It is summer and you are looking for the perfect teaching job! You have researched districts, prepared your resume, sent the emails, made the phone calls, and now you have landed an interview! Congratulations! Now what? We have compiled a list of interview tips for teachers to prepare you for the big day! We are confident that will these interview tips you will land the teaching position you have always dreamed of!
DO YOUR RESEARCH
It is a good idea to do a little detective work before going into the interview. After all, knowledge is power! Study the school’s website, their philosophy, what makes them stand out amongst other schools. If possible, research what types of curriculum they use. This can help you prepare for the kinds of questions you may be asked. Plus, you may earn brownie points for sneaking a piece of this knowledge in your interview. They’ll be impressed you have done your research and are familiar with their school!
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
You have probably heard the term “lizard brain” before, but if not and you think that I ampossibly a crazy person, let me explain. The term “lizard brain” refers to practicing something so many times that it becomes second nature to you. This comes in handy in high pressure situations in which you may be nervous or frazzled, because your body will kick into “lizard brain” and hopefully continue to do what you have practiced even if it seems like everything you ever learned has completely left your brain. Trust me, I get SO nervous when interviewing that my hands get clammy, my heart starts pounding and I can barely remember my middle name, but if I have rehearsed what I am going to say over and over again, sometimes what I have practiced will just flow right out of my mouth while my brain is still trying to catch up. Prepare your answers for all of the typical interview questions you may be asked and practice saying them out loud many times!
PRO TIP: Of course there may always be questions that you haven’t prepared for and that is OK! If a question catches you off guard, you are allowed to take your time answering. Take a deep breath and think for a moment before replying.
Remember, you want to work in an environment in which YOU are going to be happy as well. If you aren’t yourself during your interview and you end up getting the job, it may not be a great fit in the long run and will not be a good situation for you, the school, or the students. Be yourself in your interview and remember that you are also interviewing THEM! Be polite, of course, but do not be afraid to notice if the environment is not where you want to be. You want to be happy where you end up teaching to make for a great year!
KNOW YOUR TEACHING STYLE
In the interview, you will most likely get asked one (or more) of the following questions:
- “What is your strength as a teacher?”
- “Describe your teaching style?”
- “Tell us your teaching philosophy?”
- “What would you say is your classroom management style”
These are great questions that you’ll want to think through before going into the interview! What IS your teaching style? What is your teaching philosophy? Knowing the answers to these questions will not only help you in the interview, but they are important answers that will help you to be an effective, more confident teacher!
PRO INTERVIEW TIPS FOR TEACHERS: Bring some creativity! If there are specific websites or strategies that you would like to use in your classroom – mention them! For example, Fluency and Fitness is a great resource that ANY school could use for their Kindergarten – 2nd grade students! Administrators love to hear of new, exciting websites and teaching strategies that could benefit their teachers and students!
DRESS FOR THE JOB
Now, there’s no need for you to pull out that homecoming dress from high-school, but try to dress as professionally as possible! A nice, casual dress with a cardigan or a professional skirt with a blouse tucked in will do the trick. Forget the sandals or flip flops and squeeze into those heels that you socially distanced from this year. Other ways to look the part include: eye contact, a firm handshake and a big, friendly smile!
ASK YOUR OWN QUESTIONS
At the end of each interview they will usually ask you if you have any questions and when you are in the moment it can be hard to process all of the information that was just given to you during the interview let alone come up with a question on the spot. That’s why I suggest having a few questions prepared in advance. Choose one or two from your list that you do not think were already covered and ask them at the end. Need help coming up with questions of your own? Here are a few you could use!
- What professional development is offered?
- How would you describe your school culture?
- How does administration support their teachers when behavior issues arise?
This small gesture will go a long way with administration! The morning after your interview, send a short, simple email thanking them for meeting with you. Let them know you enjoyed meeting with them and you look forward to speaking with them again soon! If possible, include a detail about their school that you noticed and loved! For example, “I loved walking through the hallways and seeing the colorful artwork made by students!” This will bring you to the front of their minds and will give an overall sense of professionalism and gratitude.
Good luck! Let us know if any of these interview tips for teachers works for you!