6 Tips...well MORE LIKE 7 Tips to Think about When you Interview for a Teaching PostionFriday, July 22, 2016
So...you have an interview scheduled for your first teaching position...Now what? This is the day you have been waiting for...you worked hard in college, completed your student teaching and now you've got your first interview. You are excited, nervous, anxious, happy, feeling elated and overjoyed, but maybe a little concerned as well. Those are all the feelings I had and maybe even a few more when I had my first interview. I remember it as if it was yesterday and that is pretty darn good as I have 30+ years of teaching under my belt and I am now retired!!! No memory loss here...excellent memory for an old timer! However, I do have a bit of current experience as well...I coached my daughter for her first interview almost 10 years ago and have encouraged and supported many of my student teachers and a few colleagues through some interviews as well! I LOVE mentoring and supporting others who have chosen teaching as their profession. So...here are a few tips to enhance and support you through your interview.
1. Remember you are in a win win situation...why? You are wondering...well every interview you have is experience...meaning the more you interview, the better you will interview. It is somewhat like practicing a sport...the more you practice the better you become. You need to go in with a positive attitude...you have nothing to loose and everything to gain. You have made it this far so you are headed in the right direction...forward.
2. Portray confidence...dress confidently...look professional...that means something that is not too flashy. You want the interviewer to see and be focused on you...not your sequined gown! If your hair is long pull it back so you are not tempted to play with it, which shows insecurity. Accessorize, but forget the long necklaces...if you are like me, when you get nervous, you will start to fiddle with it and as a result it might just break and fly across the room #kidding #notkidding...but you get the point. When you walk into the interview make eye contact and confidently shake the interviewer's hand (a firm handshake, but not so hard that you come off as a sumo wrestler)...say something like:"Hi, Mr. Johnson, I'm Kathy. It is so nice to meet you! This shows confidence and leadership which are important qualities for teaching and life.
3. Be prepared. It is impossible to know everything, but research some common interview questions that might be asked during an interview for the teaching position you are seeking. Here is the first question I was asked...are you ready for this? Here goes, "Besides the alarm clock, what gets you up in the morning?" Talk about being knocked out of my chair...I am thinking in my head...you have got to be kidding me!! My enthusiastic answer," Each day is a new beginning, a new start, what you learned yesterday can be applied to this new day and we do learn something new everyday. That is why I LOVE teaching. Everyday is a new beginning a new start, you learn new ideas and have another day of experience!" So my point is you never really can be sure of the questions that might be asked.
4. Make sure you know all the current trends in education and the buzz words like Close Reading, Flexible Seating, Differentiation of Instruction, Common Core, Guided Reading, Guided Math, Guided Discovery, QR Codes, Responsive Classroom and what not. Go onto the district's website and search what they are doing so you can be aware and understand the district policies, trends, buzz words and get a feel for it. Get to know where you might be working!
5. When asked a question, make sure you give an example of the practice. It can be a life example, a student teaching example and example from your practicums, cooperating teachers, camp counselor days, but it is important to give an example. A principal once told me that he can tell when his is interviewing when someone is just throwing the BUZZ words and current trends out there, but if you give an example, then you are demonstrating the concept with your example and will definitely score!!
6. When you are finished, make sure to thank the interviewer for the opportunity and ask something like: "When can I expect to here from you again? or "When will you be making your decision about this first grade position." Oops! I almost forgot...remember you are selling and marketing yourself...so...send a handwritten thank you or an e-mail a day or so later. You need to make a memorable impression!!!
PS Don't forget to show those pearly whites...a smile is worth a thousand words, but really a SMILE will bring a calmness to the most stressful situations !!!
Oh...I think I have another tip...#7 If you have gotten this far, then I know you are passionate about teaching so show that passion. Just pretend you are talking to your mom or your best friend about what you do...show that passion for teaching...get excited...show that enthusiasm!!
If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. GOOD LUCK!! You can do this!! Knock him dead!
Do you have anything you would like to add to these tips that you feel will help others who are interviewing, please leave your ideas in the comment section!