Teachers Share Their Strangest Interview Stories

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Strangest interview

We know lots of teachers who have been through the interview wringer and are still waiting to hear about jobs for the fall. We thought it might help lighten your load to ask our teacher friends on the WeAreTeachers HELPLINE to share their funniest, most awkward, strangest interview stories.

Geez, mom.

My mom realized she knew the principal I was interviewing with but didn’t tell me how. When I got to the interview, we were talking about families and I told the principal that my mother actually knew him. Apparently, she dated his brother and dumped him … I didn’t know that. Needless to say, I didn’t get the job. —Julia A.


Can I bring my granny?

I moved back to my hometown suddenly one June, so teaching openings were slim. I hadn’t applied in the area at all before because I didn’t know we would be moving. So one day I’m giving my grandmother a ride to the doctor’s office and we drove by my old middle school. I asked my Grammy if I could drop a resume by real quick. She said sure but asked if she could come in because it’s late June in Alabama and boiling hot.

Much to my surprise, not only was the principal in to receive my resume, she had a new science opening and wondered if I could interview on the spot. Of course, my Grammy was still with me, so that is the story of how I interviewed for a job with my Grammy in the room. —Mandy E.


It’s a small, small world.

It was a hot August day and I had already sat through one interview—I was unsure if I could focus through another. But I got lucky. Both teachers on the committee knew exactly who I was. We spent about 45 minutes talking about family and the olden days. I discovered that one teacher’s father had been my principal growing up, and the other teacher had once painted my parent’s house! We were an instant team/family. I got the job and have been teaching there ever since. —David K.


Those wacky teachers!

I showed up to my job interview in the middle of nowhere Ohio. There were desks set up outside in the lawn, and two teachers were in the window handing out more. I was excited that teachers were thinking outside the box and doing things differently. I later found out that it was a staff prank. —Jen S.


Absolutely not OK.

I walked into an interview and the principal told me he really liked my outfit and that it fit me well. He said he wished his wife dressed like that. He then complimented me on how pretty my feet are—he liked my toenail polish.

As we moved to the interview table, the principal placed his hand on the lower part of my back but even slightly lower than that. I I moved away, as I was very uncomfortable, and asked where I should sit. He said, “Well, normally I ask candidates to sit across from me, but for you, I’ll offer three choices—across from me, right next to me, or on my lap. Which would you prefer?”

I paused and looked him straight in the eyes and said, “Well, being the exceptional teacher that I am (walking around the table to his side as his smile grew) I know that sometimes, even when given three options, if I think outside the box I can come up with a fourth.” At this point, I grabbed my resume and told him ‘I’m choosing to sit in my car.’ And I left!  P.S. The creep was forced to retire before the school year began.


Interview on the rocks.

I was on the interview committee to hire a paraprofessional at my elementary school. We invited in a woman who had used our AP as a reference and had subbed in our building several times. She showed up drunker than a skunk! The AP had to drive her home. —Sarah H.



I went to a second grade interview and was doing a demo lesson. A girl in the front raised her hand and said that her stomach hurt. I motioned to the people in the back to asked them what the procedure was for that, and they said to continue the lesson … so I did. About 20 seconds later, the poor girl threw up on herself.

Nobody got up to help her, so I grabbed her hand and said I would take her to the nurse and be right back. In the hallway, she thanked me and said that her teacher never let anyone go to the nurse unless they were bleeding and needed a bandaid.

When I returned to the classroom, the interview staff said what I did was highly unprofessional because I should have continued teaching the lesson, saying “the needs of all are greater than the needs of one.” I’ve never left an interview faster! —Elizabeth L.


What year is this?

After an initial interview with a principal, I was told that he wanted to offer me the position. All I had to do was meet with the school board. This was a small school in the country, and I had to drive there at night to meet with them. When I arrived, I was surprised to find that there were several other prospective teachers waiting to meet with the board for the same position. I had to wait over an hour for my turn.

Finally, I sat at a huge table, with eight men and me in the hot seat. They fired questions at me such as “Why aren’t you married?” and “Won’t you be scared to live in the country?” I went from thinking I had the job, to glad I didn’t get it! —Amber S.


Scheduling conflict.

I had an interview for a kindergarten position which I felt really good about because I had connections in the building. When I got to the school, I noticed there were a lot of cars in the parking lot. Turns out it was parent-teacher conference night. I waited for about 45 minutes, and finally, the interview committee walked in.

We started the interview and throughout the whole process teachers kept leaving, the principal kept leaving, and there were constant interruptions because of conferences. Needless to say, I didn’t get the job and I’m pretty thankful about it. I felt like it was really rude of the principal to schedule my interview when there was so much going on. —Gena L.


Well, that’s just awkward.

I went on an interview for an eighth grade ELA position. The principal asked me to prepare a sixth grade ELA demo. Even though that is outside of my certification, she insisted. When I got to the demo, the group of students waiting for me were actually fourth graders. I did my demo, and it was terrible, not surprising since I don’t know anything about elementary ELA.

The principal sat me down afterward and ripped into me because she felt “it was more of a second grade level lesson, not a sixth”. I told her that I didn’t think it was appropriate that I was required to do a demo outside of my certification and not even at the level of the job opening. Of course it was a poor demo lesson! I don’t teach elementary! I clearly didn’t get the job, thank God. —Jen F.



Posted by Elizabeth Mulvahill

Elizabeth Mulvahill is a teacher, writer and mom who loves learning new things, hearing people's stories and traveling the globe.

One Comment

  1. Jessica Crowley August 22, 2017 at 5:45 am

    IB School interview: “Not that our parents would EVER say anything like this, but what if a parent asks if you are qualified to teach IB as a a teacher that has never taught IB before?” I was stumped. Also asked me to plan a demo for 20 freshman and I had four seniors.

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