What to Expect in an Education Interview
When applying for professional position in education, you will be faced with some tough interview questions. However, with the right preparation, you will be able to effectively communicate your experience, talents and skills.
One of the issues education interviewers focus on is your organization and long-term planning. Employers want to see candidates who put a lot of thought into their lesson plans, have specific goals in mind for students to achieve and have a detailed roadmap towards those goals. You may be asked to discuss lesson plans as well as semester or year plans to ensure that your planned material is covered
Some other key issues are your teaching methods, including grading systems and classroom organization. Interviewers also want to hear about how you make sure that each student masters the material and that you can be flexible in your methods when necessary.
Tips to Remember
Be prepared to discuss your past experiences, including negative ones. Interviewers may ask about your worst classroom or about a time that you felt you failed a student. What they really want to know is that you are capable of recognizing and learning from your own failures.
Schools generally are guided by standards in their teaching, such as Common Core, local or state standards. Expect to describe your approach to standards and your methods for establishing a curriculum and using data from student testing to modify the lesson plans as necessary.
Students in the same grade may have widely varied backgrounds, skills and abilities. A key discussion point is your way of balancing curriculum requirements with individual approaches to each student.
General Skills to Highlight
At an education interview, remember to emphasize the following skills:
- Knowledge– The interviewer will want to see knowledge of your subject, educational methods and planning.
- Confidence– So-called "command presence" is an important ingredient to being able to manage a classroom and maintain a level of discipline conducive to learning.
- Flexibility– Show that you are willing to modify your well-thought-out and meticulously detailed lesson plans if you see that students would benefit from a different approach
Interviewers also want to see other attributes that are commonly prized in employees, no matter their field. For example, the ability to get along well with others is vital in a teacher who not only deals with children all day, but also with colleagues, administrators and parents.
It is important to plan your interview responses in advance, but also to be prepared to face unexpected questions. Think in advance about how best to present the skills your interviewer will be looking for, and you will stand out.