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Questions to Ask in an Interview
Grade Level(s): K, 1-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
Submitted by: AngelaS
Originally posted at the A to Z Teacher Stuff Discussion Forums

This is often overlooked when interviewing tips are given. Remember, you are interviewing them to see if this is the right job for you, not just vice versa! You already have a steady paycheck, so be selective!

1. What is your teacher turnover like? Can you tell me why those people left? (Answers should included moving, pregnancy, stay at home parent, etc. A reluctance to answer indicates problems within the school or county. Most of the teachers should be vets or at least tenured).

2. Can you give me some back ground as to what my team members are like? {Are all the K teachers new? If so, why? How long have they been teaching? Principals will brag on their staff, so let them- you want to find out what kind of support you're going to have).

3. What are the average class sizes usually like? (Of course this will vary, but again, a reluctance to answer tells you to expect 30 Kinderkids in August!).

4. What kind of resources can the school/ school system offer me since it is my first year in the public school system? (Laptops? Mentors? Specialists? Make sure you will get your planning time- no music and PE means no break for you. Clubs and committees? Workshops? Discretionary funds and grant opportunities?)

5. What makes this school stand out from the others in the area? (It takes guts to ask this one, but they like confidence and it shows that you take your job seriously and are not there to collect a paycheck and go home.)

6. What is your policy regarding lesson planning- would I need to keep records in my room or turn them in to you? (I would not recommend working at a school in which you are required to turn in plans every week- I have yet to hear from anyone who felt that this inspired confidence in their teaching. A better answer would be that teachers are expected to plan at least one week in advance with sub plans always out in case of emergency. You do not want a prinicpal who micromanages).

7. What is the student population like? (I would accept whatever info is offered, but I would listen for socio-ec, race, class size, parent involvement, ESL, and 'catch area' (the boundaries, so you can investigate the neighborhoods yourself if you want). If you work in a low-income area you need to know it ahead of time to prepare yourself for the challenges unique to that setting. Are there a lot of immigrants in your school? Good to know so you can collect billingual resources and such and again just be better prepared to meet your students. There are pros and cons of ALL demographics and you'll have to find the setting that is right for you.)

8. Can I see the classroom that I would be teaching in? (If s/he doens't want to give a tour, that's not promising. I always got a 'vibe' from the classroom and knew right away whether it was a place I could make my own. Even in a run down old building I could see the potential. I fell in love with my current classroom because it has the best view in the school- top floor, overlooking lots of trees and the flagpole. You can't see the street or anything- it feels like we're on top of a mountain!)

Hopefully some of these issues will be discussed without you bringing them up. I spent a good 20 minutues 'interviewing' my current principal and he said he made the final decision to hire me over someone with experience at that grade level because of my personality. He said he could tell I was well-informed about what a good learning and working environment should be and by asking so many questions, he could tell I was looking to find a good school and stay there.



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