineering made this possible. Learn More…

Powered By DT Author Box

Written by NGSS Early Implementer

NGSS Early Implementer

In 2015 CSTA began to publish a series of articles written by teachers participating in the California NGSS k-8 Early Implementation Initiative. This article was written by an educator(s) participating in the initiative. CSTA thanks them for their contributions and for sharing their experience with the science teaching community.

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Unveils Updated Recommended Literature List

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson unveiled an addition of 285 award-winning titles to the Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list.

“The books our students read help broaden their perspectives, enhance their knowledge, and fire their imaginations,” Torlakson said. “The addition of these award-winning titles represents the state’s continued commitment to the interests and engagement of California’s young readers.”

The Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list is a collection of more than 8,000 titles of recommended reading for children and adolescents. Reflecting contemporary and classic titles, including California authors, this online list provides an exciting range of literature that students should be reading at school and for pleasure. Works include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama to provide for a variety of tastes, interests, and abilities. Learn More…

Written by Guest Contributor

From time to time CSTA receives contributions from guest contributors. The opinions and views expressed by these contributors are not necessarily those of CSTA. By publishing these articles CSTA does not make any endorsements or statements of support of the author or their contribution, either explicit or implicit. All links to outside sources are subject to CSTA’s Disclaimer Policy: http://www.classroomscience.org/disclaimer.

Teaching Science in the Time of Alternative Facts – Why NGSS Can Help (somewhat)

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Peter A’Hearn

The father of one of my students gave me a book: In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood by Walt Brown, Ph. D. He had heard that I was teaching Plate Tectonics and wanted me to consider another perspective. The book offered the idea that the evidence for plate tectonics could be better understood if we considered the idea that beneath the continent of Pangaea was a huge underground layer of water that suddenly burst forth from a rift between the now continents of Africa and South America. The waters shot up and the continents hydroplaned apart on the water layer to their current positions. The force of the movement pushed up great mountain ranges which are still settling to this day, resulting in earthquakes along the margins of continents. This had happened about 6,000 years ago and created a great worldwide flood. Learn More…

Powered By DT Author Box

Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the Region 4 Director for CSTA.