the resume & interview process for teachers
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The Resume & Interview Process For Teachers
The Resume & Interview Process for Teachers
Preparing a resume and interviewing for a job as a teacher will be unlike any other professional interview. The field of teaching is so unique that the resume and interview questions you prepare for are very specific. Your resume will need to be catered to teaching to get you the interview you want. Once you get an interview for a school job, youll need to be prepared to answer questions that will help schools gage your preparedness for the classroom.A. The Resume Guide for TeachersB. The Interview Guide for TeachersC. Search for an Education Job A- The Resume Guide for Teachers
When applying for any job, you always want to make a great first impression by having a slick cover letter and intriguing resume. Resume and Interview GuideFive Critical Resume Strategies for Teachers
How Educators Can Avoid Resume Blunders
Decluttering Your Resume in 5 Steps
Resume Preparation for Teachers
Be Proactive Before and After You Send Your Resume
Writing Effective Cover Letters
Nail Your Next Cover Letter
How to Handle the 6 Toughest Interview Questions
Creating a Teaching Portfolio
General Teaching Career TipsIs a Career in Teaching for You?
How to Prepare for Teaching?
Transitioning into an Education Career
Make the Most of an Educational Job Fair
Resume and Interview GuideFive Critical Resume Strategies for Teachers
The thought of creating a resume makes most people cringe. One of the biggest challenges of writing a resume is being objective, and thinking critically about what you have to offer. Writing your resume is one time you need to boast about your accomplishments; for many, this is extremely difficult. The following strategies and hints will help you get started in the right direction. Once you have completed your resume, you should be able to sit back and review all your accomplishments with a renewed sense of confidence.So how do you create a powerful, unique resume that will entice the reader to call you for an interview? In a resume that really works for you, there are five critical components.Appearance CountsLook at your resume this way when you go shopping, chances are you making a purchase because you have seen the product advertised. What grabbed your attention? The ad, the product description, the benefits, or the packaging? Your resume is an advertisement that highlights YOUR relevant skills, accomplishments, and answers the interviewers question, What can this candidate do to solve our problems?The layout must be modern, professional, and eye-catching. Arrange the information for easy and enjoyable reading. Make sure your key skills and accomplishments can be located at a glance. Remember, 10-20 seconds is all your resume gets in the first screening round.Does the quality of the paper and print look great? Dont mix fonts. Leave lots of white space. Highlight or capitalize relevant job positions to make them stand out. Use bulleted lists. If you are faxing the resume, use only white paper.If emailing your resume, use an ASCII Text format (fix the formatting after the conversion). Many companies do not open email attachments for incompatibility and virus reasons.OrganizationThe information presented in your resume needs to be easy for the recipient to read and understand quickly. Create a highly visible and attention-grabbing summary section this must be located at the top of the first page. If you know what type of position you are seeking, start with the job title, then use a powerful subheading that really draws the reader into the body of the resume.ELEMENTARY TEACHERDedicated to creating stimulating and enriching learning environments to provide students with a solid educational foundationAfter this, you would write a Career Profile or Summary of Qualifications. This section summarizes and emphasizes your relevant knowledge and expertise, and will give the reader a concise overview of what you have to offer. This section will vary, depending on your experience. Many career profiles will include a visually appealing table of Core Competencies, which is the perfect place to list keywords.After the career profile, your resume should contain Professional Experience, Education, Credentials, Certifications, Honors, Publications, Public Speaking, Technical Expertise, Professional Affiliations, and Languages. List these items in the order of importance.KeywordsLoad your resume with critical keywords, job and industry specific terms, buzzwords, and jargon. When the targeted institution receives your resume, a preprogrammed computer may be used to search for keywords to determine which resumes will land in the YES pile. The person hired may not be the best qualified for the job, but instead the one with the matching keywords. Research and find out what keywords are relevant to the position you are seeking. Read job ads, job descriptions, trade journals, and websites.Bottom of FormValuable and Convincing ContentThe body of your resume will decide whether or not you secure an interview. Write powerful statements that match the skills, abilities, and qualifications that the institution needs. Resumes contain sentence fragments, not complete sentences. Use vocabulary that interests the reader, rather than dull sentences that will make them put your resume in the NO pile. Stress accomplishments and skills, rather than dull responsibilities and job duties.Some examples of accomplishments:Reduced student discipline rate by 8% by implementing student discipline program.Increased students reading at grade level by 20% by implementing home reading program.Authored and published book entitled, Open Parent, Staff, and Student Relationships Equal Results.Let your personality shine it is a well-known fact that hiring managers hire candidates with a pleasing personality. Words used in a resume can convey a personality that sets you apart from the rest of the candidates.Your writing style must be clear and concise. Write in the first person, never in the third person do not use the word I. Statements should begin with action verbs, and should communicate results, accomplishments, and the value you can offer the company. Verb tenses must remain consistent. Sentences must be parallel. Make sure you show the reader you are a troubleshooter and can solve the institutions problems. Include examples and quotes from a previous supervisor this will increase your credibility.Class and ProfessionalismThe resume and cover letter you submit must demonstrate and display your best work. Would you hire yourself if your resume were in a stack of 1000 others? To ensure professionalism, send a cover letter, and address it to the hiring manager. Make sure the spelling of his/her name is correct. Do not fold your documents send them in a full-sized envelope. If you are unable to personally deliver the resume, send it by overnight express to make a great first impression. There must be no typos or grammatical errors. Remember, this is an indication of your best work.There are many tricks to writing an effective resume. The most important fact to remember is:Write your resume to sell YOU consider it a critical marketing tool!How Educators Can Avoid Resume Blunders
Writing an effective resume can sometimes be a challenging and daunting task. It can be quite easy to inadvertently make mistakes and unknowingly sabotage your chances of securing a job. To prevent some of the most common mistakes, we have put together a listing of the most common errors and what you can do to avoid them.Typing and grammar errors:It is imperative that your resume and cover letter documents be grammatically correct and error free. An employer will take a close look at your resume and if it is riddled with errors and typos, they will more than likely draw a conclusion that care was not taken, leaving a not so flattering impression of your abilities. Have your family and friends re-read your document to ensure that it flows properly and is error-free.Multi-use resume:Trying to develop a multi-useful resume will most certainly guarantee that you will not meet every requirement put out in a job listing. It is essential that your resume be tailored to each and every job posting for which you are applying. It should be manipulated and revised to ensure that you address each identified skill and requirement within the posting. Remember that your resume is the document that will secure an interview. Paying close attention to this detail will have your calendar filled with interviews.Lack of action words & competencies:Never use the words responsible for when describing your position duties. Instead utilize action words that will emphasize your responsibilities and outcomes; for example: Increased student test scores by providing additional individual assistance Using descriptive words throughout your resume will entice the reader and capture their attention.Using I or me:A resume is your communication document, therefore, it should be written in a concise manner. You should not use the words I or me when writing your accomplishments.As an example: I developed and implemented creative lesson plans that allowed me to engage students in the learning process.Instead, use the following to eliminate pronouns and articles: developed and implemented creative lesson plans that allowed students to engage in the learning process.Personal information on your resume:Information such as birth date, marital status, your height and weight should not be placed on your resume unless you are seeking employment overseas.Resume is too long or too short:Many individuals have the idea that their resume should be only a one-page document. Trying to squeeze your career achievements into one page may cause you to leave out impressive accomplishments. Likewise, there are those people who love to ramble on about irrelevant experiences, leaving the reader lost and confused. There really is no rule about how long a resume should be, but the standard length, if you have a few years of work experience, is usually two pages.If you have an extensive listing of career development or special projects, it is acceptable to make reference by indicating A comprehensive listing of career development courses is available upon request. You can then devise a separate listing which is ready and available should an employer make a requestDecluttering Your Resume in 5 Steps
