Preparing for your first interview can be nerve-wracking and it's one of the most commonly asked questions within the First Year Teacher FB group. I hope these tips will help you confidently walk into your first interview.
1. Join a Local Facebook Group To Learn About the School
If you are interviewing in a new city or area, you might consider joining a local community Facebook group. Do a quick search within the search bar of the group to find out what comes up about the school. What are parents talking about? How is the school perceived by the community? You might also make a post within the group asking if there are any teachers that might be willing to chat with you privately. This can help you gain some knowledge about the school to determine if it would be a good fit, or to find out a little more beyond the mission statement on the school website.
2. Practice Your Responses Out Loud & Record Yourself
Practice your responses by speaking out loud. This will help you feel more confident walking into the interview. Record yourself speaking and watch the replay. Pay attention to your tone of voice, body language, and enthusiasm. Here are some commonly asked interview questions to prepare for and practice:
What is your teaching philosophy?
What makes a great teacher?
Why do you feel you would be a good fit for this role?
How will you incorporate SEL into your lessons?
How do you differentiate learning?
In your past work experiences, how have you overcome or worked through disagreements or difficulties?
Of what importance is a student's attitude toward learning? How do you address this in your classroom?
What engagement strategies do you use in your classroom?
How do you communicate with parents?
How do you communicate or collaborate with your team?
What does your classroom management system look like?
If someone walked into your classroom, what would they see or hear?
3. Bring Student Work Examples
If you have examples of student work from your student teaching or other work you've done with students, bring them to use as samples. Just remember to remove student names and information. You can reference projects you've done with students or student growth you have recorded.
4. Be Prepared to Teach a Lesson
You might be asked to teach a short lesson. I suggest using the "I Do, We Do, You Do" strategy. Be sure to start with your essential question or learning targets. Begin with teaching the concept whole group. Then you will have students do the concept with you, and finally, you will release the students to do the concept on their own. Be sure to check for understanding. You can do this with a thumbs up, to the side, or thumbs down. This will then allow you to work with the students that need a little more instruction. You might consider practicing a lesson with a friend or loved one to give you feedback. This will help you work through the flow and timing of the lesson because you will likely only have a few minutes to teach the lesson.
5. You are Conducting an Interview Too
The most important thing to remember is that YOU are interviewing the school as much as they are interviewing you. Use the interview process as a time to prepare in advance some questions to learn about the school culture, how you will be supported as a new teacher, and to learn more about the teacher turnover rate. I've got list of questions to consider asking at the end of an interview which you can find within this blog post.
BONUS: Don't despair if you apply and haven't heard anything. You will likely need to apply for MANY different jobs. If you haven't heard back after an interview, just remember that the end of the school year is a busy time. As well, sometimes a decision can't be made until enrollment numbers are in or until budgets get approved. Just keep applying!
And finally, just BE YOU.