Advice to English Majors Looking for Community College Teaching Jobs: Answer These.

I like these interview questions and have asked most of them at one interview or another. They are conversation starters, and the candidate must do more than just guess what the interviewers want to hear.

  • What attracts you to the community college classroom?

  • Describe a typical day in your writing class.

  • What texts would you like in a freshman comp course?

  • Who has been a model of a comp or lit instructor for you?

  • What three books might you recommend to community college English faculty?

  • What do you think about Writing Across the Curriculum as a policy? What argument for WAC would you make?

  • How do you handle grading work by a student who is putting out an exceptional effort but producing writing well below the standard you have for the course?

  • What are the biggest obstacles basic writers usually face in improving their writing?

  • Why do you want to teach English at the community college?

  • Do the various theories about learning styles influence your teaching?

  • How has your education prepared you to do this job?

  • What writing do you do?

  • What classroom technology do you use?

  • Are you familiar with any Course Management Systems?

  • What differences do you find in the way traditional and non-traditional students function in your classroom?

  • What is the purpose to teaching literature? Is there a good argument for making an introductory literature course mandatory for all the community college students?

  • Describe a sure-fire lesson. Describe a sure-fire writing assignment.

  • Read any good books lately? What do you read for pleasure?

As a stipulation, though, I must add that the best topics and questions usually come from the conversation that results. At some point in the interview it usually just becomes apparent that the match between the candidate, the interviewers and the institution is a good one, or isn’t.

Often that revelation comes to me suddenly and clearly, and I think it can happen that way to the candidate, too, though it’s harder for him or her. The candidate just wants to win the job and earn the right to accept or refuse the offer. But we doing the interview are not in win-lose mode. For us it’s more like a proposal; do we want to be married to this person? So we talk until we know the answer to that, with the questions just a way of making the talk happen.


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