Questions to Ask Before Your New Teaching Job Begins
While I'm not a new teacher, I recently switched jobs and obviously had TONS of questions for my new principal/district/teammates.
I searched the internet high and low, and found no guide as to the questions I can be asking at this stage in the summer/on-boarding process.
Of course, I asked lots of questions about the school in my interview. And there are lots of posts covering the types of things you should be asking about during that stage of the process. But it was radio silence when it came to the days and weeks between getting hired and reporting to work.
I've tried to break the following questions down into sections, but I'm sure I'm missing lots of important topics too! Please comment below if you have more ideas to add to the list. I'd love this to be a very helpful resource.
First Year Logistics:
- When do you report to school?
- Are there any required trainings since you are a new teacher or a new to the district teacher?
- What is your salary?
- When and how will you be paid?
- What benefits are included in your salary? Which must you pay for? How can you learn more about benefits?
- What documents or required materials do you still need to provide to HR (physical, transcripts, background check, etc.)?
- When and how will you get your ID and keys?
- When and how will you get your computer?
- When will you be able to access your classroom to start setting up?
- Are there any rules about classroom set up you should know in advance?
- Would you be able to see and take photos of your classroom before it's ready for set up?
- What are the procedures for printing/copying?
- How transient is your school? (I like to know this in advance so I can prep "new student" packets while I'm making copies at the beginning of the year with things like teacher contact info, parent forms, etc.)
Teaching and Learning:
- Are there any optional trainings offered by your district that you might want to attend over the summer?
- Are there any books/frameworks/theories/whatever that your district or school uses frequently that you could study up on over the summer? If so, can the principal or a teammate lend you resources?
- What curricula does your school/district use?
- Can you get access to the teacher guides over the summer?
- What are the rules regarding teaching pacing? (Is the school pretty lax or must you be on same lesson as everyone else each day?)
- Is there a district pacing guide to follow?
- Is there a required schedule you need to adhere to (i.e. minimum 90 minutes per day on math)?
- How does your school/district do grading?
- How often does the school provide time for Professional Learning Communities (PLCs), data meetings, and professional development?
- What does your principal look for when doing evaluations? How often do they occur?
School Culture and Routines:
- What are the school hours? Teacher contract hours?
- Does your school have a student handbook?
- How do students arrive/make it to their classrooms?
- Is breakfast provided at the school?
- What is the school's routine for recess?
- What is the lunch routine like?
- How are students dismissed?
- Are there school announcements each day?
- Is childcare provided at the school?
- What "extra" duties are teachers responsible for? How often?
- Are there rules about how students visit the bathroom or nurse?
- What is your schedule for lunch, recess and specials?
- Are there any school-wide incentives for behavior and attendance?
- Are you expected to use any certain methods for behavior management in your classroom?
Back to School/Meet the Teacher Night:
- Does your school have a night for students and families to meet their new teacher?
- When does it happen?
- What are the expectations about what teachers should prepare?
- Are there any official forms the office needs you to help get signed during the event?
- Is it appropriate at your school to put out a "wish list" for parents?
- Is it appropriate at your school to put out a sign up for parent volunteers?
- What classroom supplies have your students been told to bring?
I know I've missed plenty of important questions, but please feel free to leave a comment and I'll try to add your suggestions into the mix!
I know moving to a new school can be overwhelming, so it's nice to get as many questions answered as you can in advance. The more prepared you can be, the better!
If you have any questions about any of these questions or how to prepare for a new school, don't hesitate to ask!
Good luck with the move!
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