About Class Teacher Essay Questions

The New York City Department of Education clearly states what they are looking for in a teacher: 
“We are committed to hiring only the most highly qualified and dedicated teachers to work with our students.  We look for candidates who are strong communicators, use data to make informed decisions, have deep subject matter expertise, and are deeply committed to student achievement.” 
To determine if you are the type of teacher they want, they request you to write two essays:  one seeks information on you as a teacher and one seeks information on you as a person.  Below are examples of the questions used and comments on what to consider as you compose your answer.

Essay Question 1

It is the third month of the new school year and you have just finished a week-long unit of study that covered key grade-level standards for your students. Prior to teaching the unit, you invested significant time and effort into preparing lessons, activities, and supporting materials.  However, over 50% of your students failed the end-of-unit test you administered at the end of the week. To keep up with the pacing calendar, you are expected to move on to a new topic the following week. Please describe what next steps you will take to address this situation.

 

Comments

This is a question that requires you to apply many of the educational theories and best teaching practices you have learned at Hunter.  As you read the question, the first thing you should have noticed  is the fact that half of your class failed the end-of-unit test, and therefore lack the prior knowledge needed to move on to the next unit of study.  This is a learning bottleneck that teachers often face. 

The first point to consider is whether or not there is alignment between the assessment given and the material taught.  It would be essential for you to look at the items that were not passed and ask yourself a number of questions such as:
•    How much time did I spend on this item?
•    In what way did I present the information on this item?
•    Did I pre-assess students to know where they were “at” before teaching the concept?
•    Did I consider all learning styles when presenting the information?
•    Did I make accommodations for all learning styles?
Did I use multiple presentation styles to assure there was a connection between all parts to the whole?
Your response needs to portray your knowledge and expertise in various areas, such as:
•    differentiated instruction with awareness of and accommodations for the varying needs in your class (i.e., ELL or Special Education students);
•    a learning environment that organizes the room and structures lessons to maximize learning and minimize confusion and disruption;
•    clear learning objectives;
•    use of graphic organizers;
•    use of learning centers.

Your students’ lack of prior knowledge can be addressed by reinforcing needed information from the prior unit and linking that information with the new content you will be presenting.  For example, a semantic representation could be created using a mapping tool application (i.e. Inspiration) that could visually link the content relationships of the two units.  As you introduce new content in the lessons, reinforcements of what you taught in the prior unit would be embedded.  These reinforcements could include:
•    having students refer to notes they took in the last unit to answer a question in a homework assignment;
•    providing students with interactive website(s) that reinforce understanding of the learning standard(s) associated with the content of the unit;
•    organizing activities that require the use of knowledge from the prior unit to meaningfully apply the new information.  Since it is a 50:50 ratio, each group would be comprised of half who passed and half who did not pass.


Essay Question 2

The New York City Department of Education is a diverse and dynamic system of 1,450 schools. The principals who lead these schools are searching for great teachers to meet the needs of their students. What are the THREE most important qualities you would want a principal to recognize in you as a potential staff member? Please focus on personal and professional qualities, talents, or experiences unique to you and provide examples and other evidence to support these. As you search for a place to teach, what are the top THREE characteristics you are looking for in a school?

Comments

This question is related to what you wrote for the “Objective” and “Skills and Interests” sections of your resume.  The fact that you have completed a Hunter School of Education Program clearly defines you as an exceptional teacher.  You need to extend this to show how you will link what you learned at Hunter with you as a person.  Are you a team player?  Are you flexible, able to work with others, innovative, creative on your feet, a self directed learner? Today’s teachers must be self aware of their own strengths and challenges and committed to continual learning. Be sure to emphasize those skills.
For example:
•    if you have an interest in language, travel and visiting other cultures, discuss how you will bring this love of other cultures into lessons and activities;
•    if you have an interest in technology, discuss how you will meaningfully engage children with interactive lessons and activities that are linked to specific content learning standards;
•    if you have a background as a professional in another field discuss how you will bring real world applications to classroom curriculum;
•    if you have expertise in a particular subject (i.e. your major) discuss how you will use this as a teacher;
•    if your personal background or experiences have given you particular insight into working with students, describe this;
•    if you gained expertise and experience through your student teaching, describe what you gained;
•    try to be specific, rather than giving broad generalities (i.e. I love children) that could apply to anyone.



