As you near the end of your teacher education and start clearing the certification requirements,  the prospect of job interviews rises in your teaching career horizon. Like any other job interview, a teacher's interview also focuses on relevant questions and answers in the field of education and the world, at large. Put your best foot forward, keep it simple, and prepare with these simple tips and model interview questions.

Background Research 

You have probably put in a lot of thought and effort into your search for teaching jobs in India. There are many ways to learn about the school/ college/ university you are going to apply for. This will help you attune your skills and abilities to the requirements of the job profile.

The more research you have done the better equipped you will be to answer and ask the right questions.

Leverage social media, the internet, your circle of friends, and colleagues from the teaching profession to learn as much as you can about the Board of education, the curriculum, school initiatives in the community, extracurricular activities, student demographics, or any other relevant information. 

Personal appearance, hand gestures, and confident demeanor are some of the keys to success in a teaching job interview. | Source: Headway on Unsplash

How to Ace the Job Interview

You have cleared your teacher training course with flying colors. Now is your chance to land your dream job in education. Here are some easy steps you can take while preparing for and during your upcoming job interview.

Teaching Philosophy

Recruiters are interested in who bring their own thoughts and opinions into the core of academic subjects and topics related to teaching. For example, structuring a lesson plan or employing new methodologies of teaching, or even your views on bullying. The interviewer may assess you on the basis of your thoughts on such sensitive issues.

Body Language and Presentation

Contrary to popular belief, teachers are not gods! They can be just as absent-minded as the rest of us. However, during an interview, don't let this get the better of you.

Clean appearance, a confident demeanor, and an organized self-management will appeal to your interviewers. Use these additional tips to get your interview body language correct.

  1. Sit all the way back in your seat
  2. Avoid direct eye contact (at least, try not to stare)
  3. Use hand gestures while speaking (don't go overboard)
  4. Keep your feet planted to the ground
  5. Walk confidently
  6. Breathe deeply and speak while exhaling
  7. Nod your head while listening

Promote Yourself

Think about how you can fit into the culture of the schools you are applying for and whether your personality (and answers) reflects that. Be as honest as you can and answer in the relevant language. Draw attention to elements in your professional experience that answer why you are the perfect fit.

Focus on the Moment

You know how to work as a teacher. You have literally earned a degree to prove that you have the experience and knowledge to teach a class of students. The only new thing here is to impress upon others that you can do the job that they are advertising. 

All you have to do is prepare your supporting materials, and communicate your passion with prospective employers.

You don't have to be perfect, only human. Pull all your experience together to bring out your commitment, intelligence, passion, and dedication to the job of inspiring students to be the best they are capable of.

Dress Appropriately

No amount of training can prepare you to dress the right way for the interview to work in your favor. Appearance is the first thing that the interviewer will notice. Your skills, training, and teaching experience will only matter later. Dress professionally and dress according to the values of the school where you are applying for the job  - for example, conservative and formal, or semi-casual.

job interview
Appropriate dressing is considered crucial for cracking a job interview in a school. | Source: Hunters Race on Unsplash

Model Interview Questions

In a teaching job interview, the interviewer is likely to ask the most common interview questions. For example, “what are your greatest strengths and weaknesses” or “why do you want this job?”They may also like you to answer more specific questions related to the job profile - for example, "what are your approaches towards preparing a lesson plan for Grade 2 Science?"

However, on the day of the interview, you cannot leave anything to chance. Superprof has put together a list of common teaching interview questions that the interviewer is likely to ask you, as well as some insights into how to answer them

Why did you choose teaching as a career?

Preparing a mission statement may come in handy as you try to answer this question. The answer should not only explain why and how you plan to influence change in students' lives but also how enriched your own life will be owing to the experience of teaching. You can also incorporate ideas from the school's own vision statement.

How would you handle a non-attentive student?

Focus less on the reactive ways and more on new approaches to proactive classroom management strategies. Classroom management ensures the smooth running of a class, an essential quality of a good teacher on any given day!

What is your strategy for maintaining positive relations with students?

They probably did not teach this in How to Become a Teacher 101. This is a personal and subjective question and there is no right or wrong answer to it. In such a scenario, you can recount a personal experience. 

For example, share an anecdote about how you bonded with a student who needed extra care and compassion. This will convey your concern for the emotional well-being of students.

What is your idea about differential learning strategies?

Prepare yourself by learning about existing and new assessment strategies out there. The interview must be convinced that you are up-to-date with the testing and evaluation practices of the day. 

Employers want to know that you can put together lesson plans and create a syllabus for students that fit the position you are applying for.

No 2 students are the same. Their learning styles and capacities are different. You, as their school teacher, must know how to adapt to their styles in order to make their learning experience more rewarding.

What are your thoughts on literacy for all?

Be it the English language or Hindi, Science, or History - every subject teacher is also a literacy teacher. As a result, you must prepare to answer how you can aid the development of your students' reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills.

Being a drama teacher means that you can inspire young children.
A good teacher must be able to empathize, encourage, and inspire students. | Source: Pixabay

How do you view collaborative and project-based learning?

To answer this, start off with a brief explanation of your understanding of these two distinct modes of learning. CIte an example that your students may have worked on in your previous work experience. Interviewers need examples of real-world experience to assess your eligibility for a role.

How do you plan to keep students motivated?

Discuss your own ideas about making your classroom more engaging, creative, and driven by a purpose. To keep students motivated, you must be a motivational teacher yourself. Let your interviewer discover this aspect of your personality through the answers your provide!

How do you communicate with parents and guardians?

Another question that must engage the interviewer with personal stories. Face to face meetings, exchange of notes, personal phone calls, or emails - these are a few examples of engaging, informing, and collaborating with parents and guardians. Align your stories to these ideas and present them on the day of your interview

What is your personal and professional development strategy?

Finally, with an eye to the future, the interviewer may like to know what you think about a teacher's personal growth and your own strategies for it. Talk about specific resources you would use, such as STEM education tools, the books you read, the blogs you follow, or the education communities you are part of.

Personalize and Keep it Specific

Generic responses are great only when you are trying to resolve a diplomatic crisis! During a teaching interview, most desirable candidates answer directly to the premise of the question asked, such as explaining in crisp sentences, their suitability for the teaching job and for the particular school they apply for.

It makes it much easier for a hiring manager to make a decision when the applicant spells out why they would be a great hire.

Make it personal. Personalized responses help recruiters clearly assess your capabilities and qualifications for a job. Personalizations may include professional and academic achievements, specific teaching skills, time, and experience already gained in the domain. At the same time, try to narrow it down to those points relevant to the job profile. And, you are all set!

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Shreyanjana is an archaeologist who ironically finds the written word to be the most powerful means of storytelling. A travel buff and a photography enthusiast, she has been writing and sharing stories of all sorts ever since she can remember.