Choosing a career in teaching is one of the most rewarding career paths you can take. There is nothing I loved more than being in the classroom with my students’ and watching the look of discovery on their faces in moments of doubt. That being said, as much as each of us love those small teacher moments and everything else that comes with the career, it isn’t as easy as we sometimes wish it could be to get into the classroom and teach. The application process is competitive. When you’re finally called for an interview, feelings of both excitement and anxiousness crowd your every thought prior to your scheduled meeting. It is hard not to feel nervous for interviews; we have all been there, but the true key to success is practice and preparation.
When I was a student, I was told time and time again what the most common interview question is. As much as I listened and took note, I never actually realized this to be true until I was asked the question at every single interview after that point. Although I am sure many of you already know what this question is, for those of you that don’t, I highly encourage structuring how you approach this particular question: “Tell me about yourself.” I will never forget the first time I approached this question, and to be honest, I gave a horrible answer. It is such an open ended question that could go a million and one directions. I went home that night and really thought about how I could have answered that particular question more appropriately. I could go on about all of my previous work experience, but I am sure that would come up another time. I could also talk about my best qualities, but that too could be tied in to many answers. After a few days of thought and reflection, I stumbled into a new strategy and way to approach this particular question. I now speak from a place of passion and share where my love for teaching grew. I share my motivation and enthusiasm towards education, and how that moulded me into the teacher I am today. I share the story of teaching stuffed animals as a child, knowing my goals even then. I share that little piece of me that may not be able to be shared in any other traditional interview question. I encourage you to find where your passion came from and share this piece of your professional history.
The second piece of advice I give to all teachers I work with is the importance of getting to know the school you are interviewing with. All schools do have similar expectations and duties for each of their teachers, and discussing your management and stylistic strategies is important. But nothing impresses a Head Teacher or Principal more than bringing in their school’s core values and philosophy while discussing your strategies. These small extras show your genuine interest in the school how your teaching philosophy reflects the values that the school and principal work hard to represent.
Interviews to teach in America are quite similar to teaching interviews in the UK. As mentioned in our previous blog post, becoming a global citizen is important for the further development of our country and world as a whole. When interviewing for international roles, it is okay not to know how things may differ from country to country. What impresses our Head Teacher’s is your curiosity and actively seeking out knowledge as to how their school may differ from where you have previously worked. We often have the belief that we can’t ask these types of questions during interview, but in fact the complete opposite is what impresses our hiring managers. Ask questions and seek out knowledge - as educators, we are always learning.
Every principal, employer and recruiter will have their own advice when it comes to interview processes and job searching. My biggest piece of advice I can offer you is to truly be yourself during the entire process (in a professional matter, of course). This is the best way for both yourself and your potential hiring manager to tell if you’re a good fit for the position at hand.
The right opportunity will find its way to you. Sometimes it take a little longer than you might have been hoping for or expecting, but always be open to new and challenging opportunities.
Your next adventure might already be waiting for you.
The opinions expressed in Career Corner are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.