It’s time to prepare for your teaching job interview and while focusing on questions that you might be asked is always a good idea, it’s also important to have some questions to ask them ready to go.
What types of things should you be asking your potential employer? What is important to find out from the start to make sure that the Special Ed teaching position will be a good fit for you?
Before you head out the door for your appointment, look over the questions for teachers to ask below and pick out the ones that apply to your situation. Not only is it important for the school district to interview you, but it’s also important that you interview the school district.
Questions for Teachers to Ask at an Interview
What type of environment is the position for?
Find out if you would be working in a resource room, self-contained classroom, etc.
Why is this position open?
Has there been an increase in students and the position is to address that overflow? Did the previous teacher resign?
What does a typical day/week look like for someone in this position?
What would your days and weeks look like? What would the hours and extra duties entail?
What are some challenges you have seen others in this position encounter and how have they been supported?
Does the school notice the demands of the position and, if so, what do they do to support those in the role?
What is the size of the caseload?
It’s important to get a feel for how big or small your caseload would be if you got the position. If they cannot answer the question or give you a wide range (from 10-30 students, for example), that could be a red flag for you. Don’t hesitate to ask for an exact number. This could very well be one of the most important questions for teachers to ask during the interview.
What supports do you have outside of the classroom for behavior management and intervention?
Behavior intervention is a part of most Special Ed classrooms, so don’t hesitate to ask about what supports the school has in place to help teachers outside of the classroom.
What supports are available for crisis response?
When there is an emergency or crisis in the classroom and you need support, what does that look like from the school? Who is available to help and what will be done to support you and your students?
What type of curriculum is used and what other academic resources are available?
Will you be required to create a curriculum from scratch or does the school already have one in place? What academic resources are available and are there any limitations on them?
How many paras will be assigned to the classroom and how many hours per day will they be in there?
Paras can be a huge help and it’s important to know whether or not you will have them in your classroom. Finding out how long they’ll be in the room each day is also an important factor!
What type of system is used for paperwork?
Does the district use specialized software for IEPs, progress monitoring, etc.? If so, what do they use and what type of training is provided?
Does the district use any type of apps or programs for communication other than email?
Knowing how the district communicates with its families can tell you a lot about how they value parental involvement.
How does your district support new staff members?
What type of training and professional development does the district or school offer to new staff members when they are hired? This is especially helpful to know if you are entering the position mid-year.
What are some of your school’s strengths? What are some areas that need improvement?
Is the school administration self-aware of what the school excels at and where they need to improve? Be wary of any school that claims to have no areas that need improvement.
What are some of the qualities you are looking for in the person you hire to fill this position?
This question is a great way to see if the position would be a good fit for how you teach and who you are as a person.
What challenges does your school face and how do you address those challenges in relation to COVID?
It’s important to find out what your potential school’s position is on masking, virtual learning, vaccination, etc. to make sure that you would be comfortable in that situation.
What committees, support teams, and boards are available for new hires to join? Is it required that each staff member participate in a certain number of them?
Can you join already established boards, committees, and teams? And, if you can, is there a requirement that you must or is it optional?
If hired, what would be the most important things for me to do in my first 90-days?
This question gives you insight into what it most important to the school about the position. If they focus on behavior, that might be an indication that there may be more behavior needs than they are letting on. If they focus on academics, it may be a sign that the curriculum may not have been previously followed.
How many hours does the position get for planning and prep each week?
If they say that there is no planning or prep built into the teacher’s schedule, ask yourself whether or not you want to do all of that in your off-hours.
What does parental involvement usually look like in your school?
Are parents very involved or is it challenging to get ahold of them? What might you be able to expect from your students’ families?
How often does the team collaborate?
Will you be going solo or does the Special Ed team at the school meet to collaborate weekly/monthly?
How does your school promote inclusion?
Does the school work to aggressively integrate students or do they have a more individualized approach?
Ask something about the school, district, or position that shows that you have done your research.
This shows the hiring committee that you are interested and have been actively researching them as much as they have been researching you.
Now, take a deep breath, put on an outfit that makes you feel unstoppable, and go do your best!