Worst interview advice I ever received

Have you ever received really bad advice, but took it anyway? When I was an undergrad, I had a particularly demanding professor for my junior year practicum block. I could tell you all kinds of requirements she had for us (like girls having to wear dresses or skirts to teach!). Though I didn’t always agree with her methods, I actually learned quite a bit from her. Toward the end of that the semester, she was prepping us for interviews. We had spent the semester gathering artifacts for our portfolios and she was telling us how to reference it during an interview. It was one of her comments during that time that I’ll never forget. She told us that one of the most frequently asked questions during a teacher interview is “Why did you decide to become a teacher.” She followed that with telling us to never answer with, “Because I love kids.” She went on about how it’s such a cliché and sounds unprofessional. Being an impressionable young college student at the time, I took her advice to heart. I have definitely been asked that question in more than one interview throughout the years. Every time I answered with something other than “because I love kids.” After twenty years in education, however, I question the validity of her advice. You know what? I did become a teacher because I love kids. Yes, that’s a simplified version, but it’s the heart of the reason. It’s also the heart of why I continue to learn and grow as an educator and why I want to help other educators learn and grow. What’s wrong with becoming a teacher because we love kids? I’d counter that with the fact that if you don’t, you shouldn’t be a teacher – or work with children at any level (like as a bus driver, lunch aide, classroom para, administrator!) It really can be that simple. Love the kids more than you love the content, and the students will be engaged with the content because of that authenticity. Love the kids more than you love authority, and they will respect you because you built that relationship first. And with the kids that are difficult to love and don’t seem to care regardless of what you try…love them the most because they need it the most. Why did you become a teacher?

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