Tuesday, July 9, 2013

I think I "maked" a bad impression

I said “maked”. For real. In my interview I used the word “maked”. It came out like this:

Assistant principal: When did you decide that you wanted to become a teacher and why?

Emily: Well, I had a handful of fabulous teachers — I credit them with inspiring me to become a teacher. They maked me who I am. 

Assistant principal: (blank stare)

Teacher #1: (blank stare)

Teacher #2: (blank stare)

Teacher #3: (blank stare)

Teacher #4: (blank stare)

Emily: uhhhhhh….I mean….um….shoot….I know that maked isn’t really a word, I’m just super nervous. I’m sorry.

::: Crickets. Pin drop. Tumbleweed. ::::

Assistant principal: So, Ms. Updegrove, tell us what you feel is your strong point within language arts — what is your passion? Is it creative writing? Reading? Language mechanics…..? (obviously not!)

Talk about a boo-boo. Sheesh. Actually, all in all it wasn’t a terrible experience. I was definitley much more nervous in the days leading up to the interview than I was when I actually got there (until I used the word “maked”, that is….). 

Because my interview was at 9 this morning, and I live about two hours away from the school, I left my house at about 6. I wanted to have plenty of time because on Saturday when I drove from my parents house in NC to my house in KY I sat in traffic for about two hours near VA. I definitely didn’t want that to happen on the day of my first interview!  I felt a bit overdressed (my mom insisted I should wear a black pencil skirt, a black cardigan, and pumps). In July.  And when I pulled out of my driveway at 6AM, it was already 70 degrees. Like, whoa. Summer in Kentucky is always a downer. Even without mourning clothes. I arrived at about 8, went to the school around 8:40, made smalltalk with the very nice secretary, and was called into the conference room around 9:25. I was walking out of the school at about 10, so the whole interview lasted about 35 minutes.

I was fairly confident in most of the questions I answered, although there was one that I had to say I honestly didn’t know enough about to answer. I believe it was “how do you incorporate the common core standards into your curriculum?”, which slightly confused me. WV began using the common core last year and so most of my unit planning for the education department has been based on CC standards rather than state CSO’s. So, I very politely said “I’m not sure I understand the question….”, to which the interviewer responded “what do you know about KY standards, KTIP, and the Common Core integration?”. And then I said “I honestly don’t know enough about KY standards to answer that question”. At that point in time it felt like the kiss of death, but later in the day I realized that perhaps the interviewer thought that I was only using state CSO’s in WV, and was therefore unfamiliar with the Common Core initiative (maybe....?). In reality, I have been using CC/Next Generation standards since day one in WV, so there really is no “incorporating” them into my lesson plans — they’re just what I draw from in order to shape my units. If I had given myself another few seconds to think about it logically I could’ve answered intelligently. But, I didn’t. 

When I left, the assistant principal (the principal was called out for jury duty, so he wasn’t in the interview) told me they had several other candidates to interview and would let us know something “soon” (which I find to be a very arbitrary word...). I do feel a lot better now that the first interview is under my belt. I feel much more confident and prepared for the next one...should there be a next one. We'll see. 

Thanks to all of my readers for helping me with scenario questions -- they SO helped!

And now back to writing my thank you letter in my very favorite Starbucks. Ever.

Pullman Square -- Huntington, WV

Happy Tuesday!



  1. Oh dear! I can remember doing something similar at my very first interview. It was a phone interview too, so was really hard to read the interviewers expression!!
    They asked me about how I would promote creative thinking in my writing class, and I responded that I would teach them how to spell. (Or something along those lines) Hmmm I think that that was probably the reason I didn't get the job! Keep your chin up though, the right job will come along at just the right moment!

    The E-Z Class

    1. Oh goodness. Haha. Well, some of my answers were ridiculous also -- I can't remember half of what I said, but I do remember the assistant principal asking me how I would get students excited about reading poetry, and I said something like "I would just make them excited about it...like, duh...." (although thankfully I didn't actually say "duh"). As the day progresses I think of more and more ignorant things I said.

