The end of the year is in sight and administrators are turning their attentions to hiring for the next school year. If you are job hunting you may be wondering how to best prepare for interviews. Here is a list of questions art teachers have reported being asked in interviews or using when being involved in the interview for an art teacher position. Interview questions have been grouped into categories. While the questions you encounter may differ to a degree, you will find you can broadly prepare for these types of questions and tailor your prepared answers to the specific question asked.
My first piece of advice is to prepare thoughtful but concise answers. My second piece of advice is to practice your answers out loud. Have a friend ask questions, you respond, and then ask for feedback. You can also tape yourself and listen to the responses. Do you sound confident or nervous? Did you answer casually or professionally (i.e Did you respond with “Yeah” or “Yes”) ?
Getting to know you
• Why do you teach art?
• What is the last book you read?
• Please tell us of a difficult moment in your life and how you handled it.
• What can you offer our school that other candidates cannot?
• What three words would your peers, administrators, or students use to describe you?
• Where do you see yourself in five years from now?
• Tell us about a time you demonstrated something well and how you did it.
• How do you balance being likable but respected by your students?
• How do you get students to critically think?
• Describe your most successful lesson? Least successful lesson?
• If I were a student in your class what could I expect/see happen during a typical class period?
• How do you align your lessons with the state standards?
• How do you communicate with parents?
• How will you encourage parents to support their children’s education?
• Why is art class important?
• In what way is art history exciting to you?
• What is the most applicable part of art to general life skills?
• How would you promote the program and handle art shows?
• What is more important, the process or the product?
• If you have multiple classes in a single class period how would you approach this type of teaching situation?
• As an artist, what are your strengths?
• How do you deal with a project that fails?
• How would you engage students who are in your class for a credit but don’t really have any interest in the class?
• Describe your classroom management structure.
• How would you manage a student who was not on task?
• How do you keep an inclusive and engaged classroom even when energies are low?
• How will you build relationships with students?
• Explain your grading policies for art.
• How can you grade in art, when most people, like parents and students, feel art is subjective?
• Under what circumstance might you fail a student?
• What do you say to a parent that challenges your grading practices?
• Tell us how you are differentiating and individualizing instruction.
• Tell us how you support students with learning differences.
• What kinds of things would you do in your classroom to help IEP (Individual Education Plan), ESL (English as a second language), and talented and gifted students?
• How do you accommodate students with special needs in the art room?
• How do you go about creating a learning environment where every student feels included, valued, and encouraged?
• How do you create an inclusive art room?
• How would you approach sharing an art room with a colleague?
• How do you feel about the possibility of sharing classroom space and materials?
• What kinds of extracurricular activities are interested in or have experience in leading?
• Why did you apply to this job?
• How do you incorporate writing into your curriculum?
• Can you provide examples of collaborating with teachers (of other disciplines)?
• A job candidate reported being given this task. The candidate was given four pieces of artwork from students and asked to critique each student in writing.
• Another job candidate reported being handed some dry erase markers and asked to make a visual representation about her life and what brought her to being an art teacher. The interviewer stepped out of the room for 5 minutes while the candidate made quick drawings of major life events that brought her to her career as an art teacher. They came back in and she explained her journey.
In addition to preparing for interview questions it is a wise idea to research the position, school, and district and ask questions to those interviewing. Google the school, scour their website, look at the course of studies booklet, look for news articles, school budget meeting agendas, etc. Questions that reflect that research tells the interview team you did your homework and are a serious candidate. “I read that the art program worked with a community art center on an Empty Bowls project this year. What other community partnerships is the art program involved in?” These questions will make you stand out to the committee.
Possible questions to ask
• Why is the position vacant?
• How has the administration supported teachers through the pandemic?
• How do you support the arts at your school?
• How is teacher growth supported?
• What diversity training have you provided to your school?
• What technology resources will be available to teachers in general and what technology specific to the art program?