A job interview is not just the employer's opportunity to get to know prospective employees. Interviewing works both ways, affording the job seeker an opportunity to ask probing questions of an employer. This is especially important if you are applying for a position as a teacher. During your interview for a teaching position, ask questions that will help you determine if this position and particular institution is really for you.
What are the demographics within this school?
To determine if you are adequately trained to meet the needs of the student body, ask the interviewer what the student demographics are within the school. What are the backgrounds of many of the students? What challenges do they face as a demographic? These questions will help prepare you to meet the students' needs if you are offered, and if you decide to accept, the teaching position.
What are the turnover rates here?
You will want to know why other teachers have left the school. Turnover rates can tell you a lot about your potential work environment, so you will want to get an honest, clear, and direct answer from your interviewer regarding turnover. Beware of efforts to avoid or deflect the question. Evasiveness may serve as a warning that teachers have left because they are disgruntled at this institution.
What are you expected to do at this school, in addition to your teaching duties?
Most teachers do not simply teach in a classroom and then go home. They often coach teams, serve as guidance counselors, help with extracurricular activities and clubs, and more. Be sure to learn what roles you are expected to fulfill in order to gauge how many hours you will be working. This will help you negotiate an adequate compensation package.
What is the average class size in this school?
Schools often boast that they have small student/teacher ratios because they know that smaller class sizes mean students excel more rapidly. Both teachers and students are happier in schools with smaller class sizes, so you will want to determine the precise ratios at this school. If you are going to have larger classes, you are likely to have more work to do, so you will want to make sure you are remunerated accordingly.
What resources are available to teachers?
Will you have access to the school's copy machine and office supplies, or are you expected to make copies on your own? Will you have an assistant assigned to your classroom? The number of resources available to you will greatly impact your workload and ultimately your satisfaction with your work at this school.
What curricula are used here?
All teachers need time to prepare their lessons, so learning which curriculum is used will help you determine your prep time for each lesson. You may also be able to learn about the benefits of the curriculum, and begin to familiarize yourself with the material if you have not taught from such materials in the past.
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