Hiring Teachers: 20 essential interview questions for principals

Posted on Fri, Jul 19, 2013 @ 09:07 AM

hiring teachersHiring teachers is tricky business. More specifically, though, hiring is a solitary business. We may include the staff, the PTA or the board in the selection process, but whether they are included or not, the administrator will stand alone if that new hire doesn’t work out.

But making the right hiring decision has implications that transcend an administrator’s reputation and legacy. John Black and Fenwick English are right to suggest that “people are ultimately institutions. Institutions are no better than their collective brains, energy, and humanity guided by a mission.” If we are to reform our schools, close racial gaps, increase academic performance and build effective curriculum, we must hire the right “brains, energy, and humanity” to help us do it.

While we recognize that hiring teachers is a long and complicated process that requires more than asking “the right” set of interview questions, we’d like to share 20 useful interview questions from Kenneth Peterson’s book, Effective Teacher Hiring: A guide to Getting the Best.

Hiring Teachers: 20 essential interview questions for principals

  • Why did you become a teacher?
  • How did your education prepare you to become a teacher?
  • What part of teaching appeals to you most/least?
  • What is your philosophy of teaching?
  • What do you believe is the most important part of teaching?
  • How will you reach students with special needs?
  • How will you create a positive environment in your classroom?
  • How will you use technology in the classroom?
  • What attracted you to this school district?
  • What curriculum areas are your strongest?
  • How will you involve parents in the classroom?
  • How will you create relationships with parents and students?
  • What do you think will provide you the greatest pleasure in teaching?
  • In what way will you nurture creativity in the classroom?
  • Can you describe a successful lesson?
  • What do you look for in a principal?
  • How would you communicate with administrators?
  • Describe a time you had to handle a student who was disrupting your class.
  • Describe a team project you’ve work on.
  • Tell me about a difficult situation you were in
    • How did you handle it?
    • What was the outcome?
    • What did you learn from it?
    • What might you do differently if it happened again?

If you’re looking for more tips to help you navigate the hiring process, we recommend checking out not only Kenneth Peterson’s book, Effective Teacher Hiring: A guide to Getting the Best, but also John Black’s and Fenwick English’s book, What They Don’t Tell You in Schools of Education about School Administration.

Photo credit: Groundswell


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Topics: Educational Leadership Degree, Educational Leadership Master's Programs, effective principal, Role of Principal in School, Becoming an effective principal, aspiring school administrator, hiring teachers

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