What South Carolina Schools Ask Teacher Applicants

Embarking on a teaching journey in the United States has long been a dream for Filipino educators seeking to make a mark on the global stage. Among the sought-after states, South Carolina stands out with its captivating landscapes and rich educational opportunities. In this exploration, we join Teacher Yan, a seasoned Filipino secondary English teacher currently contributing to the vibrant educational tapestry of South Carolina under the J-1 program.

For Filipino teachers aspiring to bring their expertise to U.S. classrooms, this guide delves into the interview questions commonly posed by South Carolina schools. The vlogger’s firsthand experience provides an insightful glimpse into the expectations, challenges, and triumphs that await educators on their American teaching journey.

interview questions when applying as a teacher to the us

Disclaimer: The information posted here is based on the personal experiences shared by the OFW in the video below. Please let this post serve as a guide only. If you have specific questions, you may ask the OFW by commenting on their video on their accounts.

Navigating Teacher Interviews in South Carolina – Insights for Aspiring Filipino Educators

In this video, the vlogger is thrilled to share not only sample questions but also to provide the interview questions commonly used by most, if not all, schools and districts in South Carolina for teacher interviews. If you’re curious about these questions and the vlogger’s responses, please watch the video below:

Summary of Questions

The following questions are commonly asked by South Carolina schools during teacher interviews. They cover a spectrum of topics, from educational background and teaching philosophy to strategies for at-risk students, classroom management, and your interest in the specific school or district.

  • Question 1: Educational Background
  • Question 2: Generalization Principle
  • Question 3: Generalization Principle (Observation)
  • Question 4: At Risk Students
  • Question 5: Causes
  • Question 6: Classroom Management
  • Question 7: Student Success
  • Question 8: Instructional Strategy
  • Question 9: Vocabulary
  • Question 10: Difficult Times
  • Question 11: Professional Development
  • Question 12: Lesson Planning
  • Question 13: Classroom Supplies
  • Question 14: Why Are You Interested
  • Question 15: Any Questions

Now let’s dive into more detail into these questions as discussed by the vlogger.

Question 1: Educational Background

  • Highlight educational attainment.
  • Emphasize training and certifications.
  • Showcase relevant seminars attended.
  • Note professional development experiences.
  • Include a personal reason for teaching abroad.
  • Express motivation for choosing a specific school.

Well, it’s technically not a question but a statement. Please tell us about your educational background and what brings you to this point in your career. In this part, make sure to highlight your educational attainment, training, seminars, or any professional development that has helped you in your career as a teacher. Also, highlight a personal reason for wanting to teach in a different country or in that specific school.

Question 2: Generalization Principle

  • Provide a sincere generalization principle or rule about education.
  • Reflect on your guiding principle as a teacher.
  • Consider beliefs about learning methods, student-centered education, etc.
  • Share your personal philosophy, rule, or generalization in teaching.
  • Emphasize the expectation of excellence and the commitment to upholding it.

Can you provide a generalization principle or rule about education in which you believe? Don’t fake it till you make it. Make sure to answer this question sincerely. Ask yourself: What is your guiding principle as a teacher? Do you believe that learning is always by doing? Do you think education should be student-centered? What has been your personal philosophy, rule, or generalization that you have abided by as you started teaching and progressed through your vocation?

The vlogger’s personal principle would always be ‘as above, so below.’ If she expects excellence from her students, it’s because she exudes excellence. She tries to uphold excellence in everything that she does.

Question 3: Generalization Principle

  • Discuss how you would demonstrate your belief in the generalization principle during an observation.
  • Provide a specific scenario aligned with your belief
  • Describe what observers should witness in your class.
  • Highlight active student engagement, such as hands-on activities or group collaboration.
  • Use examples like students characterizing novel characters or solving math problems.
  • Emphasize creating an environment where students actively participate in the learning process.
  • Bring principles to life and solidify understanding through interactive learning experiences.

