Monday, July 27, 2009

Your Questions Matter: What to Ask During a Teacher Interview for Teaching Abroad

During a teacher job interview, you're inevitably going to be asked, "Do you have any questions?"

The best response? "Yes, I do," and then you look at your notes & find the most appropriate questions that have not already been answered in the interview itself. Ask 2-3 questions, no more, no less.

The worst response? "Nope."

With Classroom Canada, I don't actually write down the questions that teachers ask me unless they really stand out, for better or worse. So, for example, if they have no questions I'll write down "not prepared for interview," or if they have 10 questions that they could have found here on the blog, then I'll write, "asked 10 questions, not prepared for interview."

Harsh? Maybe. But let's be fair here.

I did write the Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians, and this blog. If they can't afford the book, they can still find most of what they need to know here in the blog. When I decide to interview teachers, I tell them to please look at our website and the blog and type into the search on the top of the page the word "interviews" and they will find all the questions I will ask during their interview with me. I honestly don't think I can make it any easier to ace the interview, and I really do want teachers to succeed.

To help some more, here are some of the questions you should ask during any teacher interview:
  1. What kinds of opportunities are there for professional development with _______ (insert agency or school board here). This shows your professional interest in the job, dedication to the field of education and is a very good question.
  2. What is the average length of time that teachers work with your ______ (again, insert agency of school board here.) This shows that you want to know more about the agency/board and the dedication of their teachers, without sounding too picky.
  3. I'd like to be involved in extracurricular activities. What kinds of contributions outside of teaching classes do your teachers make now? This is a really great way for you to find out how much the interviewer actually knows about their teachers, but also shows that you want to go above & beyond your role as a teacher. Great question.
What not to ask during a teacher interview, particularly for teacher jobs abroad:
  1. What's the weather like in _______ (insert country or city here)? Any question you can find the answer to in google just shouldn't be asked. Especially when it's that obvious. The weather in London? Hot, balmy, tropical! You'll love it.
  2. How much is the pay? Interviewers know that you want to know this. Of course you do. But it's usually not the best to ask during an interview. Wait until you get offered the job, then ask about the nitty-gritty like pay, cost of living, packing advice, etc.
  3. How much holiday time will I get? One of the big perks to teaching abroad is the travel. This is particularly true for teaching in London, England. You will get to travel all around Europe and parts of Africa, and you will have 13 weeks of holiday during the year. This question shows a lack of research on your part, and creates the wrong image of you as a teacher who is only interested in their holidays.
I hope this list helps any new teachers out there. Any other advice you'd like to share here? Or, any other questions for me? Please share your thoughts below in the comments section.

If you'd like to become part of the Classroom Canada team, please sign up for our newsletters & apply through our website. Be sure to read the Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadiansto help you understand everything you need to know about teaching in London.


  1. Once again, another fabulous and helpful blog, Victoria!

    These are the types of questions I usually ask anyways, but it's always good to be reassured :)

    Thank you!


Thanks for sharing your two pence!


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