November 9, 2006

Pseudo-teaching experience

Posted in classroom stories at 9:58 pm by mrsmauck

I spoke at a Career Day today about the journalism field. It was tough putting on an excited front about journalism when at the moment I was doing what I actually, passionately want to be doing: teaching high school students! I do want to teach journalism in high school though, so some of what I said I could actually be reiterating in the next year in my own classroom! Pseudo-teaching was extremely motivating, but quite tiring! I only did it for half a class period for three hours, and I felt pooped after! I’m sure you teachers know what I’m talking about: that exhausted, but somehow fulfilled, feeling. It was amazing seeing the boys in the very back row get interested in what I was saying: one minute they were rolling their eyes at each other, and the next, they were engaged and asking really good questions. I would make mental notes; ah! That’s what gets them! and try to keep going in that direction, as long as it wasn’t something ridiculous that got their attention, like the mention of something bathroom- or body part-related. However, sometimes it’s good to throw in a little something unexpected to wake them up, right?

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November 8, 2006

My belly will do the talking in job interviews

Posted in job search at 4:46 pm by mrsmauck

We did simulated interviews this week in my English Methods class, with us taking turns in the hot seat and asking each other some tough questions. This made me realize that I’ll need to get a maternity business suit, because I’ll go for job interviews either in the next month or two (if I passed my test) or in the spring, when I’ll be six to nine months pregnant! And my methods teacher told us not to divulge any personal details in the interview…my belly’s going to do the talking for me!

A brief reflection on me as an interviewee (watching the tape was not so fun, but beneficial):

  • Don’t use “filler” words like “definitely” and “kind of”–I get stuck in a rut and throw those words in way too much.
  • Use concrete examples: For classroom management, give actual procedures; for curriculum, give examples from units I’ve done for school or have planned; for literature, give examples from books that are appropriate for the grade levels for which I’m interviewing.
  • SLOW DOWN! Take a breath before answering each question. Pause at the ends of sentences.
  • Make eye contact at all times, switching from interview panelist to panelist. I’m not going to find the answers on my hands or on the ceiling.

Any other tips for interviews? What questions should you the interviewee ask at the end? What was the toughest interview question you got?

November 6, 2006

The worst is over…

Posted in teacher certification, testing at 10:18 pm by mrsmauck

Well, it’s over at least! That’s right, my much-anticipated test–the one that qualifies me for my dream job, that I’ve been reading books for since May, the one that costs $100…is OVER! Now, whether or not I passed my English OSAT, I’ll not know for another month…but if November goes by as quickly as October did, I’ll have my results in no time.

This was the most intense testing experience of my life! The GRE was harder, but this test seemed so much more important: If I can’t pass this test, I thought, I’m not qualified to do the only job I can see myself doing! It took me three and a half hours (the Journalism OSAT took me only an hour and a half!), and my hand was seriously cramped when I got out of there. It’s only 80 questions, but the majority of them were over a reading, from poems to Shakespeare to speeches to articles. Then came the essay question! That’s what cramped my hand up so much. I was so in the zone that I didn’t even look back over my answer sheet, which freaks me out a little. I just put down my pencil, got up, and handed my test in, all in a daze. Now I have to wait a month to see how I did!! However, I really think I passed, because I felt confident of my answers at least 75% of the time, and I’m sure my essay will get a really high score. Yay! I had a funny dream last night that I was taking the test again, but this time a bunch of people I knew from college were in there, and we were all hanging out and visiting, and having cokes, and I keep getting off on my answer sheet. In reality, you’re not allowed to speak to ANYONE during the test, you can’t have anything sitting on your desk, and you have to raise your hand to get a bathroom pass! Yikes!

In retrospect, I’m not sure how much good my studying did me. The test was quite different from what I expected: whereas I thought it would ask a lot of knowledge-based questions about literature genres, periods and authors’ works and writing styles, the questions were mostly much more skills-based.

We’ll see December 1!!