Sunday, May 10, 2015

10 Tips for Teaching Interview Success Part 1

It’s that time of year again, when school districts hire busloads of new teachers, and many teachers strive to either enter new districts, or switch positions in districts wherein they already work. I’ve been through it myself a few times. The process can be quite frustrating and nerve-wracking, which is why I’ve come up with ten tips for teaching interview success. Even if you’re not a teacher, you might find some useful information here. J

Get the Job That's Right for You!

Gather Your Resources

1.    Polish Up Your Resume

Whether you are a brand-new teacher fresh out of college, or an established educator looking for a change, you will need a top-notch resume. If you don’t know how to go about creating one, there are several Internet sites that can help you. Many of them will guide you through the entire process, from choosing a resume style, to giving you suggestions for using industry buzzwords. Some possible sites to use to help you include LiveCareer, Teachnology, and, but there are countless others available for free online.

This is an example of an online resume builder.

2.    Ready the References

Most employers require at least three references. Make sure these are not family members or close friends, unless they are also members of the teaching profession, with close personal knowledge of your teaching abilities. If you come from a long line of teachers, that’s terrific, but your new district won’t care, unless your mom or best friend is also a teacher or administrator in your school building.

Your references should be ready, willing, and able to share their experiences seeing you in action in an educational setting. If you are just entering the teaching profession, your mentor teachers (in whose classrooms you completed your student teaching), your university supervisor (who should have observed you during that time), and the principals of the schools where you completed your student teaching (whom you should have asked to observe you) are all excellent choices for references.

On the other hand, if you are an experienced teacher, I recommend slightly different choices. You will still want your current principal on your side. Any new employer will want to speak to your previous ones. (If your relationship with your current principal is not the best, you might ask someone in your current district’s Human Resources Department to be the contact person for information requests from prospective employers.)

In addition to administrators, don’t be afraid to ask other teaching personnel who are in your room on a regular basis. This might include the Reading Specialist, Resource Teacher, or Instructional Coaches. All of these people have seen you teach, and can be excellent references for you.

Finally, remember to ask members of your grade level team if they are willing to act as references for you. These are the people with whom you plan instruction and collaborate on a variety of classroom topics. They are invaluable as resources for your job search.

Which References Will Work for You?

Whomever you want to act as a reference for you, make sure that you ask first, and don’t wait until later to do it. Remind your references of some of your strengths, as well as any leadership positions you have held. Remember that typed letters of reference are excellent, but are not used by all districts. My own district sends out an automated email questionnaire to every reference, as soon as they are listed as such. You want your reference to be prepared to give you a glowing review, not surprised into giving you a less than stellar one.

I hope these tips help you on your quest to find a new teaching position. I hope you will take a moment to post a question or comment down below. Please join me tomorrow for my next tips, including how to fill out your application and how to design a portfolio to showcase your teaching strengths.

You can find Part 2 of this series, which includes tips for filling out an application and designing your portfolio, here.  Part 3, which can be found here, includes submitting a sample lesson and researching the "right" answers to common interview questions. Part 4, here, includes tips for knowing your audience and practicing for the interview. Part 5 includes tips include how to show your professionalism, and how to continue your job search after the initial interview. 

"See" you next time!
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