Interview tips for teachers

Sophie Walzer

If you’re here, you’re probably wondering how to ace a teacher interview. This is why we compiled our top tips for teacher interviews below, which should also give you some sense of what to expect and what answers to bring to a teacher interview. Whether you are preparing for your first job interview, getting ready to pursue a new teaching role, or simply wanting to brush up your skills, here are some interview tips for teachers!

Show your passion for your work

In any job interview, showing passion for the role and the industry is key to helping persuade the interviewer that you’re going to be committed to your job. This is especially true for teaching roles, where it’s hard for candidates to stand out among their peers.

Passion is a quality that has quickly become much harder for employers to find in employees. In their Passion at work report, Deloitte stated that “up to 87.7 percent of America’s workforce is not able to contribute to their full potential because they don’t have passion for their work.” By highlighting your passion in this interview, you will show that you’re one of the rare individuals that will go above and beyond in their job to benefit their students and the school. These are the kind of employees that companies want to hire, and school districts are no exception.

You should also be passionate about yourself and your ability to be successful in the role. The truth is, if you don’t portray to the employer that you are confident in your abilities, why should they be confident in you? Show the employer who you are, what you have done, and why you are the right fit.

Come prepared with knowledge about the school

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Before any job interview, you want to research the school and administration that you’ll be joining. Look into the methods and values that the school holds. This is important because you want to be well prepared, and because you want to make sure that you fit the school’s culture and values. What you are looking for in a job is just as important as what the employer is looking for in a teacher.

Three important aspects to research are the “mission statement”, “teaching methods”, and “behavioral management”.

Mission statement

The mission statement is a concise summary of what values the school holds, and what the school feels differentiates them from other schools. Use this information to determine if your values align and if you believe you are a good fit. If so, utilize this mission statement in your interview, and take appropriate opportunities to show how your qualifications match with what the school is looking for. 

Teaching methods

As a teacher, understanding what will be expected of you in how you do your job is very important for your day to day work. Is the school more traditional or do they have a more unique style of teaching? Does your experience align with these methods, and would you be able to contribute to them? If so, again, be sure to take appropriate opportunities to highlight this alignment in your interview.

Behavioral management

Like teaching methods, behavioral management is key to how you’ll do your job. Is the school strict, or more laid back? What is their policy in key situations such as bullying or acting up? You want to ensure that you’re aligned with their policy expectations because these will often be some of the more challenging situations in your job. Researching this will also help you in the interview process because it will show that you’re well-prepared and also thoughtful about student needs.

Ultimately, doing thorough research on the school will help you seem prepared and passionate about the role in your interview. Don’t forget your personal needs as well – this research is also for you to determine if the school is the right fit for you, which is just as important.

Share your success in other roles

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Before walking into your interview, come prepared with success stories. When asking questions, the interviewer will likely try to gain “an understanding of how you interact with students.” Depending on your experience as an educator, this can be approached in two different ways.

If this is not your first time as a teacher, you can share examples of how you have helped students navigate and overcome challenges. Did you walk a student through the difficulties of a math lesson? Were you able to guide students through a disagreement? Show the employer what skills and success you will bring to their team.

On the other hand, if this is your first interview for a teaching position, first, congratulations! You are one step closer! Since this is your first time teaching, you may not have those stories from your classroom to share. Instead, try to talk about a time as a student-teacher or even a camp counselor when you had success with a child. This is a great opportunity to show the interviewer that while you may not have as much experience, you would still be a successful hire.

Regardless of where your success comes from, the overall goal is to demonstrate a few stories on how you “positively impacted” a child. What kind of success and teaching methods will you bring to the school?

Expand on your teaching experience

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Ultimately, the best way for you to sell yourself in this pitch and close the deal is for you to characterize yourself. When asked a question in the interview, try to connect it to a story from your career to show your experience.

In your interview, you want to highlight why you should be selected over other candidates. In their Harvard Business Review article, Kurnoff and Lazarus demonstrate that the use of storytelling in an interview allows you the “chance to really expand, let your personality shine, and set yourself apart from all the other candidates.” The interviewer is trying to decipher who you are and what kind of role you will play in their school. Paint the picture for them. This is also a great opportunity as a first-time teacher to show your experience for this position, even if it is not a job on a resume. 

Ace your teacher job interview!

At the end of the day, the employer wants to know who you are. Remember, while you may want the job, you want a job where you fit best. If you feel that this is the position for you, clearly show the employer that. Demonstrate your passion, highlight your research, and depict your success. Wishing you the best of luck in this interview. Be genuine and demonstrate yourself with confidence.

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