November 4, 2014

Interviews, Interviews and Some More Interviews

I've had the most number of job interviews since I worked here in the US some 7 years ago. 

It wasn't because of my performance, promise! The districts I've worked with were either restructuring or undergoing budget cuts and I'd always be part of the lucky ones! Lol.

Unfortunately, to move or transfer to a different school within a district, I am subjected to go through the job application process and be chosen from the pool of teachers who have the same fate.

So, yearly since 2007, I'd be interviewed by my targeted school and I'd have the job. I was pretty good, wasn't I?

Imagine 7 different schools in 7 years! Wow, huh! 

I guess, US schools need special education teachers badly, or I am just at the right place, at the right time or maybe, I wooed them with my charm during interviews! Lol.

Every year during interviews, I'd get sweaty palms too! Lol.

It's just scary right? I mean, it is. Lol. All eyes and ears are on you as you answer their series of questions. While doing so, you hope and pray you are best fit to their requirements as you market yourself to them!

It's pretty stressful, I know.

Tell me about yourself. Don't they always ask you this question? It never fails. The first question will always be for you to tell them about yourself. 

How do I tell them about myself. What do they really want to know?

All these years, I've just been giving them random answers. You know what? honestly, I'd always start with 'I am a Filipino...' (and I think that was the lucky trick!) Lol. 

Anyway, today, I decided to look it up. What do the interviewers want to hear? 

Here's what I found...

The interviewer doesn't really want to know about your life history. (When I was 7 years old my favorite food was.... then when I turned 21 years old we lived in....) Lol!

What they are after is the match. They want to know how qualified you are for the position. This means how your education, experiences and accomplishments fit their job requirements and how your personality and qualities will fit into the team.   

Imagine, there are 15 more or so applicants vying for the position. How do you stand out? How will you make them remember you and hire you?!

It's all about being outside of the box and staying there.. until the interview's done! At least if you want to be unique, not boring and be the one! Yes?

But of course, you need to give them relevant, interesting and concise information and explanation about yourself.

Tough one, huh?

Should you be worried though? Nah. My personal philosophy is, if it's for you, it's for you. It's all a matter of wanting the job so bad, you will be awesome! It's also about finding that one job which will bring out the best in you...and will make you fulfill your life's purpose.

For the mean time, read, write, reflect, pray and imagine! 

... or better yet use this Ultimate Guide to Job Interview Answers!
Click Here!

... and apply here! Oil Rig Jobs!!! pays a lot! Click Here!   

... or Work from home! This is the best! Click Here!
Good luck to all those looking for jobs!

... and good luck to me! Ooops:)



October 27, 2014

Inclusion and its Woes

I have the best job in the world! I am just thankful to God for the opportunity!

See, I am an Inclusion Teacher. I work in the regular classes with special education students in the room. I help out kids just to make sure all accommodations and modifications are given, if needed. I also monitor the progress of their goals. Aside from IEP documents and meetings I have to attend to, and bus duty... that's all I do! Plus, of course, since I am a teacher I get to enjoy all the planning times, half-days, no classes and summers off. Am I not the luckiest?

What does it really mean to be an Inclusion Teacher? You may wonder...

To be one, especially in a full inclusion setting, which I am at, actually requires both regular and special education teacher to work together in all aspects. There are different models that both teachers can use so it really depends on how both teachers can work it out. 

It is the collaboration part that really needs time. It is best if both can plan together to address all the learning needs of the students. Since, different teachers have their own styles, techniques and program, both really need to compromise.

Half of the teachers I work with are happy with my simple assistance in the room. They do not want me to teach at all. They just want me at the back, and roam around to help out students when they are doing activities individually or if they have group work. Yep, One Teach - One Assist model. 

Most of these classes are teacher-directed, so One-Teach, One Observe method is best at this point.

Are we implementing successful inclusion practices?

Obviously, no, because we can do more!

So, I conferred with my teachers. I offered my services, I told them I am open to team-teaching, they can just give me a topic and I will handle it or we can work on a topic together. I told them we can also work on other inclusion models like station teaching or parallel teaching, alternate teaching or even Tag-teaching! 

I guess, either the rapport hasn't been established yet, they do not trust, they do not want to collaborate, they do not want a special education teacher messing their plans or simply they just want 100% control of the room, which they told me was more on it.
The bottom line here is, at least, I informed them of what more we, I can do. 

Since we see each other everyday, it is best to maintain a nice working relationship, so do I step on shoes? Of course not.

