You've earned your degree, completed your student teaching and passed your licensing exam to become an elementary school teacher. But before you can start compiling lesson plans and stocking up on school supplies, you've got to snag a teaching job. Interviewing to become an elementary school teacher can be scary and overwhelming, but there are some things you can do to help you ace the interview, land the job, and embark on your career with a classroom filled with students of your own.
Dress the Part
Elementary school teachers are typically expected to dress conservatively, so leave the stilettos and lipstick at home when you leave for your interview. Opt for professional attire, such as a nice blouse and slacks. Keep your hair and makeup simple and wear minimal jewelry and other accessories. If you have any facial piercings, take the earrings out, and if you have any tattoos, cover them up. Long story short -- dress in a way you would feel comfortable dressing around schoolchildren.
Do Your Research
Spend some time researching the school you're interviewing at before you leave the house. Learn about the history of the school, its values, its notable achievements and any other information you can find online. It's also helpful to look at commonly asked questions in teaching interviews. This will enable you to better prepare yourself for any question thrown your way -- and formulate strong, thoughtful answers.
Identify Your Philosophy
The principal or administrator interviewing you is likely going to spend a lot of time asking questions about your teaching philosophy, so you need to know exactly what your philosophy is. Before the interview, spend some time really thinking about why you were drawn to elementary education and the role you feel you'll play as a teacher. Define the qualities you want to bring to your classroom and the goals you want to help your students reach. The more thoroughly you're able to explain your teaching philosophy and define what makes you unique, the more you'll stand out as a top candidate in your interview.
Prepare a Portfolio
A portfolio can help you organize and showcase relevant information to share with your potential employer during the interview. This could include anything from classroom management plans and sample assessment tools to lesson plans and photos of student projects from your student teaching days. Anything that's relevant to your experience and vision as a teacher is appropriate for putting in your portfolio. You might even include video clips of lessons you've taught or interactions you've had with schoolchildren so employers can see you in action in the classroom. Having solid examples on hand will likely appeal to the person interviewing you, and will give you the opportunity to shine during the interview.
Your demeanor and body language will make a first impression and leave a lasting effect on the interviewer -- so make sure it's positive. Shake hands when the interview begins, and sit up straight throughout the meeting. Smile when you speak and exude confidence in your voice. Since you'll be a role model for young children, it's essential that your behavior conveys compassion and professionalism. Think your answers through thoroughly before speaking, and be sure to thank the interviewer when the meeting concludes.