Professional