How to Ace Your Teacher Interview
So you’ve done the work. You passed the test. Finally, you are eligible to be hired as a teacher. You’ve crafted a stellar resume, and now you have your first interview scheduled. This is the moment you’ve been waiting for. So how do you make the most of it? Read on for some pointers on how to ace your teacher interview and land that dream job!
Before the Teacher Interview
Do your research
Do your research up front so you can get to know the school you’ll be potentially working for. It needs to be a good fit for both of you. Be sure your priorities and values align before stepping into the interview. Check out the school’s website and learn about their mission and vision. Know what is important to the school. This is information you should keep front and center in your mind when answering questions during the interview.
Know your resume
Most likely, you wrote your resume based on your own experience. If you are being forthright about your qualifications, you probably know them well. Take the time to review important dates, job duties, and skills you listed on your resume. Highlight a few that would be worth expanding on and think about what you would want to share.
Get to know your resume so well that you can recite it without having to look at it. This will give you the confidence to speak about your job experience and give the hiring manager more confidence in you.
Ace your teacher interview by practicing
Practicing possible interview question and answer scenarios out loud will help prepare you for the big day. It can be awkward at first to do this, but it is a great way to assess your delivery and help work out the kinks ahead of time. You can do this on your own in front of a mirror. You can even record a video and watch it back. If you want some honest feedback, ask a friend or family member to help you practice a mock interview and give you some constructive critiques.
Pay attention to the little things that might distract a hiring manager from hearing what you have to say. Did you say “umm” way too much? Are you playing with your hair? Were you fidgeting in your seat? Be self-aware so you can correct distracting habits, but don’t beat yourself up. A little confidence goes a long way to calming the nerves in an anxiety inducing situation like an interview. Practicing and feeling prepared for your teacher interview is a sure way to boost your confidence.
To help you practice, walk through some of the most common teacher interview questions. Think about how you might answer them.
5 common teacher interview questions
- What sets you apart from other candidates?
- Describe how you plan your lessons or units.
- How will you incorporate technology into your classroom?
- Talk about how you would handle a disruptive student.
- Why did you decide to become a teacher?
I love this video from The Purrfect Pencil on 10 Teacher Interview Questions + Sample Answers. She even includes a downloadable pdf study sheet to go along with it!
Have some questions of your own ready for them
Remember an interview is not only for the school to assess you. It’s also an opportunity for you to see if they are a good fit for you. Be prepared with a handful of questions you would like to ask the hiring manager. Often, an interviewer will ask, “Do you have any questions for us?” This gives you a chance to take a step out of the hot seat for a bit. It will also show that you really care about your potential future at the school.
Here are a few examples of questions you might prepare for your teacher interview:
- What’s your favorite thing about working here?
- What are some of the biggest challenges you are working to overcome as an administration?
- Tell me about the level of involvement with the parents at this school.
- How do you approach discipline with students?
- What is your measure of success for teachers?
- What are some goals or expectations I would have my first year here?
Eat and sleep
This may seem like a no brainer. Just like you would tell your students the night before a big test, proper sleep and nutrition is essential to success. Turn off distractions like television or your phone at least two hours before your head hits the pillow. This will give you time to wind down and mentally prepare for your teacher interview.
You’ve heard breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Get some good protein in your diet when you get up. A healthy breakfast will help fuel you through the day and give you the energy you need to be awake and alert when it’s time for your interview.
At the Teacher Interview
Nothing ruins an interview faster than having a candidate rush in 10 minutes late and completely flustered. Have you ever heard the phrase, “10 minutes early is on time?” This is especially true when it comes to an interview. Arrive early, but not too early. This will give you a moment to decompress and catch your breath while you are waiting for the hiring manager.
Be sure to leave your house with plenty of time to spare. Doing so will leave room for any traffic jams, detours, or last-minute unexpected mishaps. If you arrive 30 minutes early, you can always grab a cup of coffee nearby or sit in your car and review your resume to prepare.
Your mind may be going a million other places when you are feeling anxious. Try your best to stay present in the moment once you step into the room for your interview. Silence your notifications and put your phone away well before the interview begins. Answering text messages or calls in a teacher interview is a big faux pas. It certainly will not assure the hiring manager that you want to be there and will quickly diminish your chances of getting hired. Resist the temptation. Keep the phone out of sight and out of mind.
Another way to be present is to make eye contact. When we get nervous, many of us tend to look down or divert eye contact. Connecting face to face with the people in the room shows that you are confident, and you are interested in what they have to say. Good eye contact puts others at ease and makes you appear open, friendly, and welcoming.
Bring a portfolio to your teacher interview
Bring a collection of lessons, worksheets, and examples of your best work to show what you are capable of. This can be created using a simple 3 ring binder with clear pockets and dividers. Or it can be more elaborate if you’d like to go the extra mile with creativity. Decide ahead of time if you will leave your portfolio with the hiring managers or if you will provide additional or digital copies for them.
Here is a list of what you might include in a teacher interview portfolio:
- Cover page
- Extra copies of your resume
- Your teaching philosophy
- Letters of recommendation
- Peer and department evaluations
- A list of any workshops or professional training you have attended
- Lesson plan samples with descriptions
- Sample assignments
Need more guidance and ideas? Check out this walkthrough video from Pocketful of Primary on creating a portfolio for teacher interviews.
Dress the part
Iron your pants. Tuck in your shirt. Brush your hair. Get a second opinion on those shoes. It’s a good idea to plan your teacher interview outfit at least a few days in advance. This will allow you extra time to take care of any laundry or dry cleaning necessary to complete your look. When you are not sure of the school’s dress code, it’s wise to dress up more than it is to go too casual. You can’t go wrong if you are the best dressed person in the room.
What about Zoom etiquette for teacher interviews?
Coming out of a global pandemic, holding interviews over Zoom is more common than ever. If you are asked to join the hiring process digitally, there are some important things to keep in mind.
Find a quiet space.
I once interviewed a candidate over Zoom who brought her laptop to a busy restaurant during the lunch rush. It was so hard to conduct the interview over all the background noise. This was a big turnoff right away.
Be aware of your surroundings
Look around the room before you get on camera. Is your dirty laundry piled in the background? Is your cat’s litter box within sight? Take a few minutes to clean up the room you are in or turn the camera away from anything unsightly or distracting.
Dress as if you were at an in-person teacher interview
Just because you are in the comfort of your own home, it does not mean you should be wearing your comfy cozy sweats. Dress to impress, even if it is just the top part of you that is visible.
Pay attention to lighting
Sometimes when you are sitting in front of a bright window, it can cause a distracting glare or make you look like a dark silhouette. Locate a good natural light source that accentuates your beautiful face. And don’t forget to smile!
With these tips in your back pocket, you should be ready to walk into your next interview with poise and confidence. Congratulations on your hard work and endeavors as a future teacher. iteach is here to support you on this journey. You’ve got this!
Become a Teacher. Change Lives.
If you are passionate about impacting the world around you there are few places where you can influence the future as much as a teacher. Teachers have the ability to build students up and set them on a positive course that can have a ripple effect for future generations.
If you are interested in becoming a teacher, check out our online teacher certification process and you could be teaching in a matter of weeks.