Just last week I attended BGSU’s teacher job fair allowing me to get 7 different interviews all in one day! It was a huge ordeal and I am glad I made it through. Before this event i spent months reading post about possible interview questions and example answers. This post will outline 6 questions I encountered throughout the day and some tips on answers I used and the responses I got.
Name one main reason you want to be a teacher?
This question was a new way to state the old age question why did you become a teacher. This threw me off at first and I asked the interviewer to repeat her question to make sure I was getting it right. She was happy to do this so don't be afraid, to ask this if you are confused or many just need to steal a few extra seconds to think of that prepped answer you had that just slipped your mind! I ended up discussing my passion for teaching and relating it to my teaching philosophy. I focused on my desire to instill a love for school but also a fundamental love for learning and talked about my beliefs on doing this from a young age. Since i mentioned my teaching philosophy The interview quickly read through the shortened version of it which I had given her. Based on this she came up with off book questions which brings me to my next question.
What does 21st century teaching/learning mean to you?
As i stated above i brought this one upon myself by pointing her towards my philosophy. Take note, if you put one of today's common buzz words in any paperwork or use it in a question be prepared to explain what it means if asked! I explained my definition of this fairly new buzz word as the teaching and learning of skills students need to succeed in today's world. I then elaborated on some skills I believe are important in today's workforce such as critical/analytical thinking skills and the ability to utilize technology effectively in teaching and learning.
What type of school do you see yourself working in?
This one can be tricky for many of us as upon graduating we often are thinking, “wherever I can get a job!!!” My advice, DON’T say this! This question is geared at trying to see if you will fit into their school district. Along with this don't lie about your opinione either. If you are interviewing with an inner city school district and can't ever see yourself in this setting don't pretend like you can because they will be able to tell based on your answer. For me, this was easy since I actually have always been interested in working in inner city schools. I discussed my interest in working with this population of students and made sure to mention collaborating with families and coworkers in order to support me in my first few years.
What do you know about INSERT DISTRICT NAME schools?
This question is meant to find out if you truly want this specific job or you just want any job. Most likely if you are especially interested in working at this school then you probably know something about them. For me this question came from this district that serves the town I live in which is a main reason I am interested in working there. I was able to connect some background knowledge I have about the community to the schools to answer this. I discussed how even after living here for only one year I know the community members are invested in our town and really pull together in times of need. This is the type of community I want surrounding my school district because it means I will be supported as a teachers from all sides, administrators, voters, students, and families. The interviewer, a naive to our town, was very impressed with this answer and went on to share some of her own experiences within our community.
Describe a time in your personal life when you had to face great adversity.
This question was actually one i heard about from my peers with interviewed with a specific inner city school district. When hearing about it my first thought was relief that I was not asked this! This question is aimed at figuring out if you will fit in and feel empathy with the population of students the school serves. I personally cannot come up with what I believe is a solid example of diversity in my own life. If I was asked this now I would choose to be honest about that rather than try to discuss something that does not seem to measure up. Following this I would be sure to explain that I know and am very appreciative of the life I have lived with many opportunities but realize this is not the case with all my students. Many students have faced much more trying times than I have at a very young age and I will be aware of that when teaching and connecting with my students. This shows that though I have not personally experienced great struggle in my life I do still have a sense of cultural awareness.
What is one thing you wanted me to ask you about and I didnt?
This was one of my favorite questions of the entire day. This was my time to share anything I felt pulls me apart from the crowd. I explained that one questions i expected would have asked about my strengths and weaknesses. I then only focused on my strongest strength. For me this is utilizing technology in the classroom. I discussed some of my beliefs on teaching through technology and the engagement I have seen in my students. This also gave me a chance to open my portfolio and show off some tech based lessons I have actually done.
There you have it! These 6 questions were really the only ones that I hadn’t read about in all my prep in anticipation for the job fair but i'll continue to add as I continue to interview. Wish me luck, and best of luck to all of you in your job searches!