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Interview Questions

Tell us about yourself/

What can you tell us about your background that will bring your resume to life?
Well my name is Amy Kearns, I'm 24 years old. I've known I've wanted to be a teacher
since I was five years old. I can still remember playing games with my sisters when I was
yonger and always wanting to play teacher. !y decision to be a teacher started in high
school when I began e"ploring more #ob opportnities working with children. I did a lot
of babysitting and ttoring, and it was then that I decided I wanted my career to be
working with children. $pecial edcation % #nior in college &stdent teaching'self(
contained setting) and watching strggling learners finally grasp a concept that had been
difficlt to them is the most rewarding e"perience. I love being able to do that every
single day.
Why did/do you want to become a teacher?
*ot only do I believe teaching is the most rewarding #ob I also believe I have the passion
to make a difference and inflence children in a positive way and gide them in the right
Why is collaboration important?
+ollaboration benefits the ,ality of instrction and spports for stdents with
disabilities. -esorces are combined to strengthen teaching and learning opportnities,
methods, and effectiveness. .ach member of the team brings their individal skill set,
training, and perspective to ensre that the individali/ed needs of each stdent are met.
If I walked into your classroom right now, what would I see?
If yo walked into my classroom yo wold see a colorfl classroom, that creates a warm
positive and stimlating environment for stdents to work in. $tdents will feel safe and
comfortable. 0o wold see rles'e"pectations clearly laid ot and visible for stdents
and teacher to reference when necessary. $ince a ma#ority of my teaching is done sing
fel"ible groping yo will see some stdents working directly with a teacher, other
stdents working independently on a center activity that keeps them engaged. 0o will
see an assistant being effectively tili/ed as well. 0o will also see some sort of
technology component being integrated into the lessons. 0o will see stdents engaged,
answering ,estions, sharing information with each other, and participating in classroom
discssions. 0o wold see stdents learning and having fn while doing it.
What is your classroom management style?
I clearly lay ot the rles and ob#ectives and make them visible to the stdents at all
times. In terms of reinforcement, my classroom style is bilt pon the fondations of
applied behavioral analysis and positive reinforcement techni,es. I se classroom wide
reinforcement techni,es for stdents modeling good behavior. 1or e"ample, in my
crrent classroom we se a sticker system where stdents modeling good behavior &e"2
waiting ,ietly dring transitions) receives a sticker. When stdents fill p their sticker
boards they gain access to a potent reward. 1or some stdents, this system is enogh, bt
others that demonstrate some more challening behaviors re,ire more intensive
interventions. 1or those particlar stdents create a spplemental reinforcement system
that best sits their needs. 1or e"ample, one stdent gains access to videos on yotbe &a
very potent reward) for working responsibly &the absence of challenging behaviors) for
34 mintes. Another stdent has a token board that is sed to motivate her to remain on
task and engaged.
What would you do if a student is being noncompliant/disruptive
$hape the stdent back on task sing positive reinforcement techni,es.
What would a traditional lesson plan look like in your classroom?
A traditional lesson plan in my classroom wold start with a pre(assessment. 5he
preassessment helps me identify where the stdents are at in terms of content and prepare
the ob#ectives for the lesson. 6nce I have analy/ed the preassessment and I have
developed my ob#ective&s) sing the *7 common core standards I develop my lesson.
In my lessons I begin with a whole class lesson. I incorporate visal aditory and
kinesthetic components into the lesson to appeal to the different learning styles in my
classroom. I model the components then contine on to gided practice. If I have an
assistant, I will sally take the time to separate stdents into grops dring gided
practice. If I dont, then I will condct a whole grop gided practice. 5hen I move on to
independent practice. I differentiate instrction by leveling assignments that meet the
stdents /one of pro"imal development. 8ring independent practice, I walk arond the
room to see what stdents seem to grasp an nderstanding of the material, and what
stdents still re,ire more instrction. At this time I may pll a small grop in the back to
provide more direct'individali/ed instrction. 5he lesson will be broght back to a
whole class for a discssion'review. 5he stdents will then be presented with an
assessment to identify whether or not they comprehend the material. 1tre lesson plans
will be determined based on the reslts of the assessment.
Tell Us bout the !ommon !ore/"ow do you teach to the !ommon !ore
#tate #tandards?
5he +ommon +ore $tate $tandards establish clear, consistent gidelines highlighting
what every stdent shold know and be able to know'do at his or her grade level. 5hey
shold be the principle'fondation for all lesson plans. &$how greater than' less than
lesson plan from portfolio) as yo can see from my lesson plans, I incorporate the
common core standards into every lesson plan. 5he activities'assignments'and
assessments may need to be modified depending on the particlar needs of that stdent,
bt they will be taght based on the principles of the common core standards.
