Expert advice

5 Tips for Preparing to Apply and Interview for Teaching Positions

Sarah Fedoration
French Immersion Consultant Edmonton, Alberta

“It is important to remember that you want the employer to see you as a member of their team. From showing attention to detail in the preparation of your documentation to preparing for the interview, this will allow you to show your best self.”

I am ready to apply for a teaching job! How do I best prepare?

So, you have finished your teaching degree and you are ready to apply for your first teaching job. It is such an exciting time! But how do you make a great first impression? How do you show that you are the ideal candidate to fill that teaching position? There are many ways that you can distinguish yourself throughout the application process.

As a recruiter for a major urban school board, I have been involved in the recruitment of teachers for the past eight years. Conducting well over 300 interviews has allowed me to reflect on the best ways for candidates to prepare for entry into the workforce. The following suggestions will allow you to put your best foot forward throughout the application and interview process.

  1. The interview starts long before the actual interview. Every interaction you have with a potential employer is an important interaction. From the moment you introduce yourself at a career fair to a phone interaction with the receptionist of Human Resources, how you interact is an opportunity to show how yourself as being you are a good fit for that organization. Make sure to always be courteous and professional in all interactions.
  2. Research the school board you are interviewing with. Before your interview, do some research about the school board to which you are applying. Having a basic knowledge about the school board, their programs and their schools demonstrates your interest in their organization. Additionally, as a candidate, it is important to know why you are applying to that particular school board. Do your values and teaching philosophy align with their values? Visiting their public webpage and their social media accounts is an easy way to find out more information.
  3. Submit strong, complete documentation. Teaching is a career in which you will be expected to teach subjects such as language arts and communicate regularly with parents. It is important to show your potential employer that you have excellent communication skills. When submitting the documentation required by the school board, ensure that you have provided a well-written, detailed cover letter and a resume that is easy to read. Additionally, it is important to ensure that your documentation is free of spelling mistakes. Asking a peer to read your work or running it through a grammar check are good first steps before submitting your documentation. Be concise and prioritize…highlight what you bring to the school board.
  4. Prepare for virtual interviews. Covid has changed the way interviews are done. While some in person interviews still happen, many employers have shifted to virtual interviews. It is just as important to prepare for a virtual interview as it is to prepare for an in person interview. If you are interviewing from the comfort of your home, it is still important to demonstrate your professionalism. Selecting a quiet place free of distractions with a strong Wifi signal is important and ensuring that your background is appropriate is also important. Minimizing distractions such as having a pet in the room and turning off your ringer will allow you to be fully engaged in the interview.
  5. Have questions prepared for the interview. At the end of an interview candidates often have the opportunity to ask questions. It is a good idea to foresee this and have a question or two prepared. Typical questions candidates ask are usually related to new teacher supports and when they should expect to hear back about a position. Preparing questions that are specific to the school board you are interviewing for is a good way of showing that you are interested in their board.