In preparation for a job search, you dust off your old resume and tack on your most recent job, new skills and training. But without editing or deleting old information, your resume becomes a hodgepodge of outdated accomplishments, awards and skills.Its time to declutter your resume. To clean up your act, follow these five steps:Step 1: Narrow Your Career GoalTom Kelly, president of Executive Recruiting Solutions, says many job seekers biggest problem is not being sure of what they want to do, adding that its particularly an issue for those branching out into new careers or industries. The resume starts to lose focus, he says. A whole bunch of extra stuff ends up in it in order to try to appeal to a wider range of employers or industries.Kelly recommends limiting your resumes focus or creating more than one version if you have multiple target jobs. Its best to declutter the resume by targeting one to three industries, max, Kelly says. This makes it easier to consolidate down to relevant content.Step 2: Condense Your Opening SummaryLes Gore, managing partner of Executive Search International, recommends including a qualifications summary near the top of your resume. Tell me a little about your background, he says. Dont go overboard, and dont overdo the selling. Be succinct and descriptive in terms of your experience and collective knowledge.And forget about crafting lofty mission statements or me-focused objectives that talk about wanting a fulfilling career with opportunity for growth, advises Harvey Band, managing partner of recruiting firm Band & Gainey Associates. Youre wasting page space with that, and youre wasting your time and mine, he says. Use the top third of the page to communicate your most recent experience and your most impressive accomplishments. Get my attention. Then Ill keep reading.Step 3: Edit Work ExperienceYour resumes experience section should provide an overview of your career chronology and a few highlights of key accomplishments for your most recent work experience. For professionals on an established career track, this may mean summarizing experience more than 10 to 15 years old into an early career section.I like to see summaries of earlier careers versus long, detailed explanations, says Kelly, who recommends job seekers provide brief, one-line descriptions of earlier positions. You dont have to list every job that youve had out of college on your resume.Gore agrees. Often, I see way too much information on responsibilities and not enough on the accomplishments, says Gore, who reviews hundreds of resumes each month. Although he finds it helpful for candidates to provide a brief overview of the range of their responsibilities, Gore recommends these details be summarized in just a few sentences.When trying to weed accomplishments for space reasons, think numbers. Take a hard look at what youre saying, Band says. If you cant back it up with numbers, percentages or quantify it in some other way, then cut it.Gore also likes the quantitative approach, as does Kelly, who suggests quantified statements have more value to an employer than more general, non quantified accomplishments.Step 4: Consolidate EducationThe education section is another area where you can gain space when updating your resume. Although detailed information about internships, courses, academic honors and extracurricular activities can be important for new or recent graduates, professionals with four or more years of experience can omit or greatly condense this information, says Kelly.Step 5: Select Your SkillsMany job seekers know the importance of keywords. But be careful not to go overboard, cautions Band.Band says if your skills section resembles a laundry list of random terms, you need to do some serious editing. The best resumes are custom-created for a specific opportunity, he says. If youre targeting your resume, then you dont need to try to throw in every single skill set that you think might be important.And nows a good time to dump outdated technology, too. Fortran, Cobol and other outdated computer programs need to go, says Kelly. Not only can you gain some valuable space, but youll avoid coming across as a dinosaur.Think like an EmployerThroughout each step of the resume-decluttering process, Band advises candidates to address the three key questions employers want your resume to answer: What can you do for me? What have you done before? Can you do it for me again?Once the resume gets you an interview, you need to prepare. Resume Preparation for Teachers
Writing a resume is like exercising: You may not look forward to it, but you feel better once its done. And like the results of a good workout, a well-presented resume can help you keep your career in shape.But when writing a resume, what works and what doesnt? We thought wed turn to Monster members like you for advice. Here are some tips from both job seekers who write resumes and hiring professionals who read them for a living. Keep in mind that like resumes, opinions can vary what works for one person may not work for you.Title and ObjectiveA strong, descriptive title will help you stand out in a sea of resumes. Titling your resume Joes do-it-all resume or 1975 hottie looking for a job resume gets your resume passed over by a busy recruiter, says one Monster member who should know -hes a recruiter himself. Make the title useful. For instance, Nursing Director, Pediatrics Labor and Delivery or IT Telecom Project Manager, Microsoft and Cisco Certified or Enterprise Software Sales Manager, Life Sciences -enough with the stupid titles we dismiss and make fun of. This is your career were talking about.Teacher Portfolio: Philosophy of Teaching.":http://www.theapple.com/careers/articles/1182-philosphy-of-education-in-teaching-portfolioAnd an objective must get an employers attention quickly or it wont get any attention at all, says a district manager for a wireless company. I receive hundreds of resumes on a monthly basis, he says. Two-thirds of the resumes are rejected due to the applicant having no clear objective in seeking employment with my company. Your resume must grab my attention within the first few words of the objective. It must be clearly written and relevant to the position you are applying for. Take a little extra time and customize the objective to the position you are seeking. If you cannot sell yourself with your resume, you might not have the opportunity to sell yourself at an interview.Look and FeelAs for typeface, you had definite opinions. Dont use Times New Roman font, advises one seeker. Your resume will look like everyone elses. Georgia and Tahoma are both different, professional and pleasant to look at.But another job seekers font advice is more practical: Use Times New Roman or Arial Narrow instead of other wider fonts to keep your resume to only one (or two) pages and save paper.Monster Resume Expert Kim Isaacs recommends you use a standard Microsoft Word-installed font so the layout will be consistent when an employer opens your resume. No matter what font you use, she suggests you stick with one per resume. Also, the type should be large enough to be read on screen without causing eye fatigue, she says.For the hard copy of your resume, make sure you invest in good paper stock, says one HR professional who has also composed and drafted resumes for professional clients. Before our prospective employer even takes one glance at our resume, there is something they do first, and that is FEEL it, she says. Having handled nearly hundreds of resumes each week, I think most people would be amazed how much notice you can get with a resume on good-quality paper. Sometimes it is not even a conscious thought, just as you shuffle stacks of resumes from here to there, making all the appropriate piles to serve your needs, you always tend to linger just a little longer over that one resume with paper that feels a little heavier, like the cotton/linen blends or the one that feels just slightly different than normal, like the parchments. You can double the effect if you choose good-quality paper in a professional color other than white.LengthWhen President Lincoln was asked how long a mans legs should be, he said they should be able to reach from a mans body to the floor. Likewise, your resume should be long enough to sell you properly without overstating your accomplishments.But of course, you had opinions on this, too. The consensus on resume length is simple: Keep it short. There are exceptions, though. Never exceed one page, unless you have 15-plus years of experience and are applying for a job in upper management, advises one job seeker. Make sure that your resume remains one page and formatted properly, even when viewed in different formats and different views if someone opens your resume in a view other than the one you created it in and sees a hanging line, it looks unprofessional.Style and GrammarFinally, it may seem like grade-school advice, but it bears repeating: Although I try to counsel people on how to write a raving resume and an awesome cover letter, Im consistently shocked at how many resumes and cover letters I receive from people that are plagued with misspelled words, grammatical mistakes and basically little or no time spent proofreading prior to sending, says one Monster member whos been in the staffing industry for 15-plus years. In an era when competition seems to be one of an applicants worst enemies, it seems that one would want to do everything possible to stand out in the crowd. Trust me: I wont give a second thought to deleting a resume and/or cover letter that is fraught with mistakes.Be Proactive Before and After You Send Your Resume
