Kindergarten. That’s the existing year in life of each child, when they learn to write all 26 letters of the alphabet, read thirty “sight words”, and start their journey in the world of education, that can sometimes span over half of their lifetime.
But it is also the place when for the first time we can see the real differences between children–in their intellectual capacities and mental development. To sum it up, few years are as important in the life of a child, and their parents, as this one. And you’ll have a huge impact on their life.
If you want to succeed in an interview for a position of a kindergarten teacher, you have to show right attitude to work and to children, strong communication skills (with both parents and kids), and an ability to design interactive, fun and age-appropriate learning experience for the children. Let’s have a look at the questions you may face while interviewing for this beautiful (but not always easy) job.
Why do you want to work as a kindergarten teacher?
You should not say that you want the job because you have a degree in early childhood education, or because you had the same job in the past (if that’s the case). Such an answer would indicate a must, something you are forced to do, considering the past events of your life. And you won’t get far with your teaching if that was the case…
Try to talk about the future, and what this job means for you. You can calmly say that in your opinion it’s the most important year in education, and you would love to have a positive impact on the children, helping them to develop studying habits, and a love for learning, something they will benefit from in many years to come.
You can also refer to a positive role model–a great kindergarten teacher you had, or perhaps your children, and the impact they had on you, and how this experience motivated you to pursue the same career. Of course, you can also refer to your excellent teaching skills at this age level, or other skills that make you believe you’d be a great teacher at the elementary.
What do you know about our kindergarten, and the local community?
One of the specifics of kindergarten is the close contact teachers have with parents, and also that it is typically a community place. Unless you apply for a job in some special, private educational facility, all children will live in a close vicinity of the school.
Hence it helps a lot if you also live in that vicinity, or at least know something about the local community. For example whether it is more of a rich or poor neighborhood, whether families typically have one kid or more, what problems bother the people living in the area, etc.
You can talk about these things openly, but obviously you should avoid any remarks to race or religion of children and their parents, unless explicitly asked about them.
If you do not know much, or prefer not to show any prejudice, you can simply say that you are open to work with any children and parents, and will certainly adjust your communication and perhaps also teaching methods to the specifics of the given community.
If possible, you should also recognize their place for something–maybe an excellent reputation, some unique teaching methods, some achievements of the children, etc.
What information is important for you to know about the family of each child?
The more you know the better. You must know about the situation in the family, whether it is complete or broken, who has permission to take the child from the kindergarten, etc.
Any information about health, and any diagnosis that may have an impact on the education of the child, is also crucial.
Ensure the interviewers that communication with parents plays a pivotal role in your work of a kindergarten teacher. You do not only want to extract a lot of information from them, but also you plan to share a lot of information with them, in terms of education of their child, how they should proceed with homework, what they should work on back home, etc.
In an ideal case, the two of you will cooperate together, to ensure that at the end of kindergarten the child is ready to successfully navigate the way in the second grade.
What would we see if we came to your classroom in the middle of the lesson?
Say that they would see children immersed in their tasks, fully engaged in the lesson. Say that they would see a classroom brimming with activity, educational activity that helps children to reach the goals of kindergarten education.
And they would also see a happy teacher who enjoys their role in the classroom, and pays attention to each individual child, trying their best to be a good role model and a good educator.
Of course, this vision won’t always materialize. On some days you may struggle with discipline, or you’ll have a low day, or for some reason children won’t enjoy the lesson. That’s all right though, each teacher experiences such a day once in a while. You should narrate a positive vision in your answer, one when things will go as you imagine. Simply a vision you aspire to achieve.
A parent complains about the education their child receives. How will you react?
First of all, ensure the hiring committee that you plan to take each feedback seriously. While you try your best in work each day, you can still make a mistake. Therefore you won’t simply ignore the feedback of the parent, or the child, or anyone else at school.
On the contrary, you will listen carefully to their words, trying to understand their perspective, and eventually consider the situation. Maybe you made a mistake, maybe they misunderstood something, and maybe their child didn’t express themselves properly.
You won’t just let it go, or let the conflict open. Once your talk with the parents end, you want to be sure that things are clear for both parties, and you can continue trying your best for their child….
Other questions you may face in your kindergarten interview
- What do you consider the most effective teaching method in a kindergarten?
- What are your strategies on dealing with disruptive students in the classroom?
- How would you welcome your students on the first day of the year? What will you say to them in the classroom?
- Where do you see yourself in ten years time? Can you imagine still working as a teacher?
- What do you consider the toughest aspect of teaching young children?
- What skills do you want your pupils to master during their first year at school?
- Do you have any expectations on the principal, or other staff members?
Conclusion, next steps
Interview for a job of a kindergarten teacher belongs to interviews with average difficulty. Degree in early childhood education, or even some experience in the field, does not guarantee that you will make it, that they will hire you.
You have to demonstrate the right attitude to work, some enthusiasm for the job, and ability to deal with some tricky situations that can happen in the workplace (conflict with the parent, disruptive student, crisis of motivation, etc).
Do a good research about your future place of work, and try to prepare for the questions. And do not forget to check also the articles below, to continue your preparation for the big day:
- How to overcome interview nerves – Do not let the anxiety to get the better of you. Learn how you can overcome it.
- Interview attire special tips – Learn what clothes to wear to make the right impression on the hiring committee.