by Edward M. Warnick
When a school administrator is hiring a teacher there are some general areas that will be evaluated. They include: appearance, communication skills, personality, technical knowledge, scholarship, understanding children (including the psychology of learning and the psychology of discipline), adaptability to school district, professional attitude, transcripts, and educational experiences.
Principals on the interviewing committee will be concerned about the teacher's ability to control the learning environment. It is important to articulate a precise philosophy of student control. Teachers get the respect of their students and control them by keeping the students' confidence, showing concern, being consistent and honest, and building a strong academic program. Never go into an interview without being able to express your convictions toward the psychology of student control.
Do not attempt to answer the questions with what you think the interviewer wants. Many times questions are asked in a positive tone but are really designed to see if the teacher is strong enough to take an opposing view and defend it. Know your profession and project an attitude of seriousness and no question will be too difficult to answer intelligently. If your background and experience are not broad enough to answer the questions, do not attempt to fool someone. Simply state that you do not have sufficient experience or knowledge in that particular area to respond to the question.
The interviewing committee is looking for a person who is humane. Do not be afraid to smile or inject some humor into the interviewing process. Make an effort to be personable and relaxed. Some small talk can be very valuable as an ice-breaker.
Finally, applying and interviewing for teaching positions should be done in an organized and prudent manner. It should be approached with the same fervor that one applies in passing a college course. Remember, applying for a teaching position is one of the most important events of a music educator's life. Study and be prepared for the interview. It will be well worth your time and effort.