So you want to be a teacher? Good call. You have the chance to work with children and young people, share your passion for learning, and help shape the minds and habits of the next generation. Plus of course you also get iron-clad job security, a great pension, and summers off.
But in many jurisdictions right now, teaching gigs can be hard to come by. Teaching colleges have added too many new candidates to the market for the available positions.
My family moved to a new town recently, and my son started at a new school. I was speaking with an elementary principal about their school and its programs. She mentioned that they were interviewing new teachers’ assistants and educational support workers for the classroom, daycare, and preschool. She had a photocopied stack of questions that she gives to her staff to help with their candidate evaluation process.
I snagged a copy for you. If you have an interview coming up for a teaching position, here are some potential areas to practice talking about.
One elementary school’s job interview notes and questions for hiring new teachers:
Can you tell me about a successful behaviour management strategy you have used in the past that helped engage an unhappy or inattentive child or group of pupils?
Why do you want to work in this school? [To see indication that candidate has done his or her background work about the co-op nature of the school and if the part-time schedule appeals to them.]
If you don’t get the chance to teach the kids at our school, what would they miss out on? [This enables candidates to sell themselves and really tell us what they are about and specialize in as teachers and role models.]
What did you want to be when you grew up? (How old were you when you decided you wanted to be a teacher?) [Are they passionate about teaching – is there some other skill in their background that could be useful for the children – Artist, musician, coach, athlete, magician, etc. Also see how much they remember / relate to the mindset of young children.]
What has been your most challenging classroom experience to date? (And what did you learn from that?)
What has been your most rewarding? What do you like best about teaching?
How do you bring a child out of a tantrum?
How do you get a class or a distracted child to come together and listen to you at circle time?
What sorts of activities would you provide to occupy the children in your care?
Give an example of how you had to adjust or modify your behaviour management strategy based on the child’s temperament?
What is your discipline strategy?
How would you handle a situation if one child bites/ hits another child?
In your opinion what should the kids be getting out of this program and how would you structure their time to enable that?
Because these notes come from an elementary school, most of the skillsets and attitudes being evaluated are geared towards the care and teaching of younger children. I hope these can help you prep for your next interview.
Public schools have their own unique hiring process and tend not to advertise their positions on career sites like ours, but you can see a variety of Education and Training related positions available on CareerBeacon.