It’s the time of year when you might be preparing to move on to a new job. You’re probably looking forward to some changes, and wondering about some of the behind-the-scenes workings of your new school. If you are lucky enough to talk to the current teacher at your new position, here are a few things you might want to ask.
- What are the performance expectations? Who supports you with them?
- What can you tell me about the students? Decide how specific you want to be. It’s a good idea to get a feel for general student attitudes, expectations, ability levels. But you might also want a heads-up on specific students: students who are particularly drawn to music, or students who need more support or encouragement to be successful.
- What are your favorite things about this school?
- What are the songs and games that you always do in each grade? This is great to know for continuity.
- What are the skills and concepts you teach in each grade? Ask for a curriculum map, if possible. This way you don’t introduce a concept to a class, not knowing that they learned it two years ago.
- What system do you use for teaching rhythm- and pitch-reading?
- What should I know about working with the PTA?
- Who are some of the people in the school that you go to with questions or for support? Who are the most helpful staff members?
- What is the relationship of the administrators to the music program?
- What should I know about the equipment and resources (instruments, AV, computer technology, etc.)?
- What is the budget like, and how do you prioritize?
- What are the extra things you are asked to do, beyond your classroom planning and teaching?
- What are some core values of the music program?
- What traditions might the parents and teachers be expecting to continue?
- What kind of communication do you use? Class blogs, school blog, social media? Do you often communicate directly with parents?
Okay, technically that was more than fifteen questions, but hopefully it covers most of the things you might not have talked about in interviews and job descriptions.
Is there anything else you would add to this list? What things have surprised you in your first weeks at a new school? What did you wish you had known?