Moving on to question number three: If you were observed teaching, what might you be doing to demonstrate your belief in the generalization principle or rule? For instance, if you mention that you believe in learning by doing, what specific scenario will observers witness in your class? What will make them say, “This is where we see and observe what she/he believes in”? When they step into your classroom, they should witness students actively engaging hands-on in an activity or collaborating in groups to solve a math problem. Perhaps they’ll see students working on characterizing their favorite novel character, thereby making learning more relevant and solidifying their understanding of the material. It’s about creating an environment where students actively participate in the learning process, bringing to life the principles you advocate.

Question 4: At-Risk Students

  • Personal definition focuses on identifying red flag behaviors.
  • Addressing the causes: Belief in a complex interplay of multiple factors.
  • Emphasize it’s rarely a singular cause but a combination of external and internal factors.
  • Highlight the importance of understanding and addressing these factors for effective support.

Moving forward to education question number four: What does the term “at-risk student” mean to you, and what do you believe causes a student to be at risk? Personally, my definition of at-risk students revolves around identifying red flag behaviors—students displaying patterns that deviate from the norm. For example, if a consistently high-performing student starts receiving lower grades (C’s, D’s, or F’s), that student is at risk. Additionally, if a student has been physically present in the classroom but consistently avoids participation in activities—whether individual or group-based—that’s another indicator of being at risk.

Now, addressing what causes it, the vlogger believes it’s a complex interplay of multiple factors. These factors could be influenced by circumstances at home, challenges within the school environment, or internal factors within the student. It’s rarely a singular cause; rather, it’s often a combination of external and internal factors that contribute to a student being at risk in an educational setting. Understanding and addressing these factors comprehensively is crucial in providing effective support for at-risk students.

Question 5: Causes

Moving on to question number five, which is directly connected to the previous one about identifying causes: Given your understanding of the causes, what do you perceive as the solutions? If it’s a combination of internal and external factors, it logically follows that the solutions should also encompass both realms. It’s essential to recognize that the responsibility for solutions doesn’t solely rest on the teacher; it requires a collaborative effort from the community. A comprehensive approach, considering both external and internal factors, is necessary to effectively address the challenges faced by at-risk students.

Question 6: Classroom Management

  • Emphasis on the weight placed on your approach to managing the class.
  • Consideration for those with a minimum of two years of teaching experience.
  • Strategic instructional approach involves meticulous lesson planning.
  • Ensure no downtime for students to maintain effective classroom management.
  • Keep students occupied with relevant, meaningful activities for continuous learning.
  • Foster an environment where disruptions are minimized, showcasing teaching capability.

Now, let’s delve into question number six: How are you strategizing instructionally to move or maintain students in the classroom? Classroom management is a critical aspect that holds substantial weight during observations. Your approach to managing the class speaks volumes, and they place a considerable emphasis on this aspect. It’s a question that requires thoughtful consideration, especially as you likely have a minimum of two years of teaching experience by the time of the interview.

A strategic instructional approach involves meticulous lesson planning, ensuring there’s no downtime for students. The absence of idle time is crucial, as effective classroom management can be compromised when students are not engaged. Keep them occupied with relevant and meaningful classroom activities, fostering an environment where learning is continuous and disruptions are minimized. This proactive approach to classroom management demonstrates your capability to create an environment conducive to effective teaching and learning.

Question 7: Student Success

  • Clarify that the answer should focus on a student facing challenges.
  • Share how a struggling student prompted reflection on teaching styles and techniques.
  • Express how a student’s difficulties challenged you, fostering awareness of diverse needs.
  • Showcase commitment to continuous improvement and adaptability.
  • Highlight the opportunity this question provides to demonstrate these qualities.

Now, let’s explore question number seven: What have you learned and applied from students who have not had success in your classroom? It’s crucial to clarify that your answer should revolve around what you’ve learned from a student facing challenges in your class. For instance, you could share that the struggles of a particular student prompted you to reflect on your teaching styles and techniques. Alternatively, you might express how a student’s difficulties challenged you, fostering a greater awareness of the diverse needs and individualities of your students. This question provides an opportunity to showcase your commitment to continuous improvement and adaptability in response to the unique experiences of each student.

