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Crushing your teaching interview part 2 featuring Dr. Greg Cottrell

Updated: Mar 13

Dr. Greg Cottrell is a North Hunterdon High School principal in New Jersey. During this interview, he shares advice, techniques, and specific questions that you can use to practice for your teaching interview! One of Dr. Cottrell's biggest ideas during an interview is to show you are coachable.

I recommend taking this PDF, printing it out, and writing bullet points regarding how you would respond to each question. Grab a coffee, a pen, and paper, and get ready to take some notes! Let's jump right in.

Questions asked during an interview

  • What else can you do for us besides teach?

  • Share your experiences with modifying lessons for learners.

  • Share your self-reflections from lessons, units, field experiences, and student teaching (show that you are coachable)

  • How did you get involved outside of the classroom during student teaching?

  • Tell me about a lesson that you taught - how did it go? What were your objectives for the lesson? How do you know students meet the objectives? Did every student meet your objectives? Why or why not? What are your points of evidence that demonstrate this idea?

Online application

  • Respond to teaching philosophy prompt

  • Upload Resume

  • Upload cover letter

  • Check your spelling and grammar (seriously!)

  • Personalize your cover letter and resume to the school district and position in which you are applying for

  • Read it over before clicking submit.

First-round interview

  • Shake everyone's hand

  • Dress professionally

  • Share about yourself and your background

  • Understand who will be in the interview room with you (principal, guidance counselor, content area teacher, etc.).

  • What is the difference between an IEP and a 504 plan?

  • What is one topic that you are incredibly passionate about? You could do it if I asked you to give a professional development workshop on that topic. Get ready to prove it.

  • Reflect and tell me about your student teaching experience. What are your strengths based on your student teaching? What are some of your areas of improvement based on your student teaching?

  • What is one thing your cooperating teacher did in his/her class that you will continue? What is one thing that s/he did that you will change?

  • What is your homework philosophy?

  • When was the last time you called home to speak to a parent of your student?

  • What should we know about you that we didn't ask in this interview?

  • Have a question to ask the people interviewing you!

  • Before you leave, please shake hands again, make eye contact, and thank everyone.

  • Send the thank you note straight away.

Teaching interview
  • Sometimes, the district will put you in touch with the content teacher, who you will fill in during your live interview.

  • Be dynamic

  • Introduce yourself

  • Quickly establish rapport with students

  • Do something engaging with students that meets objectives and standards

Advice for preservice teachers
  • Get every experience that you can from day one.

  • Own it!

  • It's your education.

How do you know if a school is a good fit for you?
  • Build your PLN and connect with teachers and admins in districts where you want to apply.

  • Understand what you are passionate about in terms of teaching and learning and how you can bring that passion to the school.

  • What are your non-negotiables?

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