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Steve Haberlin's picture
Steve Haberlin is an assistant professor of education at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia. He holds a Ph.D. with a specialization in elementary education from the University of South Florida. His...
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Interviewing for a Teaching Job? A Surefire Strategy to Prepare

As a supervisor of student teachers, I have the opportunity to help them find positions as they graduate. Part of this preparation involves bringing in principals and assistant principals to share insider knowledge about the job search and interviewing process. 

With several years of experience in this area, I can confidently provide some tips for being successful. When it comes to interviewing, teacher job candidates can expect to be asked some scenario-based questions along with more direct questions. Knowing this, teachers can prepare their best examples and stories to address such questions.

In fact, if it’s a phone interview (sometimes used to first screen applicants before inviting them to campus), use the following strategy:

  • Get index cards or large sticky notes, title each card or note with possible key words for questions that might arise. For instance, you might title a card, “classroom management,” “handling parents,” or “strengths/ weaknesses.” Then under each title, list bullet points that help trigger examples, stories, and other information that best addresses that topic.
  • Study the cards so you memorize the information. Then, prior to the phone interview, lay out the cards across a table before you. As you are being interviewed, you can glance at your notes to remember your prepared examples.
  • You are not reading off the notes—that would sound robotic. Rather, you are just using them as visual cues to trigger responses you have rehearsed.
  • Of course, as I tell student teachers (with a smile), do not bring these cards to an in-person interview!  Instead, use the cards as study notes and rehearse your answers.

You might be wondering what kind of questions do school administrators ask candidates?

The rest of this blog provides a list of possible questions that can come up (this list was created by a school administrator). Of course, questions can vary based on the school—but this will give you a framework for preparing your notes.

  1. Tell us a little about yourself and why you would like to work at this school?
  2. Tell us about a time you faced a difficult situation or conflict at work. How did you handle it and what was the outcome?
  3. Describe a typical lesson in your classroom.
  4. How do you communicate with parents?
  5. Tell us how you would handle a student being disruptive in class?
  6. What do you see as your strengths? What are your weaknesses?
  7. How do you meet the needs of struggling students? How do you challenge high-achieving students?
  8. Tell us about a recent professional development training you attended or completed and how you applied what you learned in the classroom?
  9. Share an experience planning and collaborating with others.
  10. If we checked your references, what would they say about you as an employee?

Thank you. If you enjoyed this blog and found it helpful, please share with others!