Question 8: Instructional Strategy

  • Emphasize the importance of reflecting a personally implemented or adhered-to strategy.
  • Highlight authenticity as a key factor, with interviewers likely remembering mentioned strategies.
  • Stress the significance of consistency between interview responses and classroom practices.
  • Encourage genuineness, ensuring stated strategies align with actual teaching methods.

Moving on to question number eight: Can you name an instructional strategy you would use to improve student performance? While it’s easy to turn to Google for ideas, it’s crucial that your response reflects a strategy you have personally implemented or adhered to as a teacher.

Authenticity is key, as your interviewers will likely remember and observe the strategies you mention. Consistency between your interview responses and your actual classroom practices is vital. You want to avoid any discrepancy that might lead them to perceive a disparity between the person they interviewed and the teacher they observe. Be genuine and ensure that your stated strategies align with your actual teaching methods.

Question 9: Vocabulary

  • For ELA teachers, common incorporation through specialized vocabulary in articles noted.
  • For non-ELA teachers, creativity in integrating vocabulary is essential.
  • Examples include math teachers infusing words into word problems and science/social studies teachers using articles, movies, or videos.
  • Suggest an alternative approach like a “word of the day” strategy to broaden students’ lexicons.

Let’s delve into question number nine: How do you integrate vocabulary from other areas within your lesson? While this question may be more directed towards English Language Arts (ELA) teachers, it poses an interesting challenge for educators in other disciplines. For ELA teachers, it’s common to incorporate specialized vocabulary through relevant articles, such as those from the fields of law, medicine, or welding. However, for teachers outside the ELA domain, the integration of vocabulary can be just as creative. Math teachers can infuse unfamiliar words into word problems, creating opportunities for students to expand their word banks. Similarly, science and social studies teachers can strategically select articles or leverage movies and videos to expose students to salient vocabulary. An alternative approach is to introduce a “word of the day” strategy, consistently showcasing new words to broaden students’ lexicons.

Question 10: Difficult Times

  • Reflect on past challenges to showcase adaptability and problem-solving skills.
  • Consider discussing a day when despite preparation and a positive mindset, students seemed disengaged.
  • Highlight the importance of navigating through such challenges and adapting teaching strategies.
  • Showcase the ability to handle difficult situations and adjust teaching approaches effectively.

Moving on to question number ten: Can you share an experience from one of the most challenging times you’ve encountered in your classroom, and what did you learn from it? Reflecting on past challenges provides valuable insights into your adaptability and problem-solving skills.

Perhaps it was a day when, despite your well-prepared lesson and positive mindset, students seemed disengaged, making it challenging to convey the intended lesson. If you’ve faced such a situation, how did you navigate through it? Did you adapt your activities to align with the students’ mood, or did you employ a different strategy? Sharing your experience and the lessons learned from overcoming such challenges demonstrates your ability to handle difficult situations and adjust your teaching approach to meet the needs of your students effectively.

Question 11: Professional Development

  • Emphasize the belief that one cannot give what they do not have.
  • Constant engagement in professional development enables the vlogger to enhance teaching craft.
  • Recognize learning as a continuous process, with a risk of diminishing effectiveness without ongoing learning.
  • Highlight seminars and trainings as catalysts for reigniting passion and renewing a sense of purpose.

Moving on to question number eleven: How important is it to receive professional development, and why? Returning to the vlogger’s personal philosophy of “As Above So Below,” they believe that one cannot give what they do not have. Constantly engaging in professional development allows the vlogger to acquire new knowledge and skills, enabling them to enhance and refine their teaching craft for the benefit of their students. Recognizing that learning is a continuous process, the vlogger understands that if they were to cease learning, there’s a risk of becoming less effective and efficient as a teacher over time. Moreover, certain seminars and trainings act as catalysts, reigniting a passion within educators. In moments of fatigue or burnout, these sessions can renew the vlogger’s sense of purpose, reminding them why they chose to teach in the first place.

