Make the Most of Your Interview

Now that you know Massachusetts’ teacher certification requirements, it’s time to start looking for your first teaching job. Fortunately, there are many good websites that advertise teaching openings at schools around Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s website provides perhaps the most comprehensive list of teaching jobs at www.doe.mass.edu/jobs. You can find additional sources of open positions on our page of resource links here.

It should go without saying, but always observe the first two rules of job interviewing: be punctual and dress professionally. Drive the route to the school at least a day before the interview. Bring an extra résumé, as well as your portfolio with lesson plans, tests, and projects you’ve developed. A portfolio is especially important if you have little teaching experience, since it demonstrates you can organize curriculum and teach it creatively.

Prepare ahead of time for the most common interview questions. About.com’s Job Searching site (www.jobsearch.about.com) offers dozens of articles about how to best prepare for and perform during your interview for teaching jobs.

Don’t mention salary unless the interviewer asks what you expect to be paid. Then, it’s best to have an idea of what is a reasonable salary for someone with your experience in the position. Before the interview, research typical Massachusetts teacher salaries. An overview of average teacher salaries in Massachusetts can be found on our salary page.

At the end of the interview, ask about the time line for hiring: when does the school expect to contact candidates for second interview or with a job offer? This will keep you from worrying if you don’t hear back right way. It also lets you know when you can reasonably follow up with the person without seeming overeager or annoying.
If you don’t hear back within that time frame, however, follow up with a phone call or e-mail. Don’t contact the person on a Monday, though; most people use Mondays to catch up on e-mails, phone calls, and other pressing tasks.

Sometimes, despite doing everything right, you still won’t get the job. Don’t take it personally and try not to get discouraged. There are dozens of valid reasons why a school chooses to go with one candidate over another, and most aspiring teachers interview with several schools before they’re offered their first job.

Last Updated: 09/18/2014