Having been in the work world for over 30 years, I thought I knew everything there was to know about a job interview and answering any interview question. I thought I was the pro at this sort of thing. Recently I found out differently. This is a guide to help new teachers increase chances of getting a teaching job. You need to know how to present yourself and how to answer any interview question.
First of all, it depends on the part of the country you are in whether or not teachers are in high demand. In Nevada and Arizona, they are desperate for teachers and are offering all sorts of incentive packages to new teachers or teachers willing to move to their state. However in North Florida where I live, there is an overabundance of teachers. Several years ago, the state government went on a campaign to encourage ex military members to become certified teachers. Florida has a number of military bases and the recruitment plan went well. Now there are too many teachers. Of course there are still the critical teaching areas, such as special education, math , and science. I have been between teaching jobs and thought I knew all the interview questions that would be asked. When I made my mid life career change to teaching a few years ago, the Principal asked what I wanted to teach and when I could start. that was the extent of his interview questions. It goes without saying, that those interview questions did not prepare me for a real job interview in teaching. I also found out quickly, that I was not presenting myself appropriately.
For the first ten interviews, I went in a nice church type dress. I brought a copy of my resume, and presented myself well. Since I have researched and found out, no matter what type of professional interview you go to, they still expect you to wear a suit and closed toe pumps. In addition to the resume, they want any evaluations you have had in the past year, a copy of all of your credentials, and a list of in-service classes you have been to. Rather than calling your references, many of the schools asked if I had reference letters with me. Now that i had this part down, I knew I needed to brush up on answers to any possible question.
As most of us know, at the typical of job interview, the same questions are asked. They might ask, ” Tell us one positive trait you have. ” or ” Why should we hire you?” or ” Explain how your a team player. ” So I went into my first teaching interview with the answers all ready in my head. After a few interviews, I found out I was terribly wrong, and began studying. Following are a list of questions that i have been asked. These questions keep coming up interview after interview. So they appear to be standard questions that are asked. I have even interviewed in three different school districts and encounter the same questions in every district.
Interview Question 1: Tell us why you are wanting to teach in a different school this year.
Interview Question 2: If I call your Principal, what will he say about you?
Interview Question 3: What do you know about our school?
Interview Question 4: Explain what you do when a child isn’t getting the lesson plan
Interview Question 5: Describe how you use cooperative learning in your classroom.
Interview Question 6: Do you use differentiated instruction in your class?
Interview Question 7: Explain how you would teach a block class. What would your lesson plan look like?
Interview Question 8: What extra curricular activities have you been involved in at your school, including any clubs you have sponsored?
Interview Question 9: How do you incorporate technology in your classroom?
Interview Question 10: Explain your classroom discipline plan in detail.
Question three is the one critical area. Why would a school want to hire a new teacher, if the perspective teacher knew little or nothing about their school? I found quickly that the best place to find statistics and information about schools is www.greatschool.com. All the information you need is located here, including stats and student makeup. Knowing this information about your perspective school will help your chances greatly.
The other trick interview question I quickly found out was number 9. The Principal interviewing is looking for a two part answer. Not only do you use technology to help plan instruction, but you use technology to increase knowledge for the students by supplementing lesson plans with information on the web. Sounds a little wordy, but this is the answer they are looking for. When I replied this way, they stated, ” That’s correct. most people can’t answer that interview question correctly.”
Talk about a different set of questions. Needless to say, I have checked out appropriate answers. The first ten interviews, I wasn’t even called back for a second interview. The last five I have received a call back on everyone. The last five have been after I spruced up my appearance, brought the right paperwork with me, and learned how to answer the above interview questions.
Finding a job as a teacher is a whole different ballgame than any other job interview I have ever been to. With the present climate in our society, the decrease in education standards, and the hazards to children, schools are so much more careful in hiring than they have ever been. Being a parent and an educator, I can’t say that I blame them at all.