How to Get a Teaching Job – Part 4: The Principal Interview
This is the final installment in my series about the different parts of the teacher-hiring process. We began with preparing your resume, showed how to have a great initial interview, moved into your demonstration lesson, and now we’re at the point where you sit down with the school administration.
Depending upon the school’s structure, you may interview with a principal, supervisor, assistant superintendent or perhaps even the superintendent. For this article I’ll use the term principal, but remember that this advice can apply to any of these administrators.
Meeting the principal
First off, congratulations. If you’ve made it to this part of the process, then the district is definitely interested in bringing you on-board. Nobody makes it this far by accident. Now, how can you seal the deal?
Up to this point, you’ve been expected to prove who you are. By the time you get to the principal, the district has moved beyond learning about your teaching skills and now wants to measure how you will fit into the district.
Here are some questions the principal will want to answer about you:
Will you be a good fit?
By this stage there are no concerns about your teaching skill. If there were, you wouldn’t be invited to this interview. Instead, the principal is attempting to ascertain how well you fit into the grade level (if there are multiple teachers teaching the same thing) and the overall school structure. The best way to answer that question is to refer back to your previous success working with others as well as your student-teaching experience.
How open are you to growth?
The days when schools would hire teachers and leave them alone to fend for themselves are long gone. With all the pressure to meet the expectations of the Common Core State Standards as well as the accompanying state tests, schools today will continually evaluate and work with their newer staff members. It is imperative that you convey to the principal that you are open to constructive criticism and that you want to take advantage of opportunities for growth.
What can you offer the school beside your classroom work?
Principals are always looking for staff members who can add to the overall school experience for the students. Don’t hesitate to offer examples of extra-curricular activities you can supervise, and if the principal asks you if you are interested in advising a club or coaching a sport, be certain to say yes. Don’t worry if you’re lacking the initial skill set: You’ll be able to figure it out and you’ll be amazed at how much your new colleagues will want to see you succeed.
Remember: Enthusiasm and engagement go a long way
The one thing that principals most want to see in their new hires is energy and enthusiasm that they believe will become a part of their school. Don’t hesitate to convey this to the principal. You’ve already sold them on your teaching skill. Now you can sell them on how much you can bring to the school. Doing this will be another positive step in your goal of being hired as a teacher.