By Teachers, For Teachers
Get a Teaching Job: It’s All in the Questions
If you have the fortunate opportunity to get a teaching job, it is wise to come prepared with questions of your own.
This is wise for two reasons: First, it demonstrates that you are an inquisitive individual who has a thirst for more information, and second, it allows you the opportunity to not just be interviewed for a position, but to interview the school itself. You are, after all, an individual who has the right to determine not just if you’re a good fit for the school, but if the school is a good fit for you.
Usually at the end of an interview, your interviewer will ask you “Do you have any questions?” Remember, everything -- even your questions -- is going to be judged during an interview.
Here are a few questions you can use to finish the interview just right and, hopefully, get a teaching job:
“Is there is a set curriculum that I should follow if I am hired for this position?” This is a good question to determine if you are expected to follow a predetermined curriculum or if you need to develop your own. Usually it’s a bad sign if there is a predetermined, day-by-day lesson plan for you, or it’s equally bad if there is nothing at all for you to go off of. It’s best if the school has a balance between the two.
“Can I bring my own materials and lesson ideas?” No matter what the answer is to the first question, this is a great follow-up question. It demonstrates your willingness and ability to be a proactive educator who supplies your own material for the specific needs of your students.
“Is there some type of teacher mentor program that I can be a part of?” It’s important to demonstrate that you are an enthusiastic teacher who is willing to learn from other educators. This question helps display that you are hoping to be partnered with an experienced teacher who will help show you the tricks of the trade.
“What resources does this school have that I can use to help me?” Like the previous question, this helps to show that you don’t consider yourself perfect, but you do consider yourself proactive in self-improvement.
“What are your favorite things about this institution?” This puts the interviewer on the spot in a good way, forcing them to consider the strengths of the place you are considering working at. Their answers – or lack thereof – will help show you what you can look forward to being a part of and building into at their school.
“What do you hope students who graduate from here say about this school?” This is another question like the previous one, but it’s answered from an idealistic student perspective. This helps you understand what the ultimate vision for the school is. Does the school want students to enjoy their environment? Feel challenged? Like the teachers? Appreciate the hard work everyone puts in? The answer you receive will reveal a lot of the mentality of the administration.
“Your mission statement says ____. What are some of the ways the administration supports and encourages teachers to accomplish this?” This question shows that you have done your homework and are aware of the school’s mission statement. Their answer shows what the relationship between the teachers and administration is like, and how you can expect the focus of the school to direct you.
“If I am hired, what would your expectations be for me?” By expressly asking for their expectations, you’ll get a clear picture of how well the interviewer understands your potential position and how much they’ll demand of you.
There are many other questions to ask, and many variations you can use on the questions above. Essentially, you want to come prepared to an interview with about three or four questions that you genuinely want to hear the answers to.
Remember, even though you want to get a teaching job, you need to put the potential school you’re interviewing at in the hot seat too, and make sure they are a right fit for you. Using questions helps you gauge to what extent the school is going to be a long lasting career choice for you, and for making yourself stand out with an inquisitive and enthusiastic nature.