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Teach Away Telegram – December 2014

Keys to a successful in-person interview

As teacher hiring season kicks off and in-person interviews are being scheduled this month and next, we thought we’d share with you some tips to make a great impression when you sit down with school principals and school officials for your interview.

First thing’s first: you should really take some time to put some thought into your outfit for the day and make sure you’re dressed professionally. First impressions matter and this is an easy thing to manage.

Bringing along a teaching portfolio with sample lesson plans and examples of student work to share with your interviewers is a great idea. This can show them a lot about your background and your philosophies on education. For each question that is asked, you may have some physical evidence to support your questions if you bring along a portfolio.

This ties into tip number three: be prepared to talk about everything that relates to you and your teaching experience. You’ll want to prepare examples because this will be the focus of the interview.

On preparation, interviewers will spot a teacher who is under-prepared for their interview in no time. Practice the basic questions: almost every interview opens up with the ‘tell us a little about yourself’ question, so think about how you could answer this well.

And while you’re answering these questions, remember tip four: body language is important. Smile when you greet your interviewers. Try not to fidget in your seat while thinking of how to answer each question. Sit up straight to let your interviewers know that you’re interested in what they’re asking. The more relaxed you are, the smoother the whole interview will go.

Finally, to stand out above the rest of the candidates, we have tip five: do your research. This means that you should know a thing or two about the school or the group of institutions that you’re interviewing for (a good place to start would be reading a bit about their educational philosophy on their websites). Preparing good, strong questions to ask in case you are asked whether you have any at the interview can also be a way to show that you’ve thought carefully about the interview well in advance and you’re interested in the position itself.

City spotlight: Cairo, Egypt

Cairo, the capital city of Egypt, is known for its world famous historic sites. For one of the oldest civilizations in the world, Egypt sure has maintained a great deal of mystique. Located on the Nile River, Cairo is world-renowned for its ancient origins and historical sites, namely the Giza Pyramids and the Sphinx. And though Cairo is proud of and still attached to its past, a very modern society has since emerged. Many teachers are surprised to learn that Cairo is also known to have one of the best nightlife scenes in the world.

As the largest city in the Middle East and among the largest in the world, there’s an unending list of things to explore in Cairo. This amount of stimulation can be overwhelming for teachers who’ve never lived in a bigger city before, but it just takes a little time to carve out your own small niche in this megapolis.

A weekend in Cairo can be spent taking a stroll down the Nile promenade, browsing the medieval markets by Khan El-Khalili, or seeing a movie at a local cinema. For history buffs, the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities (also known as the Cairo Museum) is a great spot to catch a glimpse of ancient Egyptian civilization, with more than 120,000 items on display. Surprisingly, the Great Pyramids of Giza are also accessible by public transportation and with a short ride from Metro Line 2, you can get a look at the only remaining Ancient Wonder of the World.

For those looking to escape extreme weather conditions, Cairo is known to be pretty moderate with low humidity year round. Summer temperatures can soar to 36°C, but with such low humidity the days are bearable. Winter months can be much more pleasant with a typical temperature range of 15°C – 21°C.

With a population of around 17 million people, Cairo may overwhelm some. But those interested in finding their own path in a bustling city can carve out a piece of Cairo that’s all their own. You’ll find that locals have a great spirit with plenty of charm and a unique sense of humor.

And since the 2011 revolution, there’s been a serious drop in tourism in Egypt. For travelers who have always dreamed of seeing Cairo’s ancient pyramids and cultural treasures but have dreaded the flocks of tourists, the time to visit is now. Being alone inside a pyramid is now more than just a dream.

Anyone considering an extended stay for a contract will find all the things that interest typical tourists, but enough of the home comforts (big shopping districts, beautiful gardens to stroll around in, and a wide variety of restaurants) to make it a very livable city.

Gradebook Pro

Teachers looking for new ways to manage administrative tasks like tracking student grades, attendance, and performance, while reducing paper usage can try GradeBook Pro, an educational management app available for tablets or smartphones.

Grading assignments is a lot of work, especially when you have several classrooms of 20 or more students. GradeBook Pro helps eliminate some of the stress involved with marking and tracking your students’ assignments, not to mention the amount of filing required to keep all your students’ grades and attendance straight.

When tracking individual grades, teachers can customize the grade scale by which they will measure their students, categorize assignments and review grades divided by category, award and deduct points to each student, exempt a certain assignment from cumulative grading, view student averages, and record notes for each individual grade. But the functionality doesn’t stop there. To help with attendance tracking, GradeBook allows teachers to record classroom presence, flag specific absenteeisms or tardiness, assign attendance grades to each student, and much more.

Teachers can even email grades, attendance, or status reports to parents and create and save PDF reports of class grades, rosters, and attendance records.

To get the app, visit the GradeBook Pro website.

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