{wbamp-meta name="image" url="images/bigamp/Plains_Road_School_East_York_1920.jpg" height="750" width="1300"}Wisconsin's Wecan is changing its system, and some of you will lose your potentially-well-crafted answers to the Twelve Questions. Others of you teach gym or social studies. I'm kidding, maybe. Anyhow, my answers are here because I really like all of you and I'm not going back to teaching, so go ahead and use parts of them. The answers were a little better before I adjusted them for a technology job from English teacher. However, no matter what you teach, make sure you pretty much fill each answer. I never didn't get an interview from a school district that used these or other short answer questions, and I think it's because I took them seriously. Lisa's answers are likely better than mine, but I think she's going to keep them to herself just in case she has to wade back into the pool of despair.  And just remember that a good percentage of administrators are former social studies and gym teachers, so just be confident in the fact that you're likely more intelligent in your subject area than those conducting the interview. If you get the department chair, then humble yourself a bit, but focus on what you really know, like technology or Shakespeare or coaching.

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I'm also adding my personal statement and whatever else I find on the website before shutdown. Also, I added another set of 12 questions at the very bottom written by my wife, who told me not to use hers, but since she's teaching in another state, who cares!

And if you use this resource in any way, click on an ad...it's like citing your source without having to cite it.



1. What do you want to accomplish as a teacher?

I want my students to read and write critically, understanding where we've all been and where they're heading. I want my students to receive a complete liberal arts education and understand why they should want such an education. I want my students to continuously run into situations in which they are reminded about something we discussed in class, and I want them to be confident in those situations, always asking and answering questions, always exploring.


2. How will (do) you go about finding out about students' attitudes and feelings about your class?

I listen. Students will talk to each other or the teacher about their feelings. When a student I've never met before asks if I was the teacher that has the cool website that allowed students to post all their work online or if I was the teacher that did a presentation on how he converted his Diesel vehicles to run on vegetable oil, I know the students are talking about the class after the hour ends, and that means they're applying classroom content and learning on their own time.


3. An experienced teacher offers you the following advice: "When you are teaching, be sure to command the respect of your students immediately and all will go well." How do you feel about this?

Since I am now an experienced teacher, I can answer this question in a way that works for me. I have always avoided becoming friends with students and I have always stressed having excellent background knowledge. Students respect both of those commitments. I can see the power in post-graduation friendships with students, though I have not necessarily pursued these. Respect on the first day is not about yelling; it's about being professional.


4. How do you go about deciding what it is that should be taught in your class?

I will begin with the district standards. If those standards allow me to be creative, then I will do so, often having students complete assignments that involve video or presentation elements. For example, students in my film class created a Google Slides presentation that had them analyzing films they'd seen with the option of creating a trailer or mashup music video. However, they were still responsible for identifying the film vocabulary terms.


5. A parent comes to you and complains that what you are teaching his child is irrelevant to the child's needs. How would you respond?

Children, as future employees, will need their creativity as much as their reading, grammar, or critical thinking skills. Learning is never completely irrelevant, and I am always prepared to explain each lesson I use. A free liberal arts education that was once reserved for only the elite means that students are allowed to explore important questions using more than a textbook. When I had students create a radio broadcast turned into a video, they decided which news events that mattered.


6. What do you think will (does) provide you the greatest pleasure in teaching?

My greatest pleasure in teaching is derived from student accomplishments, whether it's creating their own webpage for class or creating a business plan for an invention we developed for a contest. Success might come in classroom, but it will just as likely come from a developed love for learning. If I can get students to explore the world around them, then they will experience career success because they will be critical thinkers who do more than follow directions.


7. When you have some free time, what do you enjoy doing the most?

I am creating something when not working and while I am working. I have a couple of inventions that I am looking to market, but most of my creating goes onto the internet: my nearly 300 lessons posted online, my tutoring membership website, my Amazon Kindle books. I created a theater room with almost no money and a rotating display case for old framed photos, and I am always writing. I might write on a napkin at a restaurant or in a notebook in my house, but I am continuously listening and writing.


8. How do you go about finding what students are good at?

I design lessons that allow students to explore their talents. Since reading or writing skills might not be one of those talents, the lessons lead to the development of those skills. I try to find articles that are relevant to what we are learning and that are written in a way that students can understand without the background knowledge adults might have in the subject matter. These articles are often about science and technology, since those topics tend to more real than textual analysis.


