Upcoming teacher interview? Congratulations! Maybe you are wondering how to effectively prepare for a teacher interview so that you can answer questions confidently and make a lasting impression? Keep reading.
Potential Boss: “Describe your personality.”
Candidate: “Uhhhhh…..I am warm. I like to collaborate. Uhhhhhh…..did I say I’m warm?”
Yikes! There truly is nothing worse than being caught off-guard in the middle of an interview. Even for people who interview well, it’s easy to feel a little deflated after the conversation doesn’t go exactly as we anticipate it will.
I recently underwent a round of interviews as I was seeking a new position. While the experiences are fresh in my mind, I wanted to reflect on what I’ve learned. In this post, I’m sharing some tips that will, hopefully, help other teachers to prepare for a teacher interview so that they can enter boldly, speak eloquently, and leave confidently.
Teacher Interview Tip #1: Do Your Research
Before the interview, research the school. Explore the website and make as many mental notes as you can about curriculum, administration, faculty, and climate. If the mission statement is available, see what you can gather from it. Does the school have any current initiatives? Make sure you are prepared to talk about how you can help them to accomplish their goals.
If the school’s curriculum maps are not available online, contact the person who will be interviewing you, and ask them about it. Perhaps, “I’d love to be able to look at the curriculum maps for the position I would potentially be filling. I didn’t see them online, but are they available to the general public?” This question shows that you are interested, eager, and hard working. Someone who has the drive to examine the curriculum maps prior to applying shows a sincere interest in the position. Plus, it will give you some insight so you can answer interview questions with specific examples.
Teacher Interview Tip #2: Anticipate Questions
Think about all of the information you have gathered about the school and specific position for which you are applying. Research possible questions, and rehearse your answers. Anticipate questions about lesson planning, literacy, curriculum, best practices, data analysis, working through difficult relationships, and leadership. Don’t forget the personal questions. Describe your personality. What are your weaknesses? What qualities do you possess that would make people want to follow you? Oh, and the most interesting: What do people find most annoying about you? Yep. There will be one of those.
If possible, rehearse your answers with various teacher friends to get their feedback. You want to be genuine, but you also want them to know you are prepared and capable.
Teacher Interview Tip #3: Study
After you get the call, start studying. If you are applying for a new position or a spot that might be considered somewhat of a promotion, it’s natural to feel a little out of your comfort zone during the interview.
Do some reading, listen to webinars, stage interview rehearsals with a friend or spouse, and talk to people who currently work in that same type of position. If you do, you’ll feel more prepared and more secure in the answers you offer.
Teacher Interview Tip #4: Consider Your Appearance
Begin by cleaning up your social media accounts. I’ve heard administration say they find it odd when someone doesn’t have a social media account, that it’s weird to only have pictures of pets, and that poor grammar is a deal breaker. Like it or not, potential bosses make judgements based upon social media accounts. It’s probably a good idea to have one, but making sure it’s 100 percent professional and appropriate is important.
Wardrobe worries? Plan your outfit early, and iron in advance. With my last interview, my iron broke the morning of. Imagine that! Also, give yourself time to choose clothing that makes you feel good. It really doesn’t matter if you wear a suit, a dress, or pants and a dressy top. What matters most is that you look like you care about your appearance and that you feel confident in your own skin.
Teacher Interview Tip #5: Ask Questions
Think about questions to ask before the interview. Remember, this is your opportunity to see if this school is a good fit for you as well. What is the culture of the building? Show that you care about the environment. What is your current rallying cry? Try to find out about the administrators’ goals for the building. Where are they now, and where are they headed? Are there opportunities for coaching or mentoring? Definitely show them that your goal is to reflect, improve practice, and collaborate meaningfully with other staff members.
Teacher Interview Tip #6: Give Yourself some Grace
No matter how much you prepare for a teacher interview, something will probably catch you off guard. It’s important not to let that make you feel like a failure. Everyone has room for growth.
In light of a hiccup, try not to beat yourself up. Sometimes interview panelists like to ask off-the-wall questions just to see how you react when caught off guard. Making light-hearted jokes and being able to roll with the punches – even if an answer isn’t perfect – is an admirable quality. Potential employers appreciate people who don’t take themselves too seriously and who can bounce back after a flounder. Plus, they generally don’t expect perfection.
If you have a teacher interview approaching, take it seriously. Do some studying. Select an outfit. Clean up your social media. Mentally prepare and envision yourself in many scenarios. If you do, you’ll have a better chance of being offered the position. Above all, give yourself some grace.
What about you? Do you have teacher interview tips you can share? We’d love to hear about them in the comments.