It is important to be prepared for questions you will be asked during an interview. Some educators report some pretty crazy questions. There are some common questions that are usually asked, however.
Submitted by Cindy Erickson
Do you teach DBAE, technique or creativity based? (Used if the person doing the interview knows about art curriculum)
What curriculum do you follow?
How many weeks do you spend on each project? (tells you whether the teacher is
a broad-spectrum professor or a specialized teacher-depending on what
What is the best thing that has ever happened to you in the classroom?
How do you involve parents?
What plans do you have for outreach to the community?
How do you handle a student who ____________(add a specific circumstance)?
What is your opinion regarding interdisciplinary teaching?
your long-term goals personally? for our art program here at ______?
Can you please name for me 3 of the state standards for elem. art? (Yow!)
Describe your favorite lesson plan in 50 words....
What 5 things do you want your students to KNOW when they leave your classroom?
Do you use written lesson plans?
by Maggie White (from TeacherArtExchange post)
What are some of the knowledge and skills that an art teacher needs in order to be effective in the classroom?
What qualities do you bring to this position that would benefit students?
Why do you want this position?
Tell how you would communicate with your parents. Give examples of ways that you would involve them in their child's learning.
Describe your style in handling discipline problems with students.
What projects and art show have you been involved with in teaching art?
Give a brief summary of your experience with or knowledge of:
Computer education and how you utilize it in the classroom.
What projects will you utilize with students in developing the students' skills?
Have you used thematic units in teaching? Is so, describe what they were and how you were involved in the development of these units?
Describe your philosophy of teaching art.
Describe your assessment philosophy.
What questions do you have for us?
Interview Questions Submitted by Sue Freeland:
How do you handle discipline in your classroom?
How would you handle special needs in your classroom?
What are your specific curriculum goals?
What do you expect students to learn from your class?
Interview Questions from Janice Jarreau
Directions: Read the question and write notes you might use in giving to the interviewer. Pay attention to the TIPS, which are intended to guide your answers.
1. What are your short range goals? (Tip: What kind of job are you looking for?)
2. Where do you want to be 5 years from now? (Tip: Talk about how you would prepare yourself for future jobs in the company).
3. What special skills do you have? (Tip: Talk about skills you would use in this job).
4. What kind of job are you most interested in? (Tip: Explain how your interests will help you do a good job).
5. What kind of characteristics do you feel are most important for this job? (Tip: Talk about the 2 or 3 positive characteristics you use most often in this job: Leadership, work under pressure, and so forth.
6. What is your greatest strength? Why do you think you can do this job better than anyone else? (Tip: Pick a strength that fits the job).
7. What is your major weakness? (Tip: It is all right to admit a weakness, but also talk about how you can turn it into a strength). +++ My answer to this question is; I am a perfectionist. You see, this can be a weakness, but more often it is an asset.
8. What were your most important achievements in your last position? (Tip: Review you accomplishments).
9. Could you tell me about yourself? (Tip: Don't get trapped!!! Ask specifically what the interviewer would like to know about you).
10. Why do you want to work for this company? (Tip: Compliment the company. Also explain how the company can benefit by your abilities). ++Dept. Head at my college said about teaching: Don't say because it is closest to my house! The main 2 reasons you should pick a school is because of the Principal (person) and because the school supports the Arts.
11. What kind of recommendations do you think you'll get from your previous employer? (Tip: Excellent, Good, -tell why. If you know for sure you will get a poor recommendation, don't be afraid to tell why, but follow up with a positive comment. Don't ever badmouth a previous employer).
12. How do you feel about overtime? (Tip: If this question is asked, you know that there are overtime requirements. If you can and want to work overtime, answer enthusiastically. Don't answer "Well if I have to").
13. How long will you stay with us? (Tip: Be positive Say something such as, "I look at this opportunity as the beginning of a permanent relationship).
14. Why should we hire you? (Tip: Give a summary of your most important qualifications and interests. Be enthusiastic).
15. Define the following: (you could also look these up in the dictionary)
a) Cooperation (Tip: harmony, common goal)
b) Responsibility (Tip: being accountable)
c) Challenging (Tip: desire to explore new ways)
These are my most memorable interview questions - from Judy Decker
What is the most recent book you read? Why did you read that book? What did you learn from it?