Question 12: Lesson Planning

  • Emphasize the importance of lesson planning as a crucial aspect of effective teaching.
  • Highlight the existence of common structures like the ACE model in the Philippines and the presence of variations.
  • Clarify that there’s no definitive right or wrong answer; it’s about finding what works for the individual.
  • Encourage the sharing of the preferred method and how lessons are structured for effective delivery.
  • Stress the significance of revealing organizational skills and commitment to delivering engaging and beneficial instruction.

Now, let’s explore question number twelve: What is your standard method of instructional delivery, particularly in terms of lesson planning? This question delves into your approach to lesson planning, a crucial aspect of effective teaching. While there might be common structures, such as the ACE model in the Philippines, variations exist. There’s no definitive right or wrong answer; it’s about what works for you. Could you share your preferred method? How do you structure your lessons to ensure they are not only well-planned but also effectively delivered? Providing insight into your lesson planning process reveals your organizational skills and commitment to delivering instruction in a way that engages and benefits your students.

Question 13: Classroom Supplies

  • Highlight the universality of the issue, emphasizing that the lack of supplies is a challenge faced by students globally.
  • Introduce the vlogger’s personal approach of providing a solution to address this common challenge.
  • Describe the designated corner in the classroom where students can access essential supplies freely.
  • Explain how this resource hub eliminates excuses and encourages self-reliance among students.
  • Emphasize the dual purpose of addressing immediate supply needs and fostering a sense of responsibility among students.

Let’s explore question number thirteen: How would you deal with a student who has no supplies for class? It’s a reality that transcends geographical boundaries, as the lack of supplies can be a challenge faced by students worldwide. While the specifics may vary based on cultural backgrounds and realities, the underlying theme remains consistent.

Personally, the vlogger’s approach is to provide a solution. In the classroom, they designate a small corner where students are free to access essential supplies like pens, pencils, crayons, coloring materials, construction papers, and bond or copy papers. This designated space serves as a resource hub, creating a stigma-free environment for students to obtain the necessary tools for projects and assignments. Not only does this practice address the immediate need for supplies, but it also eliminates excuses. For instance, if a student claims they can’t complete a project due to a lack of materials, the vlogger can redirect them to the supply corner, encouraging self-reliance and putting an end to potential excuses. This approach ensures that students have the resources they need to succeed while fostering a sense of responsibility for their academic requirements.

Question 14: Why Are You Interested

  • Highlight the importance of thorough research on the school district and community for this question.
  • Encourage connecting personal discoveries to the school’s philosophy, mission, and values in the response.
  • Suggest potential reasons for interest, such as a desire for challenge, change, or alignment with personal beliefs.
  • Emphasize the significance of showcasing a genuine interest and alignment with the school’s values.

Now, onto question number fourteen: Why are you interested in working in our district? Conducting thorough research on your school district and community is crucial for this question. What have you discovered about the school, district, or community that has led you to believe that this is the ideal place for you? Your answer could reflect a desire for challenge and change, a yearning to step out of your comfort zone, or a personal resonance with the school’s philosophy and mission. By connecting your findings to your own aspirations and beliefs, you demonstrate a genuine interest and alignment with the values of the school.

Question 15: Any Questions

  • Highlight the importance of this opportunity to showcase eagerness and commitment.
  • Emphasize the significance of well-thought-out questions that go beyond basic information.
  • Consider inquiries about school culture, professional growth, and community involvement.

Finally, question number fifteen: Do you have any questions for us? This is a crucial opportunity to showcase your eagerness to be part of the team and your commitment to understanding the school further. Having well-thought-out questions prepared demonstrates your genuine interest and dedication to joining the school community. As a tip, consider preparing questions that go beyond basic information, delving into aspects like the school culture, opportunities for professional growth, or the community’s involvement in education.

As overseas Filipino educators, the intricacies of navigating interviews in a new and dynamic setting can be both exciting and challenging. The vlogger’s insights, rooted in firsthand experiences, provide a roadmap, offering a deeper understanding of what to expect and how to prepare for the journey ahead. Whether you’re a seasoned professional seeking fresh perspectives or a passionate newcomer ready to embrace the global teaching stage, this resource stands as a testament to the potential that awaits our OFWs in the vibrant classrooms of South Carolina.