Learn how to ace an interview for a job of a middle school teacher
Standing somewhere between elementary and high school, students can choose some subjects while studying in the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and sometimes even the 9th grade, a period which is classified as Middle School. But what does it change for you in a job interview, if anything?
First of all, we talk about children aged from eleven to sixteen, which happen to be the most problematic teenage years. Students often struggle with discipline at middle school, and they often experience emotional and mental difficulties, trying to cope with the hormonal changes that take place in their bodies, and material changes that take place in their life. Generally speaking, teaching 7th graders is definitely more challenging than teaching 3rd graders.
On the other hand, teaching is teaching. Most of the questions in your interview will be the same, doesn’t matter if you apply at elementary, middle, or high school. And a good answer in one case will work also in another one. There are just slight differences, and we try to refer to them in this article. Let’s have a look at the questions.
Why middle school? Why not elementary or high school?
You have a few options to explain your choice. You can say that you enjoy working with this particular age group, that you understand their world and challenges they experience, and therefor you prefer to work with them, and not with younger or older students.
Another alternative is to say that you like to focus on your main subject (Math, Physics, History, anything), and believe that the value you can convey to the students in the lessons is higher at Middle School, since students choose their subjects, and the classes are typically smaller in size, which allows for a more individual approach to the students.
The last alternative (and often the genuine one) is saying that you do not care much about the grade level, but that you wanted to work for their school, and since they advertised this particular vacancy, you applied. And here you are in the interview…
What are the electives and how many may the kids choose?
Generally, kids in middle school get to begin choosing some “electives” beyond the core curriculum of math, science, social science and language arts. After that, programs vary hugely: kids may get to choose from second languages, PE, band, art, or drama. At many schools, the electives are limited, so you and your child may have to decide between art which he loves and Spanish which you love. Whether a school offers the right electives for your child may be the tipping point in choosing a middle school.
In some schools second languages are seen as part of the academic required classes. In others, they are a choice competing with a drama or music class. If you value learning a second language for your child, it’s worth looking for a school which does not only “offer” a second language but requires it.
Do the science classes have hands-on labs?
In many cash-strapped schools around the nation, science is taught without access to a laboratory, not an ideal situation. If you want your child to have an extraordinary science education, learning through science experiments (not just reading) is considered essential. If the school doesn’t have access to a lab, it’s worth asking about how the teachers manage to teach the subject without it. You may be disappointed in what you hear or you may be pleasantly surprised at the way the teachers are using creative strategies to incorporate hands-on experiments into the curriculum without a lab.
Safety is crucial. And middle schools generally deal with more safety and disciplinary issues than elementary schools. So it’s worth asking questions like, “How often do kids get disciplined or suspended?” “How many fights have there been on campus this year and last year?” These questions may not make you popular on a tour, but every other parent will appreciated that you dared to talk about the elephant in the room.
Every school should have ready answers for you to these questions. The process for dealing with kids with disciplinary issues should be crystal clear and you should feel comfortable with it. (If it’s too strict or lax, it may drive you crazy later.) You’ll also get a better sense of what the school is dealing with in terms of the student population by hearing some of the disciplinary stats. If the school says it doesn’t keep tract of these, this is a huge red flag. It’s a law that it must track and report these to the state.
Yearbook Interview Questions: A Complete List
Without any context, your yearbook is just a photo album. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Pictures are great. They’re absolutely the first things students will look at. But aside from a few amazing images, they’re not the stuff people are going to talk about. It’s the written context—the stuff people read and learn when they open the book—that really resonates.
To get that, you need yearbook interview questions that will get your students, teachers, coaches, and administrators to open up. Here are 75, separated by category, to get you started:
- Do you drive to school? What was your most listened to driving song on your morning commute this year?
- Which school tradition are you most proud of?
- Would students be more productive if cell phones were banned during school hours?
- What’s your favorite school lunch?
- Should the school have (or keep) vending machines?
- Do you think an open campus is a good idea?
- What’s your most embarrassing in-school memory? What happened and did you learn anything from it?
- Which event did you most look forward to this year? Did it live up to expectations?
- You can bring any three of your classmates on a cross-country road trip in your family’s hatchback: who would you choose and why?
- If you could get rid of the bells between classes, would you? Why?
- How did you decorate your locker this year?
- How do you avoid participating in gossip? What do you do if there’s gossip about you?
- If you could choose any artistic medium and give it a dedicated course, what would it be?
- The jobs you will have one day don’t even exist yet: what kinds of skills do you think you might need to succeed?
- Least memorable United States President?
- Are there enough foreign language options? If not, what would you like to see added? Should they be required?
- What project or assignment challenged you the most as a student? Why?
- Most useful math equation or theory you learned this year?
- What was the longest paper you wrote this year? Who was it for? What was it about?
- If you could conduct any science experiment in a class, what would it be? Do you have a hypothesis ready to go?
- What was the most enjoyable book you had to read for school this year?
- Which subject do you think prepares you most for life after high school? Why?
- What’s your favorite Snapchat/Instagram filter?
- Most social media savvy teacher?
- How can teachers make social media part of their curricula?
- If you could only use one emoji for the rest of high school, which would you choose? (Be sure to check these for appropriateness.)
- Do you have your own website? How did you make it? What do you use it for?
- Which piece of technology has most contributed to your academic success?
- What was the most “viral” event of the school year?
- How would you recommend the school use its technology budget? What kinds of devices or software would you like to see available next year?
- Would you be more likely to read or contribute to the school newspaper if it was digital?
- What’s your favorite podcast? Is there any way teachers could incorporate it into their classrooms?
If you can remember to keep your questions open-ended and purposeful, you’re already two steps ahead. Try out some of our suggested yearbook interview questions or use them as inspiration to write your own. Either way, make sure to turn to your student body to find those stories, quotes, and trends that will give your yearbook context and make everything, including all those great pictures, more meaningful.