10 Questions to Ask Teachers and Principals
Updated: Dec 19, 2019
School tours and open houses! These are events every parent will participate in during their child's school career. The point of these events is to learn more about the school’s program.
These events are very stimulating for everyone. You are navigating a new space for the first time, meeting new families and staff and the list goes on. These extra happenings can sometimes create an environment that is difficult to stay focused in. Pre-writing your list of questions will help to make sure you come out with the answers you are seeking.
I’ve created a great starter list of quality questions you can print out and bring with you to help stay on track (attached). Below is a description of why these questions are important. Best of luck, learn lots!
FOR PRINCIPAL and ACADEMIC DIRECTOR:
How do you make sure your teachers are up to date on best practice teaching?
Professional development is one thing directly related to student success. You want to be in a school where teachers are excited about learning. Your administration is responsible for building that culture of excitement around professional development and for checking in on teachers to help with implementing best practice.
What kind of professional development will your teachers receive this year and how often?
You want to know what practices are being implemented so you can decide if they align with your beliefs about how your student learns.
What is the standard for social emotional support school wide?
You want to know that no matter who your child is with, they are being treated with the same respect and care. A cohesive approach to behavior management is important for a school because your child will travel around this school year to year to new teachers. The approach should be strong and supported in each environment.
How do you support teacher initiated projects?
Just as it is important for teachers to support the creative ideas of students, principals should support the creative ideas of teachers. Allowing teachers to have a voice in the school allows teachers to feel connected and dedicated to the hopes and dreams of the school.
Do you allow time for teachers to make instructional rounds?
We are each other’s best mentor. Teachers learn A LOT from watching each other. Principals are investing in their teachers when they hire a sub for the day and allow teachers to spend a day in another room to see how lessons are taught from a new perspective.
How do you provide opportunities for student choice within your approach?
It is important for students to connect with their academic learning. This requires multiple opportunities to make choices about how and what they want to learn about.
What does conflict resolution look like in your classroom?
Conflict is a part of life. There are ways to support negotiation and teach students skills which will create positive outcomes and life experiences. A classroom should be a place where students can express their voice and defend their choices, whether it created a positive or negative experience for them. This is how we learn how to reflect and learn from mistakes. We do not want teachers solving problems all day for students, the goal is to teach problem solving skills.
How do you support community and togetherness?
Students learn best when they are in a space where they feel comfortable and supported. Building strong relationships among students is important to create this “safety net”. Within the safe space, students can take risks and feel supported by their peers, regardless of failure or success.
What is something new you have learned this year?
A growth mindset is important for any career. Education is rapidly evolving and it is important that teachers are up to date on best practice year to year.
What ways do you use your physical classroom to support learning goals?
Learning should be visible at every age. Student should be able to walk into their classroom and be able to immediately reflect on what they are learning. You should also be able to notice what is going on by taking a lap around the room. The classroom should be an evolving creature, changing with the new content and reminding students of their hard work and all they have accomplished. Walls should speak!
OF COURSE, ask more than these questions, even if it is about school lunch!
Print your copy of these questions here --> 10 Questions to Ask Schools
Visit the TWS Literature page and scroll to the bottom for more great checklists!