Interview Questions Every New Ag Teacher Should Ask
You've survived 4 years of college and can't wait to get out and teach. However, before you say yes to the first school that makes you an offer take a few minutes during the interview to better understand the program. Look over the questions below and highlight the ones that concern you the most. Ask your classmates, major professors, your high school ag teacher, and host teacher (when you student teach) and see what their responses are. The more you ask these questions, then the better you will get at asking them and the more comfortable you'll be when in comes time to discuss the program with a new school.
Questions to ask the Principal/CTAE director/Tech Ed staff in your interview:
- What are your expectations for the Ag Ed program in 1 year, 2 years, and 5 years? Level of student participation and Number of CDE's or FFA events attended
- What are the school/BOE field trip policies? Based on their answer add a follow up question related to the number of CDE's, livestock shows, and FFA related events you plan to attend. Is this an issue for them?
- Is there a consumable budget for Ag Mechanics (and/or Greenhouse Mgmt., Agriscience,...)? This will depend on what courses they expect you to teach. Administrators often require Ag Ed teachers to have a plant sale to pay for the pots, media, and plugs and in some cases power and water.
- Can the chapter conduct fundraisers to support trips, livestock programs, and other activities?
- Speaking of which, What courses do you want taught in the program?
- This includes number of classes per day, subjects, and class length.
- What facilities does the Ag teacher have access to for the program?
- Can you take a tour at the end of the interview? Look at the condition of the equipment and facilities. Keep in mind that students have access and generally destroy most things they touch.
- Is there a budget for replacement or repair of equipment?
- Is the Ag teacher required to have a CDL? Meaning, will you have to drive your own bus to CDE's and other FFA events.
- Can students ride in teacher vehicles? For example, trucks pulling a livestock trailer.
- Is there a travel budget? Probably not, but you can ask.
- What are the administration's expectations for classroom management?
- How current are the textbooks for the Ag Ed program? Is there access to a computer lab/laptops/iPads?
- Are there any other duties the administration expects you to handle? Hall duty, bus line, lunch room, Swim team coach, or concession stands at ball games? Expect the first few but the last two may impact your ability to prepare CDE teams and attend FFA events.
- Does the school/BOE require industry certification, completion of specific continuing education, or attaining further degrees?
- What is their view of taking students to the National FFA Convention? Officers only, if any students pays then they can go, go only once every 2 years,...
- How active is the community and parents in the chapter? Meaning, is there an advisory committee or FFA Alumni chapter?
- Depending on your state you may already know the contract terms: Is this a 10 month position, 11 month position, or 12 month position.
If you are fortunate enough to get to choose between 2 or more job offers then the answers to these questions will influence where you want to teach. However, if you only get 1 interview the answers they provide may help you decide whether you want to go to grad school and/or wait for another position to come open.
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