Questions for Teachers to Ask During an Interview

It’s time to prepare for your teaching job interview. While focusing on questions that you might be asked is always a good idea, it’s also important to have some questions to ask 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?

Questions for Teachers to Ask in an Interview

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. Will I be the only special ed teacher in the school/department/grade level? May I see the classroom? What type of content will I be required to teach? How many different grade levels will I be expected to teach?

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? How long did my predecessor work here in this position?

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? Will I be providing push-in or pull-out services? Will I be pulled to substitute in a class when there is no other sub available?

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? Tell me about the types of disabilities that may be present in one setting. How are difficult situations between families and staff resolved?

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 is the maximum number of students that can be on a teacher’s caseload? How many students will I provide services for that are not on my caseload?

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 is the population of students with EBD? What’s your response to behavior specifically in the special ed setting? Is there a de-escalation program that the school uses? Is there a team that manages restraints or does everyone get trained?

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? What is the protocol for IEP writing?

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. Are mentors available?

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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 will I know that I am meeting the expectations that are set for me?

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. Is there a separate time allotted for writing IEPs?

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? How inclusive is the school with adapted curriculum students?

What is the school’s philosophy on least restrictive environment (LRE)?

Also, what is the school’s philosophy on a more restrictive environment?

How does the school push special education students to the achievement level of their non-disabled peers?

How are students with disabilities referred to? What is the school’s philosophy on how and who can learn?

How many students does the team have to process for new IEPs?

Who is responsible for academic evaluations and testing?

When are IEP meetings typically held?

This question gives you a good idea of when during the day meetings are typically held and can give insight into the school’s priorities. Are they held during your planning periods? Does the school expect you to stay after hours?

What is the ratio of veteran teachers to new teachers in the building?

If there is a high turnover rate and the number of new teachers grossly outnumbers the number of veteran teachers, there could be a reason for it besides retirement.

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.

Questions to Ask at the End of an Interview

Before you head out the door, end your interview with one of the questions below.

How will I be supported in this position as a new special ed teacher in the district?

This lets the team know that you are anticipating being supported in the position.

If I am successful in this position, what will that look like in 2 years’ time?

The question gives you insight into what the school expects the ideal position to look like once it is established.

What three goals would you want me to accomplish within the first year?

Are the school’s expectations and goals for new teachers reasonable and attainable or are they too far-fetched?

Do you have any reservations about hiring me that I can address before I leave?

While this may not produce many answers, it does leave you with the opportunity to address anything that might have bothered the committee about your answers.

Does anyone need further clarification on anything I said or have any off-script questions for me?

Don’t forget that many, if not all, of the questions being asked are part of the school’s hiring script. Asking if they need clarification or have any off-script questions can give you insight into what they’re thinking about your interview and how they might approach offering you the position.

Now, take a deep breath, put on an outfit that makes you feel unstoppable, and go do your best!




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