What to Bring to an Interview for a Teaching Job
by Nina Silva
Before you can prove your teaching skills in front of your first class, you'll need to convince a school administrator or hiring manager that you have what it takes. To get their attention, you'll need to create a winning resume and cover letter that highlight your skills, education and experience. If both your resume and cover letter are weak or generic, chances are, your application will end up in the recycling bin. Check out our Resume Templates and Cover Letter Samples to make sure you get both application documents standing on solid ground.
Once you secure your interview, it's time to start preparing.
The internet is full of teaching job interview tips and sample interview questions, but did you know the items you bring to your interview can also affect whether you get the job offer? Bringing the right personal items and professional documents can give you the boost you need to land the job.
To look and feel your best at an interview, be sure to bring along personal items that will help you stay focused and comfortable. Here are some items to consider as you prepare.
Items to bring with you
Being nervous can make your mouth dry. Stay hydrated before the interview. Bring a water bottle without distracting stickers or colors. Place it on the table prior to or at the beginning of your interview ― that way if you get thirsty during the interview, you don't have to root through your bag or backpack for your water bottle.
- Makeup and grooming essentials
If you want to freshen up or run a comb through your hair before the interview, don't forget these supplies.
- Small snack
Choose a non-messy, healthy snack that will give you sustained energy. Granola bars are a great option. If you eat a snack prior to your interview, check your teeth in a restroom mirror. Never eat your snack during the interview!
- Breath spray or mints
Keep your breath fresh and your confidence high. But do not spray your mouth or pop a mint during the interview ― only before!
Great for nervous bellies.
- Smart phones (and watches)
You'll want to have your cell phone with you, in case there are changes in time or location you need to stay on top of. However, you'll want to completely silence it, including ringing and vibrating during the interview and make sure it's safely put away in your bag. Same holds true if you wear a smart watch; make sure it's set to silent and no vibration. Devices that make noise in an interview make you look unprofessional and break the flow of conversation.
- Laptop or tablet
If you have samples or examples you might like to show electronically, bring your device to the meeting.
Items to leave at home
- Perfume or body spray
Don't wear any perfume or body spray to an interview. Your interviewer may be sensitive to artificial scents, or your perfume may be distracting. The safest move is to apply deodorant and leave it at that.
- Too much stuff
The fewer things you have in your bag or pockets, the easier it will be to find what you are looking for.
- Distracting or too-casual clothing
Make sure to dress professionally. For men, this could be a suit jacket and slacks with a shirt and tie, or a sweater and button down. For women, this might mean a blouse and dress pants or a dress. Most importantly, make sure they're well-fitting, not too revealing and clean. Leave your hats and excessive jewelry behind.
Whether you are a man or woman, you also want to think about the colors you wear for an interview. Avoid anything too bright or flashy that will distract the hiring manager.
- Bad posture and poor attitude
Though your days may be long and difficult, make sure to put that behind you and be open, refreshed and positive in your approach. Good body language including posture and eye contact will signal that you're ready for a new challenge and engaged in the conversation.
Examples of your work
Bring along sample work documents that illustrate your skills and experience. Sample documents allow the interviewers to see the quality and content of your work without you having to explain things from memory. When you prepare these documents, you may choose to bring paper copies or digital copies on an electronic device (put it in Airplane Mode to avoid unwanted distractions during the interview).
If you bring a digital portfolio, make sure that your device's battery is charged and the document doesn't require Wi-Fi or phone service to access. Play it safe by bringing backup paper copies of everything. This way the interviewers can choose the medium they are most comfortable with to review your work.
Here are a few education job interview tips for bringing paper documents to interviews.
- Bring at least three copies of each document. Two for your interviewers and one for you, unless you know there will be more than two interviewers.
- Staple documents with more than one page: Loose pages always end up out of order, which turns into a distraction and a waste of your interview time.
- Organize and protect your documents: Put them in a folder or binder and make sure they have tabs so you can quickly find the one you want.
Additional documents to bring
- Cover letter and resume
Of course, you will submit your resume and cover letter as part of an application. But often weeks pass between when the hiring manager reads your resume and when you arrive at the school to speak to them. Bring copies to remind your interviewers of all the things they already like about you.
- Interview lesson plan
The lesson plan should be appropriate for the grade and subject you're applying to teach, and it should complement state and national learning standards. Include student learning objectives with corresponding assessments, as well as adaptations and accommodations for unique learners. A detailed lesson plan that addresses all of these areas is like a little cheat sheet for a teacher interview. It allows the interviewers to see your work, but it also can help you remember tricky educational terms and procedures.
- Teaching philosophy statement
Bring hard copies of a teaching philosophy statement with you, but be ready to paraphrase or expand upon it.
- Questions for the interviewers
Bring your own set of specific questions about the school and the teaching position for each interview. Asking relevant questions about facilities, resources, expectations and support systems shows you are a serious candidate who is dedicated to finding the right job. If you don't bring some smart questions along, your interviewer will likely assume you didn't do your homework – certainly not the impression you want to make. If you are interested in learning more about what questions you should ask, check out these questions to ask in a teacher interview.
If you're not getting the interviews you want, your resume and cover letter could be to blame. Take time to rework and customize these two critical documents. Our Resume Builder and Cover Letter Templates are great online resources that can help you focus and revise your application materials so they land you your dream teaching job.