If you’ve had the opportunity to schedule an interview for a promising teaching vacancy, it's advisable to come prepared with your own questions.
This is important for two reasons: firstly, it shows that you are an analytical person who has a desire for more knowledge. Secondly, it gives you the opportunity not only to be interviewed for an opening but to interview the school itself. After all, you are a professional who has the right not only to decide whether you are a good fit for the employer, but also whether the school or company compatible with you.
The interviewer will most certainly ask you at the conclusion of an interview, "Do you have any questions?" Remember, during an interview, all that is said — even the questions you ask — will be judged.
Here’s a shortlist of questions you can use to end the interview correctly and the job you’re looking for:
1. "If I'm hired for this job, is there a set curriculum I should follow?"
This is a good question to decide whether you are expected to follow a predetermined curriculum or whether you need to create your own curriculum (possibly from scratch). Generally, it's a bad sign if you have a strictly defined day-to-day lesson plan, but it's just as bad if you don't have anything to work with. It's best if there is a balance between the two extremes. It should also be noted that some teachers (like me) prefer absolute freedom within the classroom, while other teachers prefer a more rigid, school-provided framework to their curriculum building. Depending on your teaching style, the answer the interviewer responds with should aid you in deciding if the school is a viable option for the next year of your career.
2. "Can I incorporate my own materials and ideas into my lessons?"
This is a great follow-up question, regardless of what the answer to the first question is. It shows your willingness and ability to be an innovative educator who is able to provide your own supplementary material in order to cater to your students' specific needs.
3. "Is there a professional development program that I can be part of?"
Demonstrating that you are an enthusiastic teacher who is willing to learn from other teachers is important. This question reveals that you are hoping to partner with an experienced teacher who will help you develop as a professional educator.
4. "In what ways does this school provide support for its teachers?"
This helps to show that you don't find yourself flawless, like the previous question, but you also are diligent in forwarding your success within your classroom. It also shows that you understand that a school’s faculty should be a unified team and that collaborating with your supervisors and colleagues is important to you.
5. "What do you enjoy about working with this school?"
This is my personal favorite post-interview question for a hiring panel. It puts the interviewers on the spot in an interesting and positive way, encouraging them to recognize the strengths of their establishment. Their response to this question will show you what you can look forward to in being a part of their faculty and investing your precious time in the school and its students.
6. "Your mission statement is _______. How are teachers encouraged and supported by the administration to accomplish this mission?"
This question implies that you've done your homework and you're mindful of the mission statement of the school. Their response shows what the teacher-administration partnership is like, and how you can expect the school's leadership to work with you to achieve the organization’s vision.
7. "As a first-year teacher with your school, what will be expected of me?"
By outrightly asking for their expectations, you will get a clear picture of how important you will be to the school or company and how much they will demand from you as a teacher and team member.
There is a staggeringly long list of questions you could ask, and you may use a number of variations of the above questions. Optimally, you’ll want to select three or four questions to ask at the conclusion of your interview (those which will reveal the information that is most important to you).
Although you feel that you may need the school more than they need you, it is of paramount importance that you put the interviewers and the school you’re potentially going to work with under the microscope (in order to make sure they're an excellent fit for you). Using these questions helps you determine whether the school will be a long-lasting career choice for you and it gives the interviewer a chance to see that you are an inquisitive, critical, and confident professional whom they can confidently add to their faculty.
If you’re looking to interview for teaching opportunities in China or would like to discuss how you can make your next interview a success, reach out to me at edu.