Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Teaching -- CC interview hints

At BNCC I've been on two hiring committees in two years. The process is both rewarding and challenging. It is kind of stressful and surely time consuming (although, other departments are doing MANY more interviews -- I can't even imagine when they'll make a decision... ).

Writing a resume for a CC is an art, explaining your love for teaching and demonstrating good teaching is much more difficult than listing CV lines for conferences and publications. That means you have to work harder at it and really understand a CC before you will be successful.

Once you have managed to communicate your love for teaching and landed an interview, let me make a few general suggestions...

1) pick a teaching demo that can be accomplished in the time alloted. Practice this demo, maybe make a handout and come with a plan to teach us something in that time.
2) the teaching demo isn't your time to put every philosophical concept to work. Only 2 of the 6 of us are philosophers, the rest just want to learn one concept from you and try to imagine what it would be like to be your student.
3) If you are an advocate of active learning and student involvement -- if you say you don't lecture, you help students discuss etc... show us that. Don't tell us several times how active your teaching style is and then ask us two simple questions... engage us.
4) Don't tell us that you want to come to BNCC because you love the location -- find some reason that you want to teach for US in particular... even if it means you have to poke around on our website until you find our mission statement and then work that into your answer.
5) When we ask questions about "poorly prepared students", don't assume we mean non-interested students. Many of our students are very interested but lack the educational background necessary to access our information. Be aware of this fact of life in our classrooms.
6) Do discuss ways in which you've been active in learning to be a better teacher, when asked about professional development. Telling us exclusively about the papers you've written and, acting like doing so with a 4/4 load is an act of heroism rings false to a girl who teaches a 5/5, coaches debate and is writing a dissertation..
7) Be enthusiastic and engaging when answering questions. Don't lecture us.
8) By all means avoid talking to us like we are somehow ignorant and inferior. Telling us that your grad program was top 20 and that your graduate instructors expected y'all to teach at Harvard leaves us with the impression that you think you are much smarter than we are. If you treat US that way, how are you going to treat your students?
9) We are looking at the entire interview as an indication of your personality and be aware that we are getting a pretty good idea as to how your students would feel in a 50 minute class. If you leave and we are energized, then you'll get the job -- if you leave and we are looking for the Starbucks card, you'll be applying elsewhere.
10) Don't settle for us -- we aren't looking for a tenure reject -- we want someone whose choice it is to teach at BNCC.

1 comment:

Tabitha Grimalkin said...

This is a great post!!