The Interview Process
When and Where:
Master Teacher interviews are held at the convention site on the Tuesday morning prior to the start of the ABTA Annual Convention. At the present time, all interviews are held at the convention site on Tuesday Morning before the Seminar Starts. Since we begin early, candidates should plan on arriving in town the day before interviews.
How you'll be evaluated:
The Master Teacher Interview is a three-step process, designed to give each candidate an opportunity to demonstrate his or her teaching skill, teaching style and knowledge of bridge. Here are the steps, with suggestions for how to prepare.
1. Your response to a bridge hand, as a teacher and a player
In advance of the interview, each teacher is given a challenging bridge hand. The candidate teacher will then be asked questions about this hand, including: How would you play this hand? How would you explain this hand to your students?
How to prepare: You are encouraged to consider the hand carefully, and prepare your responses in advance. You are also encouraged to seek out advice and input from other bridge teachers and experts, which you can include in yourinterview.
2. Your teaching ability and communication style, based on a sample lesson
You will need to demonstrate to the committee a 10-15 minute lesson on a subject of your choice. This is your opportunity to showcase your communication skills and teaching style.
How to prepare: We recommend you use one of your current lessons. Bring in support material if it adds to your lesson, and practice often to ensure you know your lesson "inside and out".
3. Your answers to a series of bridge knowledge questions
Applicants arrive 45 minutes prior to their scheduled interview time in order to review a series of questions that they will answer in the interview.
How to prepare: You can request sample questions from the current Chair of the Master Teacher Program, which will give you a good sense of the kind of questions you'll need to answer.
Looking for more advice?
There is a lot you can do to prepare for the interview process, and we want to support you along the way. For more information, see the Q&A session with Betty Starzec, Chair of the Master Teacher Program. You can always contact the current Master Teacher Chair with specific questions not answered in the FAQ area.
More About the Interview
Betty Starzec, Chair of the Membership Credentials Committee, explains the three-fold process for evaluating candidates:
"We’ve made some changes to the process over the last few years. What used to happen was the teacher would have 45 minutes to look over a set of questions, basically bidding and defense questions, and we evaluated the teachers based on how they answered those questions. We also looked at their demeanor in answering the questions, if they were very pedantic or more open, or if they could say “You know, I don’t know that answer, but I could find it for you.” That was the way that it worked before, but it was hard to evaluate just how well the teachers communicated in the class.
i. The Bridge Hand: We give the teacher a bridge hand, and we ask them, “how would you play this hand, and how would you explain this hand to your students?” The hands have come from various places, one came from a Bobby Wolfe column a few years ago. And the key with this step is that teachers are given this hand ahead of time so they can study the hand, and also seek out advice. So during the interview, we ask the teacher, “Did you research this? Did you ask anyone?” And what we don’t want to hear is, “Oh no, I can do this one by myself.” These problems are difficult problems and we want to see that these teachers have enough confidence to ask for help, to make use of whatever contacts they have, and to ask for somebody else’s opinion.
ii. The Presentation/Lesson: We ask the teacher to make a 10 or 15 minute presentation so we can get the gist of their teaching style. This presentation could help sway us one way or another in the third component, the bridge questions, because it gives us a sense of how teachers are with their students, and their approach in the class.
iii. The Bridge Quiz: Finally, the teacher responds to a 45 minute quiz which will show his or her bridge knowledge. The teacher certainly doesn’t have to know the answer to every question, but he or she can’t fail any one topic and still be considered a master teacher."