How to Ace a Teaching Job Interview

Teaching interviews are a little different from other job interviews.  All the usual advice applies: dress professionally and modestly, don’t fidget, speak clearly, know your audience, and act confident.  However, there are intricacies that make a teaching interview unique.

As a teacher, you want to give the sense that you can effectively manage a classroom and work well with others.  “Others” refers to administration, other teachers and parents.  My advice is to focus more on your management and organization than your actual teaching.  Resist the urge to throw out many creative teaching ideas—one or two go a long way.

Be sure to read the school website and get a sense of the organizational culture.  Arriving early and sitting in the outer office is a good way to observe interactions among the staff, teachers, and parents.

Interviews can have different formats.  Sometimes you will talk to just the principal, but sometimes all the teachers at the grade level are present for the interview.  Bring along several copies of your resume and cover letter so you are prepared for either scenario.

Speak slowly.  Remember that you are probably talking faster than you realize.  Take time to think about your answers.  You don’t need to have a rapid-fire answer for everything.

Here are some sample interview questions.  Think about your answer for each.  Remember to show how organized and professional you are.

>  Tell me your philosophy of teaching.
>  How would you handle xyz problem?
>  How do you involve parents in the classroom?
>  How do you build a literacy-rich environment?
>  We use the xyz teaching program.  Are you familiar with it?  (If you aren’t, say so.  Then listen closely to their description of the program.)  A typical follow-up question might gauge how you feel about teaching with this special program.
>  Do you have any questions for me?  (Have a question:  The school website may give you a good idea for a question.  You can also ask about qualities the principal values in a teacher.)

Always send a thank-you note!

This is one in a series of posts for First Year Teachers.

Posted in First Year Teachers by Corey Green @ Jul 6, 2010

 

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