Like any job, teachers must go through the interview process before being hired at a school. Keep these tips in mind to nail your teaching interview.
Find out what type of interview to expect.
Your interview may be a phone interview (often done in early stages of the interview process), a traditional face-to-face interview (usually with the principal or another administrator), an interview with a panel (which may include co-workers or parents), or a “hands-on” interview (where you deliver a lesson or otherwise interact with students). You may go through one or more of these different interview types during your interview process, so it is important to find out what to expect from the school with which you are applying. This will also play a role in how you dress. For example, it’s not appropriate to wear a suit if you are doing a hands-on interview in a Pre-Kindergarten classroom!
Practice answering interview questions.
Have a friend ask you sample interview questions so you can get comfortable with types of questions you might be asked and types of answers you might give. Be careful that you don’t practice too much though you don’t want to sound scripted! Some questions that are often asked include:
- Describe your teaching style
- Describe your relationships with families
- Give an example of a time when you made a mistake and how did you fix it
- Describe a time when you were a team player
- Why do you want to work for our school?
If you don’t have any previous teaching experience, you can describe other experiences with kids, such as babysitting or summer camp counseling.
Write questions of your own to ask the interviewer.
This is an important and often over-looked part of interview preparation. Do your research on the school and learn all you can about their mission, their student population, and anything that makes them unique. School websites are a great resource! Write down 5 or more questions you have about the school and what your position would entail. Here are some examples:
- Tell me more about your mission of supporting the arts.
- What opportunities for mentorship are available?
- What additional duties would I be responsible for?
- The only topic to avoid at this stage is salary and benefits.
This is your chance to learn if the school is a good fit for you.
Day of the interview
Be on time! Give yourself plenty of time to allow for traffic and to find parking. It’s better to arrive early and sit in your car or walk around the block than to be late. Avoid smelling of any strong scents, such as cigarette smoke or perfume. Bring a copy of your resume, the questions you wrote, and a notebook for taking notes. If you don’t already have it, ask for your interviewer’s contact information in case you have follow-up questions. After the interview is complete, send a thank you note thanking your interviewer for their time.
Best of luck! You got this! 🙂