Bryce Hedstrom on the Interview Process

I am still working on the Rejoinder pieces. 
I dug this up the other day.  These are the interview questions that we asked applicants for a Spanish teaching job at my school a couple of years ago.  I wrote most of the questions and the committee took turns asking them.  The committee consisted of two foreign language teachers and one social studies teacher.  we reported our findings and gave our recommendation to the principal, who had his own interview and made the final decision.  The answers are those of the candidate that got the job–my student teacher that year. 
A blog entry like this may be timely with interviews coming up at this time of the year.  The interview is not perfect, but at least it will give teachers some ideas and may spark some good discussion and the generation of ideas.


1. What role does grammar correction play in your classroom?

I think that most student take a foreign language class because they want to learn how to speak.  Learning another language can be a daunting task and that desire to learn can be squelched if grammar is constantly corrected.  Instead, I like to focus on communicative language teaching techniques. 
2. What is your opinion about grammatical accuracy vs. fluency?

Using correct grammar is important, but even native speakers of a language do not always use proper grammar when they speak.  Fluency is extremely important:  in context, meaningful language. 
3. On what research or model do you base your teaching methods?
Much of it is based on the research of Dr. Stephen Krashen of USC, which indicates that people learn language mainly by Comprehensible Input.  This kind of input happens in the classroom by communicative teaching (speaking) and by emphasizing reading. 
4. Describe a typical day in your classroom
Variety is important, and every day is different, so it is difficult to describe a typical day, but there are some commonalities in every class period.  I greet students in the hall on their way to class.  There is always a “Repasito” (a bell-ringer activity) on the board, so the students have a task to complete right at the beginning of class while I am attending to other duties like taking role.  Reading is a part of almost every class—even in Spanish I.  But in every lesson I incorporate the four language skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing, which are the core of the Colorado Model Content Standards for Foreign Language. 
5. How did you learn Spanish?
In high school, and at UNC.  I also lived and studied in Mexico and in Costa Rica. 
6. How do you maintain and increase your own language proficiency?
By speaking Spanish daily and by reading, also by corresponding with my “family” and friends in Costa Rica, by watching movies and television in Spanish. 
7. Should students with learning disabilities be included in world language classes?
Yes, definitely.  In fact, students with learning disabilities can excel the most.  I have seen these students have a lot of success in Spanish classes.  They bring a lot to the class, they are excited. 
8. How do you do that?
I look at the students’ IEP’s and accommodate where needed.  I differentiate my instruction.  I give them preferential seating, like in the front of the class, if they need it.  I also give them more time. 
9. How do you accommodate the various learning styles of students within a class?
I use different techniques to give comprehensible input to students with visual, auditory and kinesthetic learning styles such as gestures, acting, role playing and drawing, as well as reading and writing. 
10. Describe your preferred system of classroom management.
I am pro-active in my classroom management style and I try to head off problems before they begin.  By being involved with students and showing them that I care, I find that there are fewer problems to begin with.  I use ideas from the book Tools for Teaching by Fred Jones. 
11. What inspired you become a teacher?
I love the language.  I have connections with the language working at our family business.  My family also took many vacations to Mexico as I was growing up.  I took Spanish in high school and I loved the language but the Spanish program was weak. After three years of taking Spanish in high school, even though I got good grades, I couldn’t really speak the language.  I wanted to try to see if I could find a better way to teach kids Spanish than what I experienced. 
12. What do you like about Roosevelt?
The staff, the students, the positive environment.
13. What are some of your biggest strengths and weaknesses?My attitude is one of my biggest strengths.  Attitude affects everything.
One of my weaknesses is that I am a perfectionist.  I tend to spend too much time on things.
14. Was there one person that steered you into teaching?
It was a compilation of people in my life.
15. Where do you see yourself in five years?
Working at a quality school, teaching Spanish in a program that is developing students that can speak Spanish at a high level.



2 thoughts on “Bryce Hedstrom on the Interview Process”

  1. Bryce,
    I went in search of some CI centered interview questions today and found this from you. Thank you. Exactly what I needed. I printed the version with questions and model answers for each of my administrators and sent them copies, and then a version of just the questions (one page) to have in hand during an interview. I made slight changes to it to generalize for all languages but kept your name on the document.

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