Tips to Prepare for Your Next Teacher Interview


Spring brings flowers.  Spring brings Spring Break! It also brings nicer weather.  Spring even brings job openings!  We are here to give you some great tips on preparing for your next teacher interview!  Whether you are looking for your first-ever teaching job or a change of scenery, this blog is giving you ideas to do before, during, and after an interview! 

Spring is an exciting time. April and May are major months (at least on the East Coast) when districts are beginning to post openings for the next school year. Experienced teachers may be submitting their retirement letters opening up new doors for others.  New teachers are finishing up their coursework and beginning to look for a job this upcoming school year.  Other teachers may just be looking for a chance of scenery, relocating, or looking for other opportunities.  Either way, new AND veteran teachers may be looking and preparing for interviews!  

Let’s Prepare!

First and foremost, congratulations!   Congratulations to those just graduating and joining this career.  Congratulations to those veteran teachers that are looking for other opportunities.  We wish that you find what each of you is looking for and I hope these tips help prepare you for your next teacher interview!  

I am going to offer you some tips and secrets to landing that job! I was lucky enough to sit on both sides of the table.  I’ve been asked numerous questions over the years as well as the opportunity to ask questions as an administrator for incoming and veteran teachers. By all means, this is not an exhaustive list, nor is it the only list of questions and ideas that may come your way.   However, this is a great start to preparing for that upcoming interview!

Prior to Your Teacher Interview

There are several things you should do prior to a Teacher interview.

1 – Don’t Stress Out!

Don’t stress out.  This blog is going to provide you with some tips and tricks all centered around that upcoming teacher interview.  One of the most important things to take away is that Education to the Core will ALWAYS be right by your side.  We will be there to celebrate with you when you are offered that job! ETTC will be there to cheer you up and motivate you when returning to another interview.  We will also be there to help with activities, book recommendations, and resources to fill your classroom once you land that job!  

2 – Practice, Practice, Practice!

Be sure to check out 20 Interview Questions that New Teachers Want to Prepare For as well as some additional questions in the next section of “During Your Teacher Interview”!  Practice answering some of these questions in front of a mirror, with a friend or spouse.  Saying these answers out loud will help formulate your ideas and help with confidence.  

Trust me, I walked into interviews before where I thought I know what I am doing, I am going to smash this walking in cold and unrehearsed.  WRONG!  I began to repeat myself, stutter, draw blanks and miss out on some key information.  Obviously, I didn’t get it.  

3 – Get Your Teacher Portfolio Together!

In my experience, about half of the teachers that walked through the door for an interview had a portfolio with them.  Is it extra work? Absolutely!  However, I notice that it may stand out to other administrators and panel members.  What better way to show off your skills and hard work than with student samples, hard copies of items, lessons, and activities. 

Personally, I have multiple reasons that I bring a portfolio with me to an interview.  1) It is your time to shine and show off!  So brag a little.  Bring some student samples of your favorite lesson.  Have that special lesson plan that looks beautiful and checks off all the boxes?  Bring it!  Proud of that recognition and award you earned?  SHOW THAT BABY OFF!!   

The other reason that I bring it is to keep me focused and organized.  Do we know the questions that we will be asked? No, not quite.  However, I am going to give you some ideas in the next section of “During your Teacher Interview”.  If you have a few things you want to mention in the interview and elaborate on, I like to make sure that I include them in the portfolio.  This way, it is a visual prompt to be like “Oh yeah, let me show you this”. 

What should I include in my portfolio?
  • Contact information
  • Personal Philosophy of Education (Google it, write one!  Trust me! Check out Question #2 in 20 Interview Questions that New Teachers Want to Prepare For)
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Cover Letter
  • Copies of Transcripts
  • Praxis scores
  • Awards / Recognitions
  • Observations/Evaluations
  • Lesson Plans
  • Examples of Student Work
  • PICTURES!  Without students’ faces in them, print off some pictures of students participating and actively engaged in your lessons and some of the fun things you do in your classroom or during student teaching!
  • Anything else you think is important to you and shows off your teaching skills!  

Is this a MUST do?  No, just a tip.  

4 – Pick Out Your Interview Outfit(s)!

Alright, this isn’t a casting call nor a fashion model audition.  However, dress to impress.  I know you are just asking yourself is he really including this one?  YES!  Yes, I am!  

A) Our clothing shows others our personalities!  B) It’s professional.   C) You’d be surprised what people wear during a professional interview. 

So pick out one or two “interview outfits” that you will be wearing this interview season.  A few solid choices are great so you already have your first-round interview outfit and then other choices if you need to return for second or third rounds!  Trust me, it will ease any un-needed/added stressors in the long run! 

5 – Research!

Be sure that you read up and research the school district that you are going to be interviewing.  Check out and READ their school’s website. Be sure to acknowledge any new initiatives, programs, or exciting things that stand out to you from their website or social media platforms.  You can use this information to your advantage during the interview!  

You can refer back to this experience during the interview by stating: “I see on your website that you ____ and I can or have experience with _____.”

Another tip is if you are going to a brand new school building or district that you’ve never been to before; take a mini field trip.  Visit the school and building that you will be going to prior to your interview date.  

Many districts are moving to electronic applications, so perhaps you’ve never even stepped foot onto the school grounds before.  I recommend taking a trip and seeing where you are going.  Not only will this give you an idea of travel time, but also see the location.  Is there a separate district office you need to go to?  Multiple buildings that you will have to navigate through?  This will help and not cause any extra/un-needed stress on the day of your interview.  

During Your Teacher Interview

When it comes to teacher interviews oftentimes we stress out over what they could possibly ask us. We could be walking into a room of strangers so focused on how to answer correctly that we sometimes forget to be ourselves.  Let’s face it…the unknown is scary! 