You find a promising job listing online. Excited, you send a well-crafted cover letter and resume and wait for a response. Six weeks later, youre still waiting, your enthusiasm has waned, and youve concluded your resume has fallen into a black hole.A proactive approach to your job search can improve your chances of landing interviews. These six tips will help maximize your success.Make Contact before Sending Your ResumeUnless youre responding to an ad that requests no phone calls, try to contact the hiring manager before you send your resume. Even if you dont know the name of the person handling the search, you can do a bit of investigation to locate the correct person, if you know the employer.Once you get the person on the phone, be brief. The purpose of your call is to express enthusiasm about the opportunity, and that you can positively contribute to the team. Be prepared with a short pitch about your qualifications and the ways you could benefit the employer. Keep the focus on the employer, not you.If you dont get to speak with the hiring manager, find out who the recruiter is in charge of hiring for the position as well as the correct spelling of his name.End Your Cover Letter with a Promise of ActionConclude your letter with something similar to, I will follow up with you in a few days to discuss the possibility of an interview. In the meantime, please feel free to contact me at ______. If you say you will follow up, make sure you do.Follow Up Quickly on All Resumes You SendFollow up within three to five business days. You can follow up by phone or by email if replying to a blind ad or the ad specifies no calls.When following up by phone, try saying something like, Hi, my name is ______ and I submitted my resume for your ______ opening. Im extremely interested in this opportunity, and I just wanted to touch base with you on how I can benefit your operationIf you are following up by email, your message should be brief. Heres an example:Dear Name (or Hiring Manager if name is unknown):I recently applied for your _____ opening, and I just wanted to follow up to make sure my resume was received. My strong background in ______, ______ and ______ appears to be an excellent match to the qualifications you are seeking, and I am very interested in your opportunity. I realize you may not yet be at the interview stage, but I am more than happy to answer any preliminary questions you may have, and I can be reached at ______. Thank you for your time and kind consideration._Sincerely,Be Purposeful in Your Subsequent Follow-Up ContactsIf several weeks pass after your initial follow-up without word from the employer, initiate another call or email. Your purpose for following up could be to find out if a timeline has been established for interviews or to leave an alternate contact number if you will be traveling. As always, be polite, professional and respectful.Keep a Contact Log Your follow-up attempts will be much easier if you keep a contact log of all positions to which you apply. Your log should include a copy of the ad for the position (dont rely on a job posting URL, as jobs can be removed from the Web), the file name of the resume and cover letter you sent, contact dates, names of hiring managers and a summary of information you gleaned during your contact with them.Dont Be a PestRepeated follow-ups are tricky. Unless you are confident that you can walk the fine line between being persistent and becoming a pest, exercise restraint after your third or fourth follow-up contact. Dont give up hope if your follow-up efforts dont yield immediate results. Depending on the employer, industry, specific job and number of responses, the time between the application closing date and the day interview invitations are issued can be as long as several months.Writing Effective Cover Letters
Cover letters are all about first impressions; whether they are good or bad, they last. This is why the development of your cover letter is critical to your job search it is used as your first introduction to a potential employer. It is important to understand that your resume and cover letter are the ONLY thing representing you in your absence.Your cover letter should be no longer than one page. The letter should plant the seed that creates interest in the reader. It should maintain an upbeat pace, by making the information exciting it helps to use vivid language. Let your personality shine through, as this is an advertisement about you, no one else. Whatever you do, dont make a canned letter it shows you dont have the time or interest to make it unique.Why do you need a cover letter when you have a resume?Simple. Using a cover letter, if it is prepared correctly, will dramatically increase your chance of securing an interview. You see, cover letters are marketing tools and they capture interest enough to get an interviewer to review your resume. Rather than being ignored, your resume becomes the highlight!Nail Your Next Cover Letter
Writing personalized cover letters is a quick way to get ahead of other applicantsJohn and Linda applied for the same job. They were equally qualified, and each submitted an excellent resume that emphasized accomplishments, training, positive work ethic and dedication. John included a general cover letter that outlined his career history and aspirations. To save time, he used the same letter to apply for every job opening he looked at. Linda put more effort into her letter. She found out the hiring managers name and addressed him directly. She researched the company and learned about its mission, past performance, goals and corporate culture. She also studied the job description and clearly spelled out how she is an excellent match for that particular opening. Linda backed up her claims by highlighting examples of her past success.Although the candidates were equally qualified, Lindas extra effort landed her a job interview. John never got called.Research Before You WriteThe more you know about the employers needs, the more compelling your letter can be. Review company Web sites, brochures, sales flyers and other promotional materials to glean pertinent information. If possible, speak with current employees to get the inside scoop. Search newspaper archives, public libraries and career-center resources. Do a keyword search using the company name and see what turns up.Determine Your Unique Selling PointsWith the knowledge that you have about the employer, how would you help achieve organizational goals? Set yourself apart: If there are 100 other applicants vying for the same position, why should the hiring manager take a chance on you? Write a list of the top five reasons why youre an excellent candidate.Construct Your LetterHeading/Date/Inside Address: If you are writing a traditional (not email) letter, select a standard business-letter format such as block style. Your letters design should match your resume (See example below).Salutation: Its best to address your letter to a specific person (e.g., Dear Ms. Jones:), but use Dear Hiring Manager, if theres no way to find that out. Use Dear Search Committee: if the decision will be made by committee. Avoid stale salutations such as Dear Sir/Madam: and To Whom it May Concern:.Opening Paragraph: Hiring managers are busy and do not care to wade through fluff. Your opening paragraph should clearly state the position for which youre applying. Include a reference code if requested and the referral source (e.g., recommendation from a current employee, Monster, etc.). Your opening may also include a synopsis of why you are a top candidate for the position:Your position advertised on Monster is an excellent fit with my qualifications, as the enclosed resume will attest. My background includes 10 years of success managing international sales programs, top-ranked regions and Fortune 500 accounts. I offer particular expertise in the high tech sector, with in-depth knowledge of networking technologyBody: Your letters body contains the sales pitch. This is your chance to outline the top reasons why youre worthy of an interview. When writing the body text, keep in mind that hiring managers are self-centered they want to know what you can do for them, not learn about your life story. Demonstrate how your credentials, motivation and track record would benefit their operation. Review your top five selling factors (the ones you jotted down when doing your company research) and weave them into the body, perhaps as a bulleted list.Back up achievements with specific examples of how your performance benefited current and former employers. Precede your bulleted list with a statement such as Highlights of my credentials include: or Key strengths I offer include:.Keep your letter positive and upbeat. This is not the place to write a sob story about your employment situation. Put yourself in the hiring managers shoes would you call yourself in for an interview?Closing Paragraph: Your final paragraph should generate a call for action, so express your strong interest in an interview and state that you will follow up soon to confirm your resume was received and discuss the possibility of meeting face-to-face.Complimentary Close and Your Name: End with a professional close such as Best regards, Sincerely or Respectfully yours.
How to Handle the 6 Toughest Interview Questions
Equipped with a stunning resume, you are ready to secure that perfect teaching position. Now it is time for the next step: the dreaded interview. This step however, does not have to be an intimidating or nerve-racking experience. By taking some time to prepare, you can achieve the successful results you want. There are many questions that will be asked during the interview. Many interviews last 45 minutes or longer so you must be prepared for a variety of questions. Recognizing that situations for every candidate may vary, the responses to each question will serve to provide you with some general guidelines. First and foremost, it is important to conduct extensive research on the district or schools needs in order to respond to interview questions thoroughly and competently.1. What are your biggest weaknesses?2. How do you handle classroom discipline?3. Why do you want to work for our school district?4. How would you describe a successful principal?5. What are your thoughts on team-teaching?6. Do you have any questions for us?
1 - What are your biggest weaknesses?
