AH! If you are reading this, I am sure you have an upcoming teacher interview or are in school to become a teacher! That is so exciting and nerve wracking! I have been there (not long ago) and truly went straight to the Internet for help.
I was a NERVOUS WRECK to the point I could hardly get words out and when I did, it sounded like I was giving a presidential speech. I remember writing down any and every interview question I came across, told by other teachers, and even came up with some of my own.
I quickly learned that the principals interviewing me didn’t just want to know what I had learned from a textbook. Well, except one school district, which I soon realized was NOT for me.
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I am going to give you all of my tips, and some tricks, to make a successful teacher interview, even if you don’t get the job! Remember, what is meant to be, will be. This is something I wish I had remembered myself during this process.
- BE YOURSELF
I am sure you have read and heard this enough by now, but let’s say it again: BE. YOURSELF.
The people interviewing you do NOT want a robot version of yourself. The one thing that helped me during my interviews was my personable, jokingly-self. As you want to be professional, it is okay to joke with them! This isn’t sorority rush, you don’t need to look and act like a robot to make an impression. Been there, done that.
Do not, and I repeat do not, go in there and say things about yourself that are either not true or an expanded version of the truth. I know it can be easy to want to make yourself sound amazing, but BE HONEST. My most successful interview was when I made them laugh and gave stories that came from the heart, not something I practiced in the mirror hours before.
2. ASK QUESTIONS
I want something to stick in your mind as you are going through this process. This is that you are interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you. I know you may have heard the no more than two rule when it comes to the end of the interview and they ask you if you have any questions, but I will say that is false.
When you ask more than two questions, it shows them you are genuinely curious and have these questions about their school/district. It also shows them that you CARE about the things you are asking them about.
Some of the questions you could ask:
- If you could describe your school environment in three words, what would they be?
- What type of technology is accessible to students and staff?
- How do you support your stafff?
The first question I have listed is not something they will be asked very often, which is great. This is great because it is something they haven’t prepared to answer. This gives you a one up in a few ways. One, you will get an honest, on the spot response. Two, the interviewers will remember you for your unique question.
3. TAKE YOUR TIME
It is okay to not know how you want to answer a question immediately! Take your time and hesitate before you answer if you need to! The interviewers don’t except you to have an A+ answer as soon as they ask you something. If you do, they will know you more than likely studied for the interview and they don’t always want that.
They want you to have knowledge on things they ask, but don’t expect you to know every single detail. Again, if you do, then you now are considered a walking textbook and it isn’t coming from the heart.
Along with taking your time, IT IS OKAY to ask to have a question repeated. There were many times I was so stunned at a question and even blacked out from nerves that I had to ask them to repeat their question. You can even say, “I am sorry, I want to make sure I fully answer your question, could you repeat it?” This is also a great line if their question was two questions combined and you need clarification!
4. GIVE EXAMPLES
This is a tip I was given by more than one principal/administrator. Regardless of the question, you can always take that question and give examples whether it was before your student teaching experience or during.
Interviewer: How do you handle those per say, difficult students?
You: Give your response and then say- There was a time in my student teaching that everyone expressed having a hard time getting through to this one student. He wouldn’t do his work, he was disruptive, and he even broke his computer. One morning during morning work I sat down with this student asking about him, giving him an insight into myself, and I learned how bad his home life was. Once I broke into this aspect of his life, he came to me with anything that was happening at home and even began doing his work for me.
This is just one example and actually my exact response and example to that question!
This response and example not only answers the question, but gives the interviewer an idea of how you would handle the situation and shows your heart.
GOOD LUCK! If you get super nervous and sweaty, keep some oil pads in your purse just in case to use in the car before going in!