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Doesn't Know Current Educational Issues
Are you up to date on the most current educational trends, issues, and concerns? Do you know what's "hot" in the field of teaching? Are you reading a variety of educational journals and professional publications? Are you aware of any current or pending educational legislation in your state? If you can't answer "Yes" to all of those questions, then you have some homework ahead of you. Take the time to speak with your education professors outside of class. Get copies of some of the latest education magazines from your college library, and read them cover to cover. If possible, attend a local or regional education conference and learn as much as you can about current issues. Do a Google search or follow an education blog to discover what challenges teachers are facing and how they are dealing with those challenges. Get up to date on the issues, and you will impress the interviewer. Failure to do so will certainly doom your chances.
Is a Know-It-All
Ever since I first began teaching more than 40 years ago, I have always lived by one simple philosophy: "The best teachers are those who have as much to learn as they do to teach." Simply stated, good teachers are good learners. Don't think for a minute that just because you're about to get your college degree you know everything there is to know about teaching. I don't...and you certainly don't! Come into an interview thinking you have the answers to all of education's challenges, and you will soon find yourself on the outside of the school looking in. Here's the reality: I'm not an expert and neither are you. I still have a lot I'd like to learn. So should you. Your learning doesn't end with graduation; indeed, it's just beginning. Let a principal know that learning is a lifelong mission (rather than a completed task) for you, and you'll score major points in an interview.
Displays No Knowledge of the School or District
Give yourself an advantage. Do your homework (many will not), and conduct some research on the school or district. What is their overall philosophy? How many schools do they have, and where are they located? Do most of the teachers have master's degrees? How much does the local community support the school/district? How many students are in the school/district? Where did the principal go to school? Whenever possible, visit the community and the school in advance of an interview. Get to know them and they, very likely, will want to get to know you.
FROM THE PRINCIPAL'S DESK:
"One question I always ask in a teacher interview is, 'What do you know about our district?'"
Asks Inappropriate Questions
There are two types of questions you should never pose in an interview. Never ask about salary matters, and never ask about benefits. In the first place, you're asking the wrong person (or persons), because those are matters handled by the local bargaining unit (if any). In the second place, by asking those questions you're indicating that you are more interested in the financial rewards of teaching than you are in the actual act of teaching. That's a bad impression.
Tells the Interviewer What He or She Thinks the Interviewer Wants to Hear
You're not being very honest—with yourself or with the interviewer—when you give answers you don't believe in. One of the purposes of the interview is to share your philosophy, your training, and your beliefs about teaching with one or more people. Your answers have to come from the heart as much as they do the mind. Your objective is not to try and satisfy an interviewer; rather, your objective is to showcase how your unique talents and attitudes will make a positive difference in the educational lives of students in that particular school. Please don't kid yourself that if you answer a question the way you think it should be answered you'll get the job. If you don't practice the answer and if you don't sincerely believe in the answer, then it will show. And the interviewer will know it.