Occasional Teacher Interviews – Getting the Job You Want

1So you want to be a teacher and you don’t have any experience in the classroom outside of what you learned in teacher’s college. Don’t worry, you can still rock that first job interview.

Here are things you should think about before going to that Occasional Teacher Interview.

What would you do / have you done questions

Here is a handy mnemonic device to help you answer these questions.

S – SITUATION (tell them circumstances, what it was about)
A – ACTION (what you did, how you did it)
R – RESULTS (what the outcome was, impact, reactions)

It’s a good idea to have a story or two on hand that you have thought about or rehearsed. Think of how you handle difficult students, defiance, and what you have done when there are no plans left for you to follow.

Behaviour Management

When you enter a classroom for the first time as a supply teacher, there are already established rules in that room that you can readily use. Go to the school early and read whatever notes the teacher has left for you. If there is an incentive program in place, use it. Give points and rewards readily for any positive behaviour.

Connect with the Class

I like to share some of my interests with the class early on. I let them know that I am a rapper and can beatbox. if we have a good day together, I promise to showcase that ability for them I built up a reputation for that when i was supplying and certain classes really looked forward to it.

Be Prepared

Bring some activities that you can do in a class at a moments notice. Consider having a reading lesson or math activity for every division. I would have one that would work for Kindergarten, one for Grades 1-3, one for Grades 4-6, and one for Grades 7-8.

This is really important because there will be times when you show up for an assignment and there will be no lesson for you to deliver, no resources for you to use, and really nothing written down for you to follow.

Part of the job is being able to improvise and go with the flow.

What Would Your Class Look Like

Even for a supply teaching job, some principals will ask you specific questions about what your own classroom would look like.

Make sure you mention,  RIGS (Reading that balances Independent, Guided and Shared Reading lessons.) Don’t forget that this acronym applies to writing as well.

In Math, research the three-part problem solving lesson. Don’t mention doing drills or having students memorize number facts. Math has moved in a completely new direction that last few years and you will want to be able to speak on that.

Assessment

Growing Success is the document we use in Ontario. This is the guide we use for writing report cards and gathering marks. Even if you simply mention the document, you will be ahead of some of your peers applying for the same job.

Be familiar with the terms For, Of, and As Assessment.

Don’t forget to . . . 

  • Dress Professionally – If you are male, wear a shirt and tie. It might be old-school but it pays to look smart.
  • Be Early – I always aim to be 15 minutes early. You will be calm and relaxed when you don’t have to rush.
  • Bring a Book – I read a book while I am waiting to be called in for the interview. Sometimes this becomes a great ice-breaker and leads to intelligent discussion before they ask you the tough questions.
  • Smile – You might be nervous and not naturally smile in a job interview situation. be conscious of this and do your best to smile.
  • Don’t Ramble – Keep your answers succinct. Think of the rule of three; mention three things only and wrap up your answer with confidence.
  • Sit up Straight – Posture is important in an interview
  • Don’t use Slang – Teachers need to model proper English. Make sure you do so!

I hope these tips will help you get on the Supply Teacher / Occasional Teacher list in your area. Good luck with the job hunt!

Teaching Tip Tuesday – your  weekly resource for great resources , tips, and tricks for classroom teachers!

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