Your first interview may be by phone or you may be invited to the school for a visit. As the process continues, you will probably have the opportunity to meet with several different administrators and teachers. You may want to ask if you can visit a class in an early visit, since this will be particularly helpful to you if you are asked to teach a demonstration class later on.
Before the Interview
Do some research on the school by looking at the school’s website. Make sure you note the school’s distinctive features: co-ed or single sex, grade range, religious affiliation, whether it describes itself as progressive or traditional, or any special or unusual programs. Be prepared to state your views—and/or ask thoughtful questions--about these features and their impact on the school’s mission and community.
Also pay attention to the way the school describes its mission and core values so that you can refer to these in your interviews.
Responding to Questions
You will be asked to elaborate on the experience outlined in your resume. Be prepared to give specific examples.
The questions below are typical of those that might be asked of an experienced teacher:
1. What qualities are you looking for in a school?
2. What are your goals as a teacher of ____? What do you want your students to take away from their experience with you after they’ve forgotten some of the specifics?
3. Describe a lesson or unit you taught that you considered successful. What worked well and why?
4. Describe a lesson or unit that didn’t meet your goals. How would you revise it next time around?
5. Describe the developmental needs of students of ____age. Then give an example of how your teaching accommodates those needs.
6. How do you incorporate technology into your teaching?
7. How is your commitment to multiculturalism reflected in your teaching?
8. What are your strengths as a teacher? What areas of your practice are you trying to improve?
9. Describe a problem in classroom management or a difficult interaction with a student and explain how you handled the problem. Would you handle the problem differently in the future?
If you are a recent college graduate applying for a Lower School Associate or Assistant position, you may also be asked:
1. How has your experience with children helped to prepare you for an Associates position?
2. How has your undergraduate and/or graduate work helped prepare you for an Associates’ position?
3. What do you think you have to contribute to the school?
If you are a career changer with limited teaching experience, you may be asked:
1. How has your work experience helped to prepare you for this teaching position?
2. How has any relevant academic work helped to prepare you for the position?
3. What would the challenges be for you in this position, and how would you prepare yourself for them?
You should have time to ask questions in some of your interviews. You will want to include some basic questions (class size, responsibilities other than teaching, how students are evaluated). In addition to factual questions, however, make sure to include some larger questions on school philosophy and community. Responses to questions like the following ones will give you a sense of whether the school is a good fit for you.
1. What are relationships between faculty and students like? Between faculty and parents? Between faculty and administrators? Among the faculty as a whole?
2. How is new curriculum developed?
3. How does the school encourage and support the growth of its teachers?
4. Where is the school in its work on diversity? What has it accomplished? What is it working on?
5. What changes is the school (or the division or department) considering and why?
Before your visit ends, ask about timing and next steps in the process.
After the Interview
Send a short note or email to the people who interviewed you thanking them, and briefly stating what you like about the school and the position.