21 Interview Tips for Teachers

So you finally got the call that you’ve landed the interview...now what?  When it comes to interviews for a teaching job, there are some Dos and Don’ts you should think about.  These are the tips for interviews that I wish someone would have told me about when I first started interviewing for teaching jobs.

Interview Tips for Teachers - The things you should DO

Do have multiple copies of your resume ready.  

You may not know how many people are going to be interviewing you, so you should be prepared.

Do keep your resume to one page.  

No one wants to flip through multiple pages to read about you.

Do have a sample lesson ready that you wrote.  

This is something great to show how you plan an will give you a reference point when answer questions.

Do research the school ahead of time.  

Find out what their mission statement is, the community they serve, and what programs they offer.

Do think about your answers ahead of time.  

Below are a few examples of what you may be asked, so think about how you would answer them.  I actually like to write my answers down, so I can look over them right before my interview.  This just helps with my nerves.
  • Tell us about yourself. This is your time to brag about yourself.  This is when you differentiate yourself from other candidates
  • What’s your philosophy of education? This doesn’t have to be formal.  Just think about what you believe most as an educator
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?  Always try to say how you’re working on improving your weakness
  • What’s your classroom management? Remember classroom management doesn’t just involve behavior.  What kind of climate and culture does your classroom have?
  • How would you handle a behavior disruption? Describe your discipline policy, how you inform parents of disruptions, how you help students get back on track
  • How do you communicate with parents? Think about all the ways you communicate daily, weekly, and monthly with parents.  Do you use email, notes, websites, apps, etc?
  • If I was to walk into your classroom, what would I see? Describe everything your administrator would see...sounds, sights, what you’re doing, what students are doing
  • How do you integrate technology? Not only should you mention what technologies you have used and how you incorporate them into your lessons, but also how you feel about learning new technologies.
  • How do you differentiate for different learners? This includes students learning needs, special education, English language learners, diverse learners, etc.
  • How do you use data? Describe how you track data and how you use it to plan lessons and instruction, and how you use it to create small group instruction.
  • Describe a lesson that went well and why you think it did.  This is another opportunity to show how you’re different from the other candidates.
  • Describe a lesson that did not go well and how you adjusted. This is your time to prove you can monitor and adjust and learn from your mistakes.

**If you are a new teacher or a teacher without classroom experience, answer your questions of how you would want your classroom to be or how you plan on doing these things.

Do bring a portfolio or pictures.  

Showing how you do things in your classroom can always make a bigger impact than just telling.  New teachers can find pictures online about what they would do.

Do ask questions.  

Every interview I have ever been a part of whether I was being interviewed or I was part of the team doing the interview, it’s always asked: Do you have any questions for us?  Make sure you prepare at least 2-3 questions to ask.  This is where researching the school would come in handy.  Here are a few example questions to get you started.
  • What is the biggest challenge facing your school?
  • What is the teacher retention rate?
  • What are your goals for next year for staff?
  • How do you close the gaps between grade levels?
  • What technology is available?
  • What are some professional development opportunities available?
  • How do grade-level teams work together?
  • What is the schoolwide discipline plan?
  • What kind of parent involvement opportunities are available?
  • What is the next step? When can I expect to hear from you?

Interview Tips for Teachers - The things you should NOT do

Don’t be late! 

Nothing is more of a turn off than a candidate is late.  It shows you don’t take it seriously.  The best way to prevent this is to actually be early.

Don’t have typos in your resume.  

No matter how many times you read it over, you still might miss something!  Send it to a friend or coworker to proofread it for you.

Don’t wear the typical teacher clothes.  

Dress professionally and better than you think, it shows you care.  I actually bought a blazer off Amazon for my interviews and honestly haven’t worn it since, but I felt better wearing during my interviews.

Don’t be afraid to bring notes with you.  

Having pictures or a portfolio is a great thing to fall back on when you get nervous or forget what you wanted to say.

Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification 

Definitely on any questions but especially acronyms.  Every school and district is different.

Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know something.  

Try making a connection to something you do know or use this as an opportunity to show how you’re willing to learn.

Don’t just answer the question, but expand on it.  

Each question is your opportunity to stand out.  So give as much information as you can for each question.

Don’t paraphrase or tell about a lesson.

Sometimes, you are asked to teach a lesson as part of your interview.  If this is asked of you, you need to actually teach it.  I know it will feel uncomfortable, but the purpose is to see how you teach.

Be afraid to be yourself.  

Let your personality shine and of course be your true authentic self.  Currently, there are plenty of teacher jobs to go around, so remember you’re interviewing them as much as they’re interviewing you!

Don’t be afraid to be honest.  

Speak up when you don’t understand something or if you believe something different.  Most principals are looking for teachers who are honest and know what they believe.

Don’t forget to smile.  

Smiling puts everyone at ease and of course, comes across as friendly.

Interview Tips for Teachers - Phone or Video Interviews

There may be a time when you will have to conduct your interview on the phone or via a video conference platform.  Many of the tips listed above still apply, but there are a few extra tips for interviews when you're not physically there.

Of course...prepare ahead of time and do your research on the school and prepare for questions just like the ones listed above.  

Test the technology or platform you will be using

You will more than likely already be nervous, so make sure you’re comfortable with whichever technology you’ll be using.  Ask a friend to help you practice using it.

Dress professionally

Now I know it might be easy to think, they can't see me or they can only see from the waist up, but dressing like you would for an in-person interview signals to your brain that this is important and therefore, you’re likely to do a better job.

Speak slowly so everyone listening can hear

Sometimes there’s a delay or small glitch and you want to make sure that the interviewer can hear everything you’re saying.

Interviews can be nerve-wracking, but if you are prepared and confident, it will come across.  And remember, this is just as much about you deciding if the school is a good fit for you as it is them deciding if you're a good fit for the school.  

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