Your response could include something that may have been a challenge in the past, and you have taken steps to rectify the problem. It is also important to be honest, they will be testing your honesty and they also want to see what concerns they should be aware of. The key to answering the question is to turn a negative into a positive.I dont suggest using that traditional, Im a perfectionist, as it is often overused, and will tend to sound phony. It is also important that you dont get defensive and try to justify why you are weak in a particular subject area, such as social studies. This would make a bad impression, because it may be relevant to the position that you are seeking. Whatever you decide to use, ensure it is not one of the key skills of the position you are seeking. In other words, dont pinpoint classroom discipline and/management or subject area.Think of this question as an opportunity to sell yourself. Here is an example: You wouldnt say, I have a difficult time organizing my day. Instead, rephrase the answer by saying. There are so many creative activities I plan for my students and class time is limited. It is difficult to incorporate all of the activities that I would like my students to learn from. Overtime, I have realized to prioritize what lessons are the most important to enhance my student learning. I now realize that I cant do everything I would like to.The above example shows you are excited about designing new and creative lessons for your students. In their mind, this will not be a negative. It will position you that much closer to getting a job offer.2 - How do you handle classroom discipline?For obvious reasons everyone will have a different answer; it will depend on your teaching style, grade interviewing for, and past experiences. The interviewer will be looking to see if you have a plan, you know how to implement it, and if you think that discipline is an important part of the position. What I have found from coaching clients is they fail to provide a clear action plan that can be backed up with examples. Also it is important to find out what is the philosophy of the school or district, this will give you some additional information. A few things to bring up when answering this question is the following:It is important to develop ground rules the first week of class, this allows the students to understand what is and isnt acceptable behavior. These rules are discussed and agreed upon with the students, this makes the students accountability and responsible. You may want to touch on your philosophy of classroom discipline. This of course would depend on your style; you will have to be honest with yourself. But you may believe that you reduce negative behavior by offering the students a intellectually stimulating, organized, and respectful environment.You will want to get an example of your plan; use a real situation to show your expertise in this very important area. Whether you use the red light/green light, time-outs, or removing the student from the classroom, it is important that you can back up why it is effective and use examples. You will want to explain why you feel the discipline action is effective and why you enjoy using it.It is also important to indicate there are always two sides to every story, so if the action involves discipline of two students, you must listen to both sides. Indicate that you try to get the students to resolve their own disagreements, which may involve compromise. And end the discussion by asking them, How will you handle the situation next time?Again, you must be honest when answering this question or any other question during the interview, but by organizing your thoughts and stories will make your response concise, truthful, and show your skills to the district.Lets imagine an interview for a grade one teaching position wherein the interviewer asks: Describe your classrooms physical appearance. Having prepared ahead of time, you understand the interviewer[s] attempt to determine:1. Your teaching style2. Your ability to effectively manage the class3. The level and quality of student interaction4. Your teaching philosophy,Within this context, you might respond: Upon entering my classroom you will find a lively and colorful room wholly centered upon children and active learning. Sight words, the alphabet, numbers, and inspirational quotes cover the walls while large bulletin boards proudly display students work. A large area contains a carpeted reading or group corner specifically for storytelling, show-and-tell, weather discussions and calendar and day-of-the-week conversations. This classroom includes an abundance of age appropriate reading materials as well as student mailboxes wherein children place personal journals, home reading books and workbooks in the morning and then collect newsletters or other parent communication at the end of the day.NOTE: Presenting floor plans successfully used in the past demonstrates strong organization and preparation skills. Indicate various potential seating plans used throughout the year and offer pictures of your old classrooms as a way means to provide the principal and interviewing board a first-hand view of your potential classroomAs the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.Remember, each persons answer will vary depending upon teaching style and philosophy. The district will look to see if your style is compatible with their needs; thus, thoroughly researching each specific district provides the key to successfully meet these needs.3 - Why do you want to work for our school district?Your preparation and research is imperative to successfully answer this question. Provide a few reasons why youre interested in the school or district, and what in particular sparked your interest. What is your personal experience with the school or district?What do you know about its student body, faculty members, industry reputation, community involvement, educational goals and objectives, upcoming initiatives, demographics, or extracurricular activities? This information will help you to accurately respond to the above question. The word accurate is important dont answer the questions by using old informationThe interviewer is looking for evidence that you really know why you want to work there or did you just send out applications and hope for the best. This research will also help immensely when answering other questions throughout the interview, so plan to dedicate some time and energy doing this homework.Effective research will help to tailor your answers, without being deceiving, to the question above. It is wrong to tailor your answer with incorrect information preparation and honesty is the key to a successful interview.4 - How would you describe a successful principal?By asking this question, the hiring committee is attempting to assess the following: Do you understand what traits contribute to the success of a principal. As a teacher, what traits do you value most? Your response may indicate or suggest possible conflicts with the current principal.Responses to this question may include:It is important that a successful principal Have a vision and a plan to reach that visioncombined with the ability to bring faculty members together to form a cooperative team and motivate them to reach district goals and objectives. Be visible the principals presence should be evident on a continual basis. He or she must be easily accessible to both students and teachers. Has a great sense of humor, and can relate well to a diverse group of individuals. Genuinely cares about the students, teachers, parents, and the district.5 - What are your thoughts on team-teaching?I am sure many of you have participated in team-teaching and realize the benefits of this strategy. The interviewer who asks this question wants to discover, if you are flexible, enjoy working in a team environment, have experience in this area, and what your viewpoints are on the subject.It is always wise to speak about some of the positive aspects of team-teaching, such as:It is an effective strategy for teaching large groups of students. It is a method for teachers to collaborate in generating ideas two heads is always better than one! Talk about team-teaching experiences you have had, and the positive results that transpired.If you havent had any hands-on experience, you may explain that you enjoy working in a team setting and are excited about the possibility of participating in this approach. OR, maybe you have done some reading on the subject and can share some of the insights you gained with the interviewer this will definitely be impressive!6 - Do you have any questions for us?An interview isnt just about responding to the prospective employers questions; it is an opportunity for you to impress the panel with examples of your foresight regarding the position they are offering. By asking questions, you can also determine if the fit is right, it shows your interest in the position, and helps to develop rapport. If you feel comfortable, and the interviewer seems amenable, you may ask questions at appropriate times throughout the interview.Once you have been in the interview for a few minutes, you will start to get a feel for your comfort level in this regard. If you dont ask questions during the interview, you will most likely be given the chance to do so at the end of the interview so be sure to take advantage of this great opportunity!So what questions should you ask? First, only ask questions you cannot get answers to through your research, for example, by investigating, you may easily determine how many students attend the school so, think of a different question to ask. Be sure you think carefully about what questions you would like answer make them genuine and recognize that it is always advantageous to ask questions. Remember, dont try to dominate the interview with your questions, keep in mind your position as the interviewee. A good idea is to practice asking the questions you created in front of a mirror the day before the interview. Then, write your questions down on a professional pad of paper or an index card and bring them to the interview.Some suggestions of appropriate questions are provided here ask them only if they are not addressed in the interview and if you dont have access to the answers. If the questions are structured correctly, you will provide yourself with a further opportunity to sell yourself, for example; I am very interested in team sports, what extracurricular activities are available for teacher participation? What does this show the interviewer? You are a team player and are willing to participate in extra-curricular activities.Creating a Teaching Portfolio
A teaching portfolio can be a great interview asset. What is a teaching portfolio?A teaching portfolio is a history of your teaching career and continual work in progress.Why Do I need a teaching portfolio?Many school systems require that you build your portfolio from year to year to show progress. Prospective employers may use a teaching portfolio to get to know you better.How is a teaching portfolio constructed?IntroductionOn the cover page of the portfolio, include your name, current position, subject area specialty, and certification status. This should be followed by your most current resume.Teaching PhilosophyTo help others get to a clearer picture of your teaching style, write a brief philosophy of how you approach education.HistoryFor prospective employers, be sure to include a list of all grades and subjects taught previously, as well as the locations and names of the schools.Also include positions of leadership or committees that you held at previous schools, as this will be important for helping employers identify strengths.Professional DevelopmentOrganize your professional development activities into an easy list that includes college courses taken, workshops or conferences attended, grant-funded projects, and professional memberships in which you are actively involved. In this section, you may also include a professional growth plan or professional goals for your career.Teaching EvidenceThroughout the school year, think about items to collect and add to your teaching portfolio to represent the year. Items may include: Classroom Pictures/Activities Sample Lesson Plans and Assessment Rubrics Evidence of Student Achievement/Progress Technology Integration Examples of Differentiated Instruction Innovative Strategies Cross-Curricular Projects Positive Communication with Parents/Colleagues Administration Evaluations and ObservationsSince a teaching portfolio is a work in progress, be sure to date items appropriately for easy reference and update often. Each year I kept a folder designated for my teaching portfolio to slip things into as I came across them. If you dont have time during the school year to update your portfolio, the summer can be a great time to make all changes necessary.
General Teaching Career TipsIs a Career in Teaching for You?
Is a Career in Teaching for You?Whether youre a college student looking for something worthwhile to do with your life after graduation, or you hate your job selling widgets because theres no meaning in it, chances are good someone will suggest teaching as an option. Should you be attracted by the seductive statistic that one-third of the teaching force is over 50 and will leave many openings when they retire?That depends.It depends on whether your interests, passions, personal style and life goals fit with teaching. The following information might help you make an informed decision.Whats so great about teaching?Make a DifferenceDo you remember which teachers had a positive impact on you, and which ones took a sledgehammer to your confidence and desire to learn? You could be one of the positive ones.AutonomyExcept for your student teaching, your first year on the job and a few visitations per year after that, what you do in the classroom is up to you. If you have a neat idea, theres no boss to run it by.
