You likely already know the importance of arriving 15 minutes early and dressing appropriately for an interview. But when interviewing for a teaching position -- especially at an elementary school -- you can increase your chance of getting hired if you research the school's history, shares the school's teaching philosophy and gives examples of how you take responsibility for motivating students and increasing test scores.
What to Wear
While you should always look professional for an interview, you should also consider the school when deciding what to wear. Your attire should reflect the school's image. For example, you might wear pants, a colored shirt and a geometrically patterned scarf or tie to a school that has a focus on the arts. You should choose stylish pieces, but not anything too trendy or provocative. Educators have a keen sense of what is appropriate dress for the classroom.
Listen for clues as to the challenges the teacher you are replacing faced with the students -- and respond with positive statements. For example, if you are told that students' parents are often demanding at the school, define your commitment to working as a team with administrators and parents. If the interviewer mentions a few students who have special academic challenges, give examples of how you can teach to all levels. This shows the interviewer that you bring solutions to the school's problems.
Asking questions shows your interest in the job and your ability to think beyond classroom duties. Ask what new or additional security measures the school has recently implemented, how parent-teacher conferences and meetings are handled, and what you can expect from your classroom assistant. In addition, find out what is unique to the primary grade for which you're interviewing, such as if there are any special class outings or projects.
Explain Performance Assessments
Be sure to tell the interviewer how you make student assessments part of the learning process -- and explain exactly how you monitor progress. This shows your willingness to adapt your teaching style to a child's learning capability, that you accept responsibility for a child's academic success, and it's an indication of your pro-activeness in the classroom. For example, you might explain that you give assessment tests to provide a classroom baseline, give feedback to parents and teach students how to self-assess.
Understanding Grade Curriculum
Show the interviewer that you understand a specific grade level's curriculum and the emotional development that occurs at certain ages. For example, if you are interviewing for a third-grade position, talk about the importance of mental math and how an 8- or 9-year-old child often feels anxious about failing. If you are interviewing for the fourth grade, you might refer to projects that align with the fourth-grade social studies curriculum, such as making state projects from colored salt dough.
- Work Smart: Tips for Success -- The Interview
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: How to Become a Kindergarten or Elementary School Teacher
- Road to Teaching: Teacher Interview Question: How can Assessment Improve Student Learning?
- PBS: What They Learn in Third Grade
- New York Times: Schools Adopt Art As Building Block of Education
- The Cornerstone: Job Interview Tips
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