In the last few weeks, I have been holding interviews for a few positions within our grant. I also participate in our local counseling program's mock interviews for their graduate students. Being on the other side of the table isn't something elementary counselors often experience because we can be the only counselor in our building. I have learned so much in these interviews and here's my Top Five Tips:
Please, please, please don't wear a black business suit. Wear something that stands out a bit but still looks professional. Sometimes when interviewing several people in a row, I remember something about their appearance to help me separate candidates in my mind. I might say "the woman with the blue shirt," or "the guy with the striped tie." If you look exactly the same as every other candidate, you don't stand out. That said, don't go crazytown either. You can check out my pinterest board for interview outfits (guys too!).
Make a statement when you walk in the room. Greet each person and shake their hand. I was once interviewed by a panel of 10 people around a giant table and shaking hands would have been awkward but as the principal introduced each person, I smiled and said a hello to each one. I always bring copies of my resume just in case anyone needs one. I know exactly what it feels like to race into a meeting and realize you forgot the materials you need in your classroom.
When asked a question, answer specifically. Include details from your previous experience but always relate back to the job you are seeking. This is especially important if you are changing careers or even counseling levels. It's great that you worked with first generation college bound students but if you are applying for an elementary position, that won't be very relevant. However, collaborating with community resources to meet the needs of students and parents is. Also research the school where you will be working so that you can include that knowledge in your answers.
Not everyone will agree with me here but I say bring a portfolio. The best candidates have something to relate back to what they are speaking about. They can show you specific data from the academic intervention that they implemented, they can share pictures from the career day they planned, or they can show you student work that resulted from a student group on organization. In your portfolio: print in color, keep it short (15 pages max), and use examples that don't require close reading.
Send an email to each person in your interview. Share an example of the connection you made with them. It can be short but make it specific. If you have a website, include it in your signature line to make it easy for them to click and find out more about you. Every person in your interview is significant so email each one.
Job hunts are hard- hang in there! Need more tips - check out my best resume tips!
Freebie today is the Behavior Chart Bundle. Today I am going on a field trip to visit a local university with elementary schoolers so the post is going up early. The freebie will be available until 4 pm EST. You are also welcome to my free self-monitoring form. If you download the behavior chart bundle, please leave feedback!
Miss something you wanted? My WHOLE store is 20% off through Sunday. Thanks for participating in freebie week! It's been fun!
You guys have inspired me! The most requested freebie item was one that I didn't yet have. So I made it. Internet high five! Today I'm sharing middle school transition lessons. You can also see what I wrote for our state association's newsletter here.
Because I've never shared what I do for middle school here, I thought it would be helpful to outline my plan. I typically teach three lessons per quarter. In this lesson plan pack, I include 4 lessons because one of m_y lessons requires a class set of locks and I know that's not feasible for everyone.
You can see what I do forLesson 1 here. I introduce commonly used lingo of middle school and let the kids write on "graffiti walls" about their thoughts about middle school. I then type all their thoughts into tagxedo and makecool art for the 5th grade hall.
Middle school website scavenger hunt. I have worked in a school system that paid for middle school visit field trips and one where they do not. I found this lesson valuable for both groups. Researching the middle school's website allows the kids to have a tool to answer future questions. They really love it! In the scavenger hunt, they look for team names, mascots, clubs, principal names, counselor names, and other details about the school.
Lock practice! I show a youtube video and help the kids practice opening their locks. I was lucky enough to have a class set of locks purchased by my school. You could also have 2 students share a lock. The PTA is usually pretty supportive of this type of purchase because it directly impacts their children! I am including my combination lock page as a freebie here.
At the end of our lunch, I ask the kids to circle an answer to the question: "How do you feel about middle school?" They can choose: Great, Still Worried but OK, or I Need More Help. To help those who still need more help, I create a small group about middle school. Out of the 30 students who have come for lunch, usually only a handful need the group intervention. This is a great tiered way to support all students in transitioning to middle school.
What do you do to support your kiddos transitioning out of school? Don't forget the wholelesson pack is a flash freebie from 12-4pm EST TODAY! If you download the freebie, please leave feedback on TPT. Thanks!
Edit: This item is no longer free, you can purchase the lessons in my store. The lock practice template is below (may not be visible on mobile).
Following the last lesson, I give students a post-test that asks questions about how they are feeling about middle school. At the bottom, they can circle that they want to talk to me more. Out of my 120 Fifth graders, I usually have about 30 students who want to talk to me more. I invite these students in groups of 5-6 to lunch. At lunch we look through middle school resources, practice locks, and answer more questions. One of my favorite resources is Middle School: The Real Deal. Click on the image for the listing on amazon (affiliate link).
Wow! Thank you for all your comments on the Freebie Week post and Facebook! So many awesome suggestions for the freebies this week. I'm also working on a middle school transition pack in response to your requests.
Today, our freebie is Academic Achievement Groups. My academic achievement groups are one of my proudest accomplishments. After all, aren't we here to help kids learn? And check out that data!
From 12-4pm EST, everything you need to run this group is FREE on Teachers Pay Teachers. If you download, please leave feedback. And hey, while you're there, follow me.
I'll have freebies all week- follow me on Facebook to stay in the loop.
In honor of National Autism Awareness Month, my first freebie is my Social Story Bundle. See this post on how I use Social Stories as a tool for students with autism and younger typically developing students. Download the freebie from 12-4pm EST. If you download the freebie, please consider leaving feedback on the product at TPT.
Welcome to my blog where I talk about all things school counselor and encourage others to Counselor Up!
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