Let's face it, you are going to be nervous. I was nervous at my first interview.. .and my second.. .and my third—and you will be, too. But whomever you interview with will also know that you are nervous—they certainly went through many interviews themselves and know exactly what those butterflies in their stomachs mean. This will not be a new experience for them, and they will be well aware that you bring a level of nervousness into any interview situation.
Nervousness can be manifested in several ways:
An upset stomach
A dry mouth
An increased heartbeat
Increased rate of breathing
Please keep in mind that these are natural psychological and physiological reactions to stress. Early humans experienced these same feelings whenever they came face to face with a saber-toothed tiger or an opponent with a bigger rock to throw. Humans down through the ages have always experienced bouts of nervousness whenever faced with a situation outside their "comfort zone"—a situation that was not normally part of their daily activities. And interviews certainly qualify in that regard.
But let's allow that nervousness to work to your advantage! In a stressful situation, like an interview, your body is releasing larger amounts of adrenalin than it normally does (thus all the physical manifestations mentioned above). Interestingly, this increased level of nervousness is advantageous because it will help keep you focused more than if you were overconfident and/or complacent. It is your body's way of telling you that you need to be ready for the task before you. It's not a normal event; it's an event that requires your absolute attention, complete concentration, and due diligence.
Here are some important points to keep in mind:
The key to managing your nervousness is preparation. If you researched the school, practiced appropriate interview questions (and your responses), and considered various interview types, and if you are aware of the common mistakes teacher candidates often make, know the key principles for interview success, and know the questions you should ask—in other words, if you read (several times) and practiced all the chapters in this book—you will have the confidence you need to ace your teacher interview.
Remember, you are in control. In fact, you are in control of much of the interview situation. You determine when you are going to arrive at the interview, what clothes you are going to wear, how you are going to sit, how prepared you are going to be to answer typical interview questions, what questions you are going to pose to the interviewer, and what level of confidence you are going to display during the interview. You are in control of many interview factors that can have a significant, positive effect on the success of that interview.
One of my students made it a point to make the following chant a part of her mental preparation (she practiced yoga) in the week leading up to her first interview: "I am in control, I am in control, I am in control." She would say it over and over to herself in the shower, while driving to student teaching, while shopping, and just before she went to bed. She discovered that she was considerably less nervous when meeting the principal than she had ever anticipated.
• Consider that each interview is a practice session for the next one. The more interviews you engage in, the better prepared you will be for any succeeding interviews. Each interview will teach you something new, providing you with more confidence and self-assurance for subsequent interviews. That's why it is always important to go through a personal checklist of self-evaluative questions immediately after every interview (see Appendix B). It would be equally important to go through several practice or mock interviews with college professors, area administrators willing to provide that service, family members, or local businesspeople.
Keep in mind that nervousness is normal. The key is to be in control of your nervousness, rather than having the nervousness control you.