Interview, new teacher

More Tips for Landing that Teacher Job

I swear every summer without fail I end up on an interview committee, and this summer proved to be no different. I do it out of pleasure, out of passion, out of wanting to find that perfect person who is going to make our school stronger, make us all better, teach us all something.  I do it so that I stay fresh in what my own responses would be, to be part of the process, to see all the amazing candidates out there.  And I know it isn’t easy.  I know how hard it is to even get on the phone with a principal, let alone make it to the final round.  When I interviewed for my job I beat out more than 450 candidates; 450!  And that number steadily climbs every year, so with today fresh in my mind, as well as all of the other experiences, here are just a couple of hints to help you land that job.

  • Be enthusiastic but stay true to your personality.  If you are a naturally chipper person, let it shine through.  Don’t pretend you are something other than you, believe me, that type of charade gets cumbersome to uphold. 
  • Know your programs and abbreviations and admit when you don’t.  You cannot fake your way through a discussion of Everyday Math if you don’t actually know the program, admit it, and then talk about how you are going to learn more about it and ultimately implement it.
  • Be passionate, but don’t scare me.  Sometimes you can want something so bad that your passion just turns into something frightening.  Scale back a little, go for the goal, but don’t overwhelm the team.  As teachers we wonder how you will be with students when that happens and not in a positive way.
  • Elaborate just enough.  Know when to add details, such as your own personal examples and then say just enough.  Since knowing when to speak and when not to is a huge teacher quality and something we correlate to your classroom performance, proving in the interview that you can master it is a huge benefit.
  • Even if you are brand new believe you have something to add to the team.  Discuss how you will overcome your obstacles, how you will be a part of the team and then also what you can add.  You must have learned something in your education, life, and student teaching – share it.
  • Don’t use buzz words if you cannot explain them.  This is a common trap I think many of us make; we use lingo without fully understanding what it entails.  Just don’t.  Know your stuff, do your research, but also know your limitations.
  • Know how to integrate technology.   And this is not because I love my technology, even though I do, but I have sat through too many answers where the “integration” piece is projecting images on a SmartBoard or using netbooks for research.  That is not integration, that is merely using the tools given to you.  I can guarantee that something like that will pop up in most interview questions, it is a sign of the times after all, so do your research and be inventive.  Reach out and see what others do, ask other teachers how they would answer the question.  

So there you have it, just a few more tips that will hopefully help others get a step closer to their dream job.  Being a teacher is a passion, so be passionate about it, bring your personality, and let t your enthusiasm shine through.  Know your materials, do your research, but for goodness sake, don’t scare me.

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5 thoughts on “More Tips for Landing that Teacher Job”

  1. I think this is great advice, not only for teachers, but for anyone looking for a job. The tips are very thoughtful, sensible and clear. While some of the suggestions seem like commonsense, it is obvious that not all interview candidates heed this good advice. Thank you for giving everyone the opportunity to be their best.

  2. Some people think that overselling their skills can get them the job but some HR really want simple one answers. They also want to see if you're capable of teaching and handling kids. Proper attention and teaching can somehow get the you the job.

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