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Interview Questions to Ask When Changing Teaching Positions

written by: Trent Lorcher•edited by: SForsyth•updated: 8/30/2012

You're thinking about switching schools. That's a big decision. Here are some tips and questions to ask yourself, and the principal or interviewer, in order to help ensure you are making the right choice.

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    Will this New School be Right for You?

    Before you decide to leave your current school, ask yourself the following questions. Some of the answers you may want to keep to yourself if you make it to the teacher interview.

    1. Why do I want to leave my current school?

      Teachers leave schools for many reasons. Some want a shorter commute. Some hate the new principal. Some just need a change of scenery. Think carefully about exactly why you want to leave your current school and make sure you don't end up with the same problem at your next school.

      For example, if you're leaving because you don't like the commute, don't transfer to a school that's just as far away, even if they have a really cool mascot and a few hot English teachers. Be honest in your interview. Tell them you loved your old school but want whatever it is you want. Avoid negatives, however. Don't tell them you hate the principal, hate a particular minority group, or hate all the teachers there. You won't get hired.

    2. What classes am I willing to teach?

      Chances are if you've been at your school for a number of years, you have earned some perks. Decide before the interview what classes you are willing to teach; otherwise, you might be even more miserable at your new school.

      I interviewed at a brand new school years ago. The area was great. The facilities were great. They wanted me to teach 6 sections of economics to Freshmen. I turned the job down.

    3. What extracurricular activities am I willing to do?

      Many schools try to stick the new teacher with extracurricular activities. If you don't want to do it then be honest. Remember that when you are switching schools, you already have a job. You don't need to go through the "I'm desperate and will do anything I need to do to get a job" stage.
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    Will the School's Teaching Philosophy Fit Your Own?

    We've already examined some tips and questions that will help you identify obvious red flags. These questions will help you think aobut some not so obvious red flags:

    1. What is my teaching philosophy?

      Remember your first interview? You had no idea what that meant, so you gave an answer the interviewer wanted to hear.

      Since you already have a job, you can be honest at this interview. Tell the principal your philosophy of teaching, how adamant you are about it, and whether or not you're open to changing it. The worst thing you could do is teach at a school that wants you to teach in a manner you're not comfortable with.

    2. What do I expect from my colleagues?

      If you expect teachers to be team players, but the school doesn't have a cooperative teaching framework in place, you may want to turn the job down. Conversely, if you are a "free wheelin' do what I want" kind of teacher, you don't want to be at a school that requires rigid team work.

    3. What are my grading standards?

      Make sure you go to a school that matches your standards as a teacher. If you think kids need to be able to do a lot, yet the school believes kids should pass just for showing up, you're going to have problems.
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    In some areas of the country, teaching positions are hard to come by. Be honest with yourself and the school you are interviewing with, or you just may end up stuck in a mis-matched position that you dislike more than the one you gave up.