Where do you plan to be ten years from now? What are your goals?
Briefly, what is your philosophy of Art Education and how do you intend to get that philosophy across in your teaching?
Question from a Getty TeacherArtExchange Member:
I went to an interview for a public school art job and the woman that interviewed me... asked me to tell her the CURRICULUM for ALL grade levels in the following medias: painting, drawing and ceramics... How should I prepare for this possibly happening again?
Response from Marvin Bartel: As an interviewer, the purpose is to assess the candidates preparation and abilities in comparison to other candidates. I think this interviewer is asking the right thing. You want to a teacher that knows the field.
As a candidate, I would respond by saying that this is a great question, and follow with an articulate philosophy of art education, offering at least one good painting, drawing, and ceramics example to clarify my philosophy of art education. This is difficult, but certainly worth preparing because it is the same preparation needed teach.
Response from Judy Decker: When I went to my first job interview and was asked what I would teach at what grade level (this was for high school), I handed him my complete curriculum guide. He was impressed with the variety of media. I was a "dreamer"... I wrote up a curriculum for jewelry, ceramics, sculpture, fibers, drawing, painting, and printmaking - as well as an Art Fundamentals class. I may have had a crafts elective, too (don't remember now). Now a days, you would have to write one for Graphic Design/Computer graphics as well.
Maybe pre-service students should at least be required to write out a curriculum map of what they might teach at what grade level. I have a feeling the Interviewer was "testing" this applicant to see if she was familiar with the stages of artistic development.
Here are some questions to post to the interviewer (oh, and take notes!) - from Pat:
1. How much is the art budget?
2. How big is the class size (be sure to ask for biggest!)
3. How many students will I be serving? (example: if elementary are you going to see every student k-6? K-3? 3-6? If High School is every freshman
required to take Art I?
4. Be sure to see the room. If they don't show you the room a BIG RED FLAG should go up as either A) the room is small and outdated or B) you are art on a cart -- there are plenty of people on the list who can tell you what THAT is like.
5. When you see the room BE NOSY! Go through the drawers and cupboards to see what is there and what condition it is in. You might get what you think is a large budget, but if you have to replace everything in the room, it will go fast.
6. Ask about the discipline policy. I have run into too many principals who do not enforce discipline. Ask questions about typical problems and how you should handle them. (some want students in the office, others want you to handle everything)
Now, if you're feeling nervy, then do some quick math and figure out the per pupil amount you are getting for a budget. If it is an insult, put it back to them. Ask them how they expect you to have a high quality program with a low quality budget. If you don't feel like putting it back to them, do the math at home and ask yourself if you can teach with that budget, conditions, etc.
Also, some questions that you might not think to ask...
7. Are you going to be required to perform any extra duties? New teachers get hid hardest with this. Everything from lunch or bus duty, to class sponsor and Prom planner. If so, are you going to receive a stipend for performing them?
8. Does the district pay for continuing education? Believe it or not some schools will pay for a teacher to get a Masters degree. They have this weird idea that a better educated teacher makes a better teacher.
9. How many hours per year continuing education does the district require? If it is a small district, the school will probably plan something for every teacher to do together. Bigger districts allow teachers to make some choices.
10. Are there any contests or exhibits that you are REQUIRED to enter student art in? Examples: Scholastic or Youth Art Month.
11. When finished with the interview sign and date the notes you took. If you want, have the interviewer sign and date it as well. This comes in handy later on if they try to change anything they told you in the interview. (big one? budget--they'll cut you any chance they get--if they try and you are in high school get the public records for how much money is spent on the football program (you'll be surprised at how much this is!--I taught at a school that played six man football and spent $100,000 a year WATERING THE FOOTBALL FIELD--and ask what percentage they are cutting of this funding (this always throws them for a loop).
These responses were generated on ArtsEducators' list serve at the request of Dan Cherney, student teacher.
From Ken Schwab: I have had to hire 4 new teachers in the last few years. I would say that I look to see a portfolio from the applicant, some don't bring one. In this portfolio any scores on the Praxis would be great. (I was a reader for that test) In the work to be shown, it is important to show your own work and to prove that you have the skills, but more importantly, to show student work. So many artists are great in doing their own work but if you can also get it out of the students, then it is a real good indicator of the kind of teacher you are. Some teachers are able to get much better results from their kids than they can do themselves. As an interviewer I would like to see both and as many examples as you can offer. Slides, prints (photo's) or actual works.