Happily, the other half of the teachers I work with, are more open to collaboration, to my general assistance and teaching in the room. At least, at these classes I more recognized as a teacher too! (Aha!) They are more open to ideas, they would sometimes follow my advice and feedback on how to reach students who are having a hard time. These are happier classes.

Well, sometimes, while seating at the back of the room, just like today... I am just grateful for the experiences, really. We have the nicest group of kids, quiet, abiding, with very little or no behavior problems at all! 

Still, I feel, if only all of my regular education teachers are open to what a full inclusion model is, we can do so much more to lead this class to greatness! We could have done a lot of student-led instructions and student-directed activities and students will definitely learn a lot more, than the traditional ways they are doing it.

It is easier this way, right?, mmmm... for as long as the door is closed to what an inclusion class is about. It is hard. 

This is funny... just in time!, the head of Special Education in our school  confirmed that our school will follow, One-Teach, One-Assist model! I am not to teach the class, handle a lesson, team-teach or any of that sort! I can only go assist and help students out. I am even told, I shouldn't allow a student to go to the bathroom, it needs to be the decision of the regular education teacher! Isn't that the best?!

I am lucky! I love it! 

Deep down though, I know, I can be more and I can do more...

Still, I am thankful for the time out! I am grateful for work and its perks!

At all times, I should just be grateful... and I am, it's just that sometimes, like today, I can't help but feel like I'm kidding myself! 

October 26, 2014

Who Says, I Have No Choice?!

(continued from What's My Karma With Elementary?)

Even if my mind was set on becoming an IEP Facilitator again, I readily gave it up because I knew I was needed in the classroom. 

What I wasn't prepared for was the idea of going back to an elementary school and being told - "Maria, if you want to stay with the district then you have no choice but to accept the position in that elementary school!" - really bothered me a lot! I simply could not take it!

God has given us all, free will... and to be told that I have no choice, was a little bothersome.. don't I have a choice really? But I do have a choice, right? 

If I am to go back to teaching then I want to be an effective teacher! I knew from the 4.5 months in the elementary school that it just wasn't for me! I have no elementary education, I have no experience. I have no passion. For some, it could be the easiest job in the world. For me, I was drowning, I actually drowned! It wasn't the best feeling!

BUT you know these were just excuses, right? I mean, I could always try again and see if the second time around would be better?  

BUT you see, words have power. To be told, "You have no choice", well, my mind just couldn't accept!

SO, I tried to be responsible by talking to higher ups. I thought, maybe, I  could change their minds but I failed. So, for the third time this year, I resigned. 

Well, actually, since I wasn't given any contract yet, I informed them that I won't be pushing on with it. That same day, I accepted the offer from another district as an inclusion teacher in a middle school.

Thinking about it now, maybe, my mind could have changed had they used encouraging, positive words, maybe, instead of saying.. "You have no choice!", they could have said, "You know Maria, we believe in you... just give it another shot! If in, say, 2 months, and you feel it's really not for you then we will allow you to move to another school." This, would have sounded nice, right? (Well, they did say these words, after I accepted the other district's offer.. too late a hero!)

BUT then, maybe God has other plans, really! :)


Still, I thank God for choices. 

The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.  Proverbs 16:1

.. and my story goes on.


October 25, 2014

What's My Karma With Elementary?!


It was January, 2012 when I started Pinoy Teacher's Stories.. and I missed it! 

It has been 6 months since I last wrote my heart out and yep, it has been a while! A lot of things happened since April... as you were all aware, haha.. OK let me refresh you...

.... I finished the school year 2013-2014 in one of the Indian reservation elementary school and then I resigned. Yes, after mere 4.5 months... and yes, this was my 2nd resignation this 2014! Lol.

I had this eureka moment with my pupils, I embraced them with all of me.... I had self-realization, and in the end, I accepted the fact that elementary was not for me. Period.

On my last day at the school, I was hired back as IEP Facilitator in my old district for school year 2014-2015.  Yehey! :)
So, with work settled, I enjoyed my summer vacation with my parents (I thank God for their visas)!

.... then the NEWS! the district changed its plan.. there will no longer be an IEP Facilitator position and so my next option will be to teach again!... well, it was fine by me... all's good! 

After three days, another news! --- I cannot choose the school I want to teach at, if I want to stay with the district, "I have no choice", I am mandated to teach ---- in the elementary school!

The gods must be making fun of me :)

(to be continued..)

NAMASTE. (I missed writing this too!)

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