Sample Teacher Interview Questions

Teacher Relationships With Students

1.    What kind of students do you like to work with? What type of students could you teach most effectively?

2.    You give an assignment. A student ridicules the assignment, saying it doesn’t make sense. What would you do?

3.    How do you help students experience success?

4.    How would you individualize instruction for students?

5.    What procedures do you use to evaluate student progress besides using tests?

6.    How would you challenge the slow learner and the advanced learner within the same class?

7.    What would your students say about you?

Teacher Relationships With Colleagues

1.  What kind of teachers would you prefer to work with? Why?

2.  What activities would you like to work with in our school?

3.  What quality or qualities do you have that would enhance our teaching staff?

4.  What are some personality characteristics you find undesirable in people?

5.  Who should be responsible for discipline in a school? Why?

6.  What needs and/or expectations do you have of the school administration?

7.  How do you collaborate with your colleagues?

Teacher Relationships With Parents

1.   What do you feel is the most effective way to communicate with parents? Describe how you have used this/these technique(s).

2.   Describe the reasons why you would contact parents.

3.   What would you include in your Open House presentations to parents?

4.   What community activities would you like to be associated with? Why?

Instructional Techniques

1.  Describe any school experience you have had, particularly in student teaching (or in another teaching position) that has prepared you for a full-time position at our school.

2.  How would you integrate technology into the curriculum you would teach?

3.  Describe any innovative projects you have been involved in developing.

4.  Give an example of how you have used cooperative learning in your classroom.

5.  What four words would students use to describe your teaching strategies?

6.  What rules do you have for your classroom?

7.  Describe your teaching style and how you accommodate the different learning styles of the students in your classes.

8.  What do you consider to be your strengths and how will you use them in your teaching?

9.  In what ways do you keep students on task and well behaved during collaborative group activities?

A Potpourri of Topics and Background Information

1.  Why did you choose to become a teacher?

2.  What are your hobbies and interests?

3.  What are your plans for continuing your professional growth?

4.  Tell me about an interesting article you have read recently in a professional journal.

5.  What contributions can you make to our school?

6.  What current trends in public education please you? Displease you?

7.  Tell me about the three people who have most influenced your own education and educational career.

8.  Tell us about a golden teaching moment?

9.  Tell us about yourself, and specifically what brought you to want to be an English, math, science teacher?

10.     What is your philosophy about teaching English, math, science?

 

Questions for Management Expertise

1.  Describe the management strategies and techniques you use to maintain an effective classroom environment

2.  In what ways do you keep students on task and well behaved during collaborative group activities?

3.  Describe your expectations for student behavior? In other words, if I were to enter your class on an average day, what should I expect to see with regard to student behavior?

4.  Keith is your busy seventh-grader.  He is constantly moving in your class and always ready to throw spitballs. Although his behavior is not seriously disruptive, it is annoying. He is especially active when he believes that you cannot see him. How would you deal with this situation?

5.  Describe the management strategies and techniques you use to maintain an effective classroom environment

6.  Describe your expectations for student behavior? In other words, if I were to enter your class on an average day, what should I expect to see with regard to student behavior?

7.  Keith is your busy seventh-grader.  He is constantly moving in your class and always ready to throw spitballs. Although his behavior is not seriously disruptive, it is annoying. He is especially active when he believes that you cannot see him. How would you deal with this situation?

Personal Characteristics Questions

1.  How would a colleague describe you?

2.  What are your strengths and weaknesses as a teacher?

3.  As a teacher, how do you relate to students, colleagues, and parents?

4.  What do you consider to be a major issue in public education today?

Questions for Content Area Expertise:

1.  Describe your knowledge and experience with the California content standards applicable to your content area.

2.  Describe any specific areas of strength within your content area (e,g., Physical Science,  Writing Workshop, Algebra, etc.). 

