Sunday, December 4, 2011

Interviewing Teachers to get Involved in the School System

            At the same observations I performed the student interviews at; I also had to interview teachers and other staff members in the school.  I had to interview an exemplary teacher whom the students adored and also who would create projects outside of the school to keep the students busy, a staff member who was not a teacher, my host teacher, and a union representative which was a very important interview.  Each of these interviews was very important because it taught me that I need to be involved in the school along with outside of the school, need to be involved with other teachers, and need to have involvement in the union.

Exemplary Teacher:
1. What is your subject matter and why did you become a teacher?
            The exemplary teacher that I interviewed teaches 6th and 7th grade Science and also 8th grade Health.  She became a teacher for two reasons.  The first one is that no one thought she could do it, so it was a challenge for her to prove them wrong.  The second was that she was not totally happy with my education, so she wanted to improve the level of education at Deposit.
2. What do you like most about teaching?
            The impact that Mrs. Smith has made on her students is important, but she truly enjoys the learning process more.  Seeing a student get a concept and then use it, that is the most rewarding.
3. What do you like least about teaching?
             Mrs. Smith does not like all the educational changes that have been made.  For examples, Teaching for a Test and No Child Left Behind.
4. What is an effective teacher?
            An effective teacher, she believes, is a good role model, involved with the students outside of the classroom, and cares about the students.  But the teacher still demands respect.  Another important element is the discipline and control in the classroom.
5. How do you manage your classroom and maintain discipline?
            Mrs. Smith has high expectations for her students and she reminds them daily of what is expected and their responsibilities.  She also demands respect and good manners from her students at all times.  If these rules are broken, the students know the consequences and she makes sure to follow through with them.  She claims that another important aspect of teaching is following through with the consequences of rules being broken.
6. What advice would you give a new teacher just starting their first year of teaching?
            “Do not befriend your students; it is not a popularity contest.  You are there for teaching content and lifelong activities not to be their friend.  Be involved but not too much, you do not want to over exert yourself.  Having good discipline and high expectations are very important also!”-Mrs Smith.

Reflection with the Exemplary teacher:

7. What did you learn from this interview?
            I learned quite a bit from this interview.  I learned that having strong discipline and high expectations are very good to have in the classroom.  The students do respect you and still like you.  Also staying involved outside of school is a good thing.  I personally have worked with this teacher before.  She set up so the school can create a landscape out front of their school and she made sure that all the students helped out.  I worked with them on it and all the kids enjoyed it.  The ones who did not really want to do it, she made sure they helped out a little bit and then they were able to go inside.  It was a good learning experience for the students and also for myself.  But I learned through the interview that it is good to be involved outside of the classroom because you can help more students get involved and have something to do besides sit home doing nothing.
8. What is the most important thing you can apply to your own teaching?
            The most important thing that I feel I can apply to my teaching is the sticking to the discipline.  I have known many teachers who have always threatened discipline but they never followed through with the consequences.  When I become a teacher I will be following through with my consequences this way the students will not see me as a push over.

Staff Interview:
 1. What is your role in the school?
            Mrs. Kelly’s role in the school would be the school nurse for middle school and high school. 
2. Why did you choose this type of position?
            Mrs. Kelly chose this type of position because she likes working with the kids and loves the hours.  She loves getting the change to educate the students about health issues, ways to prevent things instead of ways to make things worse.  She also loves the hours because she gets her vacations off and then also she gets steady hours.
3. In what ways do you interact with the physical education teachers?
            She communicates with the teachers on a regular basis regarding the student’s health issues.  If they have sports injuries, doctor notes, if they are cleared to play sports, and if they are excused from class and why.
4. What are the biggest challenges in this role?
            The biggest challenges she feels are the communication with the parents or lack of confidentiality issues.  She is kept in the dark about what is going on with their kids and it is only a need to know kind of basis sometimes.
5. What advice would you give a new teacher just starting his/her first year of teaching?
            “Just have fun and try to enjoy your job as well as the kids.  They have such a unique perspective on things!” she said. 

Reflection with the School Nurse:

6. What did you learn from this interview?
            I learned that can be a good thing to be a good thing or a bad thing that the parents are involved.  They can either help you or cause you more trouble than you already have to deal with.  But then again it is a good thing to have them involved with what is going on with their kids.  If they are involved you know that the students have parents who are willing to push them to further themselves instead of just letting them sit on the couch all day.
7. What is the most important thing that you can use to apply to your own teaching?
            I feel that the most important thing that I can apply to my own teaching is taking her advice.  In other words, enjoying the kids and how they have a unique perspective on things.  Well when I become a teacher I plan on applying that to my teaching, listening to the kids.  I have noticed that you can learn a lot from students and they can only make better teachers.

