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5 Points to Get for a Teacher Interview (and Other Interview Resources) – George Kouros


I have received several emails over the past month asking for interview resources as many educators go through this process. Below I’ve shared a post originally written in 2018 that encourages interviewers to try to steer the process in their favor. Hope you find it useful!

I also wanted to share the following past posts:

Educational interview resources and 6 things to consider during the process

5 questions you should ask your leader

8 Characteristics of an Innovator’s Mindset (Interview Questions)

3 ways to revise the educational interview

5 reasons why your portfolio should be online

I hope these posts and the one below can help anyone going through this process now or in the future! Good luck!

I applied for a job at a historical park when I was in university and was excited about the opportunity to be a tour guide and share history with visitors. Eager to jump at the chance, I passed the interview and thought I was doing well. Then they asked me that question, and I’ll never forget it. The interviewer held up a pencil and said, “Imagine you are telling the story of this pencil to the group. Go!”

I immediately said that I knew nothing about the history of the pencil, and the interviewer said, “Then make it up!”

I was stumbling around coming up with things that were completely incoherent and there was a moment in the Billy Madison debate where nothing made sense and everyone in the room was even dumber listening to what I shared.

To this day, I still think that question was stupid and more of a “drop” moment. It didn’t help the interviewers determine if I was right for the job because I hoped that any of the stories I shared in the park would be accurate and not something I made up on the spot.

When I’ve seen interviews in education, I’ve seen some of these disconnects. Asking teachers to ‘lead a lesson’ for a group when we are looking for more collaborative learning in classrooms, or groups that don’t talk to entrants or lead conversations, but instead ask quick questions. If you’re going to find the best educator for your school, you should do everything you can to see how they work in an environment that most closely resembles your school or the school you want to create.

As an interviewer, you don’t ask questions, but that doesn’t mean you can’t lead the conversation. Some people I’ve interviewed, and some who’ve interviewed me, keep coming back to certain topics, regardless of the questions. When working with educators who are going to be interviewed or beginning teachers, I advise them to have some interview points that they will refer back to throughout the questions. Here are five key points I would suggest you pay attention to:

1. Relations (staff and students) – One of my favorite principals in the world said that if you were exceptional at connections but weak at content, you could last longer in education than if the reverse were true. Of course, we want educators to be with both, but focusing on the relationship is paramount; it goes beyond students as well. I know some very talented teachers who are great with children but have a hard time with other adults. The focus is on search school teachers; educators focused on benefiting every child in the school, not just those they directly taught. If you don’t hear the word “relationship” in your interview, I’m going to be concerned.

2. Have a desire to grow and learn. – What you know now should be less than what you know a year from now. In any interview, it is important to give examples of how you have grown as a teacher and as a student. You might have been a great teacher ten years ago, but now you might be irrelevant if nothing has changed. Growth needs individuals or it won’t happen at the organizational level.

3. You have access to knowledge outside yourself. – Collaboration is key in education, so if you’re limited by your thoughts and ideas, so is your class. Face-to-face collaboration is critical, but how can you learn outside of your local community? For this post, I asked people for ideas that I could share for this post:

If you read the responses, you will see that there are so many great ideas that go beyond the scope of this post. If you want a “world-class” education, you must take advantage of worldwide access.

4. Passion for the content they teach. – Content knowledge is critical to any teaching position, but if you’re in education, you’ve likely encountered an educator who knows their content inside out but struggles to share that knowledge with their class. Passion for what you teach can be contagious. When kids see that you love your subject, that passion is likely to be contagious.

5. Education is a vocation, not a career. – Why did you become a teacher? The prevailing view is that teachers aren’t in it for the money, but I also think about the mental toll it takes on teachers and how much we feel with our students. This does not mean that a teacher should only care about teaching; you must also have outside interests. But if you don’t love the job, the job will eat you alive or wear you down.

The five above are vital points that I feel are important to convey during an interview, regardless of the question, but these are personal preferences. What ideas would you like to convey during the interview with the teacher?

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