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How to Stand Out in a Teacher Interview

by Jill Leviticus

Getting a teaching position can be difficult for new as well as experienced teachers. School districts often interview many applicants for just one position, making it particularly important that you stand out during your interview. Careful preparation before the interview will help ensure that you make the best possible impression.

Choose the Best Appointment Time

A long day of interviews can be tiring for candidates and interviewers. Rather than risk scheduling an interview at the end of the day when interviewers might be less focused, try to make an appointment early on. If the schedule includes interviews a week or more apart, the Chronicle of Higher Education suggests making the earliest appointment on the last day of the interviews. An early appointment time might mean you’ll encounter rush hour traffic, so be sure to allow sufficient time to reach the school.

Project a Professional Image

Make a good first impression by dressing professionally and paying attention to grooming. Although you might dress more casually in the classroom, choose a suit or dress for your interview. Don’t wear clothing that's too tight, too short or in need of repair. Avoid extreme hairstyles or large or heavy jewelry. If interviewers are preoccupied by your hairstyle, they won’t pay enough attention to your answers. You’ll project an aura of confidence if you smile, greet each interviewer with a handshake and make eye contact.

Anticipate Questions

You’ll find that interviewers ask many of the same questions of prospective teachers. Practice your responses to questions regarding teaching techniques and philosophies, lesson plans and methods of handling difficult students. Ask a friend to serve as the interviewer and critique your answers. Expect questions regarding your knowledge of the school. In addition to reviewing the school’s website, do an Internet search for news articles about the school and download school newsletters or other publications.

Choose an Appropriate Demonstration Lesson

A demonstration lesson might just be the most important part of your interview. If you have to teach a demonstration lesson, make sure you choose one that's age appropriate and engaging. The Education.com website suggests contacting the classroom teacher for information on the topic the class is studying, material covered prior to your lesson and information on any special needs students might have. Bring copies of your lesson plan to distribute to the teacher and evaluators. Be sure to proofread your printed lesson plan so it has no typographical or grammatical errors.

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