9. Would you rather try a lot of way-out teaching strategies or would you rather try to perfect the approaches that work best for you? Explain your position.

I experiment quite a bit in the classroom. Even if having the entire class edit a single Google Doc does not always work out well, I tried it and adjusted. I also tried making a class-created variety show for the morning announcements. When no one claimed several display cases, my classes took over the responsibility. When all freshmen got computers, mine needed theirs every single day as I'd created an entire class online. I will perfect the lessons but always create new ones, as well.


10. Do you like to teach with an overall plan in mind for the year, or would you rather just teach some interesting things and let the process determine the results? Explain your position.

Again, I began teaching with an interesting thing kind of approach, but I have since chosen the interesting things that work the best in order to create a very definite plan for the school year. This is necessary in organizing a class that can be viewed and completed almost entirely online. When I taught a unit that involved housing, I installed free CAD software because the students in that class were more interested in house design than writing a descriptive paper about a house.


11. A student is doing poorly in your class. You talk to her, and she tells you that she considers you to be the poorest teacher she has ever met. What would you do?

I have learned that some students who are dissatisfied with a class do have some ideas, so I will ask for ideas. I developed a Creative Writing class because of a student recommendation. I would encourage her to go beyond the assignments and bring in materials that might interest the entire class. In one assignment, I created a choose-your-own-adventure survival story to go along with The Lord of the Flies, and I asked students to help create scenarios.


12. If there were absolutely no restrictions placed upon you, what would you want to do in life?

I would finish my novel, and then I'd film it. I would learn how to compose music in order to complete my musical play. I would experiment with pragmatic ways to use lake water to cool buildings, gravity to power mass transit, and clear plastic to paint our homes. I'd follow every interesting link I see online and read every article. I'd keep learning, and I would apply that knowledge to do my part in furthering society.

Personal Statement

I am an English educator, but that's only where my life begins. I graduated with honors in English
from UW-Milwaukee and second in my class from Milwaukee Marshall. I went through the French
Immersion program in Milwaukee, and I have lived in the city my entire life. I have played baseball
since before I joined Little League at eight, and I continue to play today. Instead of going on
spring break while in college, I saved my money and toured Europe for a month after college. I've
also been to better than 4/5 of the states in our country, as well as most of the Canadian
provinces, though I cannot name them all. My skills and interests include integrating my background
within the context of the class or what students need to know. However, I learned early on while
teaching that interesting stories can only take a teacher so far. I maintain excellent background
knowledge in the subject areas covered by an English teacher, as well, and I am extremely
proficient in reading, writing, and grammar. I have honed my multiple-choice test writing skills to
be useful in creating ACT-like quizzes that test skills rather than recall. I want my students to
know what their English writing, reading, and speaking skills will do for them in the real world,
and I stress relevance in my lessons. However, students may not always understand the relevance of
classic literature, and I pride myself in tying those stories to contemporary texts and issues. I
consider myself a friend of social studies, science, art, music, and all other liberal art high
school classes, since I encourage my students to constantly explore the world around them. Just
like my students, I crave constant learning, and the area in which I continue to shine is in the
use of technology in the classroom. I have complete classes that can be taught entirely online or in
a classroom setting. I use online resources and quizzes, but I integrate them with important
classroom experiences. I take students to new places while they stay grounded, like me.



Question 1:

How do you plan to continue to stay current with research based instructional practices?

Answer 1:

I plan to stay current with research-based instructional practices by taking additional education courses, by attending workshops and inservices, by discussing such practices with fellow teachers, and by reading professional education magazines and journals such as NEA Today.

Question 2:

Describe a professional growth goal you currently have. What kind of support do you need to achieve this goal?

Answer 2:

I am currently completing my education certification and would like to work toward my masters degree and credits beyond that. I would hope to have the support of fellow teachers and administrators as well as my family members in pursuing my educational goals. This could come in the form of verbal encouragement, or perhaps discussions about research papers or other class materials.

Question 3:

What role does student data play in your instructional decision-making?

Answer 3:

I collect data on my students' progress informally and formally, through a variety of methods, such as hands-on projects, presentations, daily participation in activities and discussion, essays, journals, and more. If I sense that my students are frustrated, overwhelmed, or not understanding the material, I am flexible in my instruction and am willing to take extra time to make sure everyone has a chance to succeed in my classroom.

