Teacher Interview Tips

Apr 21, 2015 | August, Back To School, June/July, Teacher Wisdom | 11 comments

Surviving a Teacher Interview

How to shine during a teacher interview! Includes tips, tricks, and common questions!

I have been through quite a few teacher interviews over my years teaching; being the last person hired often makes you the first person cut!  Over the years, I have been told I interview very well and so this post is to help teachers survive the dread teacher interview!

Approach your interview as a sales pitch!  You want these people to hire you so make them feel as if you are the only choice!

Let’s start with preparing for the interview:

  • call to confirm your appointment
  • map out the answers to your questions
  • gather student work and photos
  • look up the school and know some facts about the school
  • look up the names of the people may be in the interview (try to remember them)

What to bring:

  • A notebook and pens or pencils.
  • A bottle of water.
  • Several copies of your resume.
  • Examples of student work.
  • Notes from parents.
  • Test score printouts.
  • A copy of your last evaluation.

 

Tips to help you stand out during a teacher interview!

Tips to Stand Out in the Interview

  • Avoid clichés (I teach because I love children or I believe all students can learn.  Everyone says them and you will not be remembered for saying them.)
  • Show samples of student work.  Most people don’t do this so it will make you be remembered.
  • Share photos of your classroom or projects you have done.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask them to repeat a question. I have done this several times.
  • If you don’t think you answered their question correctly, ask them “Did I understand the question correctly?”
  • Call to confirm your appointment the day before.
  • Send a thank you note.  {Super important because if they don’t hire you, they most likely know others who can!}

This to remember to do:

  • Make eye contact with everyone.
  • Smile.
  • Be friendly and personable.
  • Refer to people by name.
  • Be friendly with the office staff.
  • Be confident.
  • Shake hands.
  • Dress to impress.  Don’t necessarily wear what you would teach in.
  • Say thank you and you look forward to hearing from them.

Common Teacher Interview Questions and how to answer them!

Common Teacher Interview Questions

(And key things to mention when answering.)

Let’s start by saying you should be honest and truthful.  Don’t share things you don’t do and surely highlight your strengths!  These are bullets because you have to make the answers be all about you!  So use these ideas to build your answers as you prepare for your interview!

Please tell us about yourself and your experience.

  • how long you have taught
  • where you have taught
  • what grades
  • where and what types of communities

What does reading look like to you?

  • balance of following curriculum and adjusting to student needs
  • mention of the components of reading (phonics, phonemic awareness, etc.)
  • mention of a project you have done (show a sample if you have)

What does teamwork look like to you?

  • getting to know the members of your team
  • playing on each other strengths
  • helping each other out
  • encouraging each other
  • cheerleading one another

Tell me about your classroom management.

  • describe the system you are used to using
  • share ways you have dealt with specific instances
  • examples, examples, examples

What do you do to get parents involved?

  • weekly printed updates
  • school website
  • phone calls not just for negative things
  • making yourself available to chat
  •  giving opportunities to volunteer inside and outside the classroom
  • (Do you give your students your phone number?  Mention here if so.)

How do you deal with a difficult student?  

  • give an example or two of students you have been successful with overcoming situations
  • tell your general philosophy on working with students
  • show you are flexible to work with all kinds of students and situations

How do you assess your students?

  • give and show examples of what you use in your classroom
  • hopefully you focus on data, highlight that
  • tell how the data drives your day-to-day interactions with students
  • tell what you think the overall purpose of why you assess your students

How do you differentiate for students (struggling learners and gifted)?

  • assessing students needs and having appropriate activities
  • give a student example
  • directing higher or lower level questions to students during lessons

What would your last team say about you?

  • highlight your good qualities when it comes to work ethic (planning, sharing ideas, working together, etc.)
  • share some team building things you have done such as bring flowers for a teammate

How do you stay current in education?  (Or could be what are the trends education.)  

  • staff trainings and district opportunities (give examples)
  • Pinterest, blogs, online articles (if you do those)
  • working with your team and trying new things

How do you differentiate instruction?

  • keeping good data on kids so I know exactly what they need
  • providing different levels of work for students
  • asking different level questions throughout your lessons

Do you have any questions?  

  • What’s the overall climate of the school and the teachers.  (This is important, you don’t want to work somewhere where teachers are grumpy. Don’t say this of course but how they answer it will give an idea so you know whether or not you will wan to accept the job.)
  • How many students do you currently have enrolled.
  • How many teachers are at the grade level you are applying for.
  • Ask how the current team plans.
  • This is a great way to also show those work samples or photos you brought in!

Please share your interview advice, questions you have heard before, and tips in the comments!

11 Comments

  1. Karisa

    I was thinking the same thing.

    Reply
  2. les

    Thank you!!!

    Reply
  3. Kathy

    Over the past few weeks I’ve participated in some interviews at our school. One of the biggest issues I’ve discussed with my admins is candidates who do not answer voicemails or worse, those who confirm an interview and fail to show without a phone call. As you said, admins talk to one another. They can just as well share negatives as positives.
    Absolutely humility with confidence!

    Reply
  4. Ashley

    This was awesome! so helpful and thank you so much! right on track with the most common teacher questions for an interview!

    Reply
  5. Candace Alstad-Davies

    This is an excellent list to prepare for your teacher interview – many people, in any industry don’t take the interview process serious enough. Preparation is the key to shining in your teaching interview.

    Reply
  6. Kevin

    I am a principal and I often tell people you need to come in with a “thesis about yourself.” What I mean by this is you should know what makes you special and regardless of the questions, be able to focus on your own “personal thesis.” I also feel it is VERY important to make sure you are ready to give SPECIFIC examples of creative lessons you would teach in your own classroom. Too often, candidates are vague with their lesson ideas and they do not convince the interview team that they can compete in a world of video games, TV, etc. I hope this helps…good luck.

    Reply
  7. Joseph

    You really need to dress appropriately for interviews. Men = suits. Women = business suits or dark skirt and blouse. I’ve sat on many teacher and Administrator interview panels. Those who weren’t dressed appropriately were given very short interviews.

    Be confident yet humble in your attitude.

    Good luck! We need dedicated and qualified teachers in our field. We’re still fighting for a pay we deserve

    Reply
    • Jennifer @ Simply Kinder

      Thanks for your insight! =) Confident yet humble is so important! Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  8. Laura

    This is good advice for someone who has already taught before, but what about those beginning teachers who haven’t been in a classroom yet?

    Reply
  9. Janet

    very insightful. thank you.

    Reply
    • Michelle

      What advice would you give a teacher with zero experience?I only have one year of experience teaching Spanish in high school, now I want to teach Kindergarten.

      Reply

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