3.  If you could teach just one grade level and subject within your content area, what would you choose? Why?

4.  What sorts of assessment, both formal and informal, do you view as being important indicators of successful performance for students learning your content area?

5.  If you could teach any novel, what would it be and what would your students be doing?

6.  How do you adjust for reading level differences within your classroom?

Questions for English Learner Expertise:

1.  We have a large number of English learners in our district.  What knowledge and experience do you have that is representative of  your ability to teach English learners?

2.  What knowledge and experience do you have regarding the California English Language Development Standards?

3.  Imagine that you are teaching a “regular” mainstream class in your content area.  A new student arrives in your class one day, and you soon find out that this student possesses only limited English fluency (that is, some oral fluency but very limited reading and writing fluency).  You realize that this is probably not the correct placement for the student, so you approach the counselor in charge of scheduling students.  You are told that there is no room in the other classrooms for the foreseeable future and that you will just have to do the best you can.  What would you do to accommodate this student until a better placement comes up?

4.  In what ways, both formal and informal, might you assess a student with limited English fluency to be sure the student is truly learning the content of your course curriculum?

Short Interview Questions

 
 

§     How would a colleague describe you?

§     What are your strengths and weaknesses as a teacher?

§     As a teacher, how do you relate to students, colleagues, and parents?

§     What do you consider to be a major issue in public education today?

§     Describe your knowledge and experience with the California content standards applicable to your content area.

§     Describe any specific areas of strength within your content area (e,g., Physical Science,  Writing Workshop, Algebra, etc.). 

§     If you could teach just one grade level and subject within your content area, what would you choose? Why?

§     What sorts of assessment, both formal and informal, do you view as being important indicators of successful performance for students learning your content area?

§     We have a large number of English learners in our district.  What knowledge and experience do you have that is representative of  your ability to teach English learners?

§     Imagine that you are teaching a “regular” mainstream class in your content area.  A new student arrives in your class one day, and you soon find out that this student possesses only limited English fluency (that is, some oral fluency but very limited reading and writing fluency).  You realize that this is probably not the correct placement for the student, so you approach the counselor in charge of scheduling students.  You are told that there is no room in the other classrooms for the foreseeable future and that you will just have to do the best you can.  What would you do to accommodate this student until a better placement comes up?

§     In what ways, both formal and informal, might you assess a student with limited English fluency to be sure the student is truly learning the content of your course curriculum?

§     Discuss a curriculum project you developed which generated high motivation and engagement among your students.  Tell us what the project looked like and what resources you used to develop it.

§     How do you feel about participating in an advisory period or other master-scheduled differences?

§     What kinds of strategies do you use to challenge students to have an in-depth understanding of mathematics, science, English literature?

§     What strategies do you use to make curriculum meaningful and relevant to students?

§     Since we will be held accountable for standardized test results, what will you do in the area of curriculum development to e3nsure that students do well on the test without teaching the test?

§     Describe the evaluation instruments you use to assess student learning.

§     Describe your ideas for ensuring that you have positive communication with parents and the larger community.

§     What do you envision will be your biggest challenge this year?

§     How do you excel in working with students from diverse populations?

§     Why are you interested in working at this school?

§     Share with us your philosophy of teaching and learning?

§     What is the role/responsibility of a teacher in a classroom?

§     Tell us about a time when a student really got what you were hoping they would.  An “Ah HA” moment.

§     Why do you think students from diverse cultural and educational backgrounds do not excel in school in comparison to more traditional students?

§     What kinds of things can be done to compensate for inadequacies in English or prior knowledge?

§     Tell us about your approach to classroom discipline – how do you ensure your students are on-task, and what steps do you take when they are not?

§     What do you think was your most successful lesson you have taught and why?

§     What was the most challenging lesson you have had to teach, and how did you overcome the obstacles?

§     What would be the ideal teaching position be?

0 Replies to “About Class Teacher Essay Questions”

Lascia un Commento

L'indirizzo email non verrà pubblicato. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *