Second Interview Questions

1. What is your greatest strength as a teacher? What is a weakness and how have you overcome it?

My story telling.

My organization skills. I stay very organized so that I don’t do anything like lose papers.

2. What is a teaching strategy that you use that always works?

Riddles for the descriptive paper.

I also told them something else, but I don’t remember what.

3. How do you integrate reading within the writing class?

We read some. I write and have them read. I try to make it an integral part of the class. (This was probably my least successful answer.)

4. How do you feel about a required grammar test in freshman composition?

I am for it, though I don’t think it will necessarily say whether the person can write. It can be used as a diagnostic at least.

5. What would you do if the day a paper was due half the class came in without their work?

I would have the students who did their work turn it in. They could spend the class period doing whatever. The rest of the class would work on the assignment and lose points for it being late. While those students were working, I would read through the student papers I got, mark them for errors and return them so that the students could fix their papers before the new due date. (Carrot and stick.)

After I made sure my instructions weren’t the issue.

6. What keeps you motivated as a teacher?

I said it used to be teaching. Just being with the kids was great. About a year and a half ago I started getting burnt out. So I went to conferences and got some new ideas and was able to integrate those.

7. What three characteristics about you would make you a good colleague?

I like people.
I like to help, share.
I am enthusiastic.


What made you burn out? and how did you fix it?

I quit changing my class. I had found things that worked and worked well and I wasn’t mixing up the classes. I was just doing the tried and true. That was boring for me and so I was getting burnt out.

I went to conferences to get new ideas and started integrating those.

Can you tell us about the developmental writing program at your university?

I did. It was amazing how much I knew about it and the issues. I tried to be fair to all, but there are some problems. And I am not sure I did a great job of being positive. This was the other place I thought my answer might be weak.

There’s not a tutoring center. The main building that was used for that was destroyed by Ike and hasn’t been rebuilt. So there are about six hours a week that tutoring is offered.

There is only a single developmental writing class. That is fine for most of the students, but not all.

The writing committee is composed of teachers from other disciplines, not English.

The writing teachers are predominantly literature teachers. As far as I know, there is not a single rhetorician on staff. (There are many who care and do their best to teach composition well, but most of them do not have education in teaching writing.)

4 thoughts on “Second Interview Questions”

  1. I find this really interesting. The questions are sound and predictable, but there’s a spin on most that say something about the personality of the place. Like, the “and how did you overcome it” tag on the strengths/weaknesses question (good) or the question about the grammar test (a tricky one – as an insider, you probably know this but as an outsider I’d be wary that the department was split with one camp for it and one camp against it and they’re watching to see where I’d pitch my tent).
    I wonder about your blog – whether they are aware of it and whether it’s seen as a plus or minus.

  2. They could have googled me to find the blog, but I don’t think they did. I certainly didn’t tell them about it.

    I think that they might find it a plus, but other schools would see it as a negative and so I’m not too blatant about it yet.

    The question about the grammar test was not too shocking, had I thought of it. CC3 invented/created the grammar test that CC1 uses as an exit test for freshman composition. (I think that is poor placement.) I do think that a grammar test is a good thing, but I would think it would be better to make you pass it to get into freshman composition, not out of it.

  3. I just had a second interview with a local CC and the questions were very similar to the ones you were asked, but with more emphasis on the specific campus. Did you get any questions related to the campus… like “why do you want to teach here, specifically”?

    I memorized the campus’ mission and vision statements. I rather doubt the other finalists did this. (At least I hope they didn’t!)

    Now I am in the interminable purgatory of waiting to find out whether I am going to get picked up. One of my references wrote to me earlier this week to say he was contacted. I am having a hard time gauging exactly how to feel right now. I think pessimism is probably the best road psychologically, but getting this gig would be HUGE. A real game-changer.

  4. I did occasionally get questions about the specific campus. Usually not though. I knew why I wanted to work at CCs and they knew why their campus was good. One thing that might have helped me at one campus where I had interviews for three different jobs but never got anywhere would have been knowing the make up of the majority of the student body. I didn’t realize that most of the students on that campus were from a specific minority. It would have made a difference. But that isn’t in their literature and I didn’t know anyone who taught at that campus at the time, so I didn’t know.

    I hope you get the call. Teaching at a CC is such a lot of work and such an amazing opportunity!

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