When it comes to selling yourself to recruiters it helps to know your stuff, or at least appear that you do. The last thing you want is to be passed over in favor of a teacher who talks-the-latest-talk.
I blew a chance to teach at my top-choice school in Japan when the interviewer asked, “Which educational philosophy do you subscribed to?” Reaching back twenty+ years to college studies, I responded with Bloom’s taxonomy–the only education-eze I could come up with under pressure. “Okay. Tell me about Bloom’s three domains of educational objectives.” Boy, did I look like a blank-faced dope!
Is it important to be conversant with the latest Buzz words at interview time? You would think years of teaching, glowing letters of reference & a college degree would speak for themselves. Apparently not. It looks like what interviewers are after is the Buzz-word sense you’re actively engaged in your profession & on the search for new, better methods to engage your students. This brings to mind the term New Math, a popular Buzz word in U.S. schools some years back. In the end, New Math may have only succeeded in producing a generation of math-illiterate kids.
Speaking of popular Buzz words in today’s recruiting world, scaffolding is one that particularly befuddles me. Turns out teachers have been scaffolding their entire careers yet never knew it. Unless, however, you can match the newest Buzz words with what you’ve been doing for the past 10 years, you may be seen as past your shelf life.
As I learned by reading the ISR forum, “Scaffolding is when a teacher or a competent peer supports a learner to help complete a task, which he/she couldn’t complete independently in the first place. Once the learner becomes more confident about the task or skill, you withdraw that support, naturally shifting the responsibility to the learner, which again in the lingo is called independent, self-regulatory learning.” YES! I’m a Scaffolder!
Other Buzz words I’m working on fitting into my next interview include: engaging, differentiation, mental dexterity, student advocacy, grit, adjusting assessments, structuring concepts & skills enrichment. If all these don’t get me a job, I don’t know what will!
Personally, I’ve seen too many technocrats spouting lingo & jargon at faculty meeting, only to hear from my two high-school kids they are truly lousy teachers. Obviously, Buzz words don’t make us good teachers, but Buzz words do seem to help convince some people that we are.
What’s your take on Buzz words? Is an explanation in plain English of your approach to teaching & goals for your students enough?