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You've put in the time and have done the work, now you are rewarded with your first teacher interview. In order to make it a successful one, you will need to prepare for it. Here's how to ace your interview, including tips on researching the school district, perfecting your portfolio, answering questions, and interview attire.
Researching the School District
As soon as you land an interview, your first step should be to research the school district. Go to the district website and gather all of the information that you can. You will need to be prepared if the employer asks you, "What do you think of our building-based intervention teams?" or "What can you tell me about our Dignity of Students Act (DASA)?" Each school district has specific programs that they implement in their schools, and it's your job to be prepared and learn all about them. If at some point in the interview the prospective employer asks you if you have any questions, this would be a great time to ask a question regarding the districts specific programs (not to mention it will help you make a great impression).
Perfecting Your Portfolio
Your teaching portfolio is the best tangible evidence of your accomplishments and showcases all of your skills and experience. Every teacher is required to create a portfolio during their college courses. The reason for this is to provide prospective employers with a hands-on collection of your best examples of work. This is a way to introduce yourself beyond a resume, and showcase what you've learned throughout your education and career. For the best way to utilize your portfolio during an interview, use the following tips.
How to Best Utilize Your Portfolio in an Interview
- Familiarize yourself with it. Get to know your portfolio like the back of your hand. If the interviewer asks you a question, you want to be able to turn to a page quickly in order to give them the best tangible evidence for your answer.
- Don't Overuse it. Use your portfolio sparingly. If the interviewer asks you a question, and you think it will complement your answer, then use it. Try not to pull it out for every question you get asked.
- Leave it out. Once you use your portfolio and take out artifacts, leave them out. It will be very distracting if you start rummaging through the papers.
For additional tips on using your portfolio and to learn about the must-have items to include, read Perfecting Your Portfolio.
Interview Questions & Answers
The main portion of your interview will be answering specific questions about yourself and teaching. Every interviewer is different, and you will never know the exact questions they will be asking you. But, you can prepare by familiarizing yourself with the most commonly asked questions, and practicing how you will respond to them.
Example Question About Yourself
Question: What is your greatest weakness?
(Your best option to answer this question is to turn your weakness into a strength.)
Answer: My biggest weakness is that I am detailed orientated. I tend to over plan and get things done ahead of time.
Example Question About Teaching
Question: What is your teaching philosophy?
(Your teaching philosophy is your reflection of your classroom experience, your teaching style, your beliefs about learning.)
Answer: My teaching philosophy is every child should have the right to learn and get a quality education. Every child that enters my classroom should feel safe and comfortable. It would be a nurturing and enriching environment.
I believe that a teacher should be aware of their students' emotional, social, psychological and physical development as well as their cognitive growth. A teacher should view parents and the community as partners in the educational progress.
Individualized instruction is an integral strategy to aid children with different preferences. In order to meet all students needs, I will incorporate a variety of approaches, such as the multiple intelligence theory and the use of cooperative learning strategies. I will provide an environment where students will use self-discovery and a hands-on approach to learning.
How you dress for an interview is just as important as your credentials, and the answers you give to the questions they ask you. The first impression a potential employer gets of you is an extremely important one. According to the Transportation of Logistics Society, 55 percent of another person's perception of you is based on how you look. "Dress for success" should be your motto when you're thinking about what you should wear to an interview. Although teachers tend to dress a bit more casually lately, it is essential that you showcase your best look for an interview.
Women's Interview Attire
- Solid color pant or skirt suit
- Professional hair
- Manicured nails
- Conservative shoes
- Sparse makeup
Men's Interview Attire
- Solid color pantsuit
- Conservative tie
- Plain color dress shirt
- Professional shoes
- Professional hairstyle