Family-Friendly SchedulesWhat could be better than having holidays and summers to be with the folks you love and do what you enjoy?Creativity and InnovationIf youre the dull and overly obedient type, you might not want to go into teaching. But if you love to dream up new ways to present material, think about things or make learning fun, then the classroom is for you.Your Classrooms Your StageYou spend your days with an audience that may think youre wonderful. If performing is fun for you and you believe you know things that can make a difference in some kids lives, then you probably owe yourself some time in front of the chalkboard. Then why wouldnt you want to be a teacher?MoneyIf you stay in the classroom, the cap on your income will probably be about $75,000. If youre frugal, that could do nicelyprovided you dont cave in to envy of your college classmates business salaries.Safety Can Be an IssueIts still more dangerous to drive to school than to stand in a classroom, but some teachers find cops roaming the halls and metal detectors at the door unnerving.Teaching Isnt for the TimidIf you love learning but cant stand the thought of being on stage all the time, either in front of your class or herding kids through a lunch line or a field trip, then youd be asking for a lot of unnecessary stress.Some Schools Are DepressingYou can tell the minute you walk into a class whether the atmosphere is an upper or a downer. Theres no more invigorating place than a school where kids are eagerly learning and actively involved with teachers and other professionals. In teachers lounges in other schools, its like the night of the living dead, with people who mentally checked out of the profession years ago.Social Worker/TeacherIn many schools, youre also a triage nurse for multi-problem families. If that challenge speaks to you, then its wonderful. But some teachers go home each night burdened with the seeming hopelessness of the baggage their young charges carry around with them. The most important thing to remember is that you should only pursue a teaching career if you really want to, not because its convenient or there are openings. If you can keep a class interested in what youre teaching, handle the different learning styles of 30 kids and help the lonely kid in the last row connect with somebody wholl be his friend, then you might just make a difference in many young lives.How to Prepare for Teaching
All teachers in public schools must have a teaching certificate, a license to teach. Some are licensed to teach preschool through grade 3. Others are licensed to teach grades 1 through 6 or 8. Some are licensed to teach middle school or high school. Some have a license to teach a special subject.You must have a college degree to be a teacher, unless you are teaching a job skill like how to fix cars. You must take classes in education and practice teaching with the help of an experienced teacher.To be a teacher, you must pass tests in reading, writing, and other subjects. And you have to keep learning. In some States, you have to get a masters degree. You also need computer training in some States.Teachers must be able to talk to children and be good leaders. The students must trust them. Teachers must be able to make students want to learn. They also should be organized, dependable, patient, and creative.
Transitioning into an Education Career
Have you been sitting back recently, contemplating your future and where you are headed? Are you thinking about changing your career, but not exactly sure where to start?Well, Im here to tell you that you are certainly not alone. As a Certified Career Coach and Resume Writer, I often work with individuals who are looking for a rewarding career change, guiding them on their path to a successful life change.When you have discovered that your once-rewarding and satisfying job no longer provides you with the same excitement and enthusiasm, it may be the time to consider a career change. Complete commitment to this pursuit will open you up to endless career possibilities.During the course of my career I have worked with many individuals who wanted to change careers and embark on a new challenge, teaching children. I have heard many reasons why mid-career changers are drawn to a career in education, and have ventured to list a few examples.1. Giving Back to Society:Many successful professionals have often embraced a career in teaching in order to give back to society. They often want to teach the real-world experiences they have learned through hands-on participation in a particular field. 2. Mentoring & Guiding:Often career changers choose teaching as a means to coach and lead todays youth and fosters in them a passion for learning. 3. Sharing Knowledge & Passion:I have found that most career changers bring a high level of enthusiasm and dedication as new educators, combined with a solid understanding of diverse subject material.Beginning the search for a new career can be overwhelming and a bit frightening, to say the least. However, here are a few things that you will want to consider before embarking on your journey:1. Retraining & Professional Development:Going back to school will give you a chance to learn your new career and provide you with a greater understanding of the role and how to sustain employment within that area.2. Interchangeable Skills:Take a solid look at your skills and determine those that can be applied across different careers. For example, teachers must possess the ability to be creative, organized, disciplined, and self-directed; if you have these skills, showcase them. 3. Maximizing Your Skill Set/Youre Resume:Your resume must emphasize your relevant past career achievements and contributions; be proud to list each and every one. Learn what a school district is looking for in their teachers; their goals and objectives and where they are headed. Once you have drafted your resume, get feedback from someone you trust.4. Envision the Position:You may want to envision how you look in the role of your new position, working within that venue day after day. Ask yourself, what parts of the job do I like the best? Am I really interested? Performing this exercise may help you find your right career path.Focus on the skills you enjoy using the most, and build a career based soundly on your passions and your dreams.The process of looking for and finding your new career is a huge opportunity for you to develop deeper self-awareness, and it may just be the thing that supercharges your zest for life.
Make the Most of an Educational Job Fair
An Educational Job Fair is a great way to meet potential employers, and find out vital information about different school districts. I have put together a few ideas to keep in mind in order to make your Educational Job Fair a successful experience.PREPARING BEFORE THE JOB FAIR: 1. Keep a positive approach: It is important to focus on the benefits of a job fair. You will learn about school districts, find out about potential job opportunities, and have the opportunity to determine what it is that you want in a potential employment position. 2. Review and update your resume: Ensure that your resume is current and professional. You should have at least 20 or 30 copies to hand out. Additionally, you may want more than one style (i.e., Accomplishments or Chronological Resume). 3. Be prepared: Ensure you have reviewed the list of school districts, explore their Web sites, and spend some time gathering information as it will show your enthusiasm and genuine interest. 4. Know your career goals: Be prepared to answer questions regarding your career goals and where you see yourself within the next five years. 5. Prepare questions to ask: You will want to ask specific information on the school district, their goals, and their mission statement. As well, you will want to ask about the positions available and career development opportunities.WHILE AT THE JOB FAIR:1. Relax and enjoy: Remember you have already prepared for this great event. Now is the time to create a positive impression.2. Meet and Greet: Introduce yourself to district representatives and remember to establish and maintain solid eye contact. Present a firm handshake and have your polished resume ready to hand out.3. Remain positive and friendly: Keep your energy level high and remember that even though you are repeating the same thing to each person, the information is new to each individual. 4. Maintain good notes: Take comprehensive notes as the representatives at the job fair may not be able to answer all of your questions. Keep the names, and phone number of those you may want to contact later. Make sure you ask for representatives business cards. 5. Discuss your skills: Be prepared to discuss your skills, interests, background, and career objectives. You need to sell yourself, so be ready to discuss your benefits and advantages. Note your key features that make you stand out from the others.There are several Educational Job Fairs that are held throughout the U.S., and simply by searching the Internet, and contacting the nearest school district, you will find vital information that will identify people and places.Questions That Are Essential It is true that attending a Job Fair could be one of the best moves you could make to secure a career within the educational field. However, it is also important to know just the right questions to ask while you are networking with potential employers. Below, you will find a list of questions that will assist you:
QUESTIONS TO ASK:About the District1. I am interested in your school district because.could you provide me with idea of what you are looking for in a successful candidate? 2. Please tell me what type of experience you are looking for? 3. What challenges do you see for your school district? 4. What are the areas of strength within your school district? 5. What do you like most about your school district? 6. Are there immediate openings in your school district? If so, in what areas? If not, do you anticipate opening in the future? 7. Do you have substitute or summer teaching opportunities? 8. Considering my particular interest in teaching, are there other individuals in the district that I should contact? 9. What advice would you give someone who wants to secure a teaching position within your district? 10. Are there opportunities for career development within your school district?About Recruitment 1. Do you hire on a continual basis or only during certain times of year? 2. How should I follow up if I am interested in pursuing employment with your district? 3. Can you give me an address and telephone number for the person I should speak with about teaching opportunities, or can you forward my resume to the individual?
After your long and successful day of networking, it is important to make notes about the districts while they are still fresh and easy to recall. Ensure you follow-up with thank you notes to identified recruiters that were helpful to you, and those that you are particularly interested in. Devise a tracking system for future follow up. A little time invested could bring you a lifetime of career satisfaction.
B- The Interview Guide for Teachers
If you are preparing for an interview in the field of education, you know that teaching interviews can be comprehensive and very different from interviews in the corporate world. In order to make a good impression on the school where youve applied, youll want to do your homework. Weve compiled articles written specifically to help teachers in the interview process.
