The interviewer wants to know how you can contribute to the students as a whole. Good qualities for teachers include: - patience: persistently explaining to students of different levels - creativity: thinking of different ways to approach one problem - hardworking: spending time preparing detailed lessons - constant follow-up with students' progress - flexible: able to adapt when class doesn't go as planned
"I think my greatest strength is creativity. Some of my students really struggle with abstract math concepts and I incorporate figures, role-play, drawing, building with shapes, or animations to help them understand concepts."
This is a completely open-response question. It could be as simple as a multiplication trick or as complicated as a calculus formula. Share something your students have benefited from.
"When I was teaching middle school math, we had a lesson on adding and subtracting positive and negative numbers and my students had difficulty remembering which result was positive and negative. So I came up with a cute mnemonic for my students to memorize: positive means love and negative means hate. So if we love to love, then it's positive. If we love to hate, then it's negative. If we hate to love, it's still negative, but we if we hate to hate, then it's positive. I've been using that for years!"
The answer to this question varies depending on your communication experience and style. Usually, good parent-teacher communication is oriented at open discussion and problem-solving if the parent or teacher has concerns about their child.
"I prefer to have open and honest communication. I often ask parents first about how they feel their child's progress is, and then provide my perspective. Giving them a chance to share brings down their defenses and creates a more open channel of communication."
Think about your unique personality traits. For this question, it helps to have a knowledge of the existing teaching staff so you know what you have that contributes or enhances it.
"I think my lively personality would most contribute to the teaching staff. Everyone seems really friendly and to have a real passion teaching the students. I think I'd be able to add more creative ideas into the mix and I'd get along really well with them."
This question is about empathy and skill - how you are able to understand where low-level students are at and know how to encourage them to move forward, and at the same time, be able to provide higher-level students with the stimulus they need.
"I usually have one set of tasks for the entire class, and extra practice for higher-level students with a harder set of problems. I'll work more with lower-level students after class so as not to call them out in front of the whole class. I think it's important to teach to the middle."
Students come in all different shapes and sizes, learning styles and personalities. If you're more open-minded and creative, you might enjoy teaching the same type of student. if you're more serious and organized, you might target that kind of student more as well.
"I really enjoy teaching students who don't consider themselves to be good at math and frankly don't have a lot of confidence when it comes to math because you can see the change from disappointment to excitement and even being willing to take a lead on projects or at least not dreading every class."
There are many forms of assessment for math besides testing. Here are some alternative assessment methods: - Group projects: build a model, make a brochure, or solve a complex problem together - Open response questions: make a diagram, chart, or graph - Portfolios: artwork, journal writing, or outlines - Self-assessment: asking students to provide feedback on how they did on a project or how they could improve
Think about the most rewarding moments of teaching math, something that makes you feel immensely accomplished. Feel free to add more to your personal story as the interviewer wants to know you more about you than what's written on your resume.
"I like teaching math because I love seeing the lightbulb moment when my students finally understand a problem they've worked so hard to solve. Math is really goal-oriented in that way because students are working to arrive at a right answer. There are multiple ways. Sometimes they they give up, are disappointed in themselves, or don't realize they've missed a step here and there. But the final moment when they're able to walk through it themselves and arrive at the right answer really makes me feel like theirs and my hard work is worth it."
Be honest, but give yourself an opportunity to turn the negative into a positive down the road. Show that you are willing to work on this teaching weakness, or indirectly show how one of your strengths can make up for that weakness.
"My biggest weakness is probably impatience. I tend to get frustrated with students sometimes when I'm explaining a concept or if they don't understand what they missed on a math problem. But over the years I've learned to get more creative and be persistent with helping them figure out the missing pieces. I realized that sometimes we're not able to meet our teaching goal for the day but it's possible they'll get a better picture of the concept next week after they've learned other parts of it."
This is the place to demonstrate several aspects of your personality that are different from traditional math teachers. It's also a good idea to incorporate some of your teaching philosophy into this response.
"I think the most unique part of my math teaching is that I try to find techniques to get students to the answer as quickly as possible. This helps them feel a sense of success. I'm not too big on long theories or going into all the why's and hows. I really want students to feel accomplished when they can solve a math problem quickly and correctly. That way, math can be fun and not just a chore."
Math can be tough and boring at times. Think of a situation in which you exercised your creativity through a game, simulation, a time when you brought your students outdoors, or drew a picture, or played a video - anything to demonstrate that you can think outside the box.
"One of the most exciting classes I remember is when I put the class into groups and used dominoes to teach them multiplication. It was active and you could see the students' eyes sparkle when they got the right answer. Some were just happy sitting on the ground lining up the dominoes. It was much more effective than doing board work."
