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Screening Interview with school district in Texas

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After being a stay-at-home mom for 19 years, I applied for an elementary teaching position at a local school district one year ago. I have a B.S. in Educational Curriculum & Instruction, Texas A&M University and a M.S. in Health Education, also from Texas A&M University. My first teaching certification was English and Health Education on the Secondary Level. Summer 1999, I took and passed the ExCET exam for Comprehensive Elementary, and I am now certified by the State of Texas to teach elementary school. I have worked as a volunteer in the elementary area for three consecutive years and passed the ExCET exam the first time around when it takes many current teachers or recent graduates several attempts.

The school district conducts screening interviews to determine if the applicants are qualified to teach in said district. The applicants are rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the best. A score of less than 4, and the school district will not consider your application for employment.

Prior to the screening interview, the applicant is unaware in regard to the rating scale, what is expected in the screening interview or who will be conducting the interview.

During the first week of school thirteen years ago my son, who was in the first grade at the time, had his arm badly bruised by a first grade teacher. Her palm and fingers left blue bruises on his upper arm for days. I witnessed her grabbing his arm. She was not his teacher, but one of a group of first grade teachers who take turns with playground duty. My son was walking down the sidewalk in front of me while I was going over the long list of rules that he needed to remember. He was not running. He was doing exactly as I told him. I was volunteering at the school at the time helping him and other first graders learn their way around the school.

This teacher grabbed my son's arm and said, "Little boy! Do you hear that lady talking to you! (meaning me)" At that moment I should have had her fired, but I was so flabbergasted. I was also afraid that if I turned her in and she was not fired, she would further hurt my son while I was not there to prevent it. I let it be known through others at the school that I was watching her, and if I ever saw her hurt another child, I would make sure she lost her job. She knew I was watching her. She was known for kicking chairs in the cafeteria while children sat in them eating their lunch -- screaming at them because their chairs were sticking out too far. I witnessed this also and tried to comfort crying first graders trying to eat their lunch. This teacher had a real problem with anger management.

The school district never fires bad teachers, they just move them around. Therefore, the teacher in question was eventually moved out of the classroom and into a position where she had very little contact with children. She eventually earned a Ph.D.in educational adminstration and is now a principal at one of the elementary schools in said district.

The screening interview that I had last April 2000 was with her! I thought the interview went well. I answered all the questions, but she rated me a 3. A 4 and I could have had a formal interview for a teaching position. I insisted on a copy of the screening interview due to the open records act which is how I found out about the rating scale. She wrote that I was Pleasant but rusty in current education ... If I was rusty in current education, how did I pass the ExCET the first time out? She knew that by giving me a rating of 3, I would never have the opportunity to even interview for a position in this school district. So, in the end, she won. She terrified my 6 year old son as well as other children for many years with many complaints from other parents about her. She got away with it and is now a principal at another elementary school in the same district.

All I wanted was a fair screening interview with someone in the district that knows me and my abilities.

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