Now, you may be thinking that you don't want to suggest that things won't go well. Don't worry. Wise principals know that even the best, most experienced, teachers have problems during a school year. Like question number 1, there's only one reasonable answer to this one. The principal should eagerly reply, "Me."
If the principal says she is not on Twitter, it may not be a deal breaker, but it's definitely a red flag. Being a connected educator is essential to every educator's success in the digital world in which we live. If a principal counters with, "Why is this important?" you should simply repeat my last sentence.
Summarize by emphasize your qualifications as they apply to this job. Also cover anything you missed from your opening.
As an assistant principal, your first and foremost task will be to assist the principal in his or her duties. From time to time, this means that you will be called upon to discipline an unruly student. You may be asked to determine whether the student should get detention, in-school or home suspension, or even expulsion in extreme cases. To answer this question, you should reply with a past scenario if you can. Explain the offense and the steps you took to discipline the child. If you do not have experience with student discipline, create an imaginary scenario and explain how you would handle it.
The parents of schoolchildren are often very involved with their children's education, and as such, you will sometimes need to participate in meetings or conferences with parents. Sometimes, and especially when students have been suspended or otherwise disciplined, parents can become very upset. Your interviewer will ask you if you have ever dealt with such a situation, and you should answer honestly. If so, describe the situation and how you handled it. If not, you should provide another example of a situation in which your communication skills were able to dissolve the angry party's frustrations.
If the answer is, "We have a strict policy stating that all mobile devices must be left at home or in lockers," you can forget your other questions and politely excuse yourself. It's the 21st century, for crying out loud. Who wants to teach in a school that forbids the use of the most powerful teaching and learning tool ever created?
Focus on these competencies when formulating your interview answers to these principal interview questions.
Aside from disciplining students, you will also likely be called upon to evaluate the performance of individual teachers on a regular basis. You may also be asked to evaluate a teacher whose students' test scores are not on par with national averages; you may even be required to evaluate a teacher about whom you have received multiple complaints from students, parents or even other staff. As such, the interviewer will need to determine your capabilities. Here, you should use another scenario if you are experienced with such evaluations. If you are not, explaining that you would take the time to listen to both sides and then create an effective remedial plan should suffice.
For me, a Yes reply here is a deal breaker. However, there are ways around traditional homework and many alternative forms of assessment, so if all other questions are answered appropriately, you might still keep the school on your short list.
Discuss your vision of positive parental contribution and how you have facilitated and promoted this through the implementation of school initiatives.
The answer to this question helps you know precisely what the principal expects from you, which will prepare you for future evaluations. More important, though, the answer tells you exactly what is important to the person running the school where you may soon work. Does she want to see a classroom that is orderly, where the teacher is in control? Or, is she looking for a vibrant, messy place where children are laughing, collaborating, and exploring?
I believe that personal life experiences in education relate directly to the type of teacher someone will be," Lotspeich told Education World. "The candidate's response to that question should come from the heart, and it will give me insight into the 'heart' the candidate will draw on as he or she relates to students.
Focus on the aspects of your experience that apply to this position.
Apart from anything that might break fire codes, it's difficult to imagine this being answered with anything other than, "Do anything you wish; it's your room." If asked what you want to do, explain that you want an inviting, fun, learner-centered classroom. This may require you to move some chairs and tables, bring in some plants and maybe a few beanbag chairs, and a variety of other things that make learning fun.
► How are parents included in this school?
► Do you have Title I at this school? What percentages of the students qualify?
► What duties do the teachers have? (Before and after school, bus, recess, etc.)
► Do you do any lateral planning as well as team planning?
► Can you give me some background as to what my team members are like? (Are all the Kindergarten teachers new? If so, why? How long have they been teaching? The answers to these questions will give you an idea as to what kind of support you will have.)
► What makes this school stand out from others in the area?
► What are the teacher hours?
► What are the student hours?
► What is your teacher turn-over rate?
► Are there before and/or after school programs?
► What is the average class size?
► What kind of mentors, help, or support is available for new teachers?
► What is your policy regarding lesson planning-would I need to keep records in my room or turn them into you?
► What is the number of hours expected in school activities outside of class time?
► What special services are available for students? (Counselors, psychologists, health services)
► Do you have a school-wide discipline plan? What is it?