Host Teacher:
1.In your opinion, what are the strengths and weaknesses of the program here?
My host teacher feels that the strengths that are within the physical education program is the dedicated physical education staff that works very well together, a budget that supports the implementation of new units.  A major weakness is the time periods being down to 38 minutes instead of 84 minutes.  “There is a lot less we can do in that time period compared to the longer session” he says.
2. Please describe the grading policy for physical education.
            The grading policy consists of a rubric that states the responsibilities of the students.  It states how the students need to act, which is a positive attitude, being prepared for class, etc.  Also the rubric hits on skill development and all the domains (cognitive, psychomotor, and affective).
3. Does the school or school district have a curriculum for physical education?  If so, what type of curriculum it is (fitness/wellness, project adventure, movement education, etc.)?
            The school district does have a curriculum.  They have unit and lesson plans for all units. 
4. Does your school use a P.E. Profile? Why or why not?
            They do use a P.E. Profile.  They use it because it provides additional methods of accountability of assessment for the teachers to use but also so the students can see what they are doing. 
5. Does your program use technology? If so, what types?
            “We wish that we could use technology for the program.  But it is too expensive for our budget”, he states.  So they do not really use technology in their program. 
6. How do you manage your classroom and maintain discipline?
            The teacher uses consistency and good rules to maintain the classroom.  These work well, I personally have seen the classroom and it defiantly works.  Being consistant with discipline and following the rules is a good way to manage the classroom.
7. What are your biggest challenges as a teacher here?
            My host teacher feels that maintaining disengaged students is the hardest.  The students that do not want to be involved in class are rather hard to get involved.  He has a hard time keeping them engaged with what is going on in the classroom.
8. What advice would you give a new teacher just starting his/her first year of teaching?
            He told me that having flexibility is the best thing to have.  Everything changes and nothing is ever the same.  The students change day to day, the lesson always changes.  So being able to deal with that is the best thing to have when being a new teacher.

Reflection with my Host Teacher:

9. What did you learn from this interview?
            I learned that having a staff in the department that works with everyone is a good thing.  Also having a school that supports the physical education department is another good thing.  With them backing you up, you are able to excel more with the students and even learn more yourself.  Another thing that I learned is that flexibility is a good thing to have in your life.  Being able to work with anything that comes your way is something that I will most defiantly hold on to throughout my years of learning as a student and a teacher.
10. What is the most important thing you can apply to your own teaching?
            The most important thing that I can apply to my own teaching is the advice that he gave me, which was to have flexibility when it comes to teaching.  I know that things are always changing and people are different from day to day.  So therefore the thing that I will most defiantly apply to my teaching is to treat every day as a different day not the same as the previous one because it will change.  I noticed in observations that the students are one way one day and a totally different one the next.

Union Representative:
1. What is your role of the union for the teachers?
            Miss Jones is the president of the teachers union.  Her role is to protect and support the teachers.  The union makes sure that the district follows the teacher’s contracts.  They also are there to support the teachers in any way that they need it.  Whenever the teachers are asked to go into a meeting, they need to make sure there is a union representative there with them.  The union representative is there to make sure everything goes smoothly and that nothing gets turned around.
2. Why did you choose in this capacity?
            She put herself into this position because if you do, then you have a voice.  She was able to put her opinion in things and make a change. 
3. In what ways do you interact with teachers?
            They hold negotiations and make committees.  She also asks for things for the teacher’s new contracts.  If the teachers get into a bind then she is there to provide support and to be a witness.  But she is not there to lie for them.  She is there to make sure the facts are straight then if something is wrong she is there to back them up.
4. What advice would you give a new teacher just starting his/her first year teaching?
            Miss Jones told me that new teachers should know become familiar with the union and know who the union representative is.  Also to know what your contract says like the ins and outs of the contract then ask questions if you have any.  Lastly, to never go into a meeting alone, it could be a trap and that would not be good.

Reflection with the Union Representative:

5. What did you learn from this interview?
            I learned that the union is very important to teachers.  They are there to make sure nothing bad happens and to back the teachers up.  I never knew how important they were or even what they really did.
6. What is the most important thing you can apply to your own teaching?
            The most important thing that I can apply to my own teaching is to get involved with the union and know who they are.  Also like Miss Jones said to be involved with the union and actually become a union representative this way you can voice your opinions and have a say.

            After I took these interviews, I reflected on how important it really is to be involved in the school.  Without involvement in the school I would not be able to better teach my students or know what is going on with the union.  I also learned that it is important to have the students doing something after school.  If the students are doing a program after school then they are not on the streets, watching TV or playing video games, and are working on their homework to better their grades.  This experience with interacting with other teachers has opened my eyes to my future as a teacher.

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