Interview Questions – Are You Prepared to Do the Asking?
Prepare yourself to ask the right questions at your teaching job interview. An interview isn't just about responding to the prospective employer's questions.
An interview is an opportunity for you to impress the school district panel with examples of how you would approach the position they are offering. By asking questions at the interview, you can also determine if the fit is right.
Questions you ask at the job interview show your interest in the position and school community, plus they help to develop rapport. If you feel comfortable, and the interviewer seems amenable, you may ask questions at appropriate times throughout the interview. Once you have been in the interview for a few minutes, you will start to get a feel for your comfort level in this regard.
Most of the skills a teacher will use in the classroom are on display in a teacher interview. Your interaction with the interviewers will reveal your communication skills and whether you have a caring, empathetic personality – or an aggressive, all business disposition.
How you answer questions will communicate whether you are good at organizing your thoughts and explaining ideas in a logical, easy-to-understand manner. Of course, your listening skills will be tested.
Provide pointed, on-target answers to the questions asked to develop an immediate interest in you as a candidate. You can also expose weaknesses in your teacher interview such as not being responsive enough or showing growth in your response to answers. For this reason, you should also be aware of teacher interview mistakes – what not to do in a teacher interview.
The Same Pros and Cons Apply When Asking Questions in Interviews
You have the opportunity to demonstrate additional knowledge and skills, but you could also expose flaws if you ask the wrong questions or do not ask them in the right manner.
Through your questions, you can communicate:
- Your knowledge of the school district's teaching methods and tools.
- Your understanding of the education goals they need to meet.
- Any special teacher training you have undertaken that relates to their programs.
- Trends in education and how teaching tools and innovation are responding to them.
Teacher Interview Questions to Ask
If you don't ask questions during the interview, you will most likely be given the chance to do so at the end of the interview. Take advantage of this great opportunity!
So what questions should you ask?
First, only ask questions you cannot get answers to through the research you conducted on the school district or organization.
For example, by investigating, you may easily determine how many students attend the school – so, think of a different question to ask.
Be sure you think carefully about what questions you would like answered... make them genuine... and recognize that it is always advantageous to ask questions.
A good idea is to practice asking the questions you created in front of a mirror the day before the interview. Then, write your questions down on a professional pad of paper or an index card and bring them to the interview.
Some suggestions of appropriate questions are provided here... ask them only if they are not addressed in the interview and if you don't have access to the answers. If the questions are structured correctly, you will provide yourself with a further opportunity to sell yourself, for example:
"I am very interested in team sports. What extracurricular activities are available for teacher participation?"
What does this question show the interviewer? You are a team player and willing to participate in extra-curricular activities.
Other potential teacher interview questions to ask are:
I have always been successful with getting parents involved in the classroom, how active are parents at this school?
I am well-versed at integrating computer technology into the classroom, what kind of resources does the school have available?
Do teachers work in teams? If so, how is this organized?
I consider myself a life-long learner, what professional development opportunities will be available?
What is the student/teacher ratio?
I have been instrumental in developing new programs in previous positions I have held. Will the school be implementing any new programs this year, or require input to develop programs already in place?
Will the school be addressing any major issues this year?
If you are new to the industry you may ask, "Is there is a mentor teacher program available?"
When do you hope to reach a decision as to who the successful candidate will be?
What Questions Not to Ask in a Teacher Interview
In my role as teacher interview coach, I have come across quite a few landmines in teacher interview questions. Here are some interview questions to avoid asking.
Do not ask:
- Questions that may be difficult for the interviewer to answer. If you are a science teacher, do demonstrate your knowledge of the new science pedagogy appearing in the leading education journal. Do not put the interviewer on the spot by asking her to respond to a direct question about it.
- Questions that reflect negative performance on behalf of the school. If the school's math scores are below the region average, wisely, you may want to emphasize your experience raising math scores in the interview. Avoid directly asking the school to account for the low performance.
- Questions of a personal nature of the interviewer. The interviewer may find this line of questioning inappropriate. Moreover, as you know, personal questions are the hardest to answer. Your interviewer may end up flustered.
Remember, don't dominate the job interview with your questions, keep in mind your position as the interviewee.
Review what principals are looking for in a teacher. If you have not had the opportunity to emphasize your commitment to lifelong learning or team player skills, formulate questions that will allow you to highlight these attributes.
Tips for Attending Board Interviews
Asking questions is more difficult in board meetings, as you will have three or more interlocutors. You should enquire as to whom will be participating in the board interview in advance. Research each member of the board or council.
Prepare questions for each member of the board. That does not mean you have to ask all the questions. Based on the rhythm of the interview, you can decide which questions to ask and when. If a member of the review panel asks you a question or two and then leaves a lull in the conversation, you may want to respond with a question.
Unsolicited questions should strongly relate to the questions being asked. When you are asked for questions during or at the end of the interview, it is a free for all. Use this opportunity carefully. Ask any questions you want answers to, but try not to ask more than three or four questions.
Keep in mind the four stages of a teacher job interview. The last two steps are the ideal time to ask questions, and especially the final stage. In this stage, interviewers typically have set aside time for your questions.
Review preparation steps for a teacher job interview and items to bring to a teacher job interview. You do not want to show up at an interview unprepared.
If you have forgotten copies of your resumes or references for the interviewers, your mind will be focused on these details and not the interview questions posed. Asking questions is the most challenging part of the interview. You need to be focused on this task.
This is just a sample of the many types of questions that may be asked in an interview. Once again, be sure you don't overwhelm the interviewer with questions - three or four questions is sufficient.
If you do not do well during the interview answer period, your confidence might slip by the time the interviewer asks you for your questions. Mastering the interview questions will increase your comfort level and help you develop a positive rapport with your interlocutors.
Interviewing Help Available
We have created two eBooks to help you do just that. The first is A+ Teachers' Interview Edge and the second is A+ Principals' Interview Edge.
Even if you think you will feel confident in your interview ability, practicing could be the deciding factor.
If you have not had a teacher interview in a long time, review the most common teacher interview questions. Half the job search game is won in discussions if you feel confident. If you are feeling insecure, you are more likely to be fidgety, go off topic and fail to communicate your success stories.
To build confidence, practice asking teacher interview questions with a teacher job coach. A coach can do more than simply help you practice answering questions. They can point out key areas that should be touched on in an interview. If they are not, interview questions may the opportunity time to introduce them to the interview.
Learn more about Candace Alstad-Davies by reviewing my about me page. From that page, you can review testimonials and frequently asked questions.
Have questions, please connect by sending an email to Candace or call toll-free at 1 877 738-8052. I would enjoy chatting with you.