Question 4:

What instructional strategies do you find to be most effective in a classroom or content area?

Answer 4:

I like to get my students as involved in their learning as possible. My students do a lot of activities that appeal to different learning styles, so that hopefully everyone gets a chance to do something that they enjoy and that gives them the opportunity to shine. For instance, for Macbeth my class made Dunsinane Castle tourist brochures, and my British Literature class used props and costumes to act out scenes from a one-act play.

Question 5:

How do you adjust instruction (differentiate) for a variety of student needs?

Answer 5:

Again, I try to design lessons that accommodate different interests and learning styles. I also review frequently, especially at the beginning of a novel or play when students are still getting a grasp on who the characters are. I work with the special education department teachers to meet special needs of my students. I also give in-class work time frequently so I get to check on individual student's progress and answer questions.

Question 6:

Describe how you manage your classroom for optimum student learning.

Answer 6:

My classroom management style is firm but friendly. My students are respectfully quiet when I'm giving directions and raise their hands when they have questions. However, we still joke around now and then. I strive to make sure my classroom is a safe, comfortable place. This is essential for students to feel at ease and therefore participate in class activities. I do not tolerate put-downs or swearing. I move the desks around to accommodate activities.


Employer: McFarland School District
Question Set: WIVA TeacherDate: 2015-10-14 12:46:25

Question 1:
Why are you interested in this position?

I am interested in an online teaching opportunity because it is the future of education for many students. I have taken online courses myself, and I have used online teaching in my own classrooms. I have also grown accustomed to working from home most of the time. Many students do very well in brick and mortar schools. Some do not. Some need classes not offered at school for remediation or enrichment. From my own experience, online classes can be effective learning environments, not just for students who have trouble in traditional settings.

Question 2:
What experiences do you have with online teaching or learning?

I have taken several online college courses, and I was able to work at my own pace and when I needed to work, which made it fit into my own schedule. I ran my own classroom in a similar way: students were allowed to take quizzes online, turn in papers online, participate in online forums, and more. I never used the copier, though I did have to learn how to use several kinds of websites as the district constantly changed providers. I have successfully used Joomla CMS for my own class sites, Google Sites provided by my district, and Moodle.

Question 3:
What challenges do your foresee in working with students in a virtual school environment?

Once students get to know me, I have a decent personality and a definite desire as a learner myself. The passion I have as a learner and interpretor of literature and language may be lost a bit in an online setting. I have read reviews that say teacher to student ratio may make connecting to individuals difficult, as well.

Question 4:
How have you prepared yourself to be successful in an online teaching environment?

Not only have I taught online with my own system for almost a decade, I have been starting my own web design and publishing business for the past six months. I know how to work online, but I also know how to work from home without taking hour-long lunches and watching television shows. I've been working 12-15 hour days without anyone prodding me or bells to tell me it's time to move on to something else.

Question 5:
Describe your communication style.

I am generally a believer in being upfront and honest without being too wordy. While I love writing, most people do not seem to love reading long explanations. However, I do remain professional, courteous, and thorough.

Question 6:
How would you be described as a team member?

I am the team member that no one has to worry about. I get the job done without a lot of fanfare and with no complaining. The rest of my English Department staff would usually see me as the creative one or the innovative one, but not as the talkative one. I respect my co-workers and my employers, so I only speak up if change is warranted on behalf of the students, though I am always willing to do what is necessary to benefit the team.

Question 7:
What are your 3 greatest strengths as a teacher?

Making Lessons Relevant -- I have a knack for using and creating lessons that are unique and relevant to students. Many of those lessons are for sale online, and many other teachers have purchased them. Paper Editing -- Having worked in several Writing Centers over the years, I became good at editing that forced students to not only make changes to errors but to become better at writing. Dedication to Liberal Arts -- Even when my district wanted to focus on ACT scores, I used interesting and related material in to developing skills.

Question 8:
What concerns do you have regarding working from home in a virtual environment?

About once a month, the internet might go down for a couple of hours. That's about it. I have been working from home now for over a year with very few complaints. I am excellent at multitasking without getting distracted by social media, which stays off my screen until my home work hours are completed.

Question 9:
What will be your greatest contribution to our team/school?

As I am not completely sure as to how curriculum is administered, I cannot say for sure that my sometimes awesome lessons will be a contribution. However, my ability to use online tools quickly and efficiently should be a benefit. I have used many systems, as implemented by my former district, effectively, and I am willing to learn and teach others how to do the same with whatever system is used in my future professions.