~ Ken Schwab, Art teacher, Leigh High School, San Jose, CA
From Bunki Kramer: While you are still student teaching, make sure you take some 35mm
photos of you teaching kids, student pictures of their working on your projects, and finished student project works. Make sure all the kids and you are SMILING! As the adage says, "A picture is worth
a 1000 words". The image will stay in the employer mind's eye. When they think of you, they will conjure up the images of smiles and products. If you can bring a few easily-carried products, so much the better. Many administrators haven't a clue about the process of art and are tuned in to product-oriented examples to see how you will showcase the school and how you will handle discipline while producing.
I agree with your advisor... forget showing your grades because you won't be considered a "student" anymore but will be labeled a "professional" already graduated. You'll need resume, maybe schooling, lots and lots of photos (maybe an album like I did), a lesson plan with a finished product, and maybe your philosophy (though I never had to deliver one). If you've had other experience... like teaching art in summer camp, volunteer work with special ed., any little extra things like that are helpful. Add a few photos of your own work.
My personal experience has been that educators are looking for someone who can deliver products, make them look good (showcasing), handle his/her own discipline in the classroom successfully without administrator help, and is a team player who will blend in with their faculty comfortably. It's really all about what YOU can do for THEM.
Students' portfolios must pass a final review by the two art education faculty and an outside evaluator (typically a local art teacher) in order for them to graduate. You might be interested in seeing the rubric we use to score these portfolios. It's also a PDF file (requiring Acrobat Reader) and can be found at: http://plaza.ufl.edu/rolandc/arted/courses/rubric.pdf (Archived file)
While we've used teaching portfolios here at UF for years, its only been recently that they've become a "high-stakes" situation. A few years also, Florida mandated that all beginning teachers in the state must demonstrate 12 Educator Accomplished Practices in order to be certified. In addition to using portfolios to determine our students' readiness to enter the classroom, we also use formal written observations by the cooperating teacher and university supervisor of the students' actual teaching in the classroom.
As you've no doubt discovered, constructing a teaching portfolio is a pretty exhaustive process. Our experience with them here at UF suggests that the work pays off. Most of our students who go looking for jobs get rave reviews by potential employers and often get hired based largely on what they show in their portfolios.
The expectations indicated on this list (as well as the portfolio development process) are fully integrated into a four-year program and students are given lots of assistance and feedback along the way. Our students begin collecting materials for their portfolios from the moment they enter the Introduction to Art Education class and continue to do so up through their student teaching.
I try to simplify the expectations (for both students and myself) with my own translation of what the state is expecting. It goes something like this:
You need to be able to show in your portfolio that you:
Use both traditional and alternative forms of assessment to evaluate and assist student learning and performance in the classroom.
Write and speak clearly.
Engage in professional activities beyond the classroom that lead to self improvement.
Teach your students to think--critically and creatively.
Differentiate between students and adapt your lessons accordingly.
Conduct yourself in a professional manner.
Provide a positive learning environment for all students.
Know your subject and are able to translate that knowledge into effective lessons.
Can manage an art classroom.
Incorporate a variety of methods, activities and resources in your teaching.
See to it that you contribute to your school and community.
Use technology to promote student learning.
Seen this way the expectations don't seem so overwhelming.
~ Craig Roland - Associate Professor of Art Education - School of Art and Art History - University of Florida
From Patty Knott: This is what I look for. As department coordinator, I am asked to sit in on interviews. I take care of the art part because the administrator doesn't know.
I want to see a portfolio of the teacher's work. I do, in fact, want to know that the potential teacher is capable of making art. I want to see that the art making goes beyond "crafty" I want to see exploration and some articulation of purpose. I want to see more than just "dabbling into various processes."
I want to see a portfolio of student work and I want to see exploration of potential in that student work. I don't care about "slick" I want to see thinking process. I want to see original lessons, I want to see that students are encouraged to pursue individual thought.
I want to see a lesson plan. I want to see that the potential teacher knows what an objective is. I want to see objectives not activities. What is being achieved? I want to see lessons that start with a big question and then go backwards. I want to see more than achieving a skill or technique, I want to see thinking process.