► What consequences are there for disciplinary infractions?
► What tools/aides are available…? (Library, TV/VCR, textbooks for each student, music, computers, etc.)
► How are supplies ordered and received?
► What are some of the strengths of the school?
► How are teachers supported and appreciated by the administration of this school?
► What is the student population like?
► What is the ethnic / socio-economic make-up of the students? (Are there any immigrants? If needed do you have access to bilingual resources?)
► What are the main challenges facing the school?
► In what ways does the school link with the local community?
► Are extracurricular assignments available?
► Does your school/district offer faculty in-service training during the school year?
► What curriculum is used in Reading / Math / Language?
► Do you have an active parent-teacher association?
Focus on broad goals that contribute to the overall improvement of the school. Consider student results and achievement, staff performance and development, instructional quality, the school culture and reputation, community involvement.
What I'm looking for when I ask that question is whatever the person really wants to share with me," principal Tim Messick told Education World. Besides the basic responses, "I'm looking for candidates to get away from the 'canned' responses. I'm interested in hearing what the candidates feel is most important. I'm looking to learn how they see themselves and what they value about themselves.
Highlight the steps you take to create a climate in which people want to perform to the best of their ability. How do you assess an individual's strengths and develop them? Highlight the mechanisms you put in place to support staff through collaboration and inclusion.
You will have many duties as an assistant principal, so being able to perform many tasks all at once is imperative. In some cases, your interviewer will provide you with a hypothetical scenario in which the principal is out of the office and you are in the cafeteria supervising lunch break. During this time, you receive not only a report about a fight in a classroom, but you are also notified of an angry parent in your office demanding a meeting. Here, your interviewer is asking you to prioritize these tasks efficiently. Your answer should be short but precise. "I would ask another teacher to supervise the cafeteria long enough to bring the fighting students into my office and schedule a meeting with the parent."
The school want to know that you have an action plan in place. Understand the needs, demands, culture and values of this particular school or district. Show you are willing to confront and remediate inadequacies in the school, to modify school structures where necessary and to identify and capitalize on current strengths.
One of your duties may be to conduct evaluations of teacher performance. If a classroom scores lower than anticipated on a standardizes test or if the school has received numerous complaints about a particular teacher from parents, students or staff you may be required to investigate the situation and confront the individual. The interviewer will want to understand your method for evaluating a teacher's instructional effectiveness as well as their behavior towards students, parents and coworkers, including how you would gather all relevant information. The hiring manager will also want to know that you are capable of confronting a coworker while maintaining a good working relationship. You should be able to detail how you would work with the teacher to design a plan for improvement and a means of evaluating the effectiveness of that plan. As with all questions, include real examples from your own experience whenever possible.
Research has shown that effective principals derive much of their professional development from community partnerships and colleagues. Demonstrate how your professional development activities have addressed the personal areas you identified as needing improvement or strengthening. How have these activities allowed you to perform your job more effectively?
Interacting with parents is another important part of an assistant principal's day. Most parents are eager to be involved in their child's education and are heavily invested in their success. You might participate in formal and informal meetings and conferences with parents whose children are not meeting academic or behavioral standards. Parents can become very angry or upset in these meetings, particularly if they feel their child is being treated unfairly. You will need to be adept at handling an emotionally charged situation. If you have ever dealt with this type of situation, give your interviewer some context for what was happening and why the parent was upset. Explain how you handled it, how the parent responded, and what you learned from the situation that you can apply to future conflicts. If you have never deal with an angry parent, provide an example of another time when you were able to diffuse a tense situation.
The ability to build constructive and effective relationship is key to success in this role. How do you establish trust and confidence? Sharing relevant information, setting a clear direction, objectives and measures and providing and encouraging constructive feedback all contribute to successful relationships.
At times the principal may delegate the discipline of an unruly student to you. A potential employer will want to know how you have used discipline in the past and whether it was effective. Some administrators use detention, suspension or even expulsion. Respond with specific situations you have dealt with and detail what you learned from each. Include information about the offense, the steps you took and the outcome. If you are new to administration, use what you have learned in your classes and witnessed in your educational experience to detail how you would handle an imaginary but common scenario. You might also explain how and when you would involve parents and teachers in a disciplinary issue.
