Spring may be the time of year current teachers are eyeing the finish line, but it’s also when the following years’ faculty rosters are being finalized. There are retirements, transfers, and moves, which means job openings for new teachers.
This also means a whole new set of preparation for prospective teachers. Particularly when readying for:
While seeking out openings and applying can seem like a full time job in itself, the true test comes in the form of the interview. While there are intangibles that you can’t know for sure, such as exactly what you’ll be asked, how many people will be interviewing you, or when the interview will take place, there is no reason you can’t be prepared for success.
There are plenty of methods of practice to help you be ready for anything.
First and foremost, you need to take the “interview” out of this stage of the education career. Treat each question as a conversation topic, rather than a right or wrong query. Of course, you want to keep your responses succinct and focused, but framing the whole process as a dialogue with other educators will allow you to speak naturally, intelligently, and, most important, professionally.
As we have said, you won’t know the exact questions you will be asked, but you can actively prepare by practicing the types of questions you could be asked.
- Content Based Questions
Be ready to be able to give specifics regarding your thoughts and positions on your subject area. Rehearse different discussion points on theories and practice. The questions will vary, but having those points at your ready will keep you present and engaged no matter what is asked.
- Classroom Management
The interviewers will most likely ask about how you handle different situations within the classroom and, more than often, ask you to discuss a time an issue arose and how you returned your students to task. The key here is specificity. Have your examples and personal anecdotes at the ready so you can remain active and present during your discussion. New teachers have less experience to draw from, and the interviewers know that. Being able to analyze the little experience you do have will show how you are already processing your craft and seeking to make beneficial adjustments.
- Educational Trends
Education is full of cyclical buzzwords and trends. Be up-to-date and able to deftly use them in your examples. This takes practice and research, which is a lot of the work you’ll be doing leading up to the interview. It reflects well on you that you know what trends are working, and your grasp of them when it comes to your own teaching, which will show how adaptive you can be.
It’s the number one piece of advice for interviewing in any field. In education it’s absolutely essential. Teaching is a vocation built through passion, so let it show. Your enthusiasm, knowledge, and intelligence are all key parts of who you are as an educator. Schools aren’t just hiring someone to fill a position, they are looking for the right teacher for their team. Showcasing your humanity along with your qualifications will help them see the person they are hiring, not just the candidate.
After the Interview
Make sure to send thank you notes to the people who interviewed you. You’re a professional now, and they are your colleagues and peers; treat them as such. Show them that you are thankful for the opportunity. Even if this situation doesn’t work out for you, you never know what contacts you are making for future job placement. You want allies in your field. Consider this an essential part of the networking process.
If You Don’t Get this One
In a perfect world, you’ll walk into your first interview and be the absolute star you know you can be. They’ll end the interview with balloons and confetti and offer you a contract to sign on the spot. However, in our less-than perfect world, you will most likely have to go on a few interviews. Remember, the schools and administrators are looking for something specific; if they don’t choose you, it’s nothing personal. You just weren’t it right now. However, you should be thankful that you had the chance to interview. The best way to become more comfortable with interviewing is going on interviews. Each one you do, you will learn more about the kinds of questions to expect and how best to present your answers. You will be more comfortable with the pressures you put upon yourself.
Any interview for any job is great practice. Even if your goal is a full-time teaching job, it doesn’t hurt to interview for substitute or staff positions. The interview practice alone will be invaluable.
Being a teacher means being a lifetime learner. You’ll always be expanding your skills and knowledge about your craft. Interviews are an essential step that requires its own set of preparation and attention. Remember to relax, be yourself, be prepared, and learn from every single interview experience.