LTO List Interview Preparation
OCEOTA has received several requests for pointers on preparing for the LTO Interview process. After talking to OCDSB staff in HR and Curriculum Services, principals and vice-principals, other OT local presidents, and attending debriefings, the following information was prepared. This is not an exhaustive, guaranteed success list but rather a compilation of possible steps which can be a starting point for preparation. There is a plethora of print and media materials available to supplement the resources listed here.
A. Pre-Interview Preparation:
- Regardless of your area of expertise, you must be prepared to answer all of the questions thoroughly. You may prefer to teach special needs classes but you must be knowledgeable about current practices in all subject areas.
- Use every OT assignment as an opportunity to put into practice some aspect of your knowledge of assessment, planning, literacy, numeracy (3 step math problem solving), creative development etc.
- Arrive an additional 20 minutes earlier than you usually would and review the plan for the day. Look for opportunities to build successful learning experiences for you and the students which can then become your “stories” for the next interview. Each story must be very detailed and cover all aspects of your teaching practice. Adapt plans to include such techniques as goal setting, success criteria, anchor charts as per pp30-36 in Growing Success.
- Think of the 5 general questions in direct terms of the lessons you are completing on any given day. (Section B. below)
- If you are in an assignment for more than 2 days—plan lessons which clearly utilize the strategies expected in documents such as “Growing Success”. Set goals with the class, determine success criteria with the class, have the students use an anchor chart as demonstrations of Assessment FOR & AS Learning. (pp 30-36 Growing Success), problem solving and the creative writing process.
- Be very familiar with Assessment OF Learning, as well, but, as a daily OT, you will rarely have an opportunity to implement it.
- Be familiar with the Ontario Curriculum documents. It is not necessary to memorize them but make sure you know the format: intro, achievement levels, rubric, purpose, overall expectations, specific expectations and how all of these components are integrated in the initial stages of developing a unit. The unit must include differentiation strategies.
2. Attend Workshops:
- Workshops are being arranged by OCEOTA and the OCDSB—check the website frequently for updates. None available right now.
- Make use of webinars and podcasts, OTF is one excellent source. See “Resources” below.
3. Resource Materials: (some provided by Nadia Towaij-White and Heather Graham)
- EduGAINS: a multipurpose site that houses Ministry developed resources to support policies and programs related to improved learning and teaching K-12. http://edugains.ca/
- Growing Success: French teachers should not use the French version as it is for French language school boards rather than English Language school boards. Ensure strong understanding of assessment as, for and of learning. http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/policyfunding/growsuccess.pdf
- Curriculum Policy Documents: (for example, language, mathematics…). Reading the front matter (front section) will help provide an overview of the direction for both literacy and numeracy. http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/curriculum/elementary/subjects.html
- Effective Guides to Literacy and Numeracy: (these are exceptional Ministry resources used by teachers and in all schools as well as online). When we talk about what effective instruction “looks like, sounds like and feels like”, these are the best resources. http://eworkshop.on.ca/cfmx/edu/core.cfm?p=guides
- The Big Five: (this is an OCDSB created document that lists our Five Key instructional strategies for instruction and learning for our district.)
- Literacy and Numeracy Webcasts: http://www.curriculum.org/secretariat/april18.shtml http://www.curriculum.org/k-12/
- OTF Webcasts: http://www.otffeo.on.ca/en/learning/otf-connects/calendar/
- Apply even if you have no references at the moment.
- Ask your references if they can give you a positive “evaluation” for all of the different questions they will be asked.
- If the reference has no knowledge (has never seen or observed you teach) of your ability to use technology in the classroom to enhance student learning, they can not give you a rating. Too many responses of “I don’t know” or “I can’t comment” will result in an unsuccessful reference.
- Ask the principal to observe you in an assignment so they can rate you on all of the areas assessed. The areas in question for your references can be found at www.oceota.com –> Members Only
- Make sure the reference is knowledgeable about you, your teaching capabilities, and believes that you are excellent in every area to be assessed.
- If the reference feels that you are lacking in an area, they are a bad reference and you will not get on the LTO list even if you have a successful interview.
5. Behavioural Interviews:
The OCDSB refers to the LTO List interviews as “behavioural”. The anticipated responses must reflect the expectations of a behavioural interview. Please see the following sites for further information. This is NOT an exhaustive list but rather a sampling.
It is important to show, in detail, how you have used or would use the knowledge you have to enhance the learning of students.
Everything you talk about must relate back to the student.
B. Five (5) General Areas to Be Assessed: The questions may not be exactly the same in all interviews but the expected responses must contain detailed information about…
- Classroom Management
- Collaboration with Colleagues
- Literacy & Numeracy
- Growing Success
- Big 5 & OCDSB Improvement Plan: a) Board Mission Statement: W.E.L.L. b) Board Improvement Plan
C. The Interview Process:
Interviewers need to see that you have demonstrated that you are ready now to take on an LTO assignment successfully. They are not looking for potential but examples of implemented strategies. They need to see how you applied your knowledge in past experiences or would in the future. The interviewers are looking at this as if you are applying for an LTO assignment. “Could you start in my school tomorrow?”
- Demonstrate doing things “with” students not “to” or “for”.
- Give a narrative of your experience that would show how you perform in order to enhance student learning.
- Detail your experiences and paint a picture for the interviewers.
- You own the question. Questions are big or general. You pick your story.
- You can say, “I shared emails with the classroom teacher regarding her class management, long range plans, individual exceptionalities, classroom routines, and discipline procedures”.
- Then, explain how you brought the same information out from the students—let them together give you a picture of how the classroom operates. Ask the students questions. Talk about working with the students to develop a plan which they own. Show you are giving the students a voice.
Think of this as your opportunity to share experiences that demonstrate your use of the knowledge to enhance individual student learning. Do not just show you have knowledge. That is not sufficient.
D. Debriefing: (if necessary)
Request a debriefing session as early as possible with both interviewers in attendance.
- This is an opportunity to find out where your teaching practice and/or knowledge and use of documents may need improvement.
- Listen carefully and ask questions if you need clarification.
- Do not use your debriefing to argue the merits of the LTO interview process.
- Use the debriefing with a plan of action or “to do” list which will ensure that your next interview will be successful.