Applying for a Teacher Position in an Unfamiliar School? Be Prepared.

If offered an interview at an unfamiliar school understand that you are already at a disadvantage. You may not be as knowledgeable about the school as another job candidate that student taught there. In my book, Road to Teaching, I offer strategies to maximize your knowledge of the community, school, and, most importantly, the students before heading into your interview. Acknowledging that time is of the essence, here are quick tips to better prepare for your interview:

If you have only a day before the interview…

  • Conduct on-line research of the community. A great resource for this is Movoto's Neighborhood Demographic Search feature. This will give you a good overview of the socio-economic and ethnic picture of the neighborhood.
  • Visit the school’s website. Read everything, especially if the school posts a newsletter for parents. This will give you insight into the various changes/reforms happening.
  • Review the school’s test scores. Check out the state education agency for this (click here for a list by state). This will show the strength and areas of improvement in student achievement. Think of how your experience, skills set, and professional training will improve student learning in these areas.

If you have a few days before the interview…

  • Do everything mentioned above.
  • Send an email to your teacher friends, explaining that you have an interview and ask for their insights on the school.  Often friends will know someone at the school that you can get in touch with.  These personal connections are important!
  • Go to a cafe near the school. Observe and casually talk with people there.
  • Drive around the school and local community. Plus, this will alleviate stress of trying to find the school on the day of your interview.

Hopefully, these are some ideas to get you started on preparing for your teacher interview.  Feel free to add your own ideas/tips in the comment section.

On a side note, thank you to everyone sending in teacher interview questions. Please keep them coming.