I asked my interviewees, "What is your philosophy of art ed?" and my questions are pointed to know that there is some sense of history as regards to the philosophies -- Lowenfeld, Bartel, Eisner, etc...
And I expect to be interviewing next year. My big concern will be technology. I firmly believe we engage the "fringes' of kids by offering the experiences that the computer can give. I want to know that a candidate for a position has the knowledge and foresight for using technology to it's potential and not just for "noise."
And then there are my observations from the administration side --- they don't care about art they want to know about basic teacher stuff.
They care about classroom management stuff.
They will ask about the latest "buzz words" and judge you by your responses.
They will want to know how you will make parent contact.
They will want to know that you will give 200% for extracurricular
They don't want to hear you say "no" to anything.
They want to know how you "differentiate."
They want to know that you create student directed lessons.
They want to know that you know all the crap going on and you are willing to
go along with it.
They don't want to know that you think - they only want to know you go
The process differs from district to district. Some want you to actually present a lesson.
In my district, even when you get beyond the principal and supervisor, the Superintendent hammers the candidates.
My last best advice is: Be prepared for the toughest questions. Don't rely on what you may think is sound education. Play the "game" and spout jargon but be careful that you may be smarter than they are. ~ Patty Knott
From Tehya May: When I interviewed for art positions I created a binder which was divided into several sections. Of course the basic information such as resume, transcripts, practice teaching evaluations, test scores (Praxis) etc. were all included
Also included were one or two samples of complete unit lessons (with examples of student work-- either the actual work, photos or slides, worksheets I had created, tests, study guides, notes... Power Point presentations.... notations made as to what state standards they correlate to)
Probably one of the best things I included was a videotape of myself teaching class (& the students on task after instruction time.)
My portfolio eliminated many of the traditional questions that the interviewers had to ask--because they could "see" what I was doing, or how --and had the time to look over everything. When interviewing with the portfolio I always felt confident. It is definitely a good thing to update from year to year.
From Maggie White: I have a teacher portfolio that principals seem to like. I keep everything in a nice-looking three-ring binder. Most of the things are in plastic sheet protectors; pages are placed back-to-back so all pages are viewable without having to slide things in and out.. I have it organized like this: Resume-Since a resume was not required at the time of application for this particular job (a recent job interview), I made an extra copy to hand the principal to keep with my application. The next section is labeled Curriculum--here I have a curriculum map and sample lesson plans which show my versatility and knowledge of the standards. The next section is Assessment--the rubric I use for grading, the rubric I post around the room for the students (my version of one that Woody Duncan wrote), and the critique form the students fill out after an assignment. I don't give tests in my studio classes, but I included slides of student work in a variety of media. I wouldn't take actual artwork in if I were you. The next section is Certificates and Recommendations (from former administration and teachers), along with my fingerprint card. Then comes Transcripts, and the last section is a copy of a presentation I gave at NAEA. Except for the resume, I don't make copies of anything. If the interviewer would like copies of anything, they can have it done in the office. Some interviewers have really read the portfolio items carefully, some flip through it (just to be polite?), and some don't even look at it. Resist the urge to talk or explain anything in your portfolio unless someone asks you a question. Let it speak for itself.
to Prepare for an Interview - Advice from Ken Rohrer (former principal)
1) Bring along a portfolio. If you can put your portfolio on a CD, make a copy for the principal and
anyone else on the interview team. You can leave this with them after you leave.
2) Convince the principal that you will use art to raise test scores by integrating some of your lessons into the core subjects.
3) Be prepared to share your strengths and weaknesses. When you state your weakness, share how you are working to overcome that weakness.
Don't give the interview team the following answers:
"I'm a perfectionist."
"I take on too much work and need to learn to say no."
The reason for this is that they are canned answers and don't give you an advantage over other candidates. As a principal I became tired of the same canned answers to this question. Here is an example of how to address the weakness question and come out with flying colors:
Principal: "Tell us your greatest weakness."
Teaching candidate: "I am a visual learner and sometimes I forget about things that aren't in front of me or can be seen. This is why I now rely heavily on Outlook to remind me of meetings or other tasks. Since I began using technology to help me, I have been more organized and efficient."
4) Search their website for details about the school that you can incorporate into your interview. For example, if they are really into Howard Gardner, talk about how you will help visual learners to succeed in school.