      Thanks for that encouragement -- I believe the right job will come along, also :)


  2. Interviews are the worst! But they do get easier the more you go on. I just nominated you for a Liebster Award...visit my blog to learn more about it!

    Carolina Teacher

    1. They are the worst! I think there should be a better way of getting to know the candidates because it seems like all the questions are standard and all the answers are canned. But, it's okay -- it's part of the process and I'll get there :)

      Wow, thanks so much! You're too sweet. I'm headed over to check it out soon! :)


  3. Emily- I wish I were on that committee because I would have MAKED them hire you! You will be a PERFECT teacher- I can just tell that from your blog! One interview I had- this was years ago- they asked what RTI was... I had, of course, never heard of it- so I guessed that it was something to do with intervention- by total luck. Well, NOW I am in charge of our RTI team- so there. HA! (in another school, mind you, cause I DIDN'T get that job. :) I just found your blog and love, love, love it. You will be so glad you are starting it now to look back on. Keep us all posted!! :)
    Kindergarten: Holding Hands and Sticking Together

    1. Aw, Carolyn, thanks for those sweet words!! Totally made my day :) And good for you!!
      I too had a question about RTI, which may have been the only question I answered well (because thankfully my supervising teacher was also in charge of RTI so I got to see a lot of what happens from her end). I beat myself up the whole way home because I KNEW what I wanted to say, its just that I was too nervous to articulate anything intelligent!! But, I am thankful for the experience and feel so much better about the next one.
      Thanks for following me here :)


  4. Oh I have my fingers crossed for you! Your post brought so many memories for me....I don't think I ever really did a good job on an interview. The one job I wanted the most I didn't get. However, the person who did get it was going to get it no matter what I said. (Her dad was on the school board). Anyway, I enjoyed reading it and am a new follower of your blog. Not even sure how I got here! LOL

    Keep us posted! Interviewing is NEVER fun................


    1. Well I'm glad you ended up here anyways!! Wow -- that's one thing that gets me down -- thinking about how political some school systems are. Sad, really, because I think a lot of good teachers are missing opportunities to shine. Such is life, I suppose. Thanks for following me! Hope you enter my giveaway!


  5. Your post maked me laugh! It happens to everyone so don't get yourself down. I had an interview about 7 years ago and the asked me what math curriculum my district used. I knew the book. I had used it for 8 years but didn't know the company it was linked with. So I guessed, and was wrong. I got the job anyway so the rest of my interview must have went well. Then I had another interview for my current position as an instructional coach. I was sitting in front of a panel of 14 people- principals, district personnel, and who knows who else lol. I was at a school where our self-contained kiddos go and some kid threw a fit in the hall. I was totally distracted and completely forgot what I was saying and the question. So I had to apologize and ask them to repeat the question.
    So don't worry. It happens.
    Like you said- at least you have your first one under you belt.
    Good luck!
    I hope you hear something soon!
    Antoinette (Your newest follower!) :)

    1. Haha, so glad it maked you laugh!

      I hate interviews, but I suppose it's part of life. I had to ask for the question to be repeated also. More than once. SMH...

      Thanks for following! Hope you enter my giveaway!!!


  6. Congrats on your first interview and do not worry, I think they always suspect people to be a bit nervous, that shows it means a lot to them. On the day of my interview I woke up with a major fever and was throwing up. I actually had to ask them if I could have the seat closest to the door (where the superintendent was sitting) in case I needed to run out quick to get sick! Luckily I never got sick in the actual interview but I felt awful and was definitely not focused.
    My fingers are crossed for you and even if this interview doesn't end in a job it allows you to be more prepared in the future. Keep us all updated :)

    Miss L
    Miss L’s Whole Brain Teaching

    P.S My blog giveaway is underway if you want to check it out, thank you again for sponsoring :)

    1. Oh wow -- I had nightmares about being sick during the interview. Thankfully that didn't happen. I just used terrible grammar. No big. Hahaha. Yes, I'm counting it as a stepping stone. Going to check it out now!


  7. How nerve racking! I just read this post from Run, Teacher, Run and it would have been so helpful back when I was interviewing. Which feels like it was a lifetime ago! At least you have a story to tell your kids when they get older! :)