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Ace Your Teacher Interview

AcknowledgmentsWhat You Need to Know About InterviewsThe Themes of a Teacher InterviewEight Interview ThemesPassion for TeachingSkills and ExperienceLikeabilityStudent OrientationProfessionalismManagement and DisciplineLesson PlanningFlexibilityPreparing for the Interview—10 How To'sKnow Your StrengthsDo Your HomeworkPractice Makes PerfectPromptnessRespect EverybodyFirst ImpressionsEnergyProcess vs. ProductStories—Tell 'Em StoriesMock InterviewsInterview Formats and TypesWhat a School or District WantsInterview Types and SettingsScreening InterviewsTelephoneFace-to-FaceElectronicGroupPerformance InterviewsTeaching a LessonRole PlayingEvaluationHiring InterviewsOne-on-One InterviewsSequential or Serial InterviewsPanel InterviewsGroup InterviewsDon't Mess Up! 43 Mistakes You Can't Afford to MakeA. Pre-InterviewUses a Cell PhoneIs TardyMakes a Bad Impression in the Waiting AreaB. PersonalDisplays Poor Social SkillsPresents a Poor AppearanceMaintains Poor Eye ContactOffers a Limp or Overly Firm HandshakeLacks ConfidenceC. SpeechCommunicates Ideas PoorlyUses Poor GrammarIs InarticulateTalks Too MuchArgues with the InterviewerD. PresentationGives Canned AnswersHas a Relaxed or Informal AttitudeIs Not FocusedGives Defensive or Aggressive AnswersIs ArrogantHas No Questions for the InterviewerHas a Negative AttitudeGives Short, Vague, or Incomplete AnswersIs UnpreparedE. KnowledgeDoesn't Know Current Educational IssuesIs a Know-It-AllDisplays No Knowledge of the School or DistrictAsks Inappropriate QuestionsF. PersonalityTells the Interviewer What He or She Thinks the Interviewer Wants to HearBelieves His or Her Methods and Philosophies Are the Only (or Best) OnesIsn't FlexibleDisplays Negative Body LanguageDemonstrates Poor Listening SkillsIs Unwilling (or Unable) to Accept ResponsibilityHas No Sense of DirectionLacks Confidence and Self-EsteemIs Discourteous, Ill-Mannered, and DisrespectfulG. OtherHas "Not My Job" SyndromeBlames StudentsLacks PassionEngages in Inappropriate BehaviorsVolunteers Inappropriate InformationIs Dishonest or DeceptiveIs Self-CenteredDoesn't Follow UpPut Your Best Foot Forward (The Nonverbal Edge)The Essential SevenClothingMenWomenNervousnessEnthusiasmBody LanguageBody Parts and AdornmentMenWomenMen and WomenEye ContactVoiceUsing the Essential SevenThe Single-Most Important Question You Must Always Answer!: How will this person make my job easier?Basic Interview Questions (and 123 Fantastic Responses)A. General Questions: What do you know about this school?: Why do you want to teach in this school/district?: What are the essential traits of an effective educator?: What gives you the greatest pleasure in teaching?: What kind of principal would you like to work for?: How would you describe the ideal teacher?: What is the most important quality of a teacher?: What skills do you think are most critical to this position?: Why did you apply for this position?: What does it mean to be a successful teacher?: What do you think is wrong with education today?B. Questions About You: What is your greatest strength as a teacher?: What is your philosophy of teaching?: Describe your teaching style.: What two things would you like to improve about yourself?: What book are you currently reading or have you read recently?: Compared with other student teachers, how would you rate yourself?: How do you define success?: What aspect of your teaching style would you like to change?: Do you believe you're qualified for this position?: What motivates you as a teacher?: What is the greatest asset you will bring to the teaching profession?: What do you like best about teaching? What do you like least?: What skills or abilities do you still need to develop?: What three adjectives would you use to describe yourself?: What three things really make you angry?: Tell me something about yourself that I didn't know from reading your resume.: How would your college supervisor (or cooperating teacher) describe you?: How will you complement this school?: What are some of your hobbies or leisure-time activities?: What motivates you to be a teacher?: How do you deal with stress?: What special skills or talents will you bring to your classroom?: We have a number of applicants interviewing for this position. Why should we take a closer look at you?: What are the three courses you took that shaped the teacher you will be?: What sets you apart from the crowd?: How would your best friend describe you?: What do you want to achieve as a teacher?: Why do you want to teach?: What personal skill or work habit have you struggled to improve?: What three expectations do you hold for yourself?: What are your professional goals for the next five years?C. Education, Training, and Experience: Why did you choose education as your career?: What new skills or ideas do you bring to the job that other candidates aren't likely to offer?: How do you stay current in education?: Why did you attend College?: What were some of the things you didn't like about student teaching?: What were the most rewarding aspects of student teaching?: What experiences have you had working with students other than student teaching?: Describe a teacher you admire.D. Classroom Environment: Describe how you will deal with different cultures in your classroom.: Describe how you will make your classroom and the students comfortable.: Describe an ideal classroom.: To establish a positive classroom environment, share what you will do the first few days of school.: Talk about the physical attributes of a classroom.: If I walked into your classroom, what would it look like?: Talk about time management.E. Student-Centered Questions: What do you enjoy most about working with young people?: What would you do with a student who has ADHD?: What can you tell me about inclusion?: How would you differentiate your instruction to meet the needs of your diverse learners?: What are you going to do for that kid who just "doesn't get it"?: What are some strategies you plan on using to teach learning-disabled students?: What are some teaching methods used in full inclusion classrooms?: What are some of the challenges of inclusion?: How do you plan to individualize instruction?F. Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment: Tell me about a time when you didn't perform well in student teaching.: Why should teachers use lesson plans?: Please describe the steps you use to plan a lesson.: What's the most creative or innovative lesson you have taught?: Describe a teaching strategy you use to maximize the learning potential of all students.: What is RTI, and what are its advantages?: What can you tell me about differentiated instruction?: What is standards-based education?: Please describe the difference between content standards, benchmarks, and performance standards.: What can you tell me about reading-comprehension instruction?: What is a balanced reading program?: What can you tell me about guided reading?: How would you handle varied reading abilities in your classroom?: How will you integrate technology into your classroom?: How will your students' overall performance improve as a result of technology?: What is your philosophy regarding homework?: How much homework will you assign your students?: What would you consider to be a good homework assignment?: What is the purpose of assessment?: What is the difference between assessment and evaluation?: How do you know students have learned what you taught them?G. Discipline, Motivation, and Classroom Management: What principles do you use to motivate students?: How would you motivate an unmotivated student?: What is your philosophy of classroom discipline?: How do you handle discipline problems?: How would you involve students in the development of classroom rules?: What have you found to be the toughest aspect of discipline?: How would you handle a student who is a consistent behavioral problem?: What steps would you take with a student who was disruptive in your classroom?: What, for you, is the most important aspect about discipline?: What classroom-management techniques do you use or are you most comfortable with?: What are some things teachers do that create classroom-management problems?: Describe the most challenging student you've experienced and how you dealt with him or her.: How do you motivate reluctant readers?H. Parents and Community: What are some ways you would communicate with parents about students' progress?: Why is it important to communicate with parents?: Describe how you would prepare for a parent-teacher conference.: How will you involve the community in your classroom?: What are some ways to let parents know about the positive things going on in your classroom?: How would you involve parents in the affairs of your classroom?: What will you do if a parent challenges you?I. Career Goals: Since this will be your first teaching job, how do you know you'll like the career path?: What are your plans for professional growth?: Who else are you interviewing with?: Where do you want to be in five years?: What are your plans for graduate school?J. Round-Up Questions: What concerns you most about teaching?: What is the most exciting initiative happening in education today?: If, for one day, you were empowered to make one change to the education system, what would it be?: What characteristics make a master teacher?: If I hired you today, what would you do first?: What is your philosophy of education?: Why should we hire you?: What type of person would you hire for this position?: Why should I consider you for the position?: What do you think is the most difficult aspect of being a teacher?: What things about yourself would you like to bring out that have not yet been discussed in the interview?Zingers! (and 25 Dynamite Answers): Tell me (us) a little about yourself.: Why do you want to be a teacher?: What are your goals in education? Where do you see yourself five years from now? How does this position fit into your career plans?: Describe a time in student teaching when you failed to resolve a classroom conflict.: What would you say are the broad responsibilities of a classroom teacher?: How have you handled criticism of your lessons or teaching performance?: Tell me about one of your lessons that flopped.: What might your college supervisor want to change about your teaching style?: Tell me about a situation that frustrated you during student teaching.: Tell me about a time when your co-operating teacher wasn't happy with your teaching.: Tell me about your most challenging discipline problem.: Who's the toughest professor you've ever had, and why?: What is your greatest weakness?: Why weren't your grades better?: Why did you decide to major in biology (or history or elementary education)?: What do you think is the biggest challenge teachers face today?: Why shouldn't we hire you?: If you could change anything about your teacher-preparation program, what would it be?: What was your second career choice?: Describe a situation in which you made a difference in a child's life.: Describe the best teacher you ever had and what he or she taught you about teaching.: How would you handle a student saying, "You are the worst teacher ever! I hate you!": What do you want your students to remember about your classroom?: If an administrator visited your classroom, what would he or she see?: If you are not successful in getting a full-time job, what will you do?Hypothetical and Situational ScenariosResponding to HypotheticalsWait TimeUsing AnecdotesUsing ResearchStudent NeedsCommon Hypothetical and Situational ScenariosQuestions You Should Ask (and Questions You Shouldn't)A. Questions About the School/DistrictB. Questions About the Job/PositionC. Questions About the Teaching EnvironmentD. Questions That Highlight Your QualificationsE. Questions to Close the InterviewF. Questions You Shouldn't Even Think About Asking!!Illegal QuestionsQ: How old are you?Q: How long have you had that disability?Q: Do you plan to get pregnant?Q: Where were you born?Q: Are you divorced?Questions to Ask YourselfA. Questions to Ask Yourself About Your StrengthsB. Questions to Ask Yourself About Your WeaknessesC. Questions to Ask Yourself About the InterviewerD. Questions to Ask Yourself About the PositionE. Questions to Ask Yourself About the Overall InterviewF. Questions to Ask Myself About My Overall Performance on This InterviewFollow-Up And Follow-ThroughThe Thank-You LetterThe Secret Benefit of a Thank-You LetterReality Check Nontraditional Candidates—What You Need to KnowWhat You Need to KnowFocus on your "can-do" attitude. Share your desire to learn. Demonstrate your time-management skills. Showcase your discipline or behavior-management skills. Get up to speed on technology. Exude confidence. Show your passion. Demonstrate how your life skills transfer into the classroom. Highlight your maturity. Be current. The Bottom Line