Question 10:
What excites you about working in a non-traditional teaching environment?

I am excited about the fact that learning can happen in any place, meeting the students where they feel most comfortable. Many of my students benefited from my online teaching system when I used it, so I feel it can be very useful. I am excited about being able to teach again. I am excited about the potential for online learning to help all students, especially since it is not non-traditional to them. In fact, online learning has really become the norm for all of us.

Employer: Wauwatosa School District
Question Set: Teaching Position Supplementary Information - Part IDate: 2014-04-26 22:01:45

Question 1:
Please describe at least two instructional strategies you use as an instructor to encourage your students' development of critical thinking and performance skills (Standard 4).

I begin each class with an article, vocabulary word, and/or cultural literacy fact. I demonstrate my desire to learn by revealing what I know about the subject and why they should know something about it, as well. I create skills-based grammar and reading quizzes, and I can demonstrate for students how I create those kinds of quizzes, along with the distractors used within. I will often have students attempt to create the same kinds of questions.

Question 2:
What data do you collect and how do you use it to determine if student learning is taking place (Standard 8)?

I have a collection of over 50 quizzes that I use on Quizstar and in Google Docs that are written as skills-based ACT-like quizzes that fit into the skills bands. I have both grammar and reading quizzes. I can determine if a specific grammar skill has been mastered because the questions are very specific to this task. I also use correction exercises in both reading and grammar, so the student must identify whether or not learning has taken place after making corrections.

Question 3:
Explain how you create a classroom atmosphere that promotes learning (Standard 5).

I begin by creating a classroom atmosphere that promotes inquiry and the desire to learn. This starts with me as a reader and writer. Students realize that I am knowledgeable and that I continue to expand the knowledge daily. Next, I challenge the students to strive for the same desire to learn and to achieve man's greatest accomplishment: a free public liberal arts education.

Question 4:
What positive attributes and strengths do you possess that allow you to communicate effectively (Standard6)?

I am an organized speaker, writer, and web developer. I have a plan and I follow the plan. I have resources that I use and that are available for students. I explain what needs to be completed in person, on my webpage, or in emails. I have a simple system that students, parents, and fellow staff can follow in order to make sure that learning occurs.

Question 5:
What strategies do you use as an instructor to address the different learning styles of a diverse composition of students (Standard 3)?

I start with myself. I was often bored in high school, so I ask if I would be boring to myself. I teach in time chunks, avoiding long lectures or 40 minutes of one activity. I generally have daily video clips that go with the introductory lesson. If we're reading a book, I will read, they might read in groups, a voice actor might read on an mp3, and then we'll search for pictures to help identify the setting. All the resources are linked on my website, of course.

Question 6:
Educators in Wauwatosa are expected to be reflective practitioners. What steps do you take to become a more reflective practitioner (Standard 9)?

While I can use the Plus/Delta used as part of Continuous Improvement, I have always myself a few questions after every class. These might include: How did that go? What did they learn? What didn't they learn? What can I do better? What can they do better? Usually, by the third time I teach even a new lesson in a day, I've changed something about how I present to the class. My best attribute in being a reflective practitioner is not just that I ask question, but I am not afraid of answers.

Question 7:
Please describe how your instructional style addresses the broad ranges of student learning (Standard 2).

I was told when I first started teaching a low-skills reading class that my best bet was a book written by teens in prison. I read one story with my class and realized that the book, the school, and I were giving them the wrong message. While I believe in relevance, I also believe in challenging all students. Instead, we read/viewed Hamlet and other stories that dealt with real philosophy, addressing questions that mattered written by authors who mattered, matched to students.

Question 8:
Please articulate how your instructional style supports the intellectual, social and personal development of students (Standard 2).

I've read that the two kinds of effective educators are those who intimidate and those who inspire. I never even bothered to try intimidating students, so I try to inspire. I demonstrate my love for language in both reading and writing as a model for them. Students may not need all the same skills I have, but my job is to inspire them to explore those skills in order for them join the community of readers, researchers, and writers who are telling the rest of us what to think.

Question 9:
PERSONAL STATEMENT: (Include your experience, talents, or special interests which, in your estimation, contribute to your success).

