Sunday, May 01, 2005

Job Interview and Heritage Unit

For those of you who are wondering, it went well. Since the interview, I have thought of a million things I forgot to mention...

(Such as, when they asked about classroom management, I failed to talk about having a plan and enforcing it from the beginning... I forgot to finish the story about MS whose father died... they asked about the most difficult situation I encountered with a student, and I talked about the student who had told me every day that he hadn't read past chapter one, but I didn't talk about how that student came up to me after class and told me that he wished more teachers were like me.)

Amanda Thein, the teacher of a drama/speech class we took this spring, told us that we ought to take every question that might be asked and write out the answer. Good advice. For anyone interviewing for any position--do this!! It's good for many of us teachers because we're writing out those answers over and over again on applications, but at times, it's just a resume or cover letter that will ge us the interview. When I interviewed for Lakeville, it was my resume and discussion at the job fair. Fargo was at the job fair itself.

I was asked my strengths and weaknesses in three different ways... my own view of those, how my peers might see them (five things they like the most and five of the least), and students (three and three). I don't think I got the full eight and eight I was expected to answer, but I told them what I think might have fully answered those questions.

Strength and weakness--I'm new and enthusiastic. Some of the educators I know have been funny and said, "Yep, you're not jaded yet." Yes, I do have energy right now that I might lack later on... I admire the members of our cohort who are going for middle school positions. I would love to teach middle schoolers, but at the same time, I don't have as much energy as I think I need to have!


On another note, I have looked at my schedule, and it looks like I will end up with an extra week in my English 10 class. (Amy was so funny--she's doing the same units and she asked me how I could have ended up with extra time because she felt like she didn't have enough! I said that I might have pushed my students along a little harder, though I'm not showing them the film version of Inherit the Wind, and I have trimmed a few other things from each day.) I have decided that I want to design a unit that is my own--nothing that I have been told I could do and nothing that I have told would be the best.

I have such a great group of students, and I wish I could have done this earlier so they could have gotten to know each other better. I want to do a heritage unit with them. I talked to my mother about this, and she recommended I have them read "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker. She said I could have them make their own quilt at the end of it and put that up on the bulletin board... we could see how different and the same we are. I would supplement it with a few poems and such, but mostly focus on the idea of the production of a visual representation.

One of the many reasons I decided on this is related to a student's journal entry. During the To Kill a Mockingbird unit, we talked about racism and the results of that in everday life. One student, LM, wrote about being an Arab-American after 9/11 and how she wished teachers used her more as a resource. Well, I hope this unit allows for that! There's also MS whose parents are from Africa... as well as the Hmong-American students, African-American students, and the second generation Korean and Chinese-American students. One of the things I will have to work on is making this unit appeal to all students and not those that are immediately multi-cultural. I remember doing this kind of thing and knowing that I have Penobscot ancestors but it not being a part of my family life, so it wasn't truly multi-cultural. My father is in an Irish band, but other then that... I felt dull and I think it aided that whole "white guilt" experience many of us had in college as an undergraduate. So I want to have a balance of literature for them... literature circles? Poems and jigsaw activities? It's just five days, and I feel great about the idea... I just have to develop it so it's completely useful!

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