5) Be positive and energetic during the interview.
6) Describe what you can do for the school and district.
7) If there will be other art teachers present, mention Discipline-based art education, TAB Choice, or other curriculum based on current research. If you don't know much about it, read up on it. Be able to tell how these have influenced your own way of teaching. Art supervisors or art chairs look for candidates who are well versed in current trends and research.
How to Land that "Dream Job" - Advice from Ken Rohrer (former principal)
When a position opened in my school I gave preferences to those who were excellent substitute teachers in the building. Second on the list were those who had interesting resumes that were hand delivered to the secretary. Third were those that were e-mailed or snail-mailed directly to me and last, the ones that were sent to the central office or applied online. I always hated going there because they had thousands of resumes to wade through. Although the central office asked that all administrators visit the building and go through them, I didn't look at many because I was busy. I have never hired a teacher who only submitted a resume to the central office.
My recommendation is that you first design and write a quality resume and cover letter. You then find out which school has an actual opening and then send the principal your resume. Hand delivery is the best. Come up with creative ways to make yourself stand out among other candidates. 65 other people may be applying for the position. You will also need to send it to the central office or apply online because most districts require it. Do a little research on writing resumes that come to the top in scans. These scans will eliminate 90% of the resumes and the remainder are then read by the principal and/or interview team. It is possible that a resume can be posted or sent to a school district and never be read by a human.
Networking is also crucial to the job search. At this time of year it will be difficult to visit with principals, but in March and April- call a principal and tell them that you would like their advice on the quality of your resume. Tell them you don't want an interview, you just want their advice. Substitute teach in the district you desire and let the principal know you are looking for a job. While in each building, talk to the art teacher and ask them if they know any of their colleagues who are leaving the profession or of any art openings that may become available.
In highly competitive areas, you will have do go beyond simply sending
in a cover letter and resume or applying online. Schools usually hire people they already know.
How to Land that "Dream Job" - Advice from Judy Decker
You will need to do something that makes your letter stand above the rest. What if you created a web page about you and your work? - have work of your students and sample lesson plans (from student teaching) and your own work (no names on student work of course -- but even then permission should be granted for use of student work). Include the URL in your letter. Another option would be to create a PowerPoint about you - your work and student work. Send the PowerPoint on CD along with a sample lesson plans showing core integration - comprehensive arts - and knowledge of Internet/technology (all on the CD). Do something that sets you above the others and will make you stick out in their mind. Be different. Maybe wear and original fine art pin (For guys? an unusual tie clasp? Can you get by with a fine art tie these days in an interview?) When you go for an interview be prepared to teach them a mini lesson - take supplies and visual resources with you for the lesson (just in case).
This is what got me my "dream job" (pre-technology for me) The superintendent who interviewed me liked my answers. The interview lasted more than two hours. The super in the district at that time wanted to make the final decisions. Both principal and super liked my honesty in the way I answered questions about previous jobs.
This is the question that got me the job:
"What is the most recent book you have read? Why did you read that book? What did you learn from it?"
I had just finished reading "ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW I LEARNED IN KINDERGARTEN" by Robert Fulghum. We talked a lot about it - and Character Education (What kids really needed - I was ahead of my time - this was 1991).
On my way home, I stopped at the store and bought a box of 64 crayons. I wrote a meaningful Thank You letter - hitting some key points of the Interview - and mailed crayons and letter to the superintendent. Sure, it was a gamble. That would never have worked with present administration. The former superintendent really liked me. We had the same goals for students - same philosophy (Interdisciplinary connections were important to him, too - Art is key to learning in all subjects).
My portfolio was good, too, as it included sample kids' art and lesson plans. It also helped that I had done a long term sub position in the district a couple years prior. If you haven't subbed much - DO! And get involved with the local art association. I taught art classes at our association. The recommendation from them also clinched the job for me. What also impressed him was I knew the phone numbers of my references so he didn't have to look for them - I rattled them off for him from memory. Chuckles - he did wonder if I always dressed so nice (I had worked retail before - so had my share of suits at the time). I had three interviews (with three administrators) and wore three different suits.
