Monday, May 7, 2012

General Teacher Interview Preparation Tip

A few weeks back, I did a phone interview Galileo Learning. I'm looking for a relevant summer job. Galileo Learning is a summer camp. Specifically, if I was hired, I would've taught in the K - 5 summer camp. I was already rejected, but when I was preparing for my interview I had the right idea. First, look at the first half of the job posting below:

"2012 Galileo Summer Quest Position Description, Assistant Instructor

Shared Values and Expectations
  • Serve as an ambassador of Galileo, demonstrating our mission and values in a positive and professional manner and acting as a role model of the Galileo Innovator’s mindset
  • Commit to building a safe, child-focused community
  • Demonstrate professionalism and accountability
  • Take initiative to analyze and solve problems
  • Treat others with courtesy and respect
  • Respond to camper, parent and colleague needs
  • Maintain a high standard of ethics, integrity and confidentiality
  • Commitment to educational programming for children
  • Flexibility to meet changing work needs and demands
  • Ability to work collaboratively on a high-functioning team
  • Openness to feedback and desire to grow professionally
  • Ability to handle multiple tasks efficiently and accurately
  • Strong organization skills and attention to detail
  • Ability to communicate clearly, maturely and compassionately with parents
  • Ability to maintain an excellent work ethic, a high level of energy and exceptional enthusiasm all day, every day, for up to 8 weeks
Education, Training and Experience                             
  • Upper-level high school student, college student or graduate
  • Demonstrated leadership experience
  • Experience working with kids or in a camp setting a plus
Essential Duties & Responsibilities
  • Become familiar with curriculum for two to five Majors
  • Assist Lead Instructors in delivering curriculum, learning skills necessary to be an effective and successful educator
  • Provide leadership, energy and camp spirit for campers, constantly assessing group dynamics and the needs of individual campers
  • Set, work towards, and achieve measurable professional development goals
  • Support camper check-in and check-out processes
  • Provide excellent customer service to parents by communicating with them on a daily basis about their camper’s experience
  • Assist with daily set up and clean up of camp and assist Instructors with lesson preparation
  • Contribute to and participate in daily opening and closing ceremonies, all-camp activities, and snack & lunch supervision and programming"
The information from the job posting above would be your best resource for preparing for an interview with Galileo Learning. They're telling you what they want. You may say in your resume and cover letter that you fit this mold, but they will want to verify that. Interviewing you is how they establish a stronger sense of security that you truly fit that mold. What I did with the information above is that I prepared an example for each of the bullets. I imagined that they phrased each bullet into a question. Here are some examples: "How you would build a safe and child-centered community?," "What is an example of when you set, worked towards and achieved measurable professional development goals?," "How would you serve as an ambassador for Galileo (i.e. demonstrate the "Innovator's Mindset)? etc. The first and third question were based on bullets under shared values and expectations and the second was based on a bullet under essential duties and responsibilities.

I was actually asked the 2nd question that I formulated. I can't remember what else I was asked since its been a while since I did that interview. But, it makes sense that they would ask you interview questions related to those bullets since they are telling you what they want and they want to make sure that you are what they want.

Unfortunately, despite my preparation, I failed. Why did I fail? There is a problem that I have in interviews. I can actually provide a lot of detail. And, while in the interview, I worried about providing too much detail. However, because of that worry, I provided too little detail. I didn't provide enough examples. I might've even responded vaguely. From now on, I've decided that it will serve me better to provide too much detail rather than too little. That isn't to say that its always good to provide too much detail. Of course, no one wants to hear me ramble. So, I will give at least one example to back up my answer. That will be the rule of thumb. If I haven't given at least one example to back my answer up, then I've said too little.

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