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Prepare for Interview Questions in 4 Steps

June 09, 2020 - Tips for Teachers

One critical step to getting that job teaching in Tampa is doing well in the interview process. And you can’t overstate how important it is to prepare for the questions you might face.Fortunately, there are resources to help that preparation and we’ll share a few with you here.

  1. Behavioral questions principals may ask: Look upon a STAR

Job interview questions nowadays often focus on how you have dealt, or would deal, with certain situations. Interviews for teaching positions are no different. This line of questioning has become as important as where you went to college or where you have gained teaching experience.

This is when the STAR acronym comes into play.

As it relates to an applicant’s process, certainly in a teaching job interview, STAR means: Situation, Task, Action, Result.

  • Situation means simply describing the job or environment you were in at one time.
  • Task means describing what you had to do or which problem you were trying to tackle. Be specific here.
  • Action means what you did to try to complete the task or solve a problem.
  • Result means how it turned out; preferably this is where you spell out why your solution worked and how you incorporated it into your teaching techniques.

In short, these types of situational queries, known as behavioral questions, help a principal or other interviewer size up what type of teacher you’d be, based on how you have taken on problems in the past. Use the STAR method of answering questions and it might be your chance to shine.

Clark College Career Services has provided a list of general behavioral questions, many with practical applications in a teaching job interview.

  1. Your teaching philosophy and how it will translate in an interview

One thing you will want to make clear during an interview for a teaching job in Tampa is your teaching philosophy. Give examples of how this philosophy translates in the classroom and why it works.

A few questions that might fall into this category:

  • What does a model classroom look like?
  • What does academic rigor mean to you?
  • How do you accommodate the diverse needs of students with different learning styles?
  • What are your solutions for helping students with special needs?

These types of questions can extend beyond how you deal with students and colleagues. For instance, an article in edutopia.org suggests that, in addition to questions about your teaching methods and background, a principal might ask how you involve parents and guardians in a child’s education.

Answers to these questions will demonstrate how good of a fit you are and how your philosophies will align with the school where you are applying.

  1. Prepare for principals to ask you about being tech savvy in your interview

Especially now, with schools shut down and virtual learning becoming common, having technological know-how is a must if you want to teach in Tampa.

If you’re a veteran applying to transfer your experience and use it toward teaching in Tampa, you will want to demonstrate that you have kept up with the times.

If you’re newer to the profession, perhaps even an applicant looking for your first full-time teaching job, go into detail about how much you used technology as part of your college work or in the classroom situations you have faced thus far.

  1. Examples of real interview questions that principals ask

There is no exact set of questions (and answers) that are guaranteed to come up in a teaching job interview so there is no way to be completely sure what you will be asked if you have an interview for a job teaching in Tampa.

Here are some more questions you might face; they come from Education World and from a teaching job candidate outside of Hillsborough County:

  • If we were to call your last or current principal, what would they say are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Think about a time when you accomplished something satisfying in the classroom despite one or more obstacles. Tell me about it.
  • Think about a time when you had to solve a problem or figure something out that involved a lot of data or steps. Tell me about it.
  • Tell me what makes you stand out from the other candidates.
  • Tell me a little bit about your background.
  • Who most influenced you to become an educator and how did that person(s) influence you?
  • If your greatest supporter was in the room now, what five words would he or she use to describe you as a person, a teacher or a colleague?
  • We are aiming to turn this school into a "learning community." What special skills, talents, or knowledge would you bring in making this community happen?

Having answers ready for all of these questions is a big key to acing the teaching job interview and landing the job you want!

Our website has information about our award-winning schools with details about current opportunities, where and how to apply and many more details to help you prepare for a teaching career in Tampa.

Check out our other Teaching Job Search Tips, including: Virtual Interview Tips, Resume Writing Tips, Teaching Job Fit, and more on our website’s Teaching Job Tips archive.  

Do your preparation, polish up your resume, get interview-ready and apply soon to be one of our next award-winning teachers in Hillsborough Schools in Fall 2020.

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