How to Land that "Dream Job" - Advice from MaryAnn Kohl
Submit something creative. How about this:
Design a cereal box called Super Teacher Bits (or something better than that)-- and cover a real cereal box with things all about you... some art work, some background, like your nutritional facts could be: 100% dedicated, 200% excited to teach, etc. or 100 mg. dedication, 200 mg. determination. I think your picture could be like a sports star on a Wheaties box. And I would add art work too.
All of this could be done with a computer, but could be done on paper glued over the box.
Something to catch their eye, to show you are creative, to show you have spunk.
(From Judy: Put your CD and a few samples of art inside - these could be photographs)
Job Fair Interview Advice from Ken Rohrer (former Principal):
As a former principal who attended a few of these to find candidates, I recommend that you take a portfolio along. Have your art reduced to fit in a portfolio that is about 11 X 16. Include your best projects and lessons. (the ones you did in college if you're getting your first position)
If the place is packed, I would recommend saying something like this:
"I know that you have seen many people today and probably are having a hard time separating each candidate, so I won't waste your time. Here is my portfolio. It will show you how I will help students succeed in your school..." Shake their hand warmly and hand them your card. This card is a big selling point so make sure it is professional and creative.
It's also a big plus (if it's an administrator interviewing) to have some lessons that address various state standards and NCLB. You can integrate art into a few subject areas such as math, language arts and reading. Because of the tremendous pressure on them to improve test scores, they will be anxious to hire an art teacher that they think will help increase scores in the school.
If you know what schools are interviewing at the fair, visit their respective web sites and research the programs and philosophies that they use. Make sure you address these in the interview.
"I know that your school embraces the Basic School by Ernest Boyer. I also embrace his philosophy and..."
"Your school is big on learning styles and I have proficiency in each of Howard Gardner's multiple intelligences. I can address the majority of these intelligences in my lessons..."
"Your school is a big supporter of the 4 Block program. I have created lessons that integrate all four blocks..."
By Pamela G. Taylor, B.
Stephen Carpenter, II, Christine Ballengee-Morris, Billie Sessions.
The authors present works of art, artmaking skills, and ways of knowing as catalysts for learning across the traditional disciplinary boundaries in high school. Both timely and enduring, this is the book that will inspire and support the work of veteran, new, and pre-service high school art teachers. The book includes issues, theories, and practices related to high school curriculum, advocacy, classroom management, assessment, cultural understanding, idea-based instructional strategies, team-teaching, technology, visual culture, and student-initiated learning. The authors draw upon their own experiences and those of other high school art teachers to create a motivating and provocative text that challenges readers to critically and continually reflect, collaborate, read, and research their own interdisciplinary thinking, teaching, and learning processes.
By Frank Susi. This book helps you solve problems 5 ways! It offers practical suggestions and ideas; helps to connect instruction and student behavior; outlines strategies for preventing misbehavior; suggests approaches when discipline problems occur; summarizes research studies in thousands of classrooms to help understand misbehavior and prevent it. Example topics include: Setting rules, Monitoring, Arranging the art room, Eye contact, Teacher behavior, Ownership, Preventive practices, Contracts, Keeping records, Punishment, Violent behavior, and much more. A cardinal resource for teacher preparation programs, student teachers, and staff development libraries.
By Ron Fry. If you are seeking an art teaching job in an elementary or secondary school, these seven pages are very valuable. Advice on your job application, resume, and letters of recommendation — and most important, advice on your job interview — the kinds of questions you will likely be asked, and what the interviewer hopes for in responses. Also, important tips on appearance, voice, manner, and attitude.
"APPLESEEDS" [Out of print]
Virginia M. Brouch, Fanchon F. Funk, Editors. A 44-page brochure for students and first-year teachers. Contains practical hints and insights on discipline, motivation, exhibits, attitudes, promoting art, and more. Advice on questions and problems that arise during the first challenging year. A must for students and first-year professionals.
Elementary Art Programs: A Guide for Administrators [Out of Print]
This updated volume addresses fundamental issues central to the administration of elementary art education in American schools. It answers questions about key standards concerning content, materials, instruction, and more. This guide also addresses fundamental questions school administrators should ask about elementary art programs and is an important policy resource. It is also designed to provide suggestions on organizing, implementing, and assessing elementary art programs. Includes sample floor plans and photos of assorted storage units, sinks, tables, and much more. Use with parents, community groups, and architects.