$escribe the %ain &oints of the I'&
9) :resent levels of stdents academic performance. 2) Annal goals and ob#ectives that
describe what the stdent will learn in the pcoming year. ;) :rogress measrement % an
e"planation of how progress toward goals and ob#ectives will be measred. 4)
8escription of special edcation services that docments the specifically designed
instrction, instrctional accommodations, and related services the child will receive. 3)
5esting accommodations and modifications <) =east restrictive environment2 the I.:
team mst consider if and how the child will participate in the general edcation program
with non(disabled children. >) =ength of services ( 5he I.: mst inclde a pro#ected
beginning and ending date of services, the fre,ency of the services, where they will be
delivered, and how long they will be provided. ?) If applicable % a transition statement.
"ow do you teach reading?
I teach literacy sing a balanced literacy approach, meaning I incorporate all the different
components of literacy inclding word stdy, whole grop shared reading, read alods,
small gided reading grops, and independent reading. I teach sing strategies that appeal
to mltiple learning styles, and I differentiate instrction based on the needs of each
stdent. Assessments shold be given reglarly and ad#stments shold be made based on
stdents crrent levels of academic performance.
"ow do you teach writing?
"ow do you teach math?
"ow do you help the general education teacher modify curriculum?
graphic or advance, organi/ers, semantic maps, mnemonics, chnking, visali/ing
strategies, stdy gides, highlighting'nderlining are #st some of the strategies that I
wold sggest sing when working with a teacher to identify ways to modify crriclm.
I wold also sggest breaking down information into smaller chnks. I wold also assist
the teacher in leveling assignments making sre that the work stays within the stdents
/one of pro"imal development. I will always make sre the general edcation teachers
know that I am a resorce for them and they can se me as a resorce whenever they
What would you tell a general education teacher when he/she says a
student is struggling and needs to be referred for special education(
If an edcator wants to make a referral, I wold first ensre that the appropraite data has
been collected and proves that this child is demonstrating deficits that may re,ire special
edcation services. I wold discss the -espose to Intervention model and ensre that the
appropriate tiers of instrction have taken place in the classroom to ensre that stdent
difficlties are not a reslt of inade,ate instrction. 1or e"ample Within 5ier 9, all
stdents receive high(,ality, scientifically based instrction provided by ,alified
personnel to ensre that their difficlties are not de to inade,ate instrction. All
stdents are screened on a periodic basis to establish an academic and behavioral baseline
and to identify strggling learners who need additional spport. $tdents not making
ade,ate progress in the reglar classroom in 5ier 9 are provided with increasingly
intensive instrction matched to their needs on the basis of levels of performance and
rates of progress. 5his incldes differentiated instrction of content as well as in a small(
grop setting. If stdents are nor making progress at this level then they move to tier ;. At
this level, stdents receive individali/ed, intensive interventions that target the stdents@
skill deficits. $tdents who do not achieve the desired level of progress in response to
these targeted interventions are then referred for a comprehensive evalation and
considered for eligibility for special edcation services
What types of assessments do you use?
Formative Assessment occrs in the short term, as learners are in the process of making
meaning of new content and of integrating it into what they already know. Examples: a
very interactive class discussion; a warm-up, closure, or exit slip/ticket; a on-the-spot
performance; a quiz.
Interim Assessment takes place occasionally throghot a larger time period. 1eedback
to the learner is still ,ick, bt may not be immediate. Interim Assessments tend to be
more formal, sing tools sch as pro#ects, written assignments, and tests. Examples:
Chapter test; extended essay; a project scored with a ruric.
Summative Assessment takes place at the end of a large chnk of learning, with the
reslts being primarily for the teacher's or school's se. $tdents'parents can se the
reslts of $mmative Assessments to see where the stdent's performance lies compared
to either a standard &!.A:'!!.) or to a grop of stdents &sally a grade(level grop,
sch as all <th graders nationally, sch as Iowa 5ests or A+5). 5eachers'schools can se
these assessments to identify strengths and weaknesses of crriclm and instrction,
with improvements affecting the ne"t year's'term's stdents.
What language arts programs are you familiar with/have e)perience with?
I am familiar with ,ite a few langage arts programs. I have e"perience with
readers'writers workshop, hoghton mifflin &#orneys), mcgraw hill &treasres), :+I
reading program &non(readers'specifically targets atism), atism and reading
comprehension program &#oseph porter) 6rton Aillingham, Wilson, and International
Association of 8ysle"ia written crriclm program.
I am also familiar with $:I-. and e"plode the code
What math programs are you familiar with/have e)perience with?
I am familiar with several different math programs. I have e"perience with Boghton
mifflin % Ao!ath, $a"on math programs. I've worked with the Invision math program as
well as the .veryday !ath program. I also have e"perience the tochmath program and
have fond it e"tremely beneficial to aid stdents that re,ire spport in basic math
comptation skills.
"ow do/would you deal with a challenging parent? &rovide a specific e)ample *if
possible+ of when you had to deal with a challenging parent?
