Questions about Potential Interview Questions

I have my very first interview tomorrow for a full time teaching position in secondary level math. I am quite nervous and can’t sleep, so I thought I’d spend yet more time researching and preparing for potential interview questions. Most of them are pretty straight forward:

What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses? Why do you want to teach in this district? etc.

But a few of them are just stumping me.

Try this one out:

Describe what diagnostic and proscriptive learning means?
I have no freaking clue.

Any ideas? For once, google was useless to me, at least for definine proscriptive learning. Maybe my google-fu just needs sharpening.

Ugg. First of all - GOOD LUCK! Remember to smile - that’s of paramount importance in interviews!

Second of all - my google fu is weak tonight as well - I did manage to find where you got your sample interview questions from though! :slight_smile:

Anyways two things:

(1) They’re not going to freaking ask you that question. They’re just not. Don’t stress. Get some sleep.

(2) If they do ask - here’s your line of bullshi—I mean say something like this “These are opposite types of learning. Diagnostic learning is where a student might do an experiment or something similar to learn something for themselves. For example, a student might combine different colors to learn about how the colors mix and the color palette. Or use a prism to break up the light to see the different colors of light. Proscriptive learning occurs when the teacher tells the student what to learn. For example, telling students that America gained her independence in 1776. Then expecting them to commit that date to memory. That’s proscriptive.”

Granted - I am not a teacher - and I have NO IDEA if what I just wrote it right. I googled around a bit, couldn’t find much, and just made it up. That’s called interviewing. You’re gonna do fine!


  • Peter Wiggen

Make sure you have something in reserve if the interviewer comes back with “so if XXX is one of your weaknesses, how would you go about improving it”?

I’m not a teacher or trained education person by any means. But are you sure it was proscriptive and not prescriptive? That would make a bit more sense to me. I’d then hazard a guess that diagnostic learning is when the teacher assesses each pupil’s individual capacities, optimal learning style etc and designs an appropriate teaching program around them. Prescriptive learning would be more along the lines of “one method of teaching suits all pupils”.

Hehe. Thanks, Peter. I needed a laugh. Luckily, my BS skills are excellent. I once BS’s my way through an essay so well that the teacher admitted to having to look everything up just to make sure that what I said wasn’t in fact the truth. Now that takes some skills!

So Smile - check. Turn on the BS when needed - check. :stuck_out_tongue:

I forgot to add - good luck with the interview.

I have already prepared answers to some of the more commonly asked questions, including the strengths and weaknesses question. I made sure to include how I have already worked to improve my weaknesses as well as how I can continue to improve them in the future.

As for the pro/prescriptive thing, the question could be faulty, but I copied it exactly as it was shown on the site. Based on what you and Peter have said, those definitions seem to make sense. Thanks!

Sorry about the double post, but I found another one.

“It is the first day of class, you are writing something on the board and a paper wad hits you in the back, what would you do? Later the same day, if all the students drop their pencils, what do you do?”

I doubt that this would be asked at an interview, but I am curious as to how other people would handle the situation. I am very soft spoken and reserved, so classroom management is one of my weaker areas.

If a student throws a wad of paper, you can bet everyone else knows who did it. Pick the paper up and look puzzled. Say, “Hmmm…what’s this? A note?” Smooth the paper out and begin to read: Dear Teacher DoperChic, I’m sooooo happy to have you for a teacher. You are soooooooo nice…and pretty too! By this time, you’ll probably know who threw it too! Get the kid’s name and pretend (or not) to write something in your class book.

The old pencil trick? Keep talking and start going around the room picking up the pencils as if it’s the most natural thing in the world. Then, put the pencils in your desk or your bag. Keep teaching all the while. Eventually, give the class something to write. Of course, (from your desk) you’ll ask those who are not writing why they are not writing…don’t let everyone answer at once and invite them each one by one to come up and retrieve their pencil. Get their names, etc.

What you have to avoid, especially these days, is confrontation. That’s a lose-lose situation, and if you back down once, you’ll be doing it all year.

