You’ve been invited to interview for a teaching position! Congratulations! Now, it’s time to prepare. It’s important to show that you are a person who is prepared. Here are a few tips to get ready for an interview:
Learn about the School
Make sure you know where the school is located. For me, I like to be early for interviews so that I have a minute to think, relax, and breathe before walking into the school. If you have never been to the school, consider doing a test run and driving to the school prior to the interview. Beyond arriving on time, it is important to learn about the district and school by doing some research. You want to get a sense of the culture of the school and their philosophy of teaching. Many teachers have websites for their classroom now. Take a look at their websites so you can learn about the curriculum that is used, how they communicate with families, and the classroom rules and policies that they follow. If you see a pattern in the pages, these may be school wide policies and could be something to ask about when you are able to ask questions.
Teacher candidates are often asked to talk about a successful lesson that was taught and then share a lesson that did not go so well, but after reflecting on the lesson, improvements were made for a future lesson. One way to support your responses to these questions is to have student work samples available so that you can show the products from the lessons to help tell your story. You can also have the materials that you used when teaching the lesson available to show. One thing to keep in mind is that the interview team may not ask to see these items, so it is important that you bring them out on your own when answering the questions. This shows that you have thought about your teaching and came prepared to show how you implement and reflect upon your instruction.
It is important to practice before you go into an interview. There are many websites that list possible questions for teaching interviews. Do a few searches for interview questions and practice responding to the questions. When practicing, I always recommend saying your answers out loud so that you can hear how you sound and where you need to improve. If possible, ask a friend or two to listen to your responses to that they can give you feedback. While you are practicing, consider where you are looking. You want to make sure that you maintain eye contact with the interviewer or team rather than look down at the floor.
Have Questions for the Interviewer
One of the biggest mistakes teacher candidates make is that when it is their time to ask questions, they do not have any. Come with 2-3 questions for the interviewer, as it shows you are interested in learning more about the district, school, teachers, and students. Consider what you want to learn before joining the community? This is your chance to learn more about what the school values and whether you align with those values. It’s important to keep in mind that you are interviewing the administrators and teachers as much as they are interviewing you.