Hello Friends! I hope you and yours are healthy and taking care of each other.

Yesterday we conducted teaching interviews online. From years of experience both on interview panels and being a successful interviewee, I thought I would share some pointers with you. Please share and please let me know when you get the job!

PS These are all real examples, I did not make any of them up!

Please do NOT:

1) assume teaching is causal and show up in jeans or wrinkled clothing. (Many re-entry programs offer free professional clothing)

2) start every sentence with Me, My, I

as in "My students love me or when I took the SAT..." or when asked how you will contribute to a team say, "I don't know..."

3) assume all students are created equal or have access to the same resources.

4) ask "Where are you located?" or "How many students are in your school?" or "What physical safety measures are in place in the classroom?"

5) answer tech questions generically as in "I love computers," and "Computers are very useful."
and finally, oh friend, when conducting an online interview, please don't show the shelves in your frat house living room.

Please Do these things instead:

  •  Do your research! All districts and schools have websites. Many have WASC reports or, in California, we have the The California School Dashboard. Check out a local newspaper for the school sports pages or what how the Oddessy of the Mind team did in their last competition. What was the last play, musical, or band performance of the school? Find a friend of a friend of a friend whose kid goes to the school. Know what curriculum they use in advance.

  • Show that you are committed to healthy, positive relationships with students. Be specific. Mention a student by name, a colleague by name, or talk about how you connected with a student's family. 

  • Have a good failure story. Make sure you talk about how you corrected course and who you reached out to help you.
  • Show how you are a team player. Mention common assessment, mention a time when you collaborated with another teacher or team of teachers. Be willing to contribute and learn.
  • Have some specific strategies for working with special populations (I mean they are all special, right?) Include awareness of limited English speakers, students with IEPs or 504s. 
  • Make sure you know the standards in your area of learning and especially the social/emotional curriculum that matches. 
  • Don't be afraid to be new to teaching. Your experience is important, whether it is coaching, military, or retail. Your work history shows your work habits, your ability to work with people, and take direction. 
  • Don't be afraid to show your years, and years, and years of experience. This is your moment! 
  • Remember that you are more than being interviewed, you are also making sure the organization is a fit for you. Have FUN! Smile! Know that even if you don't get the job, you will learn something valuable. 

Good Luck!!!