Teacher Interview Tips and Advice
10 Secrets to a Perfect Teaching Interview
Three Steps to Prepare You for Your Next Teacher Interview
100 Teacher Interview Questions
How to Answer 6 Common Teacher Interview Questions
Do You Really NEED a Teaching Portfolio?
Five Insider Tips for a Successful Interview
Teacher Interview: Common Sense and Professional Advice Teacher Interview Tips and Advice
This is the culmination of several years of hard work. Youve finished college. Youre done with your student teaching and youve passed all of your teacher certification examinations. The applications, resumes, and cover letters have been sent out to every local school district.All you can do now is sit around the house and wait for the phone to ring, right? Wrong! You should be preparing for your interview!Ive been to the interview table several times as a candidate and many more times as an interviewer. If there were any tricks, secrets, or shortcuts to success in the interviewing process, I havent discovered them. My only sound advice for candidates is to come to the interview prepared.You should have your teaching portfolio in-hand and you should be ready to talk about anything and everything that relates to you, your background, and your philosophies on education. The best candidates know how to teach, they know how to articulate their teaching beliefs, and most of the time, they already know what types of questions will be asked before the interview even begins.Its easy for an interviewer to spot an unprepared candidate. Candidates who have not practiced basic interview questions beforehand are unnaturally nervous. They shift in their seats more. They begin most answers with the word, uhhhhh. There are long pauses while interviewers wait for the candidate to process the question and think up an answer. They get confused by basic educational jargon that they learned in college.Almost every teaching interview includes similar, common questions. In order to be a prepared candidate, all you have to do is practice answering the most common questions before you go to the interview. (See the practice interview questions chapter in my book to review the 45 most commonly asked questions.) If you prepare beforehand, the interview questions will seem routine and familiar. There are no tricks or shortcuts; if you do your homework you will perform well.Body language can show whether youre a confident, qualified teacher or an unsure one. At the interview, be confident, but not cocky. Smile when you walk in. Greet the people interviewing you with a smile and a nod. Firmly shake the hand of the principal and other interviewers that are within easy reach. When you take your seat, sit up straight with your feet on the floor and your hands in a relaxed position on the desk.Have a mild sense of humor. Prepare to make some humorous small talk when you are greeted. For example, if a principal shakes your hand and asks how you are, its okay to say, A nervous wreck! A whimsical introduction can break the ice. Be sure your sense of humor is clean and appropriate for an interview.Have a teaching portfolio ready. Your portfolio should contain extra copies of your resume, a copy of your teaching certificate, sample lesson plans, samples of student work, and any other evidence that shows you are a qualified candidate for a teaching position. It should be bound in a neat, professional-looking leather binder. (See the teaching portfolio chapter in my book for more information.) Place the portfolio in front of you when you sit down at the interview table.Usually, the people interviewing you will not ask to see your portfolio. They do, however, expect you to have it on-hand. Dont wait for anyone to mention the portfolio. Instead, you should use it as a tool to describe your teaching experiences. For example, if you are asked to describe a lesson that involves teaching writing, you might say, Yes, I can show you! I have a sample of student work that shows how I teach the writing process.The first question at almost every interview will be: Tell us about yourself. You should already know what youre going to say. Keep your answer reasonably brief. You can talk about the college you attended and provide an overview of your teaching experience.Always be positive. Try not to say, I dont know. Avoid saying, Im not really good at Dont say, Thats one of my weak points. Always tell the truth, but you dont want to suggest that youre not a confident, successful, qualified teacher. If you honestly dont know the answer to a question, you might ask the interviewer to restate it in a different way, or you might want to give the best answer you can based on your knowledge and experiences.Use lots of examples when you answer questions. When they ask how you would do something, tell them how you have already done it. This will make you seem more experienced. For example, if an interviewer asks, How would you use creative problem-solving in your lessons? You might answer with, When I was student teaching, I did a great creative problem-solving lesson when When you use specific examples, youre convincing the interviewers that youre more than just hypothetical talk.The final question of your interview will most likely be, Do you have any questions for us? Be prepared with a thoughtful question ahead of time. While this is probably not the most important question of the interview, it is your last chance to leave a positive impression. Rather than answering with, Not really, you should ask something philosophical or complimentary. You might ask the interviewer why they are proud of their school or what the people youll be working with are like. Since your interviewers will probably be meeting with lots of candidates, you should use the opportunity to ask a question and make yourself stand out. And, think about it: Youve been on the hot seat answering their questions for 45 minutes. Youve earned the right to turn the table, even if it is just for a moment.When you leave, the interviewers will, of course, be talking about you. Theyll be filling out little forms rating your experience, qualifications, communication skills, and personality. At the end of the day, they will have about a dozen of these forms sitting on the desk. Theyll look through them all and the chosen candidates will be the ones who were the most memorable, most qualified, and most prepared for the meeting. With some time and effort, that candidate can be you.10 Secrets to a Perfect Teaching Interview
Are you nervous about your next interview for a teaching job? Dont be! Just remember these 10 secrets to a perfect interview!1. Have a teaching portfolio that is filled with lesson plans and student work samples.I know it takes a great deal of time to assemble a teaching portfolio, but your hard work will pay off. Instead of just telling them youre a great teacher, you can use your portfolio to show interviewers the exciting lessons youve used to teach children in the past.2. Practice sample interview questions before you go to the interview.Interview questions arent usually unique. In fact, the same questions will be asked at almost every interview. Do a Google search to find common teacher interview questions and practice your responses beforehand. (50 common interview questions and answers are also available in my eBook, which can be downloaded from: http://www.iwantateachingjob.com)3. Be sure you dress professionally.Youd be surprised at how much your clothing matter. If you dress to casually, the interviewers may not believe that youre taking the interview seriously enough.4. Make eye contact with all of the interviewers at the table, not just the principal.Ive sat in on many interview committees and have noticed that many candidates look directly at the principal and seem to ignore the rest of the panel. Be sure you make eye contact with everyone at the table.5. Project a friendly, bubbly, positive, and outgoing personality.Interview committees are looking for friendly people to be on their staff. While your teaching credentials are important, you need to remember that the interview committee is also looking for someone with a positive person that is easy to get along with. If they can see your glowing personality shine through, they are more likely to want you at their school.6. Research the school district beforehand.Visit the districts website to find out their philosophy of education. Also, research information about the types of students that you will be teaching, the community, and the subjects being taught there.7. Be sure your educator vocabulary is up-to-date.Be sure youre familiar with educational jargon and teaching acronyms. All of those big vocabulary words you learned in college may come back to haunt you at the interview. If youre asked about differentiated instruction, IEPs, Everyday Math, NCLB, or ELL students, you dont want to be the candidate that responds with, Huh?8. Use lots of specific examples when you discuss your teaching experiences.Want to seem like an experienced professional? Whenever an interviewer asks you how you would do something, tell them how you have already been doing it. If you use words like, I would like to or I might try to or I could, then you will seem inexperienced. Instead, say things like, When I was student teaching, I or When I taught __, I would or One thing I always do is This will help to emphasize and highlight your expereince.9. Prepare a good question to ask at the end of the interview.Your questions should be complimentary to the school and open-ended. Try to prepare a question that will require the interviewer to think, rather than just provide you with a one-word answer. Thoughtful questions will leave a lasting impression.10. Dont forget to mail your thank you letter right away!Whether you send a greeting card or a formal business letter, be sure you thank the interviewers for meeting with you. You letter should express your appreciation, compliment the school environment, and invite the interviewers to contact you again.Three Steps to Prepare You for Your Next Teacher Interview
