Monday, December 6, 2010

10 Secrets to a Perfect Teaching Interview

Are you nervous about your next interview for a teaching job? Don’t be! Just remember these 10 secrets to a perfect interview!

1. Have a teaching portfolio that is filled with lesson plans and student work samples.

We know it takes a great deal of time to assemble a teaching portfolio, but your hard work will pay off. Instead of just telling them you’re a great teacher, you can use your portfolio to show interviewers the exciting lessons you’ve used to teach children in the past.

2. Practice sample interview questions before you go to the interview.

Interview questions aren’t usually unique. In fact, the same questions will be asked at almost every interview. Do a google search to find common teacher interview questions and practice your responses beforehand. (50 common interview questions and answers are also available in my eBook, which can be downloaded from: http://www.iwantateachingjob.com )

3. Be sure you dress professionally.

You’d be surprised at how much your clothing matters. If you dress to casually, the interviewers may not believe that you’re taking the interview seriously enough.

4. Make eye contact with all of the interviewers at the table, not just the principal.

We’ve sat in on many interview committees and have noticed that many candidates look directly at the principal and seem to ignore the rest of the panel. Be sure you make eye contact with everyone at the table.

5. Project a friendly, bubbly, positive, and outgoing personality.

Interview committees are looking for friendly people to be on their staff. While your teaching credentials are important, you need to remember that the interview committee is also looking for someone with a positive person that is easy to get along with. If they can see your glowing personality shine through, they are more likely to want you at their school.

6. Research the school district beforehand.

Visit the district’s website to find out their philosophy of education. Also, research information about the types of students that you will be teaching, the community, and the subjects being taught there.

7. Be sure your educator vocabulary is up-to-date.

Be sure you’re familiar with educational jargon and teaching acronyms. All of those big vocabulary words you learned in college may come back to haunt you at the interview. If you’re asked about differentiated instruction, IEPs, Everyday Math, NCLB, or ELL students, you don’t want to be the candidate that responds with, “Huh?”

8. Use lots of specific examples when you discuss your teaching experiences.

Want to seem like an experienced professional? Whenever an interviewer asks you how you would do something, tell them how you have already been doing it. If you use words like, “I would like to…” or “I might try to…” or “I could…”, then you will seem inexperienced. Instead, say things like, “When I was student teaching, I…” or “When I taught __, I would…” or “One thing I always do is…” This will help to emphasize and highlight your expereince.

9. Prepare a good question to ask at the end of the interview.

Your questions should be complimentary to the school and open-ended. Try to prepare a question that will require the interviewer to think, rather than just provide you with a one-word answer. Thoughtful questions will leave a lasting impression.

10. Don’t forget to mail your thank you letter right away!

Whether you send a greeting card or a formal business letter, be sure you thank the interviewers for meeting with you. You letter should express your appreciation, compliment the school environment, and invite the interviewers to contact you again.


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