Teaching a Lesson in an Interview

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Congrats, you received an interview! You have successfully submitted your application and obviously made an impression. But now, to provide evidence of your skills, the school/district may want to see you teach a lesson! 

Interviews for teachers can come in many forms, but one of the most intimidating can be creating and teaching a lesson to a small panel or full classroom of strangers. Although teaching is something you do everyday, teaching in an interview can feel different because there is more pressure to get it right on the first try. If you find yourself in a position like this, ask yourself these 4 questions:

Who?

  • Who is your audience? Real students? A panel of staff? District administration?

What? 

  • What are you expected to teach? Do you get to pick the topic or do they? What set of standards do they use?
  • What resources do you have available? Classroom technology? Supplies? Space?

When? 

  • When is your interview and how long do you have to prepare? Be realistic. Don’t plan a 30-minute lesson if you only have 10 minutes to present.

Where?

  • Where will you be teaching? In a classroom? A Boardroom? This may dictate resources and technology available and how “realistic” the experience is going to be.

Use these questions to help ease the intimidation factor when teaching in an interview. You are a well prepared young teacher, show them that! However, here are additional tips to keep in mind when preparing.

  1. Technology doesn’t always work; have a back-up plan just in case
  2. Be prepared to answer questions about the reasoning behind your lesson plan
  3. Take criticism with an open mind and willingness to improve your practice
  4. Plan with the goals of the school and its students in mind
  5. Go prepared to interview with copies of your resume, portfolio “artifacts”, and sample lesson plan(s)

If you’re not sure about what to expect, ask your hiring committee chair (or whomever called to set up your interview). Although they may not be able to give you all the answers, he/she may share some insight on what to expect and how to best prepare.

Although these are our suggestions for success, we know that teaching in an interview (or just interviewing in general) can look different depending the situation or school. What tips do you have for mastering the teaching interview that have worked for you?

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