In a crazy fast-paced world we live in today, when almost everyone is in rush and anxious, uncertain of the future, art is a perfect refuge for both our mind and soul. Playing a musical instruments for an hour each day, I know it first-hand how easy it is to “switch off”, just playing and not thinking about anything. Drawing has produced the same effect for me, though I cannot really draw well. Anyway, before proceeding to the interview, I want to thank you for choosing career in art teaching, because helping young people to discover the love for arts is as important as ever in the 21st century.
Now let me proceed with some good news: interview for a job of an Art Teacher is one of the easiest interviews in education and educational administration. As long as you can demonstrate some artistic skills (which you can do easily with a simple portfolio of your best works), show right attitude to teaching, and have an idea of how you’d address some tricky situations in the classroom (conflict with a student, lack of discipline, lack of interest, etc), they will hire you for the job.
What’s more, art teaching does not belong to most popular teaching disciplines, and in many cases you will be the only job candidate. Which is of course a much better scenario than competing with five or ten other applicants for a single vacancy at school… Let’s have a look at the questions you may face.
Why do you want to work as an art teacher?
I suggest you to focus on two things in your answer. First one is the importance of art in the healthy development of every human being. Life isn’t only math and history. And we aren’t only flesh and bones. Art helps us to discover new facets of our being, and to grow in so many ways. You understand the importance of art, especially in today’s world, and see a meaningful purpose in teaching it.
Other thing you can focus on while explaining your career choice are your artistic skills, and teaching abilities. In order to teach art you have to be able to create it, yet a good artist isn’t necessarily a good teacher. Tell the interviewers that you enjoy teaching others, have excellent communication skills, and a job of a teacher is a great match to your personality.
Students are interested in all sorts of things nowadays, but art typically doesn’t make the list. How do you want to awaken their interest in drawing and painting?
Regardless of whether you teach art at a public school, or at some private institute specializing in art teaching only, you will face issues of students’ motivation. That’s mostly because many parents try to fulfill their artistic dreams through their children, enrolling them in classes and courses they aren’t really interested in. Every experienced art teacher has seen it many times. But not every one can address it…
I suggest you to emphasize individual approach to each student. Say that you will try to understand what art means to them, and what their other interests are, and then try to bridge the two things. This is easier in some cases than in others, but you can always at least try. Introducing technology to the art room, and letting your students draw directly on the screen with a help of pen tablets is also an interesting idea which may work in some cases, considering the fascination with all sorts of devices and gadgets children have nowadays. One way or another, ensure the interviewers that you won’t give up easily, and will try to awaken the motivation in your pupils.
What are your strengths and weaknesses as an art teacher?
As a rule of a thumb, try to pick strengths that are central for the job of an art teacher. Communication skills, ability to explain artistic concepts in an easy way, problem solving, individual approach to each student, bearing their level of artistic ability, patience, love for the job–which reflects in the classroom and students can feel the difference, and so on, and so forth. Show some confidence in your teaching abilities, because they expect it from you.
You can point out lack of experience as your weakness, especially if you apply for your very first job. Or you can pick computer skills, time management, or anything else–not essential for the job. If you decide to pick something essential–and interviewers typically appreciate such honesty, ensure them that you want to work on your weakness, and will try to improve on it down the road.
Why do you want to teach art here, and not at some other school (educational institution)?
Once again you have several good options for an answer. One is praising their educational institution for something. Maybe they have great reputation, put emphasis on artistic development of their students, or have modern art rooms, with latest technological equipment in place. You can even say that you know some teachers and students (or their parents), and considering the feedback they gave you, you decided to apply with their school.
Another option is focusing more on the vacancy than on the employer. Maybe they are the only secondary school in the area looking for an art teacher at the moment. And since you want to teach art, and preferably at a secondary school, you decided to apply.
At the end of the day, each place of work has some advantages and some disadvantages. At every place you will find some great colleagues and some colleagues you just won’t be on the same page with. Hence it isn’t pivotal for you who is advertising the job. You want to teach art, found their job ad, and decided to apply.
What is your opinion on having children with special needs in your classes?
I suggest you to actually embrace the challenge. Without a doubt, children with special needs pose some challenges–that’s why you will typically have at least one aide in the art room (when working with special needs children). At the same time, however, many of these children have amazing talent for art, and can find in it their calling, especially when their condition makes it difficult for them to find any job in the future.
On the other hand, it is good to admit your limitations. You are an art teacher, and not a special education teacher, and you may struggle in some situations. Instead of hiding the problem, however, you will ask your colleagues for help. A paraprofessional, mental health counselor, special education teacher–any of them may help you address the challenge you face in your progress with a child with special needs, and you won’t hesitate twice to consult them.
Other questions you may face in your art teacher interview
- Can you teach any other subjects except of art?
- What do you expect from your colleagues, the administrators, fellow teachers, and counselors?
- How would you handle a student who is constantly disruptive and defiant?
- In your opinion, what role does art play in the life of a school student?
- What teaching methods do you prefer and why?
- How do you include parents and guardians in their child’s education?
- What are your salary expectations?
- Why should we hire you, and not one of the other job applicants?
Interview for a job of an art teacher belongs to easier interviews. I suggest you to prepare a simple portfolio of your artwork, can be both online and offline, just to demonstrate that you aren’t talking non-sense, and can actually draw, paint, and make a sculpture.
Try to prepare for the questions from this article, and make sure to talk with enthusiasm about your teaching mission, and the goals you’d like to achieve with your students. In reality, many art teachers originally wanted to make a career as artists. It didn’t work out, and they ended up teaching art instead of making art for a living.
Even if it is your case (and there’s not shame in it, since it is extremely hard to make a living as an artist), try to avoid sounding bitter in the interviews. They should get an impression that you really want to teach art, and do not apply for the job just because you need money to live, and do not know what else to do. I hope you will manage to make the right impression, and will get the job at the end. Good luck!
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