Teacher Career Preparation (Part II – Interviewing Skills)

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This is part two of a two part series – our best advice for aspiring teachers who are in search of their first teaching position. This information is provided by Jeffco Public Schools, Golden, Colorado.

Applying to jobs? – Now is the time to prepare for the interview. Practice interviewing, anticipate the types of questions you will be asked after doing your homework on the district and specific school. Prepare for education behavior interview questions – “tell us about a time when you…”? Practice the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result). Prepare for questions about instructional practices and strategies, lesson planning, assessment, diversity, classroom management, differentiated learning, instructional technology, student engagement, parent involvement, extra-curricular involvement, additional duties and responsibilities, etc.

When practicing, write out your responses to anticipated questions, make notes and gather your thoughts. Be sure to incorporate your thoughts and experiences about diversity, being a life-long learner, growth mindset, innovative instructional practices, etc. Be prepared to share your experiences in every type of scenario.

The interview begins with your initial contact with the school/district, first impressions matter. Keep in mind what your email address is and what your voicemail message says, are they both professional? What about your social media postings? Schools and districts will look at your social media, are you presenting an image the school would want associated with them? When emailing or communicating with a school you want to make sure it is professional.

Arrive to the interview early, many schools will provide you the questions to review while you wait. Listen to the questions fully, and answer to the best of your knowledge and experiences, it’s ok to not know, show willingness to learn!

Pay attention to what you see at the school related to culture, climate, points of pride and initiatives – how do you relate and what can you contribute? Be prepared to ask thoughtful questions of the interview team and principal – the interview process is a “two way street”!

Be sure to dress professionally for your interviews.

Hiring timelines could vary from district to district, check websites often for new posting. Job boards open in mid-February – be prepared! If offered a position, only accept the position you believe is your best choice and you are committed. Backing out of a position once accepted has consequences. Make sure you are familiar with the licensing process and the various contract types (temporary – one year, probationary and non-probationary). School districts offer guest/substitute teaching opportunities, these are a great way to prove yourself!

Most important:

  • Show your passion for the profession through all of your actions!
  • Show your compassion for the students we serve!
  • ANTICIPATE AND PRACTICE! Be prepared for anything!
  • Breathe, smile and enjoy the challenge of the process!

Best wishes with all of your educational endeavors!