I have been an English teacher for the past 12 years. In that time, I have developed creative ways to educate students through assignments and online resources. I have designed classes to be used exclusively online, but I have also adapted to limited computer lab time. I have advised three clubs: Forensics, News Writing, and the Literary Magazine/talent show club. My elective classes included video editing. I have redesigned curriculum for several core classes to focus on skills.

Question 10:
What was your last annual salary?



Question 1:
What do you want to accomplish as a teacher?
I help my students become fully-developed individuals, citizens, and workers by guiding them in improving their writing, speaking, and reading skills. No matter their future profession, each student can benefit from honing their ability to communicate their ideas in an educated manner. English also celebrates the beauty of the creative arts and stimulates the imagination, allowing students to express their thoughts freely.

Question 2:
How will (do) you go about finding out about students' attitudes and feelings about your class?
I find out students' attitudes toward my class by paying attention to subtle signals from them such as whether they raise their hands regularly, act alert and involved, ask questions, and do homework. I also have class surveys a time or two each semester to get feedback from students regarding the course materials, my teaching style, etc.

Question 3:
An experienced teacher offers you the following advice: "When you are teaching, be sure to command the respect of your students immediately and all will go well." How do you feel about this?
Respect is key to classroom management. It should be encouraged and earned rather than forced. I treat each student with respect and expect the same of them regarding myself and other students. At the beginning of the term I discuss with my class that our #1 classroom policy is respect because we are all valuable human beings worthy of the esteem of others. Students are more willing to share their contributions with the class when they feel safe and valued.

Question 4:
How do you go about deciding what it is that should be taught in your class?
In deciding what should be taught in a particular class, I refer to the curriculum for the course, available textbooks and software materials, and what I know about the age group and ability levels of the students in the class. I confer with other teachers in the department and the teacher who taught the course before me, if possible. I also research similar courses online to see what materials other schools include.

Question 5:
A parent comes to you and complains that what you are teaching his child is irrelevant to the child's needs. How would you respond?
I would explain to the parent that what I have been teaching has been designed and approved by the school district to meet his child's needs. I would also elaborate on any particular things I have been doing to help the student, such as individual help after school. If the parent thinks there are more things I could be doing or needs I am not aware of that are not being met, I am open to suggestions.

Question 6:
What do you think will (does) provide you the greatest pleasure in teaching?
Watching "the light bulb go on" when a student learns something new is immensely exciting. Helping students develop a lifelong love of learning is central to my job.

Question 7:
When you have some free time, what do you enjoy doing the most?
In my free time, I like to attend theatrical presentations at local high schools and universities in addition to professional productions. I read a lot, especially autobiographies and classic novels. Jane Austen and L.M. Montgomery are two of my favorite authors. For recreational outings, I enjoy hiking, biking, and swimming with friends and family. I hope to do more traveling around the U.S. and Europe.

Question 8:
How do you go about finding what students are good at?
I believe in offering students a variety of assignments and classroom activities to give each student a chance to shine in the areas in which they excel. Thus speaking, writing, art, reading, and research in a wide range of formats all play a role in my classroom.

Question 9:
Would you rather try a lot of way-out teaching strategies or would you rather try to perfect the approaches that work best for you? Explain your position.
While I certainly try to perfect the tried-and-true methods that work for me, I am always open to new strategies that will develop my range of teaching abilities and continue my growth as a professional educator. Technology, especially, is providing new avenues for learning.

Question 10:
Do you like to teach with an overall plan in mind for the year, or would you rather just teach some interesting things and let the process determine the results? Explain your position.
I am a very organized person who likes to have a vision for where things are going. Hence, generally I have a plan for each course to ensure I cover the curriculum in a timely manner. However, I am flexible in varying the materials in each unit and the activities I use to enliven things for myself and my students and to improve upon what I have done in the past.

Question 11:
A student is doing poorly in your class. You talk to her, and she tells you that she considers you to be the poorest teacher she has ever met. What would you do?
I would explain to the student that since we are all individuals, there are different learning and teaching styles that exist. If we have styles that seem to conflict, I would ask her to consider her particular style and offer me suggestions on how I could appeal more to that style in my teaching, such as allowing her to do an oral report instead of a written one if she feels she learns more from public speaking.

Question 12:
If there were absolutely no restrictions placed upon you, what would you want to do in life?
Regardless of restrictions, I would want to engage in a meaningful profession that helps others to succeed. I believe that teaching is the other-centered profession I am most suited for because of my youth-oriented personality and love of reading, writing, and literature.