INTERVIEW AND RESUME SUGGESTIONS

EDUCATION CAREER ALTERNATIVES PROGRAM

The following suggestions are provided to assist you in preparing to apply to school districts for teaching positions.  As with all professions, there are certain attributes, phrases, and experiences that school districts will look for in considering someone for a position in that district. 

These “suggestions” are not meant to be all inclusive nor will they guarantee success.  However, they should help you to better understand your new profession and its expectations as you prepare to be a teacher.

As you prepare your resume or get ready for the interview, you should consider the “assets” you bring to the profession.  For example, you bring maturity, a commitment to children, a work ethic, and experience in another profession to the classroom.  You are also part of an outstanding program that provides strong support and training in the latest “best practices.”  All of these will help you to better meet the needs of your students and to enrich your instruction. 

The use of resumes will vary from district to district.  Some districts will want only their application form completed and your references.  Others will want their application form, references, and your resume.  You should be prepared for either eventuality. 

In addition to your resume, some districts will want you to provide other documents along with your application.  For example, you may be asked to submit copies of your college transcripts as well as to complete their application form.  You should also attach a copy of your Acceptance Letter from ECAP.  If you have taken and passed any of the TExES certification exams, attach a copy of the score sheet to the application.  Although you should mention on your resume having been accepted into ECAP and having passed a TExES exam, including copies of these with your application is helpful to the school district.

Below is a sample resume/vita to help you in getting started on your resume or vita.

Sample Resume/Vita format:

NAME

Complete mailing address

Telephone numbers (home, cell, work)

e-mail address

EDUCATION:

            B.S. degree- May, 1969

            M.A. degree- Dec 1979

CERTIFICATION

            Math grades 8-12: Accepted into the ECAP certification program in Tier ____

            Passed TExES Math 8-12 exam

                       

INSTRUCTIONAL RELATED EXPERIENCES:

            List all work or volunteer experience that is tied to teaching/leadership.  For example:

            Substitute teaching-  (timeframe)                       district

Describe how often you were a substitute, the subjects taught, and the grade levels

            Youth Soccer Coach- (timeframe)                    where

                        Include a brief description

            Sunday school teacher, tutoring, work with special needs children such as Special Olympics, scouting, band/chorus involvement, cheerleading, or religiously related instruction and work with youth groups

Developed curriculum and taught professional development courses

(time frame,  where,  subjects taught)

Also cite jobs yielding practical applications of theory – e.g., in math, science, and health.  (Why? It shows you can explain why geometry is useful as an adult.)

OTHER PROFESSIONAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE EXPERIENCE:

            Brief description of each position held covering the last 10 to 15 years.

PROFESSIONAL SERVICE

            Member of ____ school PTA

REFERENCES:  NOTE: This should be a separate page with your name at the top followed by your references.

            List full name, address and phone number for each reference. 

The Interview Process and Resources

Many districts will do a two part interview.  One will be a “feeling” type interview and the other will be more of a knowledge type interview.  The feeling interview reveals how empathetic and understanding a person is.  There really is no way to prepare for this type of interview.  The knowledge interview allows you to articulate what you have learned in the Summer Academy in such areas as instructional strategies, classroom management, helping children with special needs, and use of the TEKS.  Keep in mind that the interview process is, in reality, a two part process.  The obvious part is the interview questions.  The not so obvious part is how you present yourself in the interview.   And, also keep in mind, that the interview is not just for the administrator you are interviewing with; it is for you to decide if this school is right for you. 

Tips for Preparing for the Interview

How you present yourself is very important to your success in the interview.  As many researchers have found, the first impression can be very important to your success.  The following are some tips that may be of use to you in getting ready for that first impression.

The first thing is to dress appropriately.  You are a professional and you should look like a professional.  Dressing as if it is Casual Friday comes only after you have the job.

Be yourself.  No matter how bad you want or need the job, you do not want to be in a job that will make you miserable.  Don’t pretend to be someone you are not.  It is not the best way to find the right job for you.

Arrive early so that you can take care of those personal necessities and then start the interview on time.  This will also allow you the opportunity to focus yourself as well.  If you are going to be late, be sure to call so that the interviewers know what is going on.

When you agree to the interview, try to determine who will be there at the interview.  Will it just be the principal? Or a group of teachers?  Some school board members? Or a combination of these?  The point here is to be prepared for whoever sits on the interview team so you are comfortable, focused and ready for the interview.

If you are not familiar with the location for the interview, plan ahead and drive to the site the day before.  This ensures you know where to go for the interview, where to park, how long it will take to get there, etc. and is one less thing to worry about on the day of the interview.

