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here. Well that certainly worked, you did get a
fair number of interviews. Were there any questions at the interview
that kept cropping up? Can you recall any questions that were asked
fairly commonly? Yeah, a number of them seem to keep cropping
up. I’ve got a list here, are you ready?
First, what are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
What did you struggle with during student teaching?
What would your cooperating teachers say about you?
What questions do you have for us? What is your classroom management plan?
What will be your policy on homework? How will you assess your students?
How will you include reading and writing in your class?
How will you handle a student with an IEP? How do you motivate students?
What sports or clubs would you be willing to sponsor?
How will you differentiate instruction? How will you prepare your students for the
state tests? Tell us about a success you had, and a time
when you failed. Describe a lesson or unit that went well.
The last one, what would we see if we walked in your classroom?
Got that? I did notice that in middle school interviews,
there were lots of questions on teaming, middle school philosophy, and integrating other subject
areas. In high school interviews, I noticed there
were more questions on lessons, getting and keeping students interested, preparing for
state tests, questions on content as far as what students liked best.
That’s great information. I took notes. I’m sure it’ll help many others.
Do you believe in asking questions at the end of your interview?
Always! Always. Always have thoughtful questions at the end
of the interview. I think it’s incredibly important because
it shows you’re interested in that district. Off the top of my head, here are some of the
questions I’ve asked. What are you the most proud of about your
school? How many students are there in each class?
What kind of facilities, training and technology are available?
Do the regular education teachers work closely with the special education teachers?
What mentoring system do you have for first year teachers?
And so on. Listen out during the interview, and if they bring up anything special about
their school, ask them more about it. This shows you’re interested in them.
At the very end of the interview I’d ask what the next step was and when I should hear
something. If you don’t ask questions, they might get
the impression you really don’t care where you work.
They might think your lack of curiosity means you’re just thinking “give me a job”
and that you feel their school is interchangeable with any other.
They know you are looking elsewhere, but try to act as if you have standards and let them
know what you like about them. That’s a great point. It’s nice to be
liked. But, you know what, many candidates aren’t
able to ask questions at the end because they just haven’t landed interviews in the first
place. That must be quite frustrating.
Do you have any advice for qualified candidates who haven’t gotten calls for interviews?
Sure, I’ve got some ideas on things to do here.
First, make sure the principal of every school you are interested in has a copy of your resume,
hand-delivered or mailed directly. Next, have others check your cover letter
and resume. You’ve labored over it and you’re just too
close to it. Some parts of it will make sense to you but
will confuse others, who won’t get the point. You need help from others to find these blind
spots. Another tip is to ask friends or family to
think they’re a principal, to put themselves in the shoes of the principal.
And have them read the resume from the perspective of the principal, asking the question “is
the candidate letting me know why I should consider him or her?”
Just because you have the correct certification, or went to school there, or need a job, or
did your student teaching there – so what? And I’m not wanting to be mean by saying this.
I just want to emphasize that the principal is looking for what you can bring to the school.
Anothing thing, apply everywhere in your “driving area”.
Only you know how far that is. And if you can move, that opens up greater
possibilities. Apply everywhere – online, in the paper, talk
to people. I also applied to charter schools and private
schools. They don’t pay as much, but they do provide
experience. And if you find yourself in a glutted field,
find something to set you apart. Do some volunteer work, start working on another
certification, take a job as an aide or a substitute.
And let them know in your cover letter that you’re willing to be flexible.
And look, if what you are doing isn’t working, change tactics!
Ask for advice and take some of it. Ask other teachers.
Call a local principal and ask for ten minutes of their time.
Show them your resume and cover letter and ask if they can give you advice.
A last point – keep on trying. Don’t get bitter. No one is “owed” a job because they’re qualified.
Many graduate from college and can’t find work in their chosen field right away.
Make a contingency plan to get you through. Many find permanent positions through long-term
sub work. I can see you’ve brought your life experience
and sales training into the hunt for a teaching job!
Do you have any other interview tips that you think might help?
Yes, I’ve got lots of ideas here that can help.
This interview series is based on Tim Wei’s guide, “I Want A Teaching Job”, where
you’ll find the complete printed version of this interview, plus other interviews in
this video series. To find Tim’s guide, just go to GetTeachingJob.com.
Or click the link you see below this video. For part three of this video, please click
the red link here. For part three of this video, please click
the red link here.