Questions To Ask At An Interview: Academic Support

question2.jpgAn interview is more than an opportunity for a school to decide whether to hire you; it’s a chance for you to learn more about the school and decide if it’s the right place for you. Academic support is one thing that is usually important for new teachers. Some questions I’d recommend asking:

Is there a Director of Studies or Academic Director?
This is the person, usually a more experienced teacher, who you can go to for a somewhat final answer on teaching or procedure questions.

It is often his or her job to help you with lesson plans if you need it. Co-workers are almost always genuinely wonderful people, but like you, have their own classes to teach and it is not their job to assist you. Ask eight co-workers and you may get eight different answers. It’s good to know not only that someone is there to give you answers if you need them, but that the person is more or less obligated to do so.

Like teachers and working people in general, Academic Directors too move on to other jobs, but they are not as easy to replace as teachers. A school without an Academic Director can be a challenging place to work, especially for a new teacher. Often bigger schools have Assistant Academic Directors/Directors of Study so not all the responsibility falls on one person.

Are there seminars or teachers’ meetings and if so, how often are they? What have some of the recent topics been?

It is a sign of a good school if there are regular seminars or teachers meetings where teachers can share and exchange ideas, games, activities and discuss different aspects of the day to day business at the school. Topics may be mundane things like paperwork or testing procedures, but meetings generally give you information you need. Weekly seminars can get burdensome, but for a new teacher, are often better than nothing. And, teachers often go out together afterwards, so it’s a good opportunity to meet your co-workers, especially if people teach at different times.