By Eddie Thomas for Teachers of Color



An interview is required for 99% of the job opportunities available.  Therefore, effective interviewing skills are a must!  Others will be competing with you to obtain the same position.  Thus, it is critical not only to convince an employer that you can do the job, but that you can do the job better than the other candidates who are also competing for the position.


There are many lists of do’s and don’ts of interviewing, however, a few musts when preparing for your interview include:

  • Do your homework (Research the Employer) – have questions prepared ahead of time that show you have some knowledge about the school or school district.  Check out the District’s website.  It can provide helpful information.
  • You will be competing with other qualified candidates.  You must “sell” yourself.  This is your opportunity to let the interviewers know why you are the best candidate for the job.
  • When you give your response, be sure to stick to the question that was asked.  Do not wander so far off on tangents that you cannot find your way back to the question.
  • Use examples of your own teaching experience when responding.
  • Take a moment to formulate your response before you speak.  Do not speak too fast or too slow.  Ask for the question to be repeated, if necessary.  This is better than answering the wrong question.
  • If you do not have the experience asked about in the question, do not just give a negative answer, e.g. “No, I am not familiar with that.”  Add something positive to the end of the response, e.g., No, I am not familiar with that, however, I am always anxious to learn new methods and would be happy to brush up on that before the start of the new school year.”

Potential interview questions are impossible to predict from one school district to another.  The same question changes by the way it is phrased e.g. “How would you describe your experience…?”; “Tell us about your knowledge of…”; “What is your approach to…?”; etc.  However, there are two questions being asked by almost every school district today.

1. What is your experience with balanced literacy?

2. Describe your commitment to multicultural education (racially, culturally, and socioeconomically).

Except in remote rural areas, the diversity of school districts is changing and the need for teachers to commit to education of all students is the number one concern.

You should also prepare to answer other major questions regarding your experience in the following:

  • Read 180
  • Math Block/4-Block Math
  • Six-Trait Writing
  • Six-Trait Reading
  • At Risk
  • Reading Recovery
  • Gifted & Talented
  • ESL
  • Bilingual (specific language)
  • Implementing a Balanced Math/CMP
  • Constructivist Math/Balanced Math
  • Cross Categorical Experience
  • FOSS Science
  • Use of Inclusion Models
  • Working on Inclusion Team

The Toolkit

Before leaving, make sure you gift the interviewer with something to remember you by. Perhaps with more than just a resume. Try something from your toolkit. How about a‘portfolio’? An outstanding portfolio!

  1. Show some creativity and uniqueness by designing a colorful cover. A visual image that will be  associated with you – the best teacher for the job.

  2. The portfolio can be a three-ring binder or an electronic. This is an opportunity to brand yourself. Show a little personality.

  3. Finally, include your resume, three recommendations, letters of merit, certifications and anything that will allow your qualifications to outshine others.

This article originally appeared in our partner publication, Teachers of Color Magazine ( and appears here by permission.  Please do not reproduce further without obtaining permission from the source.