Monday, May 25, 2015

My Summer Reading List, So Far

Summer vacation started for my kids several days ago. I can’t really say it started for me, as I will be working (teaching adult education) during these months, but my schedule will definitely change.

First of all, I now have time to actually read a few books that interest me. Okay, so the first two books are part of my daughter’s summer reading list, but they still looked interesting.

The first one I read was Anthem, by Ayn Rand. The story starts out in a future dystopian society, where everyone works for, and is controlled by, the state. There is no individualism, only collectivism. By the end of the novel, these two are switched around for the main character, and there is only worth in what he wants. It was an interesting read, but I couldn’t really connect with the characters at any point in the book.

Next, I read The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd. 

I had a really hard time getting past the first few chapters, in which the main character, Lily, suffered harsh treatment at the hands of her violently abusive father. Once Lily escaped, taking her nanny and substitute mother, Rosaleen, with her, and escaped to live with a trio of black bee-keeping sisters, the novel improved tremendously for me. Lily's search for her mother's history leads the reader to a greater understanding of the meaning of motherhood.

From a friend, I borrowed a copy of The Kitchen House, by Kathleen Grissom. This story is set in the antebellum south, and follows the life of an Irish girl who comes to America as an indentured servant. Although Levinia is raised by black slaves, and considers them her family, her white skin rips her away from them, and forces both sides to act in a way dictated by Levinia’s white plantation owner husband. The story unveils the complicated relationships between owners, servants, and slaves, as well as the inherent evils of a society ruled by ownership of other human beings.

I’m not sure what I will do with the rest of the summer, but I have plenty of time to decide. Thanks for reading!

Now take a look at the other posts in the linkup here.

Weekly Summer Linkup

“See” you next time!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Blog Hop and Giveaway!

As a teacher starting out in the blogging or Teachers Pay Teachers, and social media world you are constantly watching your followers and hoping they grow! Every one is a celebration! You celebrate each little milestone. That is what we are going to do here this week with a blog hop full of freebies and giveaways! The Krafty Teacher's Teachers Pay Teachers store has reached a mini milestone of 100 followers!!!! Her FB page is right there too! So she decided to create a new freebie to share but what's better than ONE freebie?  ELEVEN freebies and giveaways too!

Ten other wonderful TPT sellers/bloggers have generously agreed to blog hop with me and offer up a freebie, and in some cases a giveaway as well!

The way this works is you will hop from blog to blog to get each freebie! You can also click the raffle copter on ANY blog. Of course, we would also love it if you would comment, share and leave us feedback! We are hoping this will grow us as bloggers and give you a chance to get to know us!

Here is a complete list of blogs participating in case you get lost!

1. The Krafty Teacher - start here to go in order
2. Carol's Garden - Comment for Giveaway
9. Rosie's Resources Comment for Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Since the school year is coming to an end for many of us, I have decided to include a small foldable as a freebie here. The foldable is part of one of my popular end of the year lap books. Here's a picture of the completed foldable, which you can get for free today. Just click on the picture below to get your freebie!

Click Here to Receive the "Favorites" Booklet Free!

If you would like to see the complete product, you can find it here. You can also click on the picture below.

Leave a Comment at the End of This Blog Post to Enter to Win This Entire Product!

Once you have downloaded your freebie, make sure to leave a comment at the end of this blog post, and include your email. That's how you qualify to win the entire lap book seen above. :) If you haven't already done so, enter the Rafflecopter, too. (You must also leave a comment on my blog to win.)

Then continue to the next blog in the hop, Heart2Heart Teaching, for another fabulous freebie! Have fun hopping!

"See" you next time!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

10 Tips for Teaching Interview Success Part 5

Welcome back to part 5 of my series, 10 Tips for Teaching Interview Success. If you haven’t read part 1 ofthe series, which includes tips for writing your resume and finding the right references, you can find it here. You can find Part 2, which
includes tips for filling out an application and designing your portfolio, here.  Part 3, which can be found here, includes submitting a sample lesson and researching the "right" answers to common interview questions. Part 4, here, includes tips for knowing your audience and practicing for the interview. 

Today’s tips include how to show your professionalism, and how to continue your job search after the initial interview. 

9.    Show Your Professionalism

Finally, the day of the interview has arrived. You’ve filled out all the paperwork, you’ve practiced what you will say, and you’re ready to show your stuff. There are a few more things for you to keep in mind.

Whether You Are Male or Female, Appropriate Business Attire Is a Must for an Interview

First of all, dress professionally. If you do not have an interview suit, or if the one you have is from ten years ago and no longer fits, go shopping for a new one long before the day of the interview. That will give you time to have any necessary alterations made, as well as to make sure the suit is comfortable. If you have a nice suit in your closet, pull it out at least a week before the scheduled interview and try it on for fit. Check to make sure that it is clean and pressed, and that the moths haven’t eaten part of it. You want to make sure that it doesn’t have a musty odor, either.

Make sure that your shoes fit, and that they match your outfit. If you are wearing nylons, make sure you have a couple new pairs, in case one gets a run the day of the interview.

Some people on your interview panel might be allergic to strong scents, so please do not wear any kind of perfume or cologne.

