This week I had the wonderful opportunity to visit my alma mater Elizabethtown and talk with senior education majors about the education job field, what they need to know when applying for jobs, and give some teaching interview tips. This opportunity provided me time to reflect back to my closure of college and my last 7 years in the teaching field. Some of the topics we discussed were applying for jobs, teaching interview tips, and surviving your first year.
6 Teaching Interview Tips And Education Job Hunting Tips
- Apply Everywhere – When looking for your first job, know this might not be your job forever, it could be a stepping stone or a learning experience. When I first started applying for jobs, I applied in multiple states and ended up teaching in Delaware with emotional and behavior support. Ideally this wasn’t my dream job, but I learned so much from this experience. I learned how to manage any behavior thrown in my direction. Also, I was exposed to creating curriculum, working with technology, and teaching multiple grade levels. When applying everywhere I had interviewed at a few places. I was able to, from the interviewing processes, learn teaching interview tips to remember for the job I eventually landed in Delaware.
- Be Ready – Always have a portfolio ready to go. You never know when you will get the phone call for an interview. A teaching interview tips is to pick and discuss 2-3 items that you are very proud of and if possible describe those experiences within the interview. If you have an online portfolio leave the information so they can review at a later time. Another teaching interviewing tips is that you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. Even though the school district is interviewing you for the job, you are also interviewing them to make sure it is a good fit. Be prepared to ask questions. This also shows that you are interested in the position.
- Do your Research – Find out as much about the district as possible. Read their mission statements and initiatives online. If their curriculum is posted, do a little research so you are able to talk about the programs or how you would incorporate them. Your teaching interview tips is to make sure you are using this information and incorporate it into the interview.
- Be Honest – If you don’t know the answer to the question, be honest. You can say I don’t know the answer to the question but I am excited to look it up later or I am not sure if this is correct but I think it might be… or might have to do with… You would want the same respect of a school district of being honest so be honest in your interview. If you do say you are interested to learn about it, make sure you follow up especially if you are asked back for a follow-up interview. It will probably be one of their questions.
- Practice – Practice interviewing, learn from your own teaching interview tips to take with you. After an interview, write down all the question you can remember and practice answering these questions again to prepare for the next one. Create sample teaching interview scenarios. Have an idea for a lesson plan incase you need to teach a lesson, have ideas for math and guided reading lesson, and be prepared to discuss data and groupings. In the past, I have been asked to use a guided reading group to create a small reading group lesson. I also was given math data and was asked to make math groups and what skills I would work on based on the data.
- Job Search – Search everywhere! If you are interested in PA use PaEducator and PA Reeap. Other states have their own websites. Some states like Maryland have county applications. If there are districts you are interested in, you can look at the school board minutes for possible job openings. You can also look on the district websites for employment opportunities. If there are a lot you are interested in looking into, make a list and recruit help if possible.
Tips During Your 1st Year
- Don’t try to be a Superhero – When you have your first job, know that you can’t do it all. Ask for help! Ask other teachers for help, supplies, materials, etc.
- Don’t Create Everything from Scratch – Use websites such as Education Coffee Break, Teachers Pay Teachers and SmartExchange to help. These and many other websites provide helpful information and resources.
- Take Time for Yourself – Remember to take time and relax. Do something you love! Remember family and friends still come first. There are many things that make you, you! Don’t lose out or forget about these things.
- Prioritize – Make a list of things that need to be completed by the end of the day, week, month. Make another list of extras. Things that don’t need to get done but you could work on if you had extra time.
- Balance, Yourself, Family and School – Keeping a good work and home life balance is key to keeping your sanity and getting through your first year as a teacher. Read more about how to balancing school and family.