Teachers are naturally scared senseless when heading into job interviews, especially new teachers, who have never had their own classrooms. Because I was connected to a lot of educators decades ago when I finished my undergraduate training, I was fortunate to have quite critical thinking interview questions and answers few job interviews. In fact, I interviewed with about 25 school districts in one summer.
And, no, I didn’t get a job. I was so wrapped up in anticipating questions and trying to prepare the right answers that I never considered the questions teachers should ask principals during an interview. Twelve years after landing my first teaching job, I was invited to interview for a position in a nearby school. Job interviews had been in my rearview mirror for so long that I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had a job already, and this changed my perspective completely on this one. I decided that I was going to ask the interviewers a few questions of my own.
Principals routinely end job interviews by asking candidates if they have any questions. Many will simply say, No, or ask when they can expect a decision. Are there committees I can join? Can I get into my room early? I realized in the last job interview I ever had that my questions were the most important ones, and the last thing I was concerned with was sucking up to the principals.
After all, in a way, I was interviewing them. Walking back to my car that day, I knew I wouldn’t take the job if they offered it to me, because they struggled to answer the questions I asked to my satisfaction. What is your philosophy on mobile learning? It’s the 21st century, for crying out loud. Who wants to teach in a school that forbids the use of the most powerful teaching and learning tool ever created?
What limits, if any, are there on the environment I create in my classroom? If asked what you want to do, explain that you want an inviting, fun, learner-centered classroom. This may require you to move some chairs and tables, bring in some plants and maybe a few beanbag chairs, and a variety of other things that make learning fun. Am I required to assign homework or give a particular amount of tests? For me, a Yes reply here is a deal breaker.