Make your answer relevant to the needs of this principal job when answering these type of principal interview questions. How did you contribute to the overall effectiveness of the school, to student achievement, to staff development, to strengthening the school culture?
Do your homework and research the school district through newspapers, District publications and websites. Identify the community issues and emphasize the positive.
► How would you implement a one-to-one technology initiative at the high school level?
► Describe a time you began a new program at your school. What steps did you follow to make this successful?
► How do you build a positive school culture or climate? Give examples of how you would do that here.
► Describe the way you interact with stakeholders in the community?
► How do you handle relationships with direct supervisors even when you may not always agree?
► How do you recruit and maintain quality teachers and staff members?
► Please introduce yourself, tell us about your background in education and what interested you in applying for this opening.
► Data is a large part of determining student and teacher success. Explain your involvement in professional learning communities and how you have used data to promote student achievement.
► We are community growing in diversity. Explain how you would reach out to people from various demographics to ensure all students and community members are included in learning.
► What is your philosophy of teaching? What advice would you offer teachers whom you are supervising?
► Principal positions require intense time-management. Please give examples of how you organize your day to meet the various demands and commitments required as a school principal.
► Conflict-resolution and communication are important parts of school leadership. Can you give examples of how you have successfully managed difficult situations at school?
► What is your philosophy of leadership? How would you lead a school-wide initiative expected for an entire district?
► What questions, clarifications, or concerns do you have for us?
► Name five words that best describe you as an administrator.
► Give three reasons why you should be selected as the principal of our school.
► What are your immediate or short-term goals for our school? What are your five-year goals?
► Who do you involve in decision making issues?
► How do you evaluate student work and how do you know whether that work meets standard?
► How do you evaluate teachers and other staff? What are your criteria?
► Explain your view of work ethics.
► How do you monitor staff as their compliance with the Georgia Teacher Code of Ethics?
► What role would the business community serve in a school under your supervision?
► Describe your involvement in community and civic activities.
► Describe the best teacher you know. Describe the best parent you know. Describe the best student you know.
► How do you measure the success of a school?
► What are the steps you follow in dealing with a child that is not demonstrating success? Who do you involve and when?
► Describe your most successful experience as a principal.
► Describe you worst experience as a principal.
► Please share priorities for a three-year site improvement. What specific goals, actions, and outcomes would you propose?
► Give examples of your supervision, evaluation, and accountability standards in managing highly effective teachers and staff members.
► How would you transition from assistant principal to principal in your present site while establishing new goals that match your own personality and priorities?
► Why do you want this position? What motivates you to want to be a site principal?
► Explain how you would build positive relationships with leaders across sites while working together for district-wide goals.
► Have you served as a principal before? If, so what grade level schools (elementary, middle, high)? How many years?
► What was the test performance of the students in your schools? State tests, National test?
► Describe your average daily routine in percents by the following: Discipline, buses, lunchroom, classroom visits, parent conferences, staff meetings, building and grounds, paperwork/reports, meetings outside of school.
► What role do parents play in your school? Give specific examples.
► What is the function of the PTA/PTO in your school?
► What is the function of the School Council in your school?
► How do you recruit teachers?
► How do you keep parents informed?
► Describe your style of leadership and give examples.
► How would you handle a situation where a parent wants her child removed from a particular teacher's classroom; however, the teacher wants the child to stay?
► Give us some background information and take a moment to introduce yourself.
► How would you describe your leadership style?
► What are some ways you have dealt with challenges, and how did you find solutions?
► How would you describe your classroom management style?
► What advice would you give to a new teacher on his or her first year?
► What advice would you give to a veteran teacher in need of improvement?
► What steps would you take if you dealing with a student discipline incident?
► Give some examples of how you have communicated with parents of challenging students.
► What would be your ideal school environment, and how would you encourage that kind of culture?
► What questions do you have for us about this position?
► What do you know about our school? What are the main areas for improvement here from your point of view?
► What do you think should be the main goals of a school principal?
► If you should characterize an ideal school principal using just three words, what words would you choose?
► Why have you decided for the job of a principal? What motivates you the most to do this job?
► Do you think that the principal should also take part in daily teaching? If yes, why? If no, why not?
► How do you imagine your day in work will look like if we choose you as our principal?
► From your point of view, what should be the relationship of a principal with students?