1 – Don’t Stress Out!

Take a few deep breaths… you got this!  

2 – Arrive Early 

Sometimes the interview begins even before you know it.  One thing in education that new teachers will learn quickly, and one thing that my veteran teachers already know… secretaries RUN the school!  

So arrive a few minutes early.  This will not only show punctuality and eagerness but will also provide you with a few extra moments to impress the secretaries.  They will see and interact with every single candidate.  Stand out and make a great impression, they will remember and even root for you!  

3 – Questions That You May Be Asked:

Be sure to check out 20 Interview Questions that New Teachers Want to Prepare For!

This blog will give you 20 questions and some different ways to answer them!  Whether you are a veteran teacher or a recent graduate just entering the field, these questions will help guide you.  I also reached out to our amazing Teaching Trailblazers in our Fearless First Grade, Fearless Kindergarten and Fearless Second Grade Education Groups for even more ideas and tips for you.

Here are five of the “toughest” questions recently asked of educators.

  1. Why do you want to work at this school?
    1. Well…why do you?  Prior to heading off to the interview why this school?  They already know you need a job.  They already know you want a job.  Tell them something they don’t know.  Tie in some information you gathered from their website.  You can state that you saw this new initiative on their website that you would fit into perfectly.
  2. Why are you the best candidate for the job? 
    1. It is hard to brag about ourselves without feeling you are personally being over the top.  Be sure to highlight all those proud moments.  I’ve been on interviews that lasted over a half-hour and been on an interview that lasted 40 seconds.   Yes, you read that correctly.  Last summer I had a phone interview (first-round) for an elementary education position where the team asked me three questions.  It lasted 40 seconds per my phone records!  You want to leave a lasting impression in the time you have… don’t be afraid to brag a bit.  You worked hard and deserve the recognition!
  3. Tell us about a stressful situation and how you handled it?
    1. Stress is part of this job, unfortunately.   We all handle stress differently.   I like to bring in not only my own mindful techniques, but how I also incorporate them into my classroom like Focus and Reduce Stress with 30 Breathing Exercises.
  4. Use only 5 words to describe your classroom.
    1. I’ve noticed lately interview teams are looking for more concise answers.  I feel a personal strength of mine is being able to add a lot of fluff to sound better, so I often struggle with this one.  Take a few moments before interviews and write down one to two-word answers for a question like this as well as 5 words that describe you in general.  5 words that describe you as a teacher.
  5. How do you collaborate with others and deal with disagreements with coworkers?  When do you bring in admin?
    1. This one seemed to be one that many educators are experiencing recently.  Teamwork and collaboration can make or break an educator.  How do you work with others?  What expectations do you have walking into the school and what you will experience?  Consider thinking about what you are going to do if you experience a disagreement with a coworker.
4 – Follow Up – Ask a Question! 

As I state in my 20 Interview Questions that New Teachers Want to Prepare For blog, this is the “Ultimate Interview Question“! This is your last opportunity to end on a positive note and leave a lasting impression.

After A Teacher Interview

1 – Don’t Stress Out! 

Notice a pattern yet?  Don’t stress out, just be you!  Personally, I find that as soon as I leave the doors the stress and panic start to set in for me.  I think of all the things I missed.  Things pop into my mind after I leave like… “Ugh, I forgot to mention ____”, “I don’t think I answered that right”, and especially… “WHY DID I SAY THAT?!?!” 

I am sure you tried your best and that is the most important thing!  Just be you, the amazing Teaching Trailblazer that you are! 

2 – Follow Up!

Now, I am going to be completely honest with you.  I have never followed up with an interview before.  However, a high percentage of educators in our Fearless Facebook groups (Second, First, Kindergarten) say DO IT!  I asked our Teaching Trailblazers for some advice on this one.  

The highest percentage of trailblazers followed up with an email to the administration team that sat on their interview.  A smaller sample size wrote a letter/card or made a phone call.  Either way, if you would like to follow up with an email or other method, go for it!  

In your email or note, be sure to thank them for the opportunity and their time meeting with you.  Along with your gratitude, be sure to extend an invitation to contact you if they need any additional information moving forward, have any questions about your resume/curriculum vitae, or require additional information or letters of recommendation.  

3 – Research and Keep Trying!

Keep your head up and keep going.  I am a TRUE believer that you cannot have enough interview experience.  Even if you have your heart set on a specific school district, grade level, or building.  The more interviews you participate in the stronger your communication skills, experience, knowledge, and exposure will grow. 

You never know what doors additional interviews will open for you.  Just imagine when you receive multiple offers and you can choose the best for you and your family!  

New teachers, did you feel this list was what you expected?  Any questions you expected to see on this list that weren’t there? Feel free to let us know in the comments below!   Veteran teachers, how did this list compare to your prior interviews? Do you feel anything is missing from this list?  Let us know in the comments!   

I truly hope this list helps you prepare for your upcoming interview!  The number one thing you can do is to be yourself…the content will follow.  Most importantly, I want to hear the words: “I got the job”!

Written By – Christopher Olson

At Education to the Core, we exist to help our teachers build a stronger classroom as they connect with our community to find trusted, state-of-the-art resources designed by teachers for teachers. We aspire to be the world’s leading & most trusted community for educational resources for teachers. We improve the lives of every teacher and learner with the most comprehensive, reliable, and inclusive educational resources.

If you enjoyed what we have to offer at ETTC, be sure to join our email list, so you won’t miss a beat. We are here to help with all your resource needs. Become a Premium Member of Education to the Core and receive immediate access to thousands of printable activities. For one small monthly or annual fee, everything ETTC can be at your fingertips all of the time.


Welcome! I’m Emily, Founder of Education to the Core. We are all about helping K-2 teachers by providing unlimited access to affordable printables for every subject area.