Guest blog by Randi from Winnie Solutions - October 30, 2020
Whether you are a current teacher looking to change schools or a recent college graduate trying to land that first job, think about what happens once you have received an interview request from one of the schools you applied for. While you’re busy preparing for the interview, practicing your answers for all the questions that you think they could possibly ask, it is equally important that you remember one thing: You are also interviewing them to make sure the school is a good fit. Here are the three most important things to consider while interviewing for teaching positions.
1. Pay and Benefits
First and foremost, we want to be compensated for our hard work. Along with compensation, it is equally important to consider what benefits are available, such as healthcare, retirement planning, and leave. While you would not typically ask these questions during the interview, it is essential to know the following before accepting a final job offer:
- Is the pay competitive?
- Are they willing to provide a salary schedule?
- What healthcare provider do they use?
- How are the plan(s) structured?
- Do they have an FSA/HSA you can opt in?
- Do you have the ability to add dependents?
- What are the retirement plans offered?
- Is there any employer matching?
- Is there a defined benefit pension plan? How long do you have to stay to qualify for the pension?
- Is paid leave offered? How long do you have to be there before being eligible for it?
School Leadership / Administration
Asking pointed questions for leadership style is a critical yet often missed part of the interview process. It can feel uncomfortable asking interview-style questions back, but it really is the key to discovering if the position will be a good fit for you as well. Also, this will help you spot any red flags pointing toward a toxic work environment. Here are some simple questions to ask during the interview that can help identify the leadership style of the school:
- What is your ideal employee?
- How do you like to give constructive feedback?
- What’s the process for evaluating teachers?
- Is this a new role or a replacement role? If replacement, why did the last person leave?
- How do you invest back into your employees?
- How has the school handled COVID-19?
School Culture & Climate
We spend so much time at our job, it is imperative for our happiness to have the workplace culture align with our personal values. This definitely looks different for everyone, so it is important to first hone in on what you believe your ideal work environment is. Do you enjoy a more collaborative or independent approach? Do you prefer strict guidelines or freedom to make your own rules? Below are a few questions to ask to gain perspective on what the culture and climate of the school is like:
- What is the turnover rate?
- What are the school’s core values?
- Are there mentoring programs for new teachers?
- What opportunities are offered for professional growth and development?
- What are the goals of the school/district this year?
- What do you think the school’s greatest strengths are?
- How involved are the parents?
- Does the school get support from the community?
While this is a good place to start, also remember to do your due diligence and scope out the school’s website. There you may find the answers to some of your questions or it might spark discussion items you would like to bring up during your interview. For an insider’s perspective, read the reviews from other teachers on Wheretoteach.com! Here, you can get a quick summary of the school’s overall rating and then specifics, such as pay and benefits, leadership and administration, available resources and opportunities, culture and climate, as well as students and demographics. You can also help out your fellow colleagues by rating your past schools.
By Randi from Winnie Solutions - October 30, 2020
Randi is the owner of Winnie Solutions, a virtual assistance company that helps businesses with brand voice and content creation.