PROSPECTIVE TEACHER INTERVIEW
The following procedures and questions are typical of what
you might find in a standard, well-conducted interview.
- The interviewer generally wants to get to know the candidate
personally, to get a "feel" for the personality. This
usually means serving up a cup of coffee and a bit of small talk.
This process serves to put the candidate at ease.
- A good interviewer will gradually begin to move the discussion
from informal and casual to structured and formal.
- When the interviewer asks questions, prospective teacher should ask clarifying questions if necessary and take time in answering.
- After the interviewer has had an opportunity to have certain
questions answered, there will generally be an opportunity for
the candidate to ask questions. Not only does this allow the
candidate for find out more about the school, it also allows
the interviewer to assess the candidate's interest in the teaching
position. Be prepared with your own questions.
- Following the discussion, the candidate is typically introduced
to a slew of administrators and given a tour of the school. This
is a good time for the candidate to assess the school, its facilities,
and potential future colleagues. Know what you are looking for
in terms of facilities and situations. Talk frankly with school
See if your hiring will be a good match for YOU. If the school's philosophy is not consistent with your's, you probably don't want to work there.
- Following the interview, the candidate's references will
be checked, usually by phone. Probably the single most important
phone call will be to the school where the candidate had his
student teaching experience. The second most important phone
call will be to the candidate's major department at the degree-granting
- Generally, the discussion of salary occurs as part of the
follow-up process. This is usually done after the school has
made its choice of candidates. No need to discuss salary if the teacher is not going to be hired.
Possible Questions by Administrator:
- What expectations do you discuss with your students regarding
- How do you help students feel a part of the school system
and responsible to their fellow students?
- Is this your favorite age group? How do you know?
- How well can you handle frustration on a daily basis? How
do you deal with them?
- How do you make most effective involvement and effective
use of parents and other adult support in the community?
- What resources do you rely on to keep you current and up
to date regarding your subject area?
- Where do you see the role of Career Education in the high
school? How do you incorporate it into your classes?
- What skills and abilities should a high school student have
in general? In your particular subject area?
- What are your pedagogical strengths and weaknesses?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses in the area of classroom
- How do you react when a student calls you a S.O.B.?
- a - student in your class
- b - not one of your students in a hallway setting
- How loyal are you?
- What personal tools do you use to build up rapport among
the students? faculty? other staff members? administrators?
- What are your perceptions of the role of a counselor?
- How have you handled criticism?
- What steps do you take to get to know each one of your students?
- Describe your most interesting educational experience.
- Why do you believe that physics is an important part of the high school curriculum?
- As a school principal I am most interested in hiring that
individual that most demonstrates two attributes -- competence
in teaching an a concern for students. Convince me that you are
the right guy for the job as far as these two attributes are
- What sort of experiences have you had working with students
of this age group in an extracurricular setting?
- What is the goal of science teaching?
- What is scientific literacy?
- How will you work to make your students scientifically literate?
- How independent are you in thought and action?
- How well do you work in isolation?
- Do you have any questions for me at this time? (Ask such
questions as support systems for novice teachers.)
- How are you going to manage 45-55 minute periods each day?
- Are you student oriented?
- Are you willing to do coaching of any sort?
- What did you most like about your student teaching experience?
- What was the most difficult aspect about student teaching
- Are you familiar with the process of networking a computer
- Explain in 2-3 sentences your teaching philosophy.
- You profess to teach science; what is science?
- What is mean by the following types of teaching: student centered, knowledge centered, assessment centered, and community centered.
- Tell me what you know about the No Child Left Behind initiative and its impact on our school by way of PSAE and so on.
- How well will your science teaching comply with NSES directives?
- What is constructivism?
- What are your thoughts about alternative conceptions and how to overcome them?
- Define what you mean by "teaching".
Possible Questions by Prospective Teacher:
- Who will be my immediate supervisor?
- How is administration arranged?
- What committees can I expect to serve on?
- How do teachers interact with the administration?
- What sort of non-teaching activities will I be expected to
- What are the job benefits in terms of insurance, health,
- What sort of access will I have to school facilities after
- May I see a salary schedule?
- Who sets the curriculum?
- Who selects the textbooks?
- Will I be allowed to practice inquiry-oriented teaching?
- What are school day hours?
- What sort of support mechanisms do you have for novice teachers?
- What sort of supervision of teachers is performed here?
- Who makes teacher assessments and how are they performed?
- How does one obtain tenure in this school system?
- Is there support for teachers returning to school part time
for their Masters degrees?
- What sort of courses can I expect to teach -- how many preps
-- how many periods?
- May I see the classroom and facilities I will be using if
- May I meet my colleagues?
- May I visit the library?
- What sort of monetary support can I expect to assist in my teaching?
How is this money allocated?
- What accommodations are made for teachers
- Are there any personal days in the teacher's calendar?
- How do you view teachers? As professionals, as technicians executing a set curriculum?
Common Teacher Problems:
- talking too much or talking too little
- no eye contact
- never smiles
- sloppy or casual appearance
- late to interview
- answers to questions not well thought out
- limp hand shake
- unprepared to "sell" oneself
- failure to understand requirements and meaning of teaching
- lack of an appropriate teaching philosophy
- poor content area and teacher education grades
- lack of an outgoing personality
- inappropriate questions, comment, or actions
- lack of self-confidence
Don't forget that ISU's Career Center conducts mock interviews by appointment.
Return to Professional Growth.