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Teacher Interview Questions

1. How do you write a typical lesson plan & what materials do you
I use our districts pacing guide, my common core standards, and
any content specific materials that I need to incorporate. Our
lesson plans are written into to share with my

2. In what ways do you plan to accommodate individual differences

in the classroom?
I accommodate individual differences by looking at data points
and planning small group instruction based on student needs. I
have students with varying levels of ability in my classroom so I
typically differentiate the materials I use and the type of
instruction (direct, small group, peer teaching, etc.)

3. What are some of your instructional challenges as a teacher?

My biggest challenge is meeting the needs of all students. I have
some that are very low and some that are very high in the same
classroom. I am constantly looking for remedial and enrichment
materials for the same lessons.

4. What have been some of your instructional successes as a

I feel as if my differentiated groups are an example of my
instructional success. I use differentiated groups to meet student
needs in both literacy and math.

5. What do you think has made you become a successful teacher?

Patience, flexibility, and a sense of humor; as a teacher you must
be able to adapt and change your plans on a minutes notice

without getting off track or frustrated. It is also important to

have a great time with your students. That doesn't mean you
don't have high expectations and work hard, it simply means you
have fun while learning.

6. What does reading instruction look like in your classroom (e.g.

readers workshop, basals, etc.)?
Shady Brook has used the Daily 5 and CAFE reading models for
the past two years as a foundation for the 90 minute literacy
block. Daily 5 consists of 5 different activities that students build
stamina to do independently for an average of 15 minutes while
the teacher pulls small groups. Those activities include: Read to
Self, Read to Someone, Listen to Reading, Work on Writing, and
Word Work. CAFE is an acronym that stands for Comprehension,
Accuracy, Fluency, and Expand Vocabulary. Mini lessons and
guided reading lessons focus on these four areas of reading. The
guided reading lessons take place while other students are
working on Daily 5 rotations. A typical literacy lesson in our
classroom consists of 3 different skill-based mini lessons and 3
guided reading group meetings. We do not use a basal but use a
Curriculum Associates READY consumable text to prepare our
students for the EOG.

7. What motivation tactics do you use to ensure a desire to learn?

At Shady Brook all students recite the school pledge each
morning. The pledge encourages students to be safe,
responsible, respectful, and a learner. I use Class Dojo points and
table points to create a light-hearted competition in the
classroom. Students are also recognized monthly on the news
broadcast for making good choices.

8. Tell me about the classroom community. What are the class

rules? How is student behavior monitored? In what ways is
positive behavior reinforced? In what ways are negative
behaviors prevented? Tell me about the consequences for
negative behavior.
Our classroom rules are simple. Be safe, responsible, respectful,
and a learner. Individual behavior is monitored through Class
Dojo and I award table points for groups that are caught making
great choices. Students who earn a set number of Dojo points
are invited to a school celebration and those who do not earn the
points are required to reflect on their choices during that time. I
try to point out the positive behaviors to encourage those not
doing the right thing to "hop on the bandwagon" but when
negative behaviors occur students lose a Dojo point, are asked to
have structured recess, or silent lunch. If it is severe, they can be
written up. After the third minor referral a student is sent to the
office and it is considered a major referral. A major referral
negates their Dojo points and keeps them from attending the

9. Tell me about the pacing of lessons and interaction in the

classroom- use of time- and other aspects of timewait time,
and time using teacher talk and student talk. What works well
with your students?
Most of our mini lessons are fast paced because research shows
that on average, our students are only able to focus for
approximately 10 minutes at one sitting. That number correlates
to their age in years. For example, a 9 year old can concentrate
for approximately 9 minutes. I do allow student talk but I have to
be careful to keep them focused and not let them get off track. It
works well for me to have the mini lesson, discuss the skill being

taught, and then allow students to elaborate during our small

group instruction time.


What is the most difficult part about teaching a lesson?

The most difficult part of teaching a lesson is anticipating where
students might get confused or make mistakes.


Is it easy to align state standards with the objectives/topics

you need to teach?
It is fairly simple. Our district has done an excellent job pacing
out the standards in a logical sequence to enhance integration.
They have also paced the content so that it aligns with the skills
that naturally enhance instruction.


What is your school community like? Are faculty and staff

supportive and helpful?
The Shady Brook community is awesome. It is truly one of a kind.
All teachers and staff members at Shady Brook are welcoming,
understanding, and encouraging. We are a Professional Learning
Community and we focus on what our students need and what
our staff needs to be successful.


What was the most difficult thing for you as a first year
As a first year teacher I remember thinking that there was NEVER
enough hours in the day. At times I still feel like that. However,
each year I get a little better at determining what things are an
urgent need and which things can wait until tomorrow. I learned
to make to-do lists, keep a calendar with dates written in pencil
(things change quickly!), and to stay organized.


How did you decide on your classroom management

Class Dojo is a school management technique so all classrooms at
The Brook consistently use the program. I use table points to
make classroom transitions a friendly competition. I decided to
start the table points system when I noticed my students
struggling to make transitions in a timely fashion.