So you’re looking for a teaching job. You’ve done hours of hard work to get your applications filled out, your resume and cover letters uploaded, your work samples prepared and finally your hard work has paid off. You have an interview- congrats! But now what?
Here are some tried and true interview tips for teachers. These tips will help you prepare for the next step and ace your interview.
7 Interview Tips for Teachers
Practice, practice, practice.
Do your research and look up common teacher interview questions. Think through as many as possible and write out your answers. (Research shows writing builds better memory connections).
Ask a good friend or trusted colleague to rehearse with you and give you feedback. If you’re a new teacher and your university program offers mock interviews, take full advantage of them.
Have a solid grasp on current educational trends and your teaching philosophy and prepare detailed anecdotes that show you know your stuff.
Do your detective work.
Go to the school’s website to learn as much as you can about their organization and philosophy, and prepare accordingly. Think about what types of questions may be asked and how you can tailor your answers to meet their needs.
For instance, if academic achievement is heavily stressed in a school’s bio, prepare examples of your proficiency with standards-aligned instruction and assessment methods. Show that you know how to use data to drive instruction.
Or if artistic expression is highly valued, prepare work samples to show how you’ve integrated art into your instruction across the curriculum.
There’s no amount of interview tips for teachers that can help you if you are physically exhausted. The last thing you need the night before an interview is to stay up tossing and turning with anxiety.
Do what is right for you to prepare for a good night’s rest so that you can be at your best the next day. Maybe that means you head to bed a little earlier than usual or wind down with a nice warm bath, or dig into a juicy fiction book until you’re good and sleepy.
Set your alarm early enough that you won’t be scrambling in the morning. If there’s time, take a walk or do a short workout. Have a healthy meal and give yourself plenty of time to get ready.
Dress for success.
First impressions are so important, so one of the best interview tips for teachers includes dressing the part. Although schools may have a casual work environment day to day, most school districts expect interview candidates to show up in proper business attire .
That means nice slacks and a shirt and tie for men and dress pants or skirt and a nice top for women. Remember- you are a professional and should dress the part.
Believe me, pre-interview jitters are common! Shower yourself with positive self-talk. You’ve put in an enormous amount of time to get where you are. Your credentials are solid and your attitude is stellar. You’ve got this!
And remember, an interview is a two-way process. It’s a time not only for the school to get an impression of you, but for you to gather a lot of information. Do you like what you’re hearing? Does it feel like a good fit? Do your philosophies seem to be in sync? Trust your gut and you’ll find the right place for yourself.
During the interview, do your best to be fully present.
As hard as it sounds, take a deep breath and try to not let your mind race during your interview. Take it one question at a time. Answer each question honestly and fully. Find a friendly face on the interview panel and draw in their energy.
If you need clarification on a question, don’t be afraid to ask. Keep your answers concise and give lots of real world examples to back up your professional knowledge.
Put the process in perspective.
It’s hard to remain objective after an interview, especially when you meet a team that seems like a great fit. But don’t get too invested. Before you picture yourself moving into a particular classroom, keep in mind that lots of factors go into finding the right person for the job.
Give each interview your best effort and then let it go and try not to dwell or overanalyze. Especially when you’re a newbie, you may need to go on several interviews before you get hired. Keep your cool and count every interview as valuable preparation for your professional future.
The job search process is a tough one, that’s for sure. But with a little hard work and a lot of faith in yourself, you’ll end up right where you’re meant to be. Wishing you lots of luck and success.