It’s time! After years of schooling and preparation you’re finally ready to go on interviews to take the next steps towards your future. Use these five tips as a guide to help you succeed during the interview process and land your dream job.
- Leave Past Expectations Behind
Preparing for teacher interviews is a lot different than other interviews you have had in the past. You need to have a passion to teach to become a great educator and you need to show this in your interviews.
- Prepare for These Buzzwords
As with any field, the education sector has certain terms or phrases that are widely used. When preparing for future interviews, be sure to familiarize yourself with these common buzzwords. Also, you should be comfortable enough to initiate the discussion of some of these subjects yourself.
- Cooperative learning. Cooperative learning refers to putting students in groups to help them process information quickly through educating one another. Each student in the group is responsible for learning a specific piece of the assignment and then teaching it to the rest of the group.
- Instructional scaffolding. Instructional scaffolding is used by teachers to help students learn and familiarize themselves with new concepts. To get students motivated and guide them through new processes, teachers may use techniques such as incorporating visual graphics, asking questions, activating prior knowledge, modeling and having students make predictions.
- Differentiated instruction. Differentiated instruction is an approach taken by teachers to accommodate the different learning styles of students. The teacher will take the time to examine each student and determine how he or she learns best then plan an agenda that will cater to the needs of each student.
- Bloom’s Taxonomy (Higher-order thinking skills). Higher-order thinking skills refers to the process that a teacher takes to help teach students a complex concept that may have multiple correct answers. Bloom’s Taxonomy is one current and popular model of higher-order thinking skills that teachers utilize to help students solve multifaceted problems. The six levels involved in Bloom’s Taxonomy include knowledge (learning through memory), comprehension (learning through organization and translating), application (learning through applying acquired knowledge), analysis (learning through identification), synthesis (learning through creating a structure or plan) and evaluation (learning through making judgments).
Some other buzzwords that you should recognize and be prepared to discuss in interviews are: common core standards, flexible grouping, text complexity, balanced reading and portfolio assessment.
- How to Handle 3 Tough Interview Questions
For most people, interviews of any kind can be tough, nerve-wracking and stressful. Always remember that you are not alone if you are experiencing any of these feelings. The best thing that you can do is be as prepared as possible. Once you have reviewed your resume and have completed basic interview prep it’s time to start preparing for tough questions.
- What are your weaknesses? Just remember to be honest; a good candidate will always find a way to work on their weaknesses and improve their professional skills.
- Handling classroom discipline. As a future teacher developing a consistent classroom discipline policy will be a crucial step to take. During your interviews it’s likely that you will be asked about this. We recommend that you come prepared with written guidelines and some examples of how you handled discipline as a student teacher and what you observed.
- What makes you the best fit for our school/district? This question sounds like an easy one at first but when it really comes down to it, it’s asking a lot. Not only does this question correspond to your own qualifications, but also why you fit into a specific school’s dynamic. Understanding the school’s core values will be essential to answer this question and be sure to match some of your personal characteristics or traits with the school’s values to show you are the right person for the job.
- Consider Asking These Questions
As with interviews for any job, a goal to keep in mind would be to turn the conversation into a two-way street. Interviewers want to feel connected with the applicant and engaging them in discussion is another way that you can relate to them. So, when the time is right, it would be very beneficial to consider asking the interviewer questions. This will give you a better understanding of the position’s background, along with establishing an engaging conversation that will portray you as “forward-thinking” and a qualified candidate.
- Can you tell me about the team I’ll be working with?
- What do you think are the greatest strengths of your school district?
- What are some of the goals for the district this year?
- What technology resources are available for teachers and students?
- What are the next steps in the interview process?
- Other Questions to Prepare for
Last but not least, remember to always be on your toes. The interviewer may throw out an unexpected question or two and it’s important to remain calm. Think ahead of time about the school you’re applying to, the students you’ll be teaching and the people you’ll be working with. This will allow you to open your mind to a wide range of questions that may be asked during the interview process. Some additional common questions to prepare yourself for include:
- Handling parents. Students are only half the battle. As a teacher you will need to be prepared to handle parent requests, meetings and conferences about their children. Thus, a common interview question to prepare for is your thoughts on the best way to handle difficult situations with parents.
- What was the most difficult about student teaching? Considering that your time spent student teaching is the preface to your future career, it’s certainly a possibility that you will be asked to describe your student teaching experience. Asking about the most difficult part of that experience is simply a way to better understand your weaknesses.
- Describe a typical day in your classroom. This is a question that is intentionally left open-ended. By asking this the interviewer wants to see how you consider yourself to be as a teacher and what your students’ experience will be like. Be sure to plan out a typical day that fits in well with each particular school district’s environment before you head on each interview, as you may see this question is prevalent throughout the interview process.
Becoming a teacher isn’t an easy process by any means but it certainly is a gratifying one. Teachers are people who care about the well-being and growth of their community and it’s a great profession for anyone looking to work in the education sector. Keep these simple tips in mind as you prepare for your upcoming interviews. The best piece of advice we can offer is to remain calm and remember, you are on your way to fulfilling your dream and kicking off your career – be excited! Best of luck!