Are you a newly graduated teacher? Moving to a new location or school? Or wanting to take on a new position at your current school? There are many reasons why you may be facing a job interview. This can be a daunting and overwhelming experience for many but don’t worry, we are here to help!
We have undertaken a fair few teaching job interviews over our time. From telephone interviews for overseas roles, interstate interviews, leadership interviews and interviews at our current schools to renew contracts. We are here to offer some suggestions that we have learned along the way on how best to be prepared for an upcoming teaching job interview:
Cover letters and Your CV
Your CV and cover letter are essential and usually the first point of introduction to the panel who will be interviewing you. Ultimately, it will be the face to face interview that will allow you to leave the most significant impression.
It is important to keep your CV short, concise and looking professional. Aim for no more than two pages.
Research is important
Do your research about the school and learn about the school community that you may be part of shortly. Many school websites will provide additional information, such as the school motto, subjects taught and even particular teaching programs integrated within the school.
All this information allows you to be better prepared and determine how best you will fit into the school community, which is often a question asked in interviews. Plus, referring to pedagogy and values that support the school’s culture is a great way to impress during your interview.
There is a range of questions the interview panel will ask you. Below we have collated a list of questions frequently asked during our job interviews, and we highly recommend having responses prepared:
What do you enjoy about teaching?
Think back to why you wanted to become a teacher. What ignites your passion in the classroom? Most often than not, interviewers are looking for authentic, enthusiastic and dedicated educators who have a love of teaching and are lifelong learners themselves.
What are your strengths?
Try to have a list of skills and qualities which make you a great educator and what you believe to be your greatest strengths. It could be communication, collaboration, ICT skills, building relationships etc. The list is endless!
What area requires personal growth?
If you are asked about your strengths, you are likely to be asked about your weaknesses too (aka areas of growth). In the world of education, we are always reflecting upon our teaching and identifying where we can improve.
How have you overcome a difficult parent, or what ways do you communicate with parents?
It’s best to go into the interview with an idea of the different ways you communicate with parents. This could be a weekly letter/email, bulletin board outside your classroom, phone calls, notes in the diary etc. Also, consider having an example of when you may have overcome a difficult situation with a parent. This question could also be used to ask about a challenging student or difficulties faced when working with a colleague.
How do you differentiate lessons to cater for a variety of learners?
This question provides insight into how you conduct lessons within your classroom and provide students with the opportunity to be challenged and/or supported as learners. Some schools like candidates to teach a lesson or a half-day at the school. Use the opportunity to showcase how you differentiate lessons.
What do you do to establish positive relationships?
Teaching isn’t just about delivering the curriculum content but about establishing positive relationships with students. What are some of the things you do? For example: Having morning meetings or taking time to listen to students and getting to learn their likes and interests. Perhaps you have extrinsic initiatives, such as lunch with the teacher and a friend or the teachers personal assistant for the day.
This question can also relate to your colleagues and how well you collaborate with others. A good working relationship with your grade partner/s can make a world of difference. Think, are you willing to brainstorm ideas, share teaching tips, provide support and strategies for difficult students or parents with other teachers on your team.
How do you assess students’ learning?
A big part of our profession is providing feedback on students’ learning. So, having an answer prepared on how you assess students, and how you deliver that feedback will be helpful. Think of the ways you:
- Pre-assess: quiz, KWL, mini-test, open-ended question.
- Use formative assessment: exit tickets, student reflections, small group tasks.
- Implement summative assessment: end of topic test, report, presentation, video, speech, etc.
Finally, when preparing for an interview, think about how you want to present yourself when the interview panel meets you for the first time. How you carry yourself and what you wear should emit someone who is a confident, professional and open-minded educator who is willing to embrace all challenges. Additionally, make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to arrive so you aren’t late or feeling rushed.
The interview process can be exhausting, especially if you have gone on many and are still waiting for the right job to come along. Stay confident in yourself, do some professional development to pass the time and keep believing that soon enough you will be the one to hear, ‘You’ve got the job!’
It includes loads of information, professional tips, and templates to help you write applications and attend interviews with confidence and ease. Let us help you stand out from the crowd when applying for your dream teaching job! Find it here.
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