Here’s a common question: Do I bring anything to my upcoming interview to share with the interview panel? A portfolio? Data? Samples of lesson plans or activities I have created?
The simple answer? There isn’t one. Let’s dissect this a little further.
If you are interviewing for your first job as a classroom teacher my general answer is that you don’t need to bring anything. I’ve never heard of an instance where the absence of a portfolio in hand cost someone the job. Most principals are looking for something not on paper – personality, evidence of work ethic in your answers, knowledge of pedagogy.
If you are a seasoned teacher looking to switch schools or school districts, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to bring your most recent state test results for your class, provided the data is a good reflection of you as a teacher, of course. Principals and hiring professionals are impressed when you have your data and can speak to it.
If you are a teacher interviewing for an advancement in your career, you should only bring something if it is strategic and meaningful. Don’t bring a worksheet you created. Don’t bring data from a computer program that assesses students, but you simply administered. Do consider bringing samples of how you track student progress or samples of student work from a problem-based learning activity you guided.
Bottom Line: If you bring something to an interview, it should be something that sells you and your talents to the panel. It should be authentic, something that you can explain and elaborate upon, and something that is relevant to the position for which you are interviewing.
Insider Note: I have never sat in on an interview where we hired the person because he/she brought something – no matter how impressive the “something” was. Hiring is all about the knowledge and confidence presented by the job candidate during the interview. Don’t be offended if the panel doesn’t seem to be impressed by what you brought or is uninterested in viewing it. Chances are what they are more interested in is you.
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Jamie is an education professional with 20 years experience. She has worked as a classroom teacher, as a director for a large urban district, and as a specialist with a state education department. This wide array of experience gives her a unique perspective to share with current and future educators.
The opinions expressed in the blog are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, TopSchoolJobs, or any of its publications.