It is important to maintain commnication with parents so that when a problem does arise
yo can immediately address it as opposed to letting it worsen or escalate. It is important
to listen careflly to parent concerns, empathi/e with parents, and help determine a
soltion to the problem. I have had e"periences working with some challenging parent
sitations. I had one parent e"press concerns abot the level of homework that was being
sent home. 5his particlar parent e"pressed to me that her son &a stdent with special
needs) was refsing to complete his homework at home and as a reslt was not able to
practice important skills at home. $he believed it was becase the homework was too
hard. I invited her in for a meeting and showed her work samples of the child completing
classroom assignments that were of e,al and'or more challenging work level. I wanted
to show her these to demonstrate that her child was in fact capable of completing this
work and that this work refsal was probably the fnction of some behavior. We
discssed some possible options and what I sggested to her was a homework contract. I
created the homework contract and sent it home for his mother to se everyday.
What do you know about readers/writers workshop?
Casically it is a way of teaching reading and langage arts as an active, stdent(centered
process that gives stdents, individally and in grops, mch of the responsibility for
making decisions abot what will be stdied and why. It is also an approach that
emphasi/es the social and collaborative natre of learning.+ollaboration in the workshop
entails sharing responses, ideas, drafts, and finished written prodcts throgh conferences
with the teacher, conferences and #ornal e"changes with peers and the teacher, and with
members of the stdent's wider, non(classroom, commnity sch as parents.
+ollaborating to make meaning, rather than smmari/ing or reiterating teacher(held
interpretations, is the fnction of small(grop discssion and whole(class discssion. 5he
teacher in these classrooms takes on many roles inclding that of a learner who, in
collaboration with stdents, constrcts meaning throgh reading, writing, speaking, and
$escribe how you prepare students for state/standard *in my case ,-#.+ test?
5he best way to prepare stdents for the *7 A$K is to be teaching to the *ew 7ersey state
standards, in rich and engaging ways, with stdents throghot the year. Bowever, there
are specific strategies that I believe are important to help stdents become sccessfl on
these assessments. I like to create assessments in similar formats to the *7A$K
assessment so they are familiar with that particlar style and format. I review basic skills
fre,ently to ensre stdents correctly answer the ,estions considered DeasyE according
to state standards. I incorporate the se of mnemonics for e"ample 5AI+-C &D5hank
Aoodness I +an -ead CetterE) where D5E stands for take yor time, DAE stands for go
back to find answers, DIE stands for italics are important, D+E stands for check yor work,
D-E stands for read all choices, and DCE stands for bbble scantrons correctly. Another
strategy I se is teaching stdents t identify and highlight keys words. I also teach them to
nderstand identify e"treme words sch as DalwaysE or DneverE which sally make a
statement false, identify vage words sch as DsallyE or DgenerallyE which often make
a statement tre. 1inally, I model the thinking process sed to predict test'e"amination
,estions based on class notes, te"tbook, the corse syllabs, etc. I believe that some test
preparation is important bt I also believe it shold not dominate the crriclm'ma#ority
of teaching on an average school day.
"ow do you use technology in the classroom2
I incorporate a variety of different technology into my classroom. 1irst and foremost I
have e"perience with both the $!A-5 teachnology program and ActiveInspire
technology programs. I was fortnate enogh to attend a $!A-5 conference where I
learned from the individals of $!A-5 technology how to enhance lessons and se
$!A-5 technology to create enriching interactive crriclm to se everyday. I also se
video clips from yotbe, I play songs'raps abot material to keep stdents interested.
I am very fortnate to crrently work somewhere that I have access to a lot of technology.
!y stdent need rotini/ed schedles and each one has their own individal i5och
where we keep their daily schedles. $tdents can see e"actly where they are and can
check off each activity as it happens sing the errands app. I have my own personal i:ad
that I bring to school to enhance instrction as well. I se it as a tool for my centers. I
have a variety of edcational apps that I se that are related to specific content. I also
have recently discovered F- codes. Where stdents se i5och'I:ad to scan a code and
something related to content pops p.
I also se technology for reward prposes. $tdents can gain access to
compter'smartboard'i:ad'i5och's for rewards as well if that is a potent reinforcer for
that particlar stdent.
"ow do you differentiate instruction?
(I differentiate instrction in a variety of different ways. 1irst and foremost I try to
incorporate a visal, aditory, and kinesthetic component into every lesson to appeal to
all the different learning styles of the stdents.
(I also differentiate instrction by leveling instrction'tasks'assignments based on stdent
ability. 1or e"ample2 &:resent greater than'less than lesson) differentiated based on
different levels low'medim'high. I determine stdent ability sing ongoing assessments
that are done fre,ently.
( Another way I differentiate instrction is throgh fle"ible groping. I incorporate small
grop reading and math instrction throghot the day where stdents can learn sing
smaller grops of direct instrction that better meet their individali/ed levels. $tdents
are paired in grops based on their crrent levels.
"ow do you handle the workload of a special education teacher/
What would a day in your classroom look like?/$escribe the breakdown of your
5his is an e"ample of the day in the life of the special edcation teacher. If yo want a
specific block schedle to reference, yo can download mine at 5:5 by clicking this link.
What would your literacy block look like?
:lease see the above ,estion.