Posts Tagged ‘questions’
I hestitated including sample questions just in case students happened upon this site, but I sucked it up and got over it. As per request, here are three representative questions from the harder parts of my Bill of Rights test.
Assume justices on the Supreme Court determined that Americans possess a right to privacy. Which Amendment could not have implied that right?
According to the precise wording of the Eighth Amendment, which of the following actions is prohibited to government agents?
a. Forcing self-incrimination.
b. Torture of potential terrorists.
c. Every type of execution ever.
d. Cruel and unusual punishment.
Soldiers enter your home to stay the night without permission of its owner. They find a gun that is illegal to own under federal law. Which amendment’s protections would not be debated?
That’s what I’m talking about.
These questions require students to piece together what they know about all amendments in question, and then go through the process of elimination.
Keeping with common practice, all the questions are complete sentences, and all answers are generally about the same length.
Paul Bogush knows whether I should choose the rich kid or the field worker district, but asks that I first answer his questions. As a courtesy to the pagan deities of depth and straightforwardness, I’ll answer the questions here.
Do you believe all kids can learn and are worthy of your time?
Nine out of 10 are worthy of my time. One out of 10 take up so much time that I would be remiss if I gave them everything I needed — to do so would happen at the expense of the rest of the class. I’m there during lunch and before school, so it isn’t like I’m unavailable. I just can’t justify the choice to stop molding nine minds to take care of a non-responsive lump.
If the administrator is to be believed, enthusiastic students are all over the place in Podunk.
When you explain something for the tenth time and the kids still don’t get it, who do you blame?
I don’t want to blame myself. I do, anyway. Chances are, there’s a fault in the lesson or the vocabulary I use — very often over the heads of my students. My master teacher is convinced that I’m too smart for the really low achievers. She’s probably right, and that’s one of those reasons I hesitated in considering Podunk.
I get around this by getting a star student to paraphrase it back to me, or to the rest of the class.
Who is responsible for helping you become a better teacher?
I am. Is there any other answer?
I know I rail on my credential program, but it isn’t because I hate it. It’s because I really hate it. As far as fundamentally useless wastes of time go, this blog is a whole lot more rewarding.
How do you deal with failure?
I ignore it for a time, and sometimes I even get back to it. In the classroom, the petty failures are taken care of easily and immediately — see above “use star student” strategy — while the systemic failures I avoid quite a bit longer. I’m a bigger fan of tweaking than reinventing the wheel.
That’s going to be a problem when I come up with one of those fundamentally flawed lesson. Y’know, like the free ones they have online.
I hope these answers suffice for your questions, and I hope they don’t sound too much like interviewspeak. I’m trying to be critical enough that I don’t sound like I’m interviewing again. And that’s the trouble — the credential program teaches us all the right answers to these questions, and doesn’t dwell enough on how to make these vague generalities work in real life.
Even worse: We don’t have enough time in the classroom to figure it all out for ourselves, or with our master teacher. Just because the good doctorates think they know everything doesn’t mean they have to have all the specificity of Nostradamus.
My job fair had a distinct highlight.
It was not the local KIPP affiliate stuffing my bag with press clippings even after I told her she was preaching to the choir, and that I was really just looking to interview.
It was not the unprovoked Scowler Unified admins outright grimacing at me once they saw that the cordial student teacher walking by did not teach math or science.
It was not overhearing one administrator cover for another by saying the former was busy talking on the phone while seeing, at the same time, the former administrator eat a sandwich behind their district’s display.
My job fair’s highlight was when I sat down to interview at district I’ve substituted for and taught at for a year and a half. There, I saw the principal of the school I taught at last semester. As it turned out, this principal would be interviewing me. I made the mistake of pointing out the connection.
This was a mistake because she really hated my then-master teacher, and he hated her. There had been a huge row between them before I came on the scene, bad enough that he had resigned as athletic director and became a regular teacher. He regularly butted heads with the administration again and again.
He had characterized her on several occasions as the type of resume-padding administration-type who comes to schools for a few years before moving on to another.
Nevertheless, I did my spiel. Nevertheless, she froze me out.
We aren’t hiring any social science positions this year.
This is a lie on multiple levels. For one, schools have not yet finalized their master plans. Therefore, schools don’t know if they need any more social science positions.
Besides, this is one of the largest districts in California, and I’d believe they would at least entertain interviewing for some positions even if I didn’t know for a fact that my high school plans on looking for an extra social science teacher to fill out the new Small Learning Communities.
I told her some of this in the politest language possible. I told her my excitement for a Small Learning Community. In all likelihood, this was to no avail.
I want to teach at my high school. I really don’t want to teach at hers.