Thursday, August 21, 2008

Interview Questions I Would Ask Teachers...

One of the greatest joys in my professional life is teaching -- as an education professor, I teach seminars in the undergraduate teacher preparation program and graduate courses in my specialization, educational technology. Each semester I get to work with talented individuals who are drawn to teaching and to educational technology (and after we have learned together, we both know a bit more about both).

In every teacher preparation seminar that I have ever lead, student teachers ask questions about "the interview". The desire to prepare for the inevitable "selection process" is normal -- the type of students I get to work with are driven, articulate and high achievers. To help student teachers to prepare for their interviews with school personnel, I have put together a list of the top 10 questions that I would ask if I were the one to hire a new classroom teacher. To add to this short list, I have also gathered some boilerplate questions from here and there on the web.

My Top Ten Teacher Interview Questions

If you were asked these questions in an interview, how might you respond?

1. How do you know the children are learning?

2. What evidence of student learning might / can / should you collect?

3. What is the role of formative assessment?
a. How might you document learning in process?
b. To what use do you put the data / observations / artifacts you collect?

4. What is the role of Summative assessment?
a. What kinds of learning evidence / artifacts belong in a math portfolio? A science portfolio? A literacy, learning or growth portfolio? An art portfolio?
b. How will you report on products, performances and portfolios?

5. In what ways will you use technology to enable and extend learning for all of the children?

6. How will you share your professional knowledge about student learning with others? (i.e., discussing progress with other teachers, specialists, school leaders, parents?)

7. What does excellence in teaching mean to you?

8. What does inquiry mean to you? What does inquiry look like in your classroom?

9. How will you make a scholarly contribution to the profession of teaching?

10. What called you to teaching?

11. [so, sue me!] How will you support the learning of a child that is fluent in their native language, but not yet in English?

From: Education Canada – Over 80 Sample Interview Questions

1. What is the role of the teacher in the classroom?
2. How would you describe your last principal?
3. What principles do you use to motivate students?
4. Describe effective teaching techniques that result in intended learning.
5. How has your education and life experiences prepared you for this position?
6. What is the most exciting thing happening in the area of education?
7. Describe an ideal curriculum in your area of study.
8. Describe the physical appearance of your classroom.
9. How did you make use of your spare time during university?
10. How much time do you devote to the lecture approach?
11. If you could choose to teach any concept in your area, which would you select and why?
81. What failures have you experienced and what did you learn from them?
82. What extracurricular activities have you participated in and what did you gain from them?
83. Tell me about a recent problem you have experienced and how you went about solving it.

From: Career Curriculum

1 - What are your thoughts on team-teaching?
2 - What are your greatest strengths?
3 - What is your biggest weakness?
4 - Let's imagine an interview for a grade one teaching position wherein the interviewer asks: "Describe your classroom's physical appearance."
5 - Why do you want to work for our school district?
6 - How do you handle classroom discipline?
7 - How would you describe a successful principal?
8 - Do you have any questions for us?

What kind of mentoring program do you have?
What is the average class size?
How many are on the faculty?
Do teachers have access to the gym after school?
Is there tuition reimbursement?
Is there a teachers' library?

40 Questions From: Career Services, Virgina Tech

1. Why did you decide to become a teacher?
2. Have you ever taken care of someone? Did you enjoy it?
3. Do you consider yourself a risk taker? (Give an example to back up your answer.)
4. Are you a positive and energetic person? (Give an example to back up your answer.)
5. If a student said she thought you were the worst teacher she ever had, what would you say?
6. If I were your principal and we were setting goals for next year, what would they be?
7. What is the last book you read?
8. Have you ever considered publishing a book?
9. Some people say you should demand respect. Do you agree or disagree?
10. Tell me about yourself.
11. How would you rank these in importance and why? Planning, discipline, methods, evaluation.
40. How would you handle making a difficult phone call to a parent?


Kalynne Pudner said...

And finally, #41: What would you do if you were nearing the end of your teaching day and discovered your dress was on inside-out?

Hahahaa! That was great! Thanks for leaving that comment; it brought a smile to my face and an inspiration to my mind (I wonder how long it would take my undergrads to notice...).

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