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What You Need to Know

A job interview is much more than simply providing the correct responses to a set of questions. It is an opportunity for you to present yourself and for the principal or interviewing committee to see who you are as a person and who you will be as a teacher. An interview is a wonderful opportunity for you, the nontraditional student, to exhibit your unique experiences in concert with the mission of the school. Here are ten tips to help you in that process:

Focus on your "can-do" attitude.

As a nontraditional student, you've probably been in the work force, including the home-work force. You know how to get a job done. You know how to set priorities and accomplish them. You are a master of the "to do" list! Make it clear in the interview that you not only are willing to go the extra mile, but that you've had experience going several extra miles in your lifetime. For you, there is no mountain too high and no ocean too deep that it can't be conquered—and you've probably done a lot of conquering in your lifetime.

Share your desire to learn.

You may have some extra miles on your personal "odometer," but that doesn't mean that you aren't excited about learning. As an older adult, you took the time to get your teacher certification, to further your education. Let an interviewer know that, for you, the learning doesn't stop because you have a degree or because you are of a certain age. If necessary, say to a principal, "I may not be up to speed on that issue right now, but I'm a learner and I'm willing to learn more!" Share your passion for continued learning at every possible opportunity.


"Nontraditional students should never say, 'I can't do that.' You would effectively 'shoot yourself in the foot' if you ever did."

Demonstrate your time-management skills.

As a parent, or as an employee in the business world, you know how to manage time. You know how to organize, how to prioritize, and how to accomplish. You're a multitasker! As a classroom teacher, there are numerous tasks, chores, and assignments that must be handled on a daily basis. These may range from taking attendance to taking a lunch count, handling late-arriving students, and organizing instructional materials. It's important for you to share your (life) skills and (life) abilities in managing your time to accomplish several assignments—often at the same time.

Showcase your discipline or behavior-management skills.

Kids talk out of turn, act up, misbehave, get into trouble, don't do what they're told, and so on. (You know the drill.) For more than 30 years, the general public has ranked classroom discipline at or near the top of their major concerns about American education. Principals, too, have concerns about classroom management and discipline. As you read the sample questions in this book, you know that you will be asked one or more questions about these issues. Count on it! This is a grand opportunity for you to show how your work record and/or role as a parent give you some unique experiences in behavior management. Make sure you come into an interview with a definite plan of action.

Get up to speed on technology.

Just because you're older doesn't mean you shouldn't be aware of (and know how to use) the latest educational technology. Long before any interview, you need to take a course or several courses on educational technology, visit several schools to see what kinds of technology are being used in the classroom, talk with your younger classmates on the latest software being used, develop a network of friends and colleagues to share and discuss how technology is being used, and read the latest periodicals and magazines about technological issues facing classroom teachers. You can score some major points by demonstrating that your level of technological expertise is on a par with your younger classmates.

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