This is an exciting time in education. With smaller class sizes returning to BC classrooms, most schools will be welcoming new teachers. As a principal, it’s an exciting time as it’s one of the first years in a long time where staffing decisions get to be made based on interviews rather than a recall process. (To translate, that means that instead of teachers who were laid off choosing from available jobs or merging a few part time jobs, principals and vice-principals get to interview and hire people that are best for their school).
This June I had the opportunity of interviewing over 30 teachers to be considered for the nine positions at our elementary school. I love getting the opportunity to sit down and learn from teachers who have a vast array of experience from their practicums, other schools and other districts.
After 30 plus interviews – some good, and some not so good, I came up with some pointers for teachers heading to the interview. There are still hundreds of teaching jobs available in BC for September. Here are some tips I would recommend to job seekers.
Top Ten Tips for Teachers
10.Love kids. In some interviews, we could tell in an instant that the person just loved kids. Others wanted a chance to escape a different situation. Always tell your positive stories in the interview!
9. Ask questions. At the end of the interview I always ask the applicant if they have questions. Having one or two prepared shows you have put thought into the position and want to learn about the school.
8. Talk about the new curriculum. Show that your practice is current and explain how you hope to teach the competencies.
7 Tell me about your efforts beyond the classroom. How do you connect with other teachers? How to you communicate with parents? How do you bring the community in or take your kids out to the community?
6 Be a learner. Maybe you are doing your masters, maybe you are in a book club, maybe you have something new you hope to explore. Don’t just be an expert – show your growth mind set.
5. Be positive. Tell me what you are looking forward to. I want to sense the vibe the kids will get from you when they step into your room each morning.
4 Be flexible. Unfortunately schools are not built like hotels and often experience space issues when it comes to work spaces, storage etc. Be ready to roll with it, share spaces, come up with creative solutions.
3. Teach all kids. Tell me how you reach all learners. Show evidence of differentiated instruction, personalized learning and share stories of the hard to reach child and how you made a connection. Remember that the kids who challenge us the most are the ones who need us the most.
2. Teach me something. For a school to keep growing, we need to hire teachers who expand our thinking and move us forward. Tell me something exciting you have learned that you would be willing to share. Perhaps you have used certain technology, perhaps you had a great lesson that could be shared school wide or perhaps you have a passion outside of school that could be shared with kids. Tell me about you!
1. Be an interesting adult. Above all, be interesting! We are looking or adults that kids will naturally connect with. Just as our kids teach us about their lives through Identity day or passion projects, I want to work with teachers who have their own diverse interests that they can share with kids. (One of our new teachers is a woodworker by craft and another just finished her black belt in karate!) Be authentic, be genuine and be you! Be the teacher who kids look forward to spending 5 hours with each day!
Good luck new teachers – it’s an exciting time in education with smaller classes, job creation and improved learning conditions. I can’t wait to learn together!