It's easier to stand out in a teaching interview than you might think. Simply being professional and prepared will set you head and shoulders above many other candidates, many of whom have blanketed surrounding districts with resumes and often approach interviews somewhat cavalierly. It will take some preparation, but getting the teaching position you want will make the extra work entirely worth it.
Prepare a portfolio. An online portfolio is always a good idea, but you should have a physical portfolio as well. Nothing beats being able to show the interviewer a copy of your teaching certificate that lists your certification in nine different area, or photos of you and your after-school Spanish club doing volunteer work in the community. Include some of your outstanding lesson plans along with some recommendations. Include your transcripts, a statement of your teaching philosophy, and anything else that helps you to establish your credentials as an outstanding teacher, recommends the National Education Association.
Educate yourself about the school district for which you'll be interviewing. Familiarize yourself with their standardized test scores, the number of students who are on free or reduced lunch and the demographic characteristics of the district. By doing so, you'll be able to intelligently discuss the specific needs of the district and how you will will be able to meet them.
Relax, advises the National Education Association. If you enter the interview and come across as a Nervous Nellie, the interviewer will wonder how you will be able to cope with a classroom of 30 restless eighth-graders who would rather be doing anything else besides learning prime factorization. Teach yourself some relaxation techniques to help yourself calm down before the interview. Deep-breathing techniques before the interview can help you transform from a quivering ball of nerves into the calm, cool professional you really are.
Familiarize yourself with potential interview questions. Principals have one thing in common -- they all want to know how you will handle discipline problems in the classroom, communicate concerns to parents, how you will teach students with differing abilities, and other common concerns. Review common teaching interview questions to firm up your answers so you won't feel unprepared in your interview.
Dress for success. One area you don't want to stand out in is your choice of attire. Cleveland State University Career Services Coordinator Sharon Moss, M.Ed. recommends that women wear business professional clothing for teaching interviews. A conservative suit with hose and heels is appropriate -- your pink pinstriped trousers and that sheer frothy blouse you recently purchased are not. Keep makeup and jewelry simple. One pair of earrings is plenty, as you never know if your potential principal appreciates the tribal look. Wearing appropriate interview clothes will help you to stand out, because many other applicants have adopted the philosophy that anything goes.
Elise Wile has been a writer since 2003. Holding a master's degree in curriculum and Instruction, she has written training materials for three school districts. Her expertise includes mentoring, serving at-risk students and corporate training.