You’ve been scouring the Internet and newspapers for teaching jobs. You’ve attached your resume and letters of recommendation more times than you care to count. Then finally, all of your job hunting leads you to the perfect position.
Now all that stands between you and the teaching job of your dreams is an interview. Here are ten quick tips that will show you how to ace an interview. You’ll put your best foot forward, and before you know it, you’ll be signing that contract on the dotted line.
Teacher Interview Tips #1: Research the District
Once you’ve got a time scheduled, your research needs to start. Spend time researching the school and the district. Start with the district’s website. You can also use school ratings websites such as this one to help you, but remember to use discernment in your findings. Not everything on the Internet paints an accurate picture.
Try to get a feel for the district’s motto and method. You want to go into the interview knowing what the district stands for. You need to be able to see yourself as a member of the team.
Teacher Interview Tips #2: Brush Up On State Standards
Now’s the perfect time to brush up on best practices for the position you’ve applied for. You’ll almost certainly be asked about your experience and knowledge of educational standards for your state—such as Common Core. Spending time reviewing the standards for your subject or grade level is an excellent way to prepare.
Teacher Interview Tips #3: Answer Practice Teacher Interview Questions
To increase your confidence, find someone to ask you practice teacher interview questions. Treat this practice session like the real thing—dress your best, carry yourself with confidence, and nail the questions.
Here are several interview questions for teachers you could practice:
Tell me about yourself
Why did you go into education?
What is your biggest strength as a teacher?
What is your biggest weakness as a teacher?
Tell me about a lesson that went wrong. How did you respond?
Tell me about your favorite lesson
If you’re looking for even more practice questions, the NEA shares six new interview questions teacher candidates should be prepared to answer here.
Teacher Interview Tips #4: Be Prepared for Scenario Questions
Interviewers commonly present scenarios for you to think about. They’ll outline a potential situation, and ask how you would handle it. To ace an interview, you need to be prepared to explain confidently what you would do in a number of scenarios.
As you practice for the interview, think through a few scenarios. That will help you organize your thoughts, and be more confident to answer this style of question. This website has an excellent list of interview questions, including potential scenarios to get your brain rolling.
Teacher Interview Tips #5: Follow Directions
Following directions before an interview is essential! If you were asked to bring four copies of your resume, make sure you include them in your briefcase. If you needed to prepare a sample lesson for your targeted grade level, make it your best lesson ever.
Take time the day before the interview to go over all of the requirements and ensure you’re ready. The day of the interview, double-check everything and make sure it gets in your car. You don’t want to arrive and discover that you’ve left something important at home.
Teaching Interview Tips #6: Dress for Success
You want to look your best for the interview. It’s important to dress for success, and dress up for the occasion. Take time to press your clothes, and ensure you don’t have lint over the front of your jacket. If possible, have someone else check out your outfit and make sure you’re ready to go.
Teacher Interview Tips #7: Speak Confidently
Take a couple of seconds before answering a question to compose your thoughts. You want to speak confidently, and not come across as nervous. Watch your speaking speed as you answer; speed talking will be hard for your interviewers to follow.
Teacher Interview Tips #8: Ask Questions
At the end of almost every interview, you’ll be asked if you have any questions. Taking time to ask a question shows that you’ve put thought into this position. You also want to make sure that you’ll be a good fit for this district, and asking questions is a great way to learn more.
Forbes offers a list of 10 questions to ask during an interview. While they aren’t all ideal for teachers, they’ll give you a great starting point for drafting your own questions.