► What are your plans in long term horizon, let's say 10 years?
► Do you have any experience with leading other people?
► Would you be able to choose teachers for this school? If yes, what will be the selection process you will use?
► From your point of view, what should be the role of technology in the process of education?
► How would you attract more students to choose our school?
► Do you have any role model in life?
► If we decide to move forward with your job application, when will you be able to start the job?
► What computer programs can you work with?
► Speaking about public relations, what activities do you think should a school do?
Weakness is a human trait. No one is perfect and can never be. Still, there is always a room for improvement when you are able to recognize the areas where you lag behind. Openly discuss about what you consider as your weaknesses and do not forget to elaborate on the measures you are taking to eliminate your weakness.
This hypothetical question is framed to possibly involve either staff members or parents. As an administrator, you will likely face upset adults who are angry or frustrated.
In an age of accountability and budget cuts, principals are increasingly asked to lead professional development in new and relevant ways. Districts will likely want to hire school leaders who are aware of current needs and trends, future developments, and are aware of the real needs of teachers and staff in today's schools.
It is safe to expect to receive some sort of "discipline" or "climate" question that is geared toward better understanding your approach to climate issues you will surely face. School safety is at the forefront of today's discussions related to education, and a school community will want a leader that is focused on a safe learning environment.
The answer to this question emphasizes on your familiarity with the organization and how well you understand the nature and scope of its operations. Discuss areas where you think improvement should be done while keeping in mind that your suggestions should be practical.
A smile (or laugh) can go a long way to show that you can play along. Do your best to take the question on with a mix of thoughtfulness and fun. If possible, relate your answer with a laser-like focus of how you are equipped for this particular leadership role. As a leader, you will deal with the unexpected. . . . How will you handle it?
Conflicts among students are unavoidable, and there is little that can be done to completely eliminate these situations. However, you need to explain the various measures you would take to imbibe a sense of unity and respect among the students for each other.
I like this one much better than the worn-out "What are your strengths and weaknesses?" question. If we're honest, we all make mistakes. The key is being willing to admit them, learn from them, and emerge better and stronger as an individual and as a leader. The panel will likely be looking for honesty, growth, and how you perceive yourself as a leader and lifelong learner.
Give your insight about handling such situations where taking a stance is tough, yet inevitable to avoid further complications.
If panels don't ask this, they should! And if you don't have anything in mind, you should! As a learning leader, your education shouldn't stop just because you complete a graduate degree. Principals must be professional development leaders and if you are not keeping up-and contributing to-current trends and best practices, than you risk being "stuck" in a rapidly-changing educational climate.
The interviewer here wants to know your take on the education system. You should be able to point out some issues that you feel are acting as a setback against the learning objectives. Suggest some measures and changes that you believe will bring a change in the way education is perceived and imparted.
Answer this question by expressing not just your interest, but your qualifications for this position. Emphasize on the job duties in your previous jobs and the knowledge you have gathered throughout the course of your career. Be confident and ready to answer further questions that might arise when the employer discusses the job requirements.
This question could be geared toward a specific improvement objective (improving attendance, closing an achievement gap in reading, decreasing disciplinary incidents, etc.) and is geared toward merging important leadership areas-including instructional leadership, managerial leadership, visionary leadership, and organizational change leadership-together.
You definitely would have questions in your mind and need to clear all your doubts. Do not hesitate to ask the time the recruiters will take to decide for your selection, or the operations, or anything else that you feel is reasonable to be asked.
Feel comfortable to speak about the number of classes/lectures you can handle, because sometimes you might have to handle more classes than usual apart from the administrative tasks assigned on a routine basis.
State clearly about your salary expectations and justify why you want this salary.
You need to make the maximum use of this opportunity to introduce various aspects of your personality. Apart from your name, work experience, and qualifications, you should describe about your interests and goals. You can also highlight the milestones of your career. When you start answering, maintain eye contact with the interviewer(s).
Before answering this question, you should clarify the grade for which you are being asked to schedule the classes, and accordingly answer the best schedule that will help the students to attend all the classes attentively.
Discuss about your interest in outdoor sports and other activities that are aimed to keep an individual physically as well as mentally rejuvenated. On the other hand, if you are not much into outdoor activities, then feel free to discuss your interest in indoor and virtual sports.