When considering a teaching position, you need to think about various factors. “Window shopping” on district and school websites is helpful. Review the mission, teachers’ websites and classroom calendars to get information before an interview. There are also key questions to ask that will inform you and demonstrate your priorities:
What professional development supports are in place for teachers?
Professional development helps educators apply and refine best practices through reflection, collaboration or activities.
Schools and districts that use these opportunities value their teachers, and when you ask about these supports, you show that you care about your own development.
When exploring their websites, look for professional development opportunities. This will help you understand the school or district’s level of engagement and commitment to professional development.
What social-emotional support mechanisms are in place for teachers in the school/district?
Teachers are susceptible to various social stressors. It's imperative for schools and districts to provide social-emotional support to promote a healthy work-life balance.
A school or district that takes part in support mechanisms acknowledges and values you. If asked how your philosophy of education aligns with their school's mission and vision, share what a healthy social-emotional environment looks like to you and ask about the support offered.
How are teachers evaluated and provided with feedback and coaching?
Willingness to take feedback and reflect on your practice demonstrates growth. Teachers must be open to constructive criticism. Schools and districts with strong coaching mechanisms retain great teachers and cultivate their talents.
An interviewer may ask about how you receive and implement feedback. Discuss how critical feedback is to student and teacher learning and about how and when feedback is provided.
What are some qualities you’re looking for in a teacher for this position?
Mention some unique traits that you offer and connect them with ideal ones. Talk about your qualities that tie in with the information you’ve learned. For instance, if they talked about receptibility to feedback, discuss how you seek and implement it.
You may also get more insight into the type of teacher that thrives in this position. Reflect on your traits and determine if you would be the best fit.
What are some of the goals you have for this school year?
A school or district's goals reflect where they are and where they want to be. Asking about goals shows that you’re invested in the future of that institution.
You can then discuss how you can help reach those goals. Elaborate on your experiences and how you helped others reach their goals. Talk about your personal goals and how you can help the school reach new heights.
How would you describe the culture among the teaching staff?
This answer can be indicative of the environment and help you understand the culture. Mention how you contribute to a positive and collaborative culture. Also ask the interviewer what the best part is about working among the staff.
Mention positive experiences you’ve had with educators and where you saw room for improvement. If the culture is a good match, discuss how it falls in line with your future.
Remember, asking questions not only helps you gain information, but also demonstrates what you find important. Do your research ahead of time and review responses to various questions.
Check out all Teaching Tuesday articles and return each week for a new post. Learn more about the College of Education and our degree programs, join in our efforts to elevate the education profession.
Approved by the Program Director for the College of Education on Sept. 15, 2022
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.