When introduced to your interviewers, smile, make eye contact, and repeat their names as you shake hands with a firm handshake.  This will help you to quickly associate names and faces.  The purpose is to be able to respond to questions and include the person’s name as well.  Keep in mind that everyone feels better when others remember their names.  And then wait to be invited to be seated.

Bring extra copies of your references, your ECAP acceptance letter, test scores, college transcripts and your resume.  You may not need them, but it is best to be prepared.

Be a good listener.  As each question is presented, pause briefly and reflect on what the interviewer has asked.  If necessary, ask for clarification so you are answering the question they asked and not the one you thought they asked.  After you have collected your thoughts, answer the question completely.  Be concise and use specific examples, but don’t get so verbose that you put the interview team to sleep.

Ask intelligent, appropriate questions when the opportunity is provided.  This means you need to learn as much as you can about the district and the campus before the interview.  Some questions you might want to ask about: general background on the population of students; parental involvement in the school; type of discipline used in the school; how much autonomy is allowed in the classroom.

Do express an interest in the job and in your willingness to work hard at it.

You should refrain from discussing personal problems or criticizing former employers. 

Be positive during the interview.  The interviewers are looking for more than just the “answers to questions”.  They are also looking for those “intangibles”.  For example, your sincerity, your passion, your respect for others and your willingness to be a team player are very important.  And too, your openness to the interview committee and your desire for this job as opposed to another one makes a favorable impression on everyone.

After the interview is over, thank the team for the opportunity to visit with them.  As a follow up, send a “Thank You” card expressing your appreciation again, but also indicating your availability to meet with the interview team again if needed.

Sample Interview Questions

The following questions are provided in addition to those on the websites to give you an idea of what you might encounter in the knowledge type interview questions.

1. Please tell me about yourself: your background, work experience and education.  Why do you want to be a teacher?

2. How have your previous experiences prepared you for the classroom?

3. What training or experience have you had in developing curriculum or in teaching?

4. What characteristics or qualities do you feel that a teacher should have to be successful in working with students, parents, and fellow colleagues? 

5. Give an example of how you would gain the attention and interest of your ___ grade students on your subject.

6. How will you promote literacy in your students?

7. As a new teacher, what help do you think you would need most in getting ready for the classroom?

8. What experience do you have working with people from different cultures?

9. What experience do you have working with individuals with special needs?

10. What experience do you have working with other parents, teachers or administrators in the school setting?  How would you maintain a positive relationship?

11. Describe how you would develop a lesson plan and incorporate the appropriate TEKS.

12. What instructional strategies would you use for your students who are second language learners?  What ESL strategies would you use?

13. What instructional strategies would you use to teach a low ability student group as opposed to a high ability student group?

14. Describe how you would establish discipline in your classroom.  When would the principal become involved?

15. How does a student know if you are a good listener?

16. If an observer walked into your classroom, what would he/she see?  How would the observer know if your students are engaged and learning?

17. What assessment methods will you use, and when, to determine if your students have mastered your learning objectives or goals?

18. If a student is having difficulty understanding your instructional focus, how would you help that student?

19. What are your greatest strengths in relation to this position?

20. What are your greatest weaknesses in relation to this position?

21. What is your philosophy on classroom management?

22. What is the most difficult educational situation you have experienced and how did you handle it?

23. How will you use technology in the classroom?

24. What can you contribute to making ours an Exemplary School?

25. How will you teach to meet the needs of every student in the classroom?

26. How will you adjust, if at all, instruction in the classroom based on ethnic differences?

27. What do you think of collaborative teaching?

28. Do you wish to get involved with extracurricular activities at school? To what extent?

29. Will you treat all students equally?

30. What is an acceptable failure rate?

31. How will you motivate unmotivated students?

32. What do you expect from your principal?

33. Define “at-risk” student.  How will you teach students who are considered as “at-risk” students? 

34. How will you accommodate the different academic levels in your classroom?

35. How will you involve parents in the learning and decision making process?

36. What do you know about “different intelligences?”

37. How would you integrate reading and writing into a math or science classroom?

38. How will you get students to do what you have asked them to do?

39. What do you do when faced with a problem or stress?

40. How will you get parents involved in your classroom?

41. What is your philosophy of education?  Give a couple of examples of how you will implement your philosophy in the classroom.

42. What do you think the most important thing about teaching is?

43. What is the best way to deal with a “troublemaker”?

44. How can you calm an upset parent who does not like what you are teaching?