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How Do You Show Your Passion?

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"Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you." -Oprah Winfrey

You've reviewed hundreds of interview questions. You've practiced and practiced some more. You're feeling ready for your upcoming interviews.

Don't forget the final and maybe most important component of a successful interview: demonstrating your passion. Two candidates may appear equally qualified on paper but if one demonstrates energy, excitement, and enthusiasm in an interview and the other one does not, who do you think will receive an offer?

How do you show your passion for education? Here are some ways in which you can communicate your commitment to the field in an upcoming interview:

Body language: Smile! Smiling demonstrates your warmth and enthusiasm instantly. Also, be sure to speak with energy to allow your commitment to education shine through. If you are unsure of how your enthusiasm and energy are coming across to an interviewer, contact your career center to schedule a mock interview.

New initiatives: Have you started a parent newsletter for your class during your student teaching? Used technology in a new and interesting way? Started a new club or organization at school? Emphasize new initiatives to your interviewer to express your desire to improve your students' educational experiences and make a positive impact. Highlighting these accomplishments also shows the interviewer that you are creative, go above and beyond, and have a strong work ethic.

Engagement in Education: Have you attended any professional conferences? Do you stay informed about current events and issues relating to education? Can you discuss relevant research and how it informs your practice? Highlight your involvement in the field through these activities and initiatives; dedicating time and effort to being engaged in the field = passion!

Interactions with faculty, staff, and parents: Some of you may interview for a position in a school or district where you are a student teacher. In this scenario, consider your student teaching experience a 3-month interview and an opportunity to demonstrate your passion each and every day. Your cooperating teacher and the staff of the school will notice and remember how you interact with others. Are you friendly and cheerful when you pass others in the hallway or in the lounge? Do you exhibit a positive attitude? Do you treat parents with respect and make efforts to engage them in your classroom? Do you volunteer to help others? All of these positive behaviors indicate to others that you are truly dedicated to and passionate about education.

Holly Klenk
Assistant Director, Cohen Career Center
College of William & Mary
Williamsburg, VA

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