As the school year winds down and districts begin to fill vacancies for next year, it’s a good idea to know what to expect as you apply and interview for teaching positions. Because I have not done this in quite some time, I used colleagues who have as resources for this post. If you have recently interviewed I would greatly appreciate your comments and additions to this post.
The first thing I was made aware of is the internet resource teacher candidates now have to take advantage of.
is a website dedicated to helping teachers find positions in their field/subject area. When you get to the site, you can start a new application or sign in as a returning applicant. Once you’ve clicked on “start an application” you can click on any of the following states: Connecticut, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania or Texas. You also have the option of filing a national application.
You upload your résumé, your transcripts and letters of reference. All must be in PDF format. There is also an essay to be completed…be forewarned you’re only allowed 300 characters, NOT 300 letters. Characters include spaces and punctuation marks, so you really have to weigh and measure your words carefully. The application takes about 3 hours to fill out. You may sign in and create a password for free. This type of site is an important asset, because I’m told that, unless a district asks for a cover letter, most are not accepting hard copy applications.
I asked several of my colleagues who were recently hired a series of questions regarding interviewing.
I’ve copied and pasted their answers exactly as I received them.
How many interviews did you have for the same district?
“I had 3 interviews total: first with principals of the buildings being hired for,
second with district office to take a test, third was my “audition” with the
music staff and dept head”
“1 with all of the ES principals; 1 with upper administration, (Gallup questions); 1 with the music department.”
What kinds of questions were you asked?
“Where would I get my curriculum for teaching; Classroom management type
questions; experiences with planning and directing student performances;
technology experiences; working with other curriculums.”
Did you have to audition?
“Yes – I played a piano piece, sang a solo, did some
sight-reading, and “taught” a short lesson”
” I had to give an example of a lesson geared towards the area applying for, rhythm
reading, sight-reading, prepared singing, prepared major instrument piece.”
Did you have to write? If so, about what?
“The PA REAP system has a standard PA application. There is lots of writing on it. The last question is an essay. You have a choice of questions. I think I wrote about my teaching philosophy or a
well-rounded music program, or something like that.
“In the initial application on the PAREAP site there is an essay to prepare. Choice of 1 of a few topics. You can go onto PAREAP and if you open an account, you can see the application to PA public
schools” [Note: remember, there is also USREAP, the national site.]
What’s this “personality testing” all about?
The Gallup questions were something
like: “A student tells you he hated your lesson. How do you react?”
“It was a ‘perceiver’ test, I think it was called. A lot of questions to answer
quickly, and supposedly it gives an idea of your personality towards different
teaching or whatnot.. In our district it was a tape recorded aural test. I remember in
another district, they had it automated through a phone call. Not all districts use this test.”
Why do you think you got the job?
“I had several years of experience, so I had a
pretty good idea about what it takes to be a good music teacher.”
“I never allowed myself to think I had a job before it was offered to me.
Didn’t want to upset myself with the “whys” if I didn’t get a job I thought I
But, I think because of professionalism, classroom management plans, confidence,
performance planning experience, technology implementation plans, my own musical
ability, and prior teaching experience. If 2 people have the same experience
and are both highly desired, there has to be something that makes one stand out
above the other person.”
So, those of you who’ve interviewed in the recent past, what have I forgotten? What things should new teacher candidates be aware of as they apply to enter the teaching field?