Career Advice Opinion

Survival Guide for Interviewing

By AAEE — August 21, 2008 3 min read
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You student taught and loved it. You went to the Teacher Job fair at your school and met lots of great recruiters from school districts across the state. You filled out all the applications you possibly could. Now you are sitting by the phone waiting….waiting….waiting….
Finally the phone rings and to your great relief it is a school district that is on the top of your list. After you call everyone you know to let them know the good news, high five your little brother, you pick out your interview outfit, map out the course to the school to make sure you know where you are going and let your parents know you might possibly be off their payroll soon, you begin to realize THIS IS THE REAL THING!!! Game on! You need to practice interviewing!
One of the most important things about interviewing well, is knowing yourself well. Remember at an interview you are trying to distinguish yourself from the pack. Before you interview, think through these questions:

1. Tell me about yourself. This is an open ended type of statement. You may tell where you are from, what University did you graduated from, why you chose your major, why you are interested in the field , etc.
Make sure you have a closing sentence that wraps it all up and sends the signal back to the interviewer that you are finished and ready for them to go on to the next question.
EXAMPLE: I’ve been preparing the last four years to become an excellent teacher.
I’m excited to start my career and that’s why I’m glad to be here talking about the possibilities with your school.

2. Why do I want to be a teacher ? A lot of people will say “I just love kids.” This is true of many people, but remember you want to distinguish yourself. Dig deep here. What is the real reason you want to teach?
• Do you have a unique story (people tend to remember stories, but remember to keep your story on point and brief)
• Did you invest time substitute teaching and it helped you determine you loved teaching?
• Have you had varied experiences with children that led you to teaching?

3. What are your strengths? Many people will say “I’m a people person”, “I’m a team player”,
“I’m flexible”
Describe the strength and then tell how it will be good for teaching
EXAMPLE: I can relate to all types of people easily, right off the bat. People tend to feel comfortable around me. This is will be a real asset in teaching because my students will need someone who they relate well with and feel like they can trust. I will view my students not only just as students but as individual people. Also, parents are a big factor in teaching. I can develop a good rapport with parents easily which will help us to feel like we are on the same team in helping their child.

4. What are your weaknesses? This is hard because none of us wants to highlight our deficits.
On any question that has a negative connotation, keep the answer short, to the point and
move on.
With a weakness find something that you have improved upon over the years.
EXAMPLE: In the past it has been hard for me to delegate tasks. One thing that I have learned through student teaching, is to get the students involved in tasks. They tend to love to help, it gives them a sense of ownership in the classroom and many times, they feel like it is a privilege to help.

Some other questions to be prepared for:
What is your philosophy of teaching?
How will you establish discipline in your classroom?
Why are you interested in our district?
Tell me about a lesson you taught in student teaching that went well.
What do you think will be the hardest thing about the first year of teaching?
How will you involve parents?

WHY SHOULD I HIRE YOU? Remember, this is your last time to shine!
Overview 3-4 of your main selling points about why you will be an excellent teacher and have a closing statement.

Stephanie Wehmeier
Associate Director
University Career Services
Texas Tech University

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