Before you think about what to do, let's think about what NOT to do.
There are many, many blog articles and how-to's out there that will instruct you on precisely how to act, what to say, what to wear, and even how to smile in your job interviews.
But, for just a moment, let's focus on the how-not-to's.
Every potential employer will be different. They will be looking for different characteristics, levels of experience, and qualifications in their new teachers. But, most would agree that there are five things they absolutely DO NOT want to hear in an interview:
1. "How much does it pay?"
Ah, a big no-no.
Your interviewer knows that you expect to receive a salary. You may have even seen this information BEFORE you scheduled the interview. And, you definitely will want to iron out those exact details before accepting any position or signing any contract.
BUT - it is not the purpose of the interview.
No, the interview is so that your potential employer can learn about who you are, how you teach, and what you can do for their students. Focus on that. Numbers can wait.
2. "Will I have to deal with the parents?"
Ok, let's be real. If you have ever taught children of any age, you know that one of the hardest parts of the job is PARENTS. They can be tough in a million different ways. And, odds are, your interviewer thinks so to.
So, what he or she wants to hear from you is that YOU will be able to handle this.
- Give examples of times you have successfully dealt with a difficult parental concern
- Explain what methods you plan to use to regularly stay in touch with families (email, newsletters, etc.)
- Ask if the school/business has specific policies about this that could help guide you
3. "What if I disagree with something in the curriculum/
Well, you never disagree. No, no, of course not.
What you might do is:
- Have ways to enhance or extend the curriculum to make it as effective as possible
- Have ideas to differentiate instruction for students with various needs
- Want to consider multiple ways to approach assessment to meet different learning styles
You'll find that positive, goal-oriented phrases will be much better received by your interviewer.
4. "What do you want me to do with problem kids?"
Ok, first things first: in your job interview, there are no such things as "problem kids". There are students with additional needs, students with emotional/learning issues, students who can be disruptive at times.
And the question isn't what do we do with them, but how do we HELP them. Guide them. Enable them to flourish in our classrooms.
Also, before you ask the interviewer this, be prepared with your own ideas of how you could help these hypothetical students.
The interviewer would like to hear solutions, not problems.
5. "What hours would I have to work/what other things would I have to do/
do I have to...?"
The main problem with these questions and many more like them? Have to.
Your job (and specifically your job interview) should not be about what you have to do. It should be about what you would like to do for your students, what you are motivated to do for the school, what you are proud to do for the learning community.
Have any good tips of your own for what to do (or not do) in teaching interviews? Let us know!