Teacher Interviews - 7 Steps to Stand Out as the Best Candidate
Jan 14, 2009 Career Development 2162 Views
In teacher interviews you need to know how to put your best foot forward and to impress as the best candidate for the teaching position. Follow these seven steps to secure the teaching job you want.
Do your Homework
Research the school district before your interview. Use the internet, many school districts have their own web site. You can also get literature about the school district from your local library. Contact the school district office and ask for available material to be sent or collect it personally. Find information on aspects such as the demographics of the school population, the district's education philosophy, curriculum guides, school initiatives and employees. Use this information to prepare relevant teacher interview answers and to develop a list of appropriate questions to ask in your interview. The more you know about the school district, its students, and its curriculum, the better prepared you will be to demonstrate that your skills and abilities match their particular needs.
Take your Teacher Portfolio
Your teacher portfolio is a key tool in your teacher interview. The portfolio, filled with sample lesson plans and student work samples, provides hard evidence to support what you are telling the interviewers about yourself as a teacher, your teaching style and abilities and your achievements. Your portfolio should be well organized with relevant documents that highlight your competency as a teacher. A clear table of contents makes it easy to find what you need during the interview.
Prepare for Frequently Asked Teacher Interview Questions
Almost all questions asked in teacher interviews explore the following competencies and skills- your instructional and planning skills, your classroom management and disciplinary ability, your relationships with students, colleagues and parents, your subject knowledge and use of technology and your personal motivation and qualities. Prepare specific examples of your experience and skills in these areas.
Develop a List of Good Questions to Ask in the Interview
Prepare a list of insightful questions to ask. The questions provide an opportunity to highlight your professionalism and knowledge as well as a means of getting the information you need to decide if this is the right teaching job for you. Make sure your questions are not those that you can get the answers to by simply doing your background research such as "How many students in the school district?" Rather use your background research to prepare more astute questions such as "With an enrollment of 1500 students what is the average class size?" Thoughtful questions will make a lasting impression.
Dress for Success
It is worth remembering that teachers do not get jobs because of what they wear to the interview, however a number of candidates derail their chances of success by dressing inappropriately. A personal sense of style is an asset but align your dress to the situation. You want to come across as professional, neat and tidy. What you choose to wear should convey that you are organized, respectful and self-confident. A more formal and conservative look is the safest option. Remember it is better to overdress for the initial interview situation. Pay attention to details - consider your nails, your hair, your accessories, your shoes. Nothing is less impressive than a pair of scuffed or dirty shoes teamed with a crisp and smart suit!
Send a Positive and Enthusiastic Message
Enthusiasm is essential to successful teaching. During your interview smile, speak positively, and use your body language to express your enthusiasm for the position. Your posture should be upright but not stiff, leaning slightly forward towards the interviewer sends the message that you are interested and involved. Relax your hands on top of your teacher portfolio and use eye contact to establish rapport with the interviewer.
Follow up with a Thank You Letter
Be sure to thank the interviewer or interviewers by sending a well written thank you letter within 24 hours of the interview. Your letter should express your appreciation for their time and convey your enthusiasm for the position.
Employment is tight. To shine in teacher interviews you need to come across as the most prepared and professional candidate. Take these seven steps to interview success.
For a complete guide to the teacher interview, including sample teacher interview questions with answer guidelines, interview tips and techniques and questions to ask visit Your Teacher Interview Guide.