We all get the dreaded, “Tell me about yourself” prompt when sitting at an interview. You are nervous to begin with and now you are expected to off the cuff relay some super enlightening response about your true essence in a few sentences. This is probably seen as one of the hardest questions to answer but it doesn’t have to be. Just like we prepare our portfolios and come ready to interviews with examples of classroom management styles and successful lesson plans, we can prepare for this question as well. Don’t give up this opportunity to let your interviewers know who you are. Here are three tips for a well-rounded answer.
1. Develop an elevator pitch.
This is a brief two-minute answer that gives your true essence. It is you wrapped up in a tiny little package…and we all know great things come in small packages! Don’t waste this opportunity to just restate your resume. Give a bit of background as to why you love your chosen profession, how you have turned your passion into your life work and remind them how great your views align with their school.
2. Start with this simple formula
“I help X do Y so that Z.” What?? No one said there would be algebra! Let me clarify. “I create well rounded and engaging lessons utilizing differentiated instructional practices for elementary school students so every child in my class can reach their highest potential.” Here would be a great place to insert a specific example of a successful lesson you recently developed and delivered.
3. Remind the interviewers how your talents will make their school better.
Nobody likes a bragger. True, but here is where you break that rule. Now is not the time to be humble. State your strength and tie that into your potential new school’s mission. So yes, you have to do some homework. Research the school you are interviewing with and be sure to know their mission statement and their goals. By tying your strengths into their mission, you can clearly identify how you will fit into their school community.
All of this can be done in as little as three or four sentences. Write them out. Practice them. You don’t want to come across as a robot but by preparing and having your answers at the ready you will be able to confidently tell anyone a little about yourself.
Here is an example to get you started:
I am a certified educator with six years of experience working with fourth grade students. I have always been passionate about literature and have integrated my love of reading into my unit plans. I always integrate a story, be it fiction or non-fiction, into my lesson plans. Using this story as a starting point, I craft individual lesson for the unit that span all subject areas and meet curriculum guidelines. I have had great success in utilizing Data Based Questioning and it is seen in my students’ ability to express themselves in both verbal and written forms and is reflected in my students’ state testing scores. I believe that helping my students understand society through literature allows them to be critical thinkers which is a cornerstone of ABC School’s mission. I know I can prepare the students of ABC to be strong community members.
· Provide specific examples
· Keep your stories professional. Don’t be too personal; they do not need to know about your martial status or how many children you have.
· Be positive! Now is not the time to air any grievances.
· Do your homework…research the school’s mission and overarching goals. Provide examples of how you can meet their mission.
· Don’t sell yourself short. Now is not the time to be humble.