How did the interview go DoperChic?

It went pretty well, considering it was my first “real” interview ever.

They asked some of the questions that I had prepared for, but a lot that I hadn’t. I don’t want to give too many details away just in case, lest I give away my identity.

Another district called me last night and I set up an interview with them for tomorrow morning. It’s a pretty well known and well-respected district, so I’m not so sure they’ll want a newbie like myself, but we’ll see. Wish me luck, ya’ll!

I swear by the website, They have some really good interview tips (and resaume tips, etc.). It’s geared for the entry-level position, but it helped me an absolute ton on my last interview (I got the job). I’ve bought copies of the book (which is available 100% online at the site) to give to several people as well.

I have both interviewed for professional positions, and been the interviewer for professional (and non-professional positions).

Let me suggest that the two most important things to do in an interview have nothing to do with the content of your answers. That would be true for teachers as well; I live with someone who is involved in interviews of prospective teachers.

First, how you present yourself is vital. You must be a positive person with some sort of engaging personality. It should be your personality; interviewers can spot falseness a mile away and shy from it often. In short, your approach should say, “I am here because I want to meet you, I want to like you, and I want you to like me enough to give me a job.” Make sure to talk as appropriate, try not to be too nervous-seeming, and for goodness sake, smile.

Second, you must act as if you have given some thought to the job in advance. I can’t stand interviewing people who sound as if they simply haven’t thought about what the job is going to entail, or how they will do at it, or anything like that. How enthusiastic about being hired does that come off as? I personally dislike it if you the interviewee give me “rote” answers, but if you are asked questions like, “How would you handle this situation,” at least make it sound like you’ve contemplated the job’s requirements and pitfalls in general and come up with some sort of concepts for handling them.

No offense to whomever it was posted that cute idea about the pencils; in any class I’ve been in, the kids would simply have pulled out another pencil (most of them), defeating the purpose, assuming they didn’t get all upset about the fact you were collecting the pencils in the first place. :rolleyes: Cute answers like that seem to work very rarely in real classrooms.

But I doubt they are looking for a “correct” response. What they do want to hear is a response that shows you at least are going to walk into the room your first day with some concept of what to do when kids behave badly. Which they will do, daily, until you get them aware of the fact you simply don’t allow it.

I interviewed this week, too, but they used some “new style” of interview where each interviewer (there were two) asked me approximately 15 questions. Each person took about and hour, so I was there about two hours total.

The interviewer(s) had a stack of papers- each paper covering one topic. On each page the interviewer chose one of ten possible pre-printed questions and then noted my answers in the two or three columns at the bottom of the page. On the final question, I had to “think about my answer” while the interviewer reviewed her notes.

I think I did well, but it was a very different interview from any I’ve ever had before.

I just got a phone call this morning and They Want Me!!! I also interviewed at another district though, so I have to wait to hear back from them before I decide what to do.

Woo Hoo!!!

When we interview folks around here, it’s usually in a committee setting, as exempt positions cannot be hired without a search committee process. There are also guidelines about treating each candidate equally, so we sometimes each ask the people the same questions, by interviewer.

Congrats, DoperChic! Isn’t it a wonderful feeling to get an offer and have something solid. Good on you for taking the time to compare offers and what is right for you. Since you were interviewing them as much as they interviewed you, I’m hoping you got a good sense of which place you would want to be at.

What is the difference between a diagnostic teacher and a prospective teacher?


I know it’s been a while, but I thought it best to update this thread rather than start a whole new one. That said…

I got the job!!!

I just started today. So far I am loving it. The school has a great team atmosphere, the kids are all pretty well behaved, the class sizes are extremely small (4-15 per class), the pay is great, benefits are great… I keep waiting for something bad to pop up, it’s all too good to be true. Wish me luck!!

Woohoo! WooHoo!

Congratulations. Wishing you luck in your new career. :slight_smile:

Well done DoperChic.

Thanks, guys! I’m so freaking excited!