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Interviewing the Institution: it can't hurt to ask (teacher edition)

Put your institution and your leadership team in the hot seat. For your own personal and professional safety, security, and sanity, here is a series of questions to ask if you are a prospective, incoming, or returning teacher in a private school setting.

Things to Consider:

  • Treat this as a behavioral interview and make sure they give specific examples.

  • Beforehand, understand your self-worth, your goals, and your bandwidth enough to walk away if you get insufficient answers.

  • If you do not hear anything specific about processes, policies, or practices, then consider the responses performative, insincere, or duplicitous.

  • Be strategic about when you ask these questions, how you ask these questions, and to whom you ask these questions.

Potential Questions to Ask:

EQUITY & INCLUSION: What do equity and inclusion look like on campus?

  1. Variations:

    1. How has your faculty ensured the physical and socioemotional safety, belonging, and well-being of all members on campus?

    2. How do "equity" and "inclusion" show up in your school's values, culture and practices?

    3. What supports are there in place for the historically underrepresented and the historically marginalized?

OPEN TO GROWTH: What are some strengths and areas of growth for your faculty and your leadership team, respectively?

  1. Variations:

    1. What is the last tradition or policy that your school revised, added, or did away with in the spirit and practice of equity and inclusion?

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT & INVESTMENT: How has the school invested in the professional development of faculty and staff?

  1. Variations:

    1. What are the professional development opportunities for individual teachers who want to better their practice or move up in the organization?

    2. What is the process for promotions?

RECRUITMENT & RETENTION: What have been some concrete steps or actions taken to recruit, support, and retain faculty and staff from underrepresented or under-served backgrounds?

  1. Variations:

    1. What are the demographics of the faculty and staff? the leadership team?

    2. What would keep a teacher like me here for the long-term?

    3. What would cause a teacher like me to leave in the short-term?

    4. How do you know your faculty and staff feel supported, seen, and heard?

    5. How does the pay compare to that of other schools?

    6. How does the salary or pay scale change with any promotion or additional responsibilities?

EXTRACURRICULAR EXPECTATIONS: What are the extracurricular obligations or expectations in addition to my classroom teaching responsibilities?

  1. Variations:

    1. How often will I be asked to do tasks outside of my teaching duties and outside of my contracted work hours?

    2. How does your school distinguish between sick days and mental health days?


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