Expert advice

Tips for your interview!

Gordon Campbell and Joycelyn Fournier-Gawryluk
Former French immersion principals and authors

“Congratulations, you have your first interview for an immersion position. You’re in luck – there are often at least 10 times the number of applicants for an English position compared to an immersion position. But you still want to demonstrate your professionalism, your knowledge as a teacher, your confidence and ability to learn.” 

Here is some valuable advice from two former French immersion principals: Gordon Campbell (author of A Reflective Guide for French Immersion Leaders and former principal of an elementary immersion school) and Joycelyn Fournier-Gawryluk (former K-12 school administrator).

Before the interview:

  1. Read the online information prepared by the school: their monthly, mission/vision etc. to align your answers with their philosophy. 
  2. Have a good example of a successful project that you planned or participated in.
  3. Ask who will be conducting the interview, a committee or just management to make you more comfortable.
  4. Make sure your online profile is professional if a community member or management sees it. 

The interview, in general, will consist of several categories such as:

  1. Your experience- consider internships, other jobs with youth, volunteering, personal experience.
  2. Classroom management and discipline – how do you teach respect and cooperation? When will you talk with the administration/parents when there is a problem? What do you do to decrease the escalation of a problem?
  3. Your knowledge of the curriculum. It is important to know that all immersion teachers are language teachers regardless of the subject. What do you do to facilitate second language comprehension?  How do you create real-life communication situations? What are your strategies for teaching reading (especially for young children)?  Talk about your beliefs about homework and unfinished business. What kind of work should be considered homework?
  4. Are you a subject or student teacher? Talk about the balance between these two roles.
  5. How do you try to accommodate all students’ needs as much as possible? Talk about your beliefs about inclusion and differentiation. Talk about the importance of teamwork when there is a student with significant learning challenges.
  6. Communication – if French is your second language, how do you see yourself as a long-term language learner. In the classroom, how do you best communicate? Talk about correcting oral French – how to correct it, when etc.  In high school, writing becomes more important. What strategies do you use to reinforce grammar, text development, etc.?  How do you communicate with the community/families regularly and when there is a problem?
  7. Your skills with technology. Talk about your skills and where you would like support. How will you integrate technology into the presentation of information to students, with the production of their learning? 
  8. You as an individual – what do you bring to the position? Why are you the best candidate? 
  9. Your ability to learn as an individual – professional and personal growth are two important qualities for a teacher. Where do you find resources for professional growth? How will you maintain a balance in life with such a demanding profession?                                                                

At the end of the interview, don’t hesitate to ask a few questions: is there a mentoring program in which you can participate? Is there any other support you will receive as a beginner in the school? Congratulations and good luck!