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These five facts could help you score a teaching job

Ace Your Teacher InterviewWhen you interview for a teaching position, the interviewer asks a number of questions to get to know you and gain an understanding of your teaching style and philosophy. But according to Anthony D. Fredericks, the school wants to learn five essential facts about you.

“When a school or district opens up a position, there are several things they are looking for,” Fredericks says in his new book Ace Your Teacher Interview. “Knowing these conditions ahead of time can help you approach each and every interview situation with confidence and assurance.”

Here are the five basic facts you should convey during a teacher interview:

1. “A principal, above all else, wants to know if you are qualified for the job—do you have the basic skills and abilities to be an effective classroom leader? Sure, you have a college education and you’ve done your student teaching, but so has everyone else. The principal needs to be sure that you have sufficient background and knowledge about educational strategies, philosophies, standards and basic teaching principals.…The successful candidate will set himself or herself apart from the crowd by presenting a unique set of skills and talents not possessed by the other candidates.”

2. “Are you motivated? Are you a candidate who is sincerely excited about teaching and the opportunities for improving the intellectual lives of students? Are you a candidate who can’t wait to get in a classroom and make a difference? Are you more interested in the academic possibilities for kids than in getting a job? In short, the job is of less importance than the opportunity to make a lasting difference in students’ lives.”

3. “Most people in the business world will tell you that the single most critical skill they look for in a potential new employee is his or her ability to work with others. Interpersonal skills are paramount in the success a company envisions. Working as a member of a team is critical to the success of a school, as well.…You may spend your teaching day inside a room with lots of short people, but you need to be a functional part of one or more larger teams—a grade level team, a subject area team or a whole school team.”

4. “Here’s a scary statistic: The average classroom teacher will make up to 1,500 educational decisions every day he or she is teaching. Some of those decisions will be minor ones…others will be major ones.…A principal wants to know if you are a good decision-maker and/or problem solver. This problem-solving ability, quite obviously, applies to one’s ability to solve educational problems as well as student problems.”

5. “Perhaps the most important factor woven into any type of interview situation is your ‘likeability factor.’ Simply put, people want to work with people they like. Do you have an engaging personality, a sense of humor, a spirit, an energy, an overall ‘likeability’?…A school is a unique community; if you are a ‘people person,’ then a community functions well. If, however, you have a negative disposition, a constant frown on your face, or a boring attitude, you will not be contributing to that community. Your ‘likeability,’ more than your skills or education, is often the factor that gets you hired—the factor that makes the difference between who teaches and who doesn’t.”

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