10 Great Questions Teachers Ask During Job Interviews

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Summer is interview season for educators. New positions open as teachers shift grade levels or retire and new graduates enter the field eager to find the first classroom that they will call their own.

In recent years, I’ve become acquainted with several districts that approach the process in smart and progressive ways, using a variety of innovative approaches to get to know their candidates in ways that resumes and portfolios may not allow.

Despite this evolution, the interviews still matter. Asking powerful questions can ensure that the job you accept will provide the right fit for you.

10 Great Questions Teachers Ask During Job Interviews

1. What are your system’s greatest values, and how do your students, teachers, and leaders live them?

2. What are you committed to learning together as a staff, and where would you recommend I begin my own study?

3. What contributions are you eager for me to make as a learner, a teacher, and a colleague?

4. How is professional learning planned, and how are teachers supported to enrich their learning?

5. Which data do you rely upon most as you strive to define growth inside your system, and why are these data important?

6. How do new teachers receive mentoring, and what kind of feedback have you received about this in recent years?

7. If I were to ask your most passionate and invested teachers to share the strengths and needs of your system, what would they say?

8. How do teachers and leaders engage parents and community members?

9. How does your system recognize, honor, and celebrate diversity? Where do improvements need to be made?

10. How does your system pursue alignment while attending to engagement?

Do you think these questions are particularly tough? They may be, but this is what makes some of them particularly good questions.

Job interviews are perfect opportunities for candidates and school representatives to reflect. The best experiences are those that help everyone involved refine their thinking and deepen their understandings of themselves as much as they are getting to know others. Asking questions like these can help.

As you gather responses, don’t hesitate to take notes and pose your own follow-up questions as well. Remember: you aren’t the only candidate under review during an interview. School leaders, staff members, and parent representatives are there to help you learn more about the system you may become a part of. Take full advantage of this.

When your interview concludes, be sure to send a thank you note expressing your gratitude for the opportunity to meet everyone and learn more about their school. Reflect on the most compelling things you learned, and let the interview team know what kind of contribution you see yourself making there.

Most important, remember that regardless of whether or not you get the position, gaining interview experience is its own reward. As you sharpen your interview skills and feel your confidence growing, you will feel yourself paying even closer attention to the answers that people provide when you ask important questions like those above.

Those answers will reveal much about your ability to work to your full potential inside of the system you choose. Listen carefully to the answers you receive and remember that you have an advantage: you get to choose the team you play for.

Learn as much as you can about that team before you become its next star player.

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A former English teacher, Angela Stockman is the founder of the WNY Young Writer's Studio, a community of writers and teachers of writing in Buffalo, New York. She is also an education consultant with expertise in curriculum design, instructional coaching, and assessment. Read more from Angela at Angelastockman.com.

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