No Cologne or Perfume During the Interview

Since you will probably be shaking hands with multiple people, check your nails to ensure they are clean and neat. This is not the time for acrylic nails or a lot of embellishment. You want the interviewers to remember you, not your manicure.

Your hairstyle should be neat and professional, conservative even. Teachers are encouraged to have conservative appearances, so make sure that any tattoos you have are covered, too.

During the interview, make sure you make eye contact and direct your answers to all the members of the panel, not just the person asking the questions. You never know how much influence the other people in the room have in making the decision of which person to hire for the position. In addition, if you are offered the job you will probably be working directly with most of these people. Be polite and professional with everyone.

Thank ALL the Members of Your Interview Panel

Good manners can go a long way. After the interview is completed, thank each of the panel members personally. If you really want to stand out, send a thank you card, or at least an email to each member of your interview panel. Not only is this polite behavior, but it also helps them remember you favorably. Every extra point in your favor helps.

10.    Keep Trying

If you don’t get the job, don’t give up. There could be a dozen different reasons why you weren’t the one chosen for the position, and most of them have nothing to do with your own qualifications. It could be that the position was actually filled before the team interviewed you, but the principal was required to open the interviews to many candidates before giving the district an official decision. Maybe a member of the grade level team had a friend who was a candidate, or there was a teacher already working in the building who wanted to switch to the open position. You might never know the real reason.

Don’t be discouraged. Keep trying. As new positions open, sometimes even after a new school year begins, continue to apply and respond to interview requests. Think of this as a learning experience. You are realizing how much you have to offer to a school.

Build Your Self-Confidence Through the Process

As you become more confident in your own abilities, the interview process will become easier until one day you no longer find it intimidating. Then one day you’ll get the call to offer you a position at a school and you will realize that all the work has been worth it. You will have the opportunity to change many children’s lives for the better, and you will know that you are up to the task. Good luck!

Thank you for reading my blog! Please take the time to leave a question or comment below. I love feedback.

“See” you next time!

Friday, May 15, 2015

10 Tips for Teaching Interview Success Part 4

Welcome back to part 4 of my series, 10 Tips for Teaching Interview Success. If you haven’t read part 1 ofthe series, which includes tips for writing your resume and finding the right references, you can find it here. You can find Part 2, which

includes tips for filling out an application and designing your portfolio, here. Part 3, which can be found here, includes submitting a sample lesson and researching the "right" answers to common interview questions.

The Interview

Congratulations! You have submitted your application, noted your interests, and have been asked to come in for an interview. What do you do now?

7.    Know Your Audience

First of all, you need to know your audience. What are this school’s strengths? What are their weaknesses? What is the school’s instructional focus, and how can you help them achieve these goals?

Every School Is a Community: How Do You Fit In?

If you’re lucky, you may already be familiar with the school culture. Perhaps you completed your student teaching in the building, or you have acted as a substitute teacher there on a regular basis. Maybe you already work there, but are looking to switch grade levels. If any of these apply to you, congratulations, as you have an advantage that most other applicants do not have. However, you might still find these tips useful.

If you do not know the school, the Internet can help. Most school districts, and many individual school site have their own online presence. My own district has a five-year plan, which can be accessed and downloaded from the district’s website. In addition, each individual school site has its own website. Make sure to read all the information on each school’s homepage, plus the principal’s message. You can glean valuable information about the school’s goals by reading through the information posted there.

Use the Internet to Research Your Prospective School Site

In addition to the district’s and school’s own official websites, make sure to check out what the community thinks about the site. Go to Great Schools to learn more about the school site.

For instance, is the school a STEM (Science, Technology, and Engineering Magnet) site? Do they emphasize the arts, such as dancing, music, or visual arts? Your undergraduate studies in art education would be valuable here.

Art Education Can Be a Bonus

Is there a large population of English language learners? Your additional certification for working with ELL/ELD/ESL students would make you a valuable candidate.
What is the socio-economic make-up of the school? Your experience working with inner-city youths as part of a summer school program or camp would get you extra notice for this job.

Prior Experience Is Valuable

Your goal in accessing each school’s information should be to figure out what skills and experience you will need to work there, as well as what kind of teachers the principal is looking for to service the school’s population. If you know the school’s background in advance of the interview, you will be prepared to answer the question as to how you are the best candidate to fill their open position and increase the quality of their programs.

8.    Practice the Interview

When I first realized that I wanted to make a cross-country move, I spoke to my principal and was fortunate to receive some valuable advice. In addition, she and her assistant had me go through a couple mock interviews with them. That process was eye-opening. It had been many years since I had last interviewed, and the typical questions had changed dramatically. I was also extremely nervous. By practicing my technique, I improved my fluency and became more professional in my answers.

Conduct Mock-Interview Practice Sessions

Since many principals might not have the time or inclination to conduct mock interviews with you, there are other possibilities to consider. Perhaps your friends would be willing to practice with you. This would be especially helpful if your friends are other teachers, as they have a sense of what principals are seeking from their interview candidates. If necessary, you can practice by yourself in a quiet room. Just make sure to have a list of possible questions, along with your answers to practice.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading part 4 of my series: 10 Tips for Teaching Interview Success. I hope you will take a moment to leave a question or comment down below. Please join me next time for part 5, which will include more tips for the actual interview, plus for continuing your job search. Thanks for visiting!

“See” you next time!
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