So, the interview is wrapping up and the interviewer asks you “Do you have any questions you would like to ask us?”. You don’t want to be seen umming and ahing over such a simple question. Plus, it’s not great if the interview ends with your last response being the word no.
These are some great interview questions you can prepare in advance, and ask (if they have not already been covered during the interview already).
1. Is there a structured curriculum, or do I have more autonomy in what I teach?
And this can follow on to a range of other questions. Is there a core text you must follow, can you supplement this with your own materials?
Even access to resources – what will you have in your classroom? These don’t have to be the latest tech, some schools just have the basics of a blackboard and a CD player so this will influence what you can and cannot do in your lessons.
2. What is the length of the teaching contract?
It’s important to find out your start and end dates, and any probationary periods for new teachers. Are there any school or local holidays, and what happens on these days? Is there the possibility of renewing my contract if I want to stay on? Am I allowed to do private tuition on the side, or is this is violation of my contract?
3. Is there on-going training for teachers?
As well as department meetings, are there any opportunities to develop your skills as a teacher? There may be a mentor for new teachers. Even training on using the IT equipment in the school – some schools are very up-to-date with new technology in the classroom – smartboards, audiovisual equipment, etc.
4. What is the dress code?
These can vary from position to position – for example, if you were teaching children in a kindergarten or teaching business English to executives you wouldn’t expect to wear the same clothes. Some schools provide teachers with a uniform whilst smart casualwear is more fitting for others. Dress codes for teachers are enforced, especially in the Middle East and Asia where you have to adhere to cultural norms.
5. How many teachers currently work in the English department?
This is your chance to get a grasp of how many teachers work at the school, if there are any other native English teachers and what sort of ‘support network’ is available. You may be the only native English teacher, or only English teacher.
6. What’s life like in [insert country here]?
You need to do your research beforehand so don’t catch yourself out with this one – I wouldn’t ask about the weather, or where the best places are to visit when you’re not teaching. Obviously you can Google the basics but some information isn’t available on the internet, so ask wisely!
7. Asking about what you can expect to earn
Asking about money is always tricky, and you will have to be the judge of this. It might be worth waiting until the second interview to ask this question. If the salary is not disclosed on the job advertisement this could be for a number of reasons. They may offer varying pay scales depending on previous experience/qualifications. Be polite, but straightforward.
All the best with your interview! Have you read our blogpost on five interview questions you are likely to be asked?