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No Kidding Around

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As a future educator, your use of language is critical to your success of transitioning from a candidate to a professional. When you are interacting with an administrator or a teacher during an interview, an information session, a networking encounter, or a casual conversation, listen carefully to their word choices.

One word to pay particular attention to is kids. If the professional you are conversing with refers to students, adolescents, children or another word rather than kids, follow suit and do not refer to your students as kids.

Especially during an interview, an administrator may find the word kids to be too informal or even condescending. These administrators are in the minority, but it is to your advantage to be aware of what language is appropriate for the person you are speaking with.

In an interview, you may be asked, "Tell me what you hope your students will learn after a year of you being their teacher?" Or you may be asked, "If I observed your room tomorrow, what will I see the kids learning?" The first question is warning you not to use the informal word kids. The administrator in the second question doesn't have a problem with kids.

I believe the word kids can express a genuine warmth and passion for teaching students. You may feel the same. But if you are interviewing with a professional who feels that word is disrespectful, your opinion will not matter. If you pay attention to that professional's word choices, you should quickly learn what is the appropriate language to use.

Sure, you may interview with an administrator who doesn't care for the word kids and still get hired even after you repeatedly use this word in your answers. But why take a chance?


By John F. Snyder

Associate Director of Career Education and Development

Slippery Rock University of PA

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