Right Answers at a Job Fair

Today. The big day. Seventy-six school districts at the big job fair; more’n 310 teacher candidates close at hand.

I started with more than 20 job interview packets. I ended the day with three, and I left only because I had already kept my ride half of an hour past the designated time for leaving. I was busy.

Why did you decide to become an educator?

For the kids. There really isn’t any other valid response to that question. If you aren’t there for the kids, you have no business being a teacher.

What do you say to the teacher who is convinced that back in his day, all the kids were more interested and excited about learning?

I tell them, in as polite language as I can, that they’re obscenely and blindly nostalgic. Why does it matter what kids were like, even if they have changed since then?

What do you do with the student who just isn’t excited about learning?

I tend to ask provocative questions, and history worth learning is very easy to make relevant to today, so there will be very few students not at least genuinely interested in learning.

It doesn’t work with everybody, though. There will be a one or two students who, though not at all disruptive, just aren’t excited about learning. They do their work, but without obviously enjoying it.

Now, because that doesn’t mean that they aren’t learning, and because they aren’t disruptive, I can’t be too concerned about not being visibly excited. There’s a point where I have to address the needs of the other nine in 10 students.

Few questions don’t have a right answer, and I was able to get through the interviews without lying, either. I couldn’t believe that I actually mean all this stuff.


  1. ionestar

    Hi, I’m curious. What other questions did they ask you? Are you going to change school?

  2. Change school? I dunno what that means. I can help you with another question, though.

    The only other questions I got with any frequency involved “If I walk into your classroom on a regular day, what do I see?” and “What do you do with the belligerently disruptive student?”

    The right answers to those are more personal. In general, talk about students working collaboratively or individually for the first question, and talk about getting administration support for the second one.

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