Its natural for people to get nervous before and during a big interview. Sure, you know youre a good teacher. Youve graduated from college with a teaching degree and youve worked with students in the past. So, WHY are you nervous?Its those pesky little questions, isnt it? If youre like most people, youre probably afraid theyll ask you a difficult question and youll be giving them a blank look.If the questions dont make you nervous, maybe its the vocabulary that scares you. Sometimes interviewers like to throw out intimidating jargon those big words you used to see in college textbooks. You might be afraid you wont know how to answer a question about differentiation, IEPs, ELL students, or block scheduling.Or, maybe you know the vocabulary well, and youre not afraid of the questions. Are you fearful that you will not be able to prove that youre a successful teacher? Do you have trouble putting yourself up on a pedestal and showing off your successes?Well, the good news is that all three of these fears can be overcome if you prepare yourself well for your next interview.Your nervousness is natural. But the amount of stress you have to endure can be minimized. How? Follow the steps below to prepare and practice for your next teaching interview.Interview Preparation Step #1:Predict what the questions will be and prepare your answersThe Internet is filled with sample teacher interview questions. Its pretty much guaranteed that theyll ask you about your classroom discipline plan, your ability to work with special education students, your favorite lessons, your strengths, and your weaknesses. As you research sample interview questions. Write them down or print them out.Sometimes youll have to think beyond the Internet, though. Questions that relate to your specific age-group or subject may be more difficult to find. Still, if you use some basic logic, you can predict what will be asked. Think to yourself: If I were hiring someone for this position, what would I ask? If you teach middle school English, for example, common sense should tell you that theyll ask you how you teach writing. If you teach high school calculus, chances are good theyll ask you why Calculus is important for high school students.When you have a list of questions, sit down any try to plan your answer for each. If you have a close friend or family member in education, you might want to discuss your answers with them. Oftentimes, they will have ideas or suggestions that will help you focus your thoughts. No matter how you prepare, simply having an idea of how you will answer common questions will make you a more confident candidate at the interview table.Interview Preparation Step #2:Make a list of popular education buzzwords and acronymsWhat terminology might be used during the interview? If a principal asks you how you use differentiation, will you be able to tell him/her? Or will you be the candidate that asks, What do you mean? If youre asked how you meet the needs of a student with an IEP, will you be the candidate with the deer-in-the-headlights look?Educational jargon often trips up candidates. Its embarrassing for candidates at an interview to admit that theyre not familiar with a word or phrase used, yet if they dont ask for clarification, they risk giving an answer that doesnt make sense.Heres what you do: make a list of common educational buzzwords on index cards. (Differentiation. IEP. ELL. Block scheduling. Looping. Four Block Writing. Everyday Mathematics. And so on)Then, check to see how many of the words you know. One the back of each index card, define each word. Also, in one sentence, relate each vocabulary word to your teaching. Look up any words you dont know.Interview Preparation Step #3:Assemble a Teaching PortfolioYour teaching portfolio is your professional brag book. Find lots of evidence of your teaching (or student teaching) experiences, and assemble it all in one big, fat binder. It should be chock-full of student work samples, lesson plans, parent newsletters, and philosophy statements. Be sure you have a type-written table-of-contents and dividing tabs so you can easily find information at an interview.When youre at an interview table, dont wait for an interviewer to ask to see your portfolio. Instead, be ready to pull out examples of your work whenever something in your portfolio relates to something being asked. Interviewers will be impressed by your organization and preparation. Even more importantly, youll be PROVING that youre an effective teacher, rather than just TELLING them.100 Teacher Interview Questions 1. First, tell us a little bit about yourself. (Almost every teacher interview begins this way.)2. Describe your college experiences?3. Tell us about your experiences working with students at this age level.4. Describe your philosophy of teaching?5. Why do you want to become a teacher?6. List three of your strengths your strengths and explain each one.7. Describe three of your weaknesses as a teacher.8. In what ways do you encourage creativity in your classroom?9. Tell us about a lesson in which youve used differentiated instruction.10. How do you teach kids to utilize higher-order thinking skills in your classroom?11. What do you do to prepare your students for state or standardized tests?12. Do you make learning fun for students? How?13. If I walked into your classroom on a typical afternoon, what would I see going on?14. How do you measure student performance in your classroom?
Are you prepared for your next interview?15. Describe a successful lesson. Tell why it was successful.16. What would you do if a student wasnt handing her homework on a regular basis?17. How much homework do you give?18. Besides lecture, what methods of teaching do you use?19. Tell us about your discipline philosophy.20. What are your classroom rules? How do you make students familiar with the rules?21. What daily or weekly routines would be incorporated in your teaching?22. One student hits another student. What do you do?23. A student throws a pencil across the room. What do you do?24. Explain what you would do if a student was swearing in your class?25. What would you do if a student was complaining about an assignment youve given?26. What would you do if a parent complained about an assignment?27. Describe some methods of positive reinforcement that you might use in your classroom.28. Would you describe yourself as a tough teacher or an understanding teacher? Explain.29. How would you create a behavior modification for a student with ongoing behavior problems?30. What are some ways you can avoid behavior problems?31. Without giving any names, describe the most challenging student youve ever taught.32. What would you do to calm an angry parent?33. Do you have an example of a parent newsletter that you can show us?34. In what ways do you communicate with parents on a regular basis?35. A parent calls you because they are worried about their childs low grades. What would you say to the parent?36. A parent writes a note and tells you that their daughter could not complete their homework assignment because she had a dance recital the night before. What do you do?37. How do you keep parents informed of their childs progress?38. How do you use technology to enrich your lessons?39. How computer literate are you?40. Do you think it is appropriate for children in school to be using the Internet?41. Give an example of a time when youve worked on a team.42. Describe one time when youve acted as a leader.43. How do you feel about team-teaching?44. What can you do for a student that is extremely gifted?45. Describe a gifted student.46. How would you recommend a child for special education services?47. Most classes have students with a wide-range of reading abilities. What can you do to meet the needs of students with high reading abilities and low reading abilities at the same time?48. Tell us a little about your student teaching experiences.49. What is your least favorite age/grade/subject to teach? Explain.50. What is your favorite age/grade/subject to teach? Explain.51. What are some of the most important things you learned when student teaching?52. What was the most satisfying moment throughout your student teaching?53. What was the most frustrating thing about student teaching?54. Describe one college course that taught you the most about being a good teacher.55. Who influenced you to become a teacher?56. Describe the biggest challenge youve ever had to face.57. What books are you currently reading?58. A student confides in you and tells you that his parent abuses him. He asks you not to tell anyone. What do you do?59. What is your definition of a life-long learner? How can you promote life-long learning in your classroom?60. Would you be willing to help out with extra-curricular activities? Which ones?61. Have you ever been a substitute teacher in this school district?62. What do you look for in a principal?63. How do you communicate with administrators?64. Would you like to be part of our new teacher mentor program?65. What kinds of in services would you be eager to attend?66. List five adjectives that accurately describe yourself.67. What professional teaching organizations do you belong to?68. Have you ever received an award for anything in your lifetime? Describe.69. Describe the differences between a good teacher and a great teacher?70. What were you like as a student?71. If you teach a lesson and your students dont seem to be getting it, what do you do?72. How do you provide support for students who are not performing as well as they should?73. What can you do to meet the needs of students who do not speak English?74. In what ways can you teach students to be accepting of one-another?75. How would you teach conflict resolution to your students?76. Name a book that youd like to read to (or with) your students. Describe the book and tell why you chose it.77. How do you feel about working in an inclusion classroom?78. How do you meet the needs of a student with an IEP?79. How would you teach the writing process?80. Describe a high-interest project that you might assign to your students.81. What can you offer our school that other candidates cannot?82. Do you think you are a flexible person? Explain.83. What do you like to do when youre not teaching?Bottom of Form84. How do you incorporate writing into your curriculum?85. Can you show us what your lesson plan book would look like?86. How closely do you follow your lesson plans?87. Where do you plan to be ten years from now?88. What part of this job are you looking forward to?89. What part of this job scares you?90. In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges that teachers face today?91. Why do you want to teach in this, particular district?92. How can you make your teaching connect to students real-world experiences?93. Tell me about your references. Who are they and how do they know you?94. If I were to call your references, what might they say about you?95. How can teachers reach out to the community?96. How do you make sure you are teaching to the state standards?97. What kinds of materials and supplies would you need to do your job well?98. How do you feel about noise in your classroom?99. Show us your portfolio.100. What questions do you have for us?How to Answer 6 Common Teacher Interview Questions
