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It is likely that you may have extended your job search outside schools and districts that you are familiar with. If offered an interview at one of these schools understand that you are already at a disadvantage. You may not be as knowledgeable about the school and students as another job candidate that student taught there. In my book, Road to Teaching, I offer some strategies to maximize your knowledge of the community, school, and, most importantly, the students before heading into your interview. Acknowledging time is of the essence, here are some quick tips to better prepare for your interview:

If you have only a day before the interview…

  • Conduct on-line research of the community. A great resource for this is Yahoo’s Real Estate website. This will give you a good overview of the socio-economic and ethnic picture of the neighborhood.
  • Visit the school’s website. Read everything, especially if the school posts a newsletter for parents. This will give you insight into the various changes/reforms happening.
  • Review the school’s test scores. Check out School Matters for this. This will show the strength and areas of improvement in student achievement. Think of how your experience, skills sets, and professional training will improve student learning in these areas.

If you have a few days before the interview…

  • Do everything mentioned above.
  • Send an email to your teacher friends, explaining that you have an interview, and ask for their insight on the school for which you applied.
  • Go to a cafe near the school. Observe and casually talk with people there.
  • Drive around the school and local community. Plus, this will alleviate stress of trying to find the school on the day of your interview.

Hopefully, these are some ideas to get you started on preparing for your teacher interview. I will post these links on the website, under the link category Getting a Teacher Job, for future reference.

Also, thank you to everyone sending in teacher interview questions. Please keep them coming. In the last few days, we have doubled the number of teacher interview questions. Additionally, I broke down the general teacher interview questions into more specific categories, e.g. classroom management, discipline, professional development, etc

A little over a month ago this website/blog was launched with the intention of helping student teachers. Immediately, student teachers responded they needed teacher interview questions. I made a page dedicated to teacher interview questions. Starting with just 50 interview questions, I made the call for more interview questions. Teachers, administrators, and university professionals responded, helping grow the number of questions to nearly 200! Thousands of students teachers have viewed these questions, helping them better prepare for their interviews.

Special thanks to everyone that contributed. It’s been amazing to see the response. We are still lacking teacher interview questions in the following areas: math, ELL, language arts, German, French, and middle-school. Please post a comment or email me at eric@road2teaching.com with additional questions. I will post them immediately. Thanks again for helping grow this resource.

Resource Links

Road to Teaching: A Guide to Teacher Training, Student Teaching, and Finding a Job

List of Teacher Interview Questions

I remember waiting anxiously for that call – the final step in the interview process, notifying of whether you have received the job. The notification usually comes in the form of a phone call, but sometimes it may be a letter. Before you receive that phone call, there are helpful steps you should take to prepare yourself.

Let us first examine the worst scenario. Assume the principal phones you to inform you that you will not be filling the teaching position. While this is a crushing blow, take control of the conversation and learn from it. First, be extremely professional and courteous—you never know when another position may materialize at the same school. Thank the principal for their time, and ask what specifically you could improve on in the interview or on your resume for next time. Many times the principal will be frank and give you fantastic, constructive advice. Remember to listen, and, most importantly, be receptive to what the principal is saying. It is not to your advantage to be defensive. As in the teaching process, you can take this advice, revise your approach a little, and confidently prepare for your next interview.

In the optimistic scenario, let us assume that you land your dream teaching job. Typically, the principal phones you, requesting your references. Take this request as an extremely positive sign. Understand, though, that many principals cannot offer you the job until your reference check is complete. Therefore, it is important to have your references, with primary and alternate contact numbers, with you at all times because you simply do not know when the principal will call. Finally, thank the principal for giving you this opportunity and then, after the phone call, go celebrate—you have earned it!

Good luck!

Resource Links

Road to Teaching: A Guide to Teacher Training, Student Teaching, and Finding a Job

List of Teacher Interview Questions

Once your interview is complete, differentiate yourself further by sending out thank-you notes to all the interviewers on that same day. Bring a stack of thank-you notes and several postage stamps with you to your interview. Then, find a place where you feel comfortable to write the thank-you notes, whether that place is your car or a nearby coffee shop. Refer back to the notes you took during the interview and make every effort to personalize each thank-you note. Mention something that will help your interviewer remember you among all the other interviewers. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Address an issue that arose during your interview, especially when the topic favors your qualifications. For instance, your ELL endorsement was discussed as an asset due to the rising number of ELL students in the school.
  2. Overcome objections by responding to an interviewer’s major concern in detail that was not possible during the interview.
  3. Highlight your skills or experiences that qualify you as a strong candidate and will differentiate you from other candidates.

Now relax, all you have to do is drop off the thank-you notes in the mail and wait for the all-important phone call.

Resource Links

Road to Teaching: A Guide to Teacher Training, Student Teaching, and Finding a Job

List of Teacher Interview Questions

1. What strategies would you use to help struggling readers in the Language Arts classroom?

2. What strategies will you use to teach grammar?

3. Give us an example of a unit designed to teach the elements of fiction?

4. Describe a unit you designed for the classroom and focus on the process of designing the unit from beginning to end.

5. How will you incorporate culturally diverse literature in your class?

A relatively simple, but highly effective way to close an interview is to ask for the teaching job. In the business world, the most significant factor that contributes to substandard performance in sales is not closing the sale, or in other words, not asking for the sale. The same principle applies to interviewing. In essence, you are selling yourself, your skills, and experience. Towards the end of the interview, briefly restate your desire to teach in the target school and outline 2-3 reasons why you are a qualified candidate. Finally, don’t forget to thank the interviewers for their time. Good luck!

Resource Links

Road to Teaching: A Guide to Teacher Training, Student Teaching, and Finding a Job

List of Teacher Interview Questions