How to Ace a Teaching Interview

When applying for a teaching position, there are a number of things to keep in mind to help you fly through the applications and interview process. This article explains what to concentrate on.


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    Have the right professional qualifications to be a certified teacher. Teaching certifications are generally essential in most places nowadays. This might mean that you need to get at least a minor in education even if you have other degrees.
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    Get all the forms filled out neatly and have official transcripts sent from your college to the central school administration offices.
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    Keep copies of every application form.
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    Ask when you will be interviewed. The central offices interview is to screen for the more and the less qualified applicants.
    • They will not keep the paperwork you filed for more than a few months, if you are not hired (in that school year).
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    Reapply, start over, like around the midpoint of the second half of the school year, if you are interested in being hired for the following school year. Just do it.
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    Expect to be interviewed by each school principal who is interested. The individual schoolmaster/principal, most often has the final say on who is hired. A copy of your application and transcripts will be viewed by each principal, before they see you.
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    Seek your teaching position at the right level of ability. If you have experience and training for a certain grade, it's a good idea to stick with that grade until you have more experience. That will be dependent on the school, of course, but it is important.
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    Show that you are calm, energetic, enthusiastic and confident. Smile, relax a little, believing (deeply) that they will hire you, but don't brag or show-off about your grades or test scores, but mentioning them is fine.
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    Prepare to be ready to explain your approach to student discipline.
    • "Progressive discipline" is one good idea: meaning start with simple explanations, repeat key words, be clear and mild and increase the intensity.
    • Explain that you would never hold grudges against students, nor put-down or make a threat/or promise that you can not easily enforce (threats are challenges for them to test you).
    • Keep records, but do not try to stack them too high or be punitive.
    • Say, "I'll enforce school and district rules, like the dress code, rules about use of homework, tutoring, technology, cell-phone..."
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    Expect various questions like:
    • "Why do you want to teach?"
      • Write that out in advance and edit your reasons. You'll probably need to explain clearly but briefly on the application, or attached.
    • "What do you want to know about the pay?" Caution: Never talk about teacher "pay or holidays" as reasons to teach. Pay and benefits are not an acceptable reason to teach!.
      • Say, "I know teachers are paid on a scale, and I'm not concerned about that."
    • "Do students need to love you to be able to learn?" (Develop the idea of why not: "It's not love -- not be too personal, but insist on mutual respect for all, accepting differences, not comparing students, consistency, reasonableness, fair with firmness, manners and courtesy as very important... and not too judgmental, but teaching responsibility"
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    Present yourself well. It is always important to turn up to an interview looking good and a teaching interview is no different.
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    Avoid anything that is not in keeping with the role of teaching in that district. If your school is upmarket, try to wear a suit to the interview.
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    Be early, not just punctual. There is something unacceptable about a teacher who may be unable to be on time and would always be rushing in at the last moment, out of breath!


  • Practice the "teacher look": hold your chin up but relaxed. Be observant. Be a little bit like an officer or sergeant, yet not too stiff, but not acting or looking like a member of the student body for sure.

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Categories: Interview Skills