My first job interview was as a high school lifeguard/swim instructor at my local club. Luckily I was highly recommended by my swim coach because my interview skills were non existent. Since then I’ve learned a lot about interviewing and now have a toolbox of steps I always take before I head off to a teaching interview.
1.) Research the school.
The worst thing that can happen in an interview is having NOTHING to say when asked, “Why do you want to work at our school?” Trust me–the embarrassment is not worth it. Just like how you deeply know your students you need to do the same for schools. Spend time on their website. Learn what makes them different from other schools and what their focus is. I also like to google my interviewers and school administrators to get a better sense of who they are as educators.
This research process is also for you! As you’re researching, check in with yourself, “Does this align with what I want in a school?” When I was an early career educator, I frequently swayed from my own teaching philosophy when looking for schools and as a result ended up in schools that were not at all the right fit. Stick to your guns here!
2.) Prepare responses to sample questions.
Script out answers to potential interview questions. I like to type out my responses to simple questions like:
– Tell us a little more about yourself.
– Why do you want to work at our school?
This may seem forced but it allows you to have all the points you want to get across in the interview written down. Since you’ve done the research, make sure you add in experiences you’ve had that match what the school is looking for. For example, if a school says that they’re focusing on literacy in ALL subjects I would make sure to include in my script how I incorporate writing into my math lessons. Think about your skills and talk about how you can contribute to the school!
3.) Practice responses.
Public speaking was NEVER my forte. In high school I would spend hours in front of a mirror practicing my presentations. I still do this before interviews. Now with everything going virtual, I’ve moved my practice sessions to my Photobooth app. Make sure you are confident in your responses on interview day! When I don’t practice before my interviews, I usually leave the interview thinking, “Darn I wish I remembered to tell them ____ about myself.” If possible, record and rewatch your responses to make any tweaks.
4.) Prepare questions you have for the school.
Each school is looking to see if you’d be the right fit for them and you need to do the same! Think about what you are looking for in a school and prepare questions that will ultimately decide if this is a school you’d want to work at. Over the years I’ve tried to maintain a better work life balance so will usually ask questions about how long teachers are expected to work in the building.
These are just a few of my tips but they have helped me feel more confident going into an interview. Hope you’re able to use them. Let me know in the comments below your job searching experience!
If you’re looking for tips to find schools check out my blog post on that here.