Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Teacher Interview Preparation Tips

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Good news! A local school district has called you and invited you for an interview. They were impressed with your application, cover letter and resume and they're looking forward to meeting with you next week.
Don't sit around while you wait for the day of the interview. You need to prepare! Here's a list of things you can do to get ready for your next teacher interview.

1. When a school district calls you to offer you an interview, ASK who will be on the interview panel. If you know the names and positions of those on the panel, you will be able to think about how to phrase your answers to satisfy the interviewers. For example, if you know there will be a Reading Specialist on the interview committee, then you may want to pay particular attention to strategies for teaching reading. If you find out a Social Worker will be on the panel, you will want to think about ways of dealing with students that have challenging social issues at home and school. And if there happens to be a Special Education teacher on the panel, you can bet on some specific questions that relate to students with special needs. The most prepared candidates have a good idea of what types of questions will be asked before the interview. If you know who is on the panel, you can have a clear picture of what types of questions will be presented. If you don't ASK, you won't know.

2. Prepare a portfolio that highlights your strengths as a teacher. While many candidates will enter the interview room empty-handed, those who are ambitious enough to prepare a professional teaching portfolio beforehand will have an advantage. A good portfolio will contain your best lesson plans, positive evaluations, sample student work, sample parent newsletters, and photographs of your teaching. At an interview your words will TELL the interview committee that you're an good teacher, but your portfolio can act as physical PROOF of your teaching excellence.

3. Learn the interview questions beforehand. While every interview experience will be unique, the questions usually are not. Many of the same questions are asked at almost every interview you'll attend. They'll be asking about your classroom management. They'll ask about parent communication. They'll ask about differentiated instruction. And so on. Learn common teacher interview questions beforehand and practice developing appropriate responses that will impress the panel. If you know most of the questions, and plan your answers ahead of time, you won't be caught off guard.
Good luck with your job search!

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