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For Those About to Rock, WE are with You! by Bob Sprankle(2)

[It's report card time. It's the end of the year "crazy time." It's the "I'm pulling what's left of my hair out" time, trying to get everything finished before students leave for the summer. So please, dear reader, accept my apology as well as your gracious acceptance of this re-post from a year ago. I believe this piece is timely, it's timeless, and it gives me the gift of TIME to get everything finished before the students leave for summer.]

I promise new thoughts and words for my next post. Happy summer to those of you who've already made it to the end. May your hair grow back.

It's that time of year: EARLY INTERVIEWS for the next school year. Many teachers beginning their careers, or those seeking new schools, will be donning their best attire, shining up resumes, polishing portfolios and heading into waiting rooms outside of administrators' offices, readying themselves to do their best to stand out amongst all the other interviewees sweating it out for the same position.

First of all, congratulations to you for actually getting the interview after beating out hundreds of other applicants. Secondly, if you're not getting that call back yet for the interview, remember that many districts have three phases of hiring: Early (usually starting early June), Mid-Summer (usually mid-August), and the "Oh-My-God-So-and-So-Just-Quit-and-We-Need-To-Fill-This-Position-3-Days-Before-School-Starts" phase. So don't freak out yet. It's early.

No matter when you finally get that interview, I'm going to tell you how to nail it with an airtight sales pitch. Without a doubt, continue planning on doing all the great things you've already readied for the interview: show that portfolio and your "Greatest Hits" of Units/Lessons; share anecdotes of your finest accomplishments in life; convey your willingness and flexibility to take any position offered; express your flexibility and commitment to recess and lunch duties, etc., etc.

But... here comes the big wind-up: Before you walk out of that room, convince that interviewing committee that they are making the deal of a lifetime by hiring you because for the price of one teacher, they are getting thousands upon thousands upon thousands of teachers.

Don't just say it. Prove it.

Whip out that laptop and show off every single one of your global Professional Learning Communities that you belong to: all the Blogs, Wikis, Nings, Skype Contacts, Facebook Groups, Elgg Groups, LinkedIn Connections, Diigo/Delicious Followers and "Followees," Shelfari/LibraryThing Friends, GoogleWave Connections, Twitter Friends/Groups, etc., etc. etc.

Better yet, prove to them how quickly you can get help from your Professional Learning Communities by taking one of their interview questions and "Tweeting" it out or pulling someone in from Skype in REAL TIME! In other words, when they ask you a question like, "How do you teach young children to read?" (note: actual question from an interview), certainly answer the question yourself, but also demonstrate with Twitter/Skype (or any other quick tool), how you would call upon the larger power of your Professional Community to find BEST PRACTICE, discuss resources, and gather anecdotes from Veterans in the community.

Let your Professional Learning Networks know ahead of time when your interviews are so we can be there with you, ready to serve, ready to give character recommendations, ready to prove your "super powers" of being a true Global Educator who will enrich any school with an entire "team" of teachers backing you up, challenging you, bettering your practice, ready 24/7.

What a deal the district is getting with you! Congratulations on your new job!

(Thanks to Cheryl Oakes for the genesis of this idea!)