Probably the most dreaded part of getting a job…the interview! At least for me, this is the most nerve-wracking thing EVER.
Lucky for you, I have quite a bit of experience in this area. I have my principal and supervisor certifications, so my principal allows me to help him in interviews at our school. Not only do I get to attend, but I get to ask questions as well. Since I have been doing this at my school for 3 years, I have collected a TON of interview questions and tips for you.
So, let’s get into it…
TIP #1: PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!
Practicing might feel repetitive and silly, but I promise it is worth your time. The more you practice your answers, the calmer and more confident you will sound. The best thing to do is to practice in front of other people. Have a family member or friend ask you the questions so that you can practice your answers with them. This will help you speak in front of other people and get repeated practice answering the questions. If no one is available, simply practice in front of a mirror.
TIP #2: MAKE THOSE ANSWERS PERFECT!
This tip has a couple sub-tips to go with it…
CONNECT IT TO YOUR STUDENTS
Always connect your answers back to the students! Students are the most important, and you want to make sure that the person interviewing you knows that you believe that.
- For example, if you were asked, “You had a great lesson planned, but a delayed opening was called. What do you do? How do you adjust?” My initial thought would be to answer with something about still making sure the objective is being hit, even with the shortened period. And that answer isn’t wrong but, what about our students? First thing you would want to do is make sure that everyone was able to get to school safely, see if your students were still able to eat before school, see if everyone is ok, etc.
- It is hard to think about those things when being asked about a lesson, but the individuals interviewing you will be very impressed that you thought about your students and their well-being.
HAVE GENERAL ANSWERS PREPARED
Have one general answer on hand for each topic. In my interview questions document, I have questions organized by topic: lessons, differentiation, student engagement, parents, etc. For each of these topics you should have one, very general, answer prepared so that no matter how the interviewer words their questions you can use the answer that you prepared.
- For example, almost every interviewer will ask you for an example lesson that you have taught and then some follow up questions about it. If you have one very good lesson in mind (for math and ELA) you should be able to answer any of the questions.
Don’t forget to make eye contact. Don’t make it weird HAHA, but make sure that you make eye contact with the person interviewing you! If it is a panel, make sure that you look at each of them at different times throughout the interview!
PAUSE AND BREATHE!
PAUSE AND BREATHE. After being asked a question, it might be your first instinct to just start talking. Instead, pause and take a second to collect your thoughts. This will save you a lot of “UMMMMM”s. Picture a graphic organizer in your head and try to organize your thoughts before answering.
TIP #3: KNOW THE SCHOOL/DISTRICT
This one might seem obvious, but it is something people forget to do very often. Simply, research the school and district that you are interviewing for. You want to know things like the area the school is in, their student population, the demographics of students, what programs they offer, the curriculum that they use, etc. In addition, know the school and/or district’s mission statement. Know what they believe to be important.
TIP #4: DRESS THE PART
This is another one that can sound obvious, but often gets forgotten. Make sure you dress to impress. I am the LAST person to tell you that you MUST wear a dress or a suit. Dress comfortably, but professionally. Wearing nice pants and a blouse or a button-down shirt is just fine. Oh, and brush your hair Even if your university is having you do mock interviews, you still want to dress the part. Principals and superintendents are ALWAYS looking.
TIP #5: BE YOURSELF!
Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Don’t try to be someone you are not just because you are in an interview and you desperately want the job. You want someone to hire you for YOU! Don’t be afraid to let your personality come out.
TIP #6: YOU CAN ASK QUESTIONS TOO!
You can ask questions too! I would recommend waiting until the end, but you can definitely ask your own questions. Here are some examples of questions you might ask:
- When would the position start?
- Do I get a mentor teacher my first year?
- What, if anything, do you do to help first year teachers?
- Does your school have committees?
Tips For Demo Lessons
—Ask the school about the makeup of the class and the technology, or lack of, that you will have.
—If you will have a SmartBoard, prep slides to go along with your lesson to keep you and the lesson on track.
—Use timers on the slides to keep your time in check.
—Introduce yourself and give the students an opportunity to introduce themselves or have them make a quick name tag or name tent on their desk.
—Make your expectations clear at the start of the lesson – 3 easy rules to follow.
—Display the objective, or at least state it during the lesson.
—Make the lesson student led as much as possible.
—Have an exit ticket – even if it’s just calling on a few students to check for understanding at the end of the lesson.
—Practice, practice, practice!
I hope that you found these tips and the example questions helpful! If you have any questions, I would love to help you out! I would also love to know if these tips and questions help you get a job!!! Keep me updated. The best way to reach me is to DM me on Instagram or to email me at [email protected]
If you are a cooperating teacher or student teacher looking for advice, checkout this BLOG POST!
PS. Shout out to my principal for teaching me everything I know!!!