Advice from Employers
The following are recommendations made by recruiters and other representatives from over 90 public school systems across the country in a survey of recruiting trends conducted by Michigan State University. These representatives were asked to respond to the question, 'What suggestions do you have for new teacher education graduates when interviewing for job opportunities with school districts?'
- Come well prepared for the interview. Anticipate employer questions and prepare succinct answers that will adequately describe your prior teaching experiences.
- Be familiar with current educational theories related to effective schools and effective instruction.
- Make certain that you have an excellent student teaching experience and receive recommendations from these experiences. New teacher education graduates are primarily judged by recommendations received from these experiences. Have a clear mission and accurate understanding of the goals for the educational program you are providing. Be prepared to describe your experiences during student teaching, specifically things relating to classroom management, curriculum development, and instructional techniques.
- Gain other teaching experiences besides student teaching. As a substitute teacher in another capacity, work in a desegregated environment with children from varied cultural, racial, and ethnic backgrounds. Individuals with more teaching experiences will receive greater consideration from prospective employers.
- Be prepared for a variety of interviewing techniques. Each employer has their preferences regarding good questions and good interviewing strategies.
- Dress appropriately. Those who present a professional appearance, and are on time will make an excellent first impression.
- Present a neat, complete resume. Make sure your resume and application are error free!
- Show comfort and a straight forward manner when interviewing. Have practice interviews, possibly with the principal at the school where you practice taught. Be truthful, but don't be afraid to ask for clarification, and don't be afraid to say, 'I don't know the answer to that.'
- Maintain eye contact throughout the interview. Use appropriate English grammar, a strong voice, and varied inflection are suggested. Be careful of 'you know' and 'ya.' Smile and have a pleasant manner. Speak with animation and demonstrate some humor when appropriate.
- Ask questions if you have them, but do not feel obligated to ask inane questions.
- Be positive, sincere, and honest about your expectations, concerns, and location preferences. Present a confident image, demonstrate an assertive, upbeat and outgoing personality; be enthusiastic about life and teaching.
- Organize your thoughts before speaking. Give answers with specifics or examples in addition to belief statements. Have opinions. Stress quality and a child-centered orientation. Answer questions with complete but concise answers. Do not use too many 'pat' answers. 'Sell' yourself into a job you really want.
- Contact the personnel office after an interview. Follow up in writing, but do not bug the personnel office with too many phone calls. After each interview, review what happened and plan how you could do better next time.