Your first interview for a teaching job or your hundredth? It doesn’t matter so much. Everyone is somewhat nervous for these situations, even the interviewers to an extent. The stakes are high all around; how do we get the right teachers in front of the right students?
There are somethings to consider before the interview.
Expect the person conducting the interview to be the gatekeeper and the Human Resources department to be the vetting department. You need to be recommended by the educator/administrator interviewing you for HR to check up on you. Sometimes teams of interviewers are used, so do not overly bend yourself to the interviewer in front of you. Be yourself and they or HR will identify which school fits your skills. Be aware the notes taken by this interviewer will likely be notes that anyone in their district looks at before calling you back. Let’s get you through this interview, sharing who you are as an educator, so you can get into a classroom of your own!
How sure are you about your resume? Consider purchasing Confessions of a Teacher Recruiter: Templates, Samples, and Formatting Guide. This inexpensive, quick read could be the confidence boost you are looking for going into your interview.
Here are some questions/answers to consider and the three things you can add to the interview to ace it:
Why did you go into education?
Speak about your personal journey to this decision to teach candidly.
Consider including your experiences working with children. Speak to your desire to be part of a community of teachers and learners.
Describe your Classroom Management philosophy.
What are your classroom routines?
Concentrate on the positive aspects of classroom management and routines, but be ready to answer questions about consequences for undesirable behavior. Highlight how your organization and structure of rituals and routines minimize off-task behaviors.
As part of your vision of teaching and learning in your classroom highlight how each student is producing at the right level of effort/reward (mention differentiation) and how they are engaged by your classroom structures.
What structures and strategies do you use to teach (any subject)? Elementary teachers the biggest two are Reading and Math.
Highlight research-based strategies you have used successfully and are interested in trying. Discuss discrete, subject-specific skills which students need to demonstrate to be considered on grade level; highlight any experience (teaching or tutoring) you have had on bringing students up to that standard. How do you flexibly group learners in your classroom? Include how you plan backward from assessments that measure the standards and what that looks like in your collaborative planning meetings and ultimately in your classroom/planbook.
How does Technology factor into your instruction?
Here is an opportunity to educate the one interviewing you, feel free to talk about Technology Integration, but contrast it to Blended Learning. You may want to talk about the pinnacle use of technology for students who should be creating content over just consuming content. Your interviewer is likely looking for your experience with Learning Management Systems, like Google Classroom/Canvas/Schoology. Do your homework on which one they use before you interview and study that LMS for things you could do the first day, week, month of teaching for them.
What can you bring to the interview to make that best impression?
You cannot fake passion, at least not well.
Identify what you really are passionate about in education early and often in your interview. This means some preparation in advance of the interview. And it is not worth trying to tailor to the audience either. Really find what you care deeply about for your students and speak to that; passion shows nicely through nervousness and in spite of any credentials.
No, you may not much experience in the job you are applying for, but are you certified in anything? Many educational softwares offer educator certification. This can be an easy differentiator for you. Consider your interviewer, someone who may want more technology integration or Blended Learning in their school, but not sure how to implement it. When sharing your certifications, make sure you make the connection on how you would use that product in the classroom, and how it benefits students in learning.
If this is the first teaching job you are trying to get, you likely don’t have what is considered traditional teaching experience. But think about historically how you have coped with entering new situations and acclimating to overcome your experience gap. Talk about that and how you estimate you can do the same in a new teaching position. This is also a great opportunity to ask intelligent questions about how the district/school/that Principal supports new hires.
Your social media history doesn’t have to just be something that can lose you the job. Have you established a PLN on Twitter? Social Media is as much about who you follow as what you post remember! Have you participated in any Educational Twitter Chats?
Do you have a blog or blog posts to point to as evidence of the thought you have given your educational approach?
If none of this comes up in your interview – because sometimes it does not – this would be an awesome opportunity for you to bring it up if you have a positive social media presence which showcases your interest in education!
What other interview tips would you share?
Best of luck!