Lower-level students typically lack confidence, so most of the work here is on encouragement rather than teaching a specific math skill.
"I spend a lot of time rewarding small successes. My students who aren't great at math usually feel like they're far from their target scores, but what they don't realize is that Rome wasn't built in a day. Every extra problem they get right is worth celebrating. I try to encourage them that way so they keep trying. I'll also emphasize the importance of accuracy over speed because some students are missing problems because they're rushing rather than because they don't understand the material."
Talk about your strong suit in teaching. Answers can range from your continuity to your strict discipline, your relaxed nature, or your creative ideas. This question reveals a lot about your personality.
"I find that a consistent format works well for my students. Middle schoolers tend to be rowdy and unfocused, so they need a lot of structure throughout the class. I go through a set lesson plan with homework review, teach a concept, have them practice with an interactive activity, assign homework, and end the day with games to bring their spirits up. This way, they know what to anticipate and have something to look forward to while also knowing what's expected of them."
Here are some good qualities of math teachers that students might notice about you: - strict - creative - flexible - organized - has a good temper
"I think my students would say I'm really organized. I keep all of their homework and projects in separate color-coded folders and tabs and encourage them to be organized in their portfolios as well so we can always keep track of our progress. We also do a lot of self-assessment in class so it's important for them to see how they improved. Some students might find it a hassle at first, but it really helps them to see where they started and areas they can still improve on."
Try to come up with a set of rules that facilitates a fun but respectful and responsible learning environment.
"My classroom rules are: show up to class, do the homework, check your work, and follow the techniques taught in class. I tell my students it's okay to do things their way if they've already learned the concept before, but try the method I provide because it may be faster and more accurate, and maybe they'd learn a method they didn't know about before."
There are many ways to get students to become engaged in the math solving process. Good ways to motivate students include a reward system to keep track of progress, or group work by teaming up different leveled students together.
"I think the best way I've used to get students to be more engaged is to put them in groups and set up a problem solving competition over a semester. I think a little positive competition is necessary and a good motivator. Throughout the semester the group will work together to do worksheets, projects, reports, and peer assessments together. This helps students feel like they're part of a group and not left to solve problems on theri own."
A successful lesson doesn't necessarily have to achieve any math goal. Sometimes a good lesson can go well because the students are happy or feel accomplished. There's no right answer for this question.
"I think sometimes as teachers, we work too hard to finish the lesson or make sure students understand a concept. There's often the pressure to teach to the test or stick to a curriculum. One of the best lessons I had was when I was having a really tough lesson and halfway through I decided to take a break and we played a game instead. I was still able to keep up with the schedule for the week but taking that break was really necessary for both me and my students."
Talk about a supportive teacher, sibling or parent who encouraged you during your academic career.
"My college Statistics professor gave me a lot of encouragement during my junior year of college. Our class was struggling and he spent a lot of time coming up with different scenarios and research projects to for us to gain bonus points. I could tell he really wanted us to succeed even though the class was the hardest one I'd taken."
The interviewer wants to know how you will continue to advance your career. If you have plans to go back to school, you can discuss those, and if not, talk about an area of math teaching that you're interested in exploring.
"I'd like to teach across the board to students of different levels. Most of my experience has been with middle schoolers and I'd really like to teach elementary school math to gain more experience."
Think about a math teacher who impacted you or a time when you felt accomplished learning math and wanted others to have same experience. If becoming a math intention wasn't your intent, say so honestly as well.
"I never really thought about becoming a teacher, but I've always enjoyed math. In high school I had a really creative Geometry teacher who actually made doing proofs fun. In college, my Statistics teacher taught game theory using a simulation. I tutored math in college and found that I was able to put my creative ideas into my teaching as well and it was only then that I developed an interest in teaching math."
The answer to this question can range from your student teaching or personal tutoring experience to your formal teaching experience. Describe the event, how you were challenged, and explain how you overcame it.
"The most frustrating thing I experienced was a difficult parent who didn't understand why his child's math score didn't improve at the end of the term. It challenged how I perceived my own ability as a teacher. In the end, I brought out all his major tests, quizzes, and projects to show that the student had been putting in consistently mediocre effort in the class and was lying to his dad about the time he spent on his work. The parent was finally able to see that his child lacked follow-up, and hired a tutor to follow with his progress for the upcoming semester."
In contemporary education, mathematics education is the practice of teaching and learning mathematics, along with the associated scholarly research.
Researchers in mathematics education are primarily concerned with the tools, methods and approaches that facilitate practice or the study of practice, however mathematics education research, known on the continent of Europe as the didactics or pedagogy of mathematics, has developed into an extensive field of study, with its own concepts, theories, methods, national and international organisations, conferences and literature. This article describes some of the history, influences and recent controversies.