There is no question that the competition for teaching jobs is extremely tough. I have sat on teacher interview committees where we had narrowed it down to four people for the open teaching position and it broke my heart that I had to tell three of them they did not get the job despite being excellent teachers.
If you are getting calls for interviews, but you are not able to seal the deal and secure yourself a teaching position, you need to look at every aspect of the interview…you need to do every little thing to separate yourself from the intense competition.
There are many things teachers should do during the interview, but one of the most overlooked is asking questions of the interview committee.
I am always shocked at how many candidates simply do not do this…or don’t put as much emphasis on it as need be. By asking questions you are accomplishing two main goals. One, you are determining if this is actually the right teaching job for you, and two, you come off and giving the appearance of confidence…don’t underestimate this.
Also, by asking the correct questions at the correct time YOU begin to take over and control the job interview. The interview then becomes more of a two-way conversation between colleagues on the same level than it does a one-way interview in which the candidate is simply fielding questions from superiors.
I have always said that the best interviews are the ones that don’t “seem” like interviews…they felt natural…they felt more like conversations.
However, what questions you ask are also important. You don’t just want to ask questions for the sake of asking questions…you want to ask the right questions. And, by asking the right questions during your teacher interview you will separate yourself from the other candidates applying for the same teaching job.
Unfortunately, many people just can’t seem to come up with the right questions.
Here are 10 questions you should ask during your next teacher interview:
1. How many classes would I be teaching?
2. How many “preps” does this position require? (Remember, you may only be teaching 5 classes, but if you have four different “preps” for four different subjects you may be in trouble)
3. Would I have my own classroom? (Having to teach in different classrooms can make teaching much more difficult)
4. Do you have a teacher mentor program? (A teacher mentor program can be a new teacher’s saving grace, but veteran teachers can benefit from them as well)
5. Will I have opportunities for professional development? (You want to give the impression that you plan to grow professionally)
6. What type of access would I have to technology? (Grade book software, email, united streaming, etc.)
7. What duties are required of the position? (Lunch, hallway etc.)
8. What type of extracurricular activities can I get involved with?
9. How much planning time do teachers have? (Don’t ask this question first…it will come across as planning time is your most important question. However, planning time is important and different schools will have different amounts of time allotted for teacher planning so you should make sure you know before you accept any teaching job)
10. What is the school policy on inclusion?
Again, by asking questions during your interview you will establish an air of confidence about you. However, more importantly, you will determine if the school is truly a good match for YOU.