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As you prepare to interview for your first full-time teaching position, you’re likely to experience a rush of emotions. Excitement, anxiety, a desire to prove yourself—most teachers consider the role as more than just a job, it’s a calling. But with the right planning, you can ace your interview and begin the job of your dreams! To start down the path to success, see the teacher interview tips below.

Be Prepared

Just like you’ll tell your future students, you’ve got to do your homework and study up.

  • Of course you’ll need to bring a hard copy of your professional resume to the interview. If this is your first teaching position, tailor your past experience to fit the job description, but don’t stretch the truth too much or your interviewer will assume you’re being disingenuous. It’s ok to note that you haven’t had your own classroom before, but you’re certified and eager to prove yourself. If you’re a career-changer, highlight how your unique skills and perspective will contribute to your classroom.
  • You should always take a portfolio to interviews for teaching positions. The portfolio provides an opportunity for you to showcase your knowledge. You can include your teaching philosophy, received awards, lesson plans, and recommendation letters. Remember though, you don’t want a portfolio filled with fluff; make sure it includes only your very best work! You can learn more about teacher portfolios here.
  • Lastly, do your research on the hiring school before your interview. Your interviewer should not be the only one asking questions. By preparing your own list of questions before the interview, you demonstrate your interest in the job and the school as a whole. Asking questions will also give you insight into what your job will entail, and show that you have given a lot of thought into how you would fit in this specific teaching position. You can consider asking about school climate, teacher turn-over, or community building initiatives. Steer clear of asking basic questions that can be found by looking at the school’s website.

Practice Makes Perfect

Find a friend to help you with mock interviews, or read interview questions from a paper and videotape and review your responses. Feeling natural when answering tough questions is a learned skill and you can only get there through practice. Check out these 11 common teacher interview questions to get a feel for the questions that will be asked. You should also practice positive body language by maintaining eye contact, sitting up straight, and smiling.

Be Confident

You know that good study habits help students feel comfortable and confident on test day; the same goes for you! At this point, you’ve done your studying and it’s finally your chance to show that you’re the best fit for the job. Confidence and enthusiasm will go a long way in an interview, and will indicate to your interviewer that you are excited about the opportunity to teach at their school. Employers want teachers who will contribute a positive attitude to their school.

Congratulations on landing your first teacher interview! By using these tips when preparing for your interview, you will be one step closer to landing your dream job. And as a bonus tip: don’t forget to send your interviewer a thank you note for their time—this will show that you’re committed and that you follow-through with tasks.

If you’re already working in a school as a substitute teacher or paraprofessional and you’re ready to transition to a full-time teaching position, American Board’s online certification program will help you earn your credentials in less than one year. You could be leading your own classroom next year!

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