Update – DC Teaching Fellows Interview

I am back at my hotel after my interview with DCTF. It went pretty well. I feel good about my five-minute mini-lesson and I am confident about my responses during the one-on-one interview section.

The whole thing was well-organized and tightly scheduled. They said they had some selectors that couldn’t make it to the event and that threw a kink in the workings, but the only indication was a brief moment of uncertainty when we divided into groups. And that was barely a hiccup.

My group had eleven people in it and there were either six or seven other groups. That means between 70 and 80 people total, though. My group was really great. After introductions and a run down of the day’s schedule, we engaged in a writing project. We were given a hypothetical scenario and asked to write out our response to it.

My group really came together during the next section, a short group discussion. Again we had a hypothetical situation that we had to respond to as a group of teachers. It was a hypothetical staff meeting, I guess. The scenario involved new, strict testing requirements and required remedial instruction for some students. We had to discuss as a group how we wanted to approach these new requirements and determine our course of action. There was a lot of good back and forth and some excellent points, counter-points. It seemed like everyone really enjoyed the experience.

Finally, our last activity as a group, the mini-lesson. There were some great ones. I had prepared two: the Pythagorean Theorem and Functions/function notation. I decided after I listened to the first couple, to go with the Pythagorean Theorem lesson. Some of my group members had really great presentations. One woman did a great lesson on passive versus active voice. Someone did a kindergarten lesson about the letter R–this was really fun and she did such a good job. There was a chemistry lesson: endothermic versus exothermic reactions. I smile thinking back to this portion, it was something this small group of like-minded strangers did together, drawing us together.

I had a two-hour break after this, and then I had the very last interview slot. This was my least favorite part of the process, which is unfortunate because I like to do interviews. The interviewer wrote down everything I said–why don’t they just record it?–so it never developed into a conversation. I just talked until I felt I’d addressed the question fully, then the interviewer finished writing down my response, glanced at me, and asked the next question. Many of the questions had me build on points I made in my application essay or in the writing sample from earlier in the interview. Still more were situational response questions, gauging how I’d react to various hypotheticals. A very few were regular interview questions, like “What is a tough call you’ve made recently?” I just took a moment to collect my thoughts and answered honestly and succinctly.

I did have one good quote that I remember saying. The question was about whether it is appropriate to measure kids in high-need areas the same as kids in more affluent areas. I said, “The answer is not to decrease the measure of the kids, but to increase the measure of ourselves.” It sounds quote-y, I know, but that is how the thought came out.

Overall, it was quite a great experience. When combined with all the nifty stuff I saw yesterday, this trip was definitely worth it.

3 thoughts on “Update – DC Teaching Fellows Interview

  1. Hi I found your blog through a google search. I am interviewing for DCTF soon. Have any tips of how I can land the job? I interviewed once before but didnt make it to summer institute. What do you think you did or said well that make you stick out above the rest. Thanks for any help.

    • Hey there, thanks for stopping by.

      I think the biggest thing that made me stand out was that I spoke up during the group discussion portion. I had opinions that I could defend, but I also validated others’ viewpoints. I didn’t just put speak up with my own ideas, though. I engaged the group in a discussion. I asked for clarification after others spoke and was focused more on the discussion than on making a good impression with the interviewers.

      I think attending a second interview is going to help you out a lot, though. It shows that you really want to be involved with the program. Just make sure you can articulate why you want to be a part of the program. be able to explain how your experiences have led you to the decision to teach in DC Public Schools.

      Best of luck to you. Please ask any other questions you may have. I love to talk about my experience with DCTF. It is a terrific program.

  2. thanks a lot. i will remember that tomorrow. Ive been reading your other entries about it and will be back to read the rest!

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