When you get a call from a school administrator inviting you to interview for a teaching job, how do you feel? Happy? Elated? Excited? Nervous? Scared stiff?You dont need to worry about the interview if youre a well-prepared, qualified candidate. Preparing for a teaching interview is a lot like studying for a test. You can review commonly asked questions, think about what youll say beforehand, and go in to do your best. If you prepare beforehand, the interview questions will seem routine and familiar. Youll have answers on the tip of your tongue, ready-to-go.Below is a list of six commonly asked teacher interview questions from my eBook, Guide to Getting the Teaching Job of Your Dreams. How would you answer each question?1. Tell us about yourself.This will be the first question at almost every interview. Just give a brief background in about three sentences. Tell them what colleges you graduated from, what youre certified to teach, what your teaching & working experiences are, and why youd love the job.2. How do you teach to the state standards?If you interview in the United States, school administrators love to talk about state, local, or national standards! Reassure your interviewer that everything you do ties into standards. Be sure the lesson plans in your portfolio have the state standards typed right on them. When they ask about them, pull out your lesson and show them the close ties between your teaching and the standards.3. How will you prepare students for standardized assessments?There are standardized assessments at almost every grade level. Be sure you know the names of the tests. Talk about your experiences preparing students. Youll get bonus points if you know and describe the format of the test because that will prove your familiarity.4. Describe your discipline philosophy.You use lots of positive reinforcement. You are firm, but you dont yell. You have appropriate consequences for inappropriate behavior. You have your classroom rules posted clearly on the walls. You set common routines that students follow. You adhere to the schools discipline guidelines. Also, emphasize that you suspect discipline problems will be minimal because your lessons are very interesting and engaging to students. Dont tell the interviewer that you send kids to the principals office whenever there is a problem. You should be able to handle most discipline problems on your own. Only students who have committed very serious behavior problems should be sent to the office.5. How do you make sure you meet the needs of a student with an IEP?An IEP is an individualized education plan. Students with special needs will be given an IEP, or a list of things that you must do when teaching the child. An IEP might include anything from additional time for testing to needs all test questions read aloud to needs to use braille textbook. How do you ensure youre meeting the needs of a student with an IEP? First, read the IEP carefully. If you have questions, consult a special education teacher, counselor, or other staff member who can help you. Then, you just make sure you follow the requirements on the IEP word for word. When necessary, you may be asked to attend a meeting in which you can make suggestions for updating the IEP. Your goal, and the goal of the IEP, is to make sure the student has whatever he or she needs to be successful in your class.6. How do you communicate with parents?This question will come up at almost every elementary school interview. Its fairly common in the middle school and high school as well. You might have a weekly parent newsletter that you send home each week. For grades 3 and up, you may require students to have an assignment book that has to be signed each night. This way, parents know what assignments are given and when projects are due. When there are discipline problems you call home and talk to parents. Its important to have an open-door policy and invite parents to share their concerns at any time.Do You Really NEED a Teaching Portfolio?
Is a teaching portfolio absolutely necessary to get a job in education? I bet you think I am going to say, Of course. You cant get a job without one. Actually, you CAN get a job WITHOUT a teaching portfolio. Ive been on many interview committees and Id estimate that less than 50% of all candidates have a portfolio. And weve even hired people who do not have a portfolio. But, even so, I STRONGLY recommend assembling a good portfolio and presenting it to your interviewers.But why? I hear the argument AGAINST portfolios all the time: It take many hours to prepare a proper teaching portfolio. (Which it does.) Interviewers seldom ask to see the portfolio. (Which is true?) Its hard for inexperienced teachers to find enough quality material to put in the portfolio. (Perhaps.)So, why WOULD you want to have one? Even though you dont NEED a portfolio, I really think its a good idea to have one in front of you next time you sit down at an interview table. Heres why.1. When you have a portfolio, the interview will be easier because you will have something in your hands to talk about. When an interviewer asks you how you would do something, you can simply open your portfolio, and SHOW him/her how you HAVE BEEN DOING whatever it is theyre asking about. When you are asked a question, you can only really do one of two things: a) You can answer by simply telling them what you would do or b) you can answer by SHOWING them PROOF of what your teaching is like. Which will impress an interviewer more? Of course, it is better to show and prove your teaching experiences because the interviewer will have much more confidence in your ability if he/she has seen concrete EXAMPLES of your work.2. The simple act of walking in the room with a portfolio sends off positive signals. When you have a portfolio in-hand you seem serious about wanting the job. You are showing that you took time to prepare for the meeting. It shows that you are organized enough to compile evidence of your teaching experiences. People who are serious, prepared, and organized at an interview are usually serious, prepared, and organized teachers. Principals know this and theyll be looking for signs of these attributes in their new employees.3. An interviewer will find you more INTERESTING if you use your portfolio effectively at an interview. Think about it: All day long, this person is sitting in a room asking questions about teaching practices and philosophy of education. After 3 4 5 10 12 15 candidates they are bored to death of listening to clich responses and tired of focusing. So, with your portfolio, YOU have a chance to add a little excitement to their day. How? You make it a conversational, interactive interview. When they ask about your teaching philosophy, you dont just tell them you pull it out and put it in their hands while you talk about it. When they ask about a successful lesson youve done, you pull out photographs and pass them around the table. If they ask how you communicate with parents, you pull out a copy of a parent newsletter you made up and say, Heres a copy of my parent newsletter you can keep it! By giving your interviewer things to hold, examine, and discuss, the interview becomes more interesting. Its not longer just a question-answer session. It morphs into a show and tell a bragging session that shows off your qualities as a teacher. And THAT will make you stand out above the other candidates!5 Insider Tips for a Successful Interview
Read these tips from someone who has sat on school interview panels for years. I have sat on the interview panel on my elementary school for several years and have witnessed some impressive and not so impressive interviews. Like many schools, our leadership team spent hours analyzing the answers and demeanor of the candidates. Our goal was to find the best teacher from the mere 45 minute meeting. Every second counts when you are under the watchful eyes of an interview team. Below are five helpful tips that may help you to impress your interviewers and secure your desired job.Interview Tip #1:Maintain an understanding of current best practices and be ready to provide examples of how you are implementing them in your classroom. For example, you should certainly be prepared to explain how you differentiate instruction. In a recent interview, we questioned what differentiation techniques one candidate would use to reach the low-achieving students in your classroom. She responded that she would pair the low-achievers with the high-achievers who would help teach the material. First of all, this is not differentiation. Because the high-achievers have mastered the material they are now expected to take others under their wings and teach them? As smart as these children may be, they do not have a teaching degree. Secondly, if she were truly meeting the needs of all of the students in her classroom, these high-achievers should have moved on to other tasks that match their ability level, while she worked with those struggling to understand the material.Interview Tip #2:Avoid saying anything negative about current or former colleagues. Collaboration is a must in schools today. Principals are looking for team players whose presence and expertise will add to the staff. I once heard an interviewee explain that her teammates were not very good teachers and their personalities clashed so she did not collaborate. This may very well be the case, but it sends up a red flag to those sitting across the table. Interviewers are left questioning was it the teammate or the interviewee who was the problem? Sugarcoat your answer or omit a few details, but remain positive. No one wants to hire someone who may bring negativity to a staff.Interview Tip #3:Create unique answers that will stick in the minds of the interviewers. Take time before the interview to consider those questions that will likely be asked. Think about the wonderful things you do in your classroom that set you apart from others. You may even want to set up a few interviews with schools that do not interest you just to get a feel for what types are questions are currently being asked. Our interview team would often ask a candidate why he or she wanted to become a teacher or has stayed with the profession. In this situation, do not say that you love kids. This response was most frequent, and the least impressive. Of course, you do and that is wonderful, but the answer is common and predictable.Interview Tip #4:As petty as this sounds, consider your appearance. If you have seen the latest Tide To Go advertisements with the talking stain, you understand that appearance can often speak louder than words. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that I once interviewed a candidate who was wearing a white shirt and thin bra that you could see right through. Needless to say, my memory of this interview was not how she ran her reading program. If you appear disheveled or inappropriate in an interview, a principal will be concerned about how you will present yourself in the classroom.Interview Tip #5:Do not forget to write a thank you note. Not only will your etiquette stand out among other candidates, but it gives you one more opportunity to compliment the principal and his/her school. A well-written thank you note can go a long way.
Teacher Interview: Common Sense and Professional Advice
This is the culmination of several years of hard work. Youve finished college. Youre done with your student teaching and youve passed all of your teacher certification examinations. The applications, resumes, and cover letters have been sent out to every local school district.All you can do now is sit around the house and wait for the phone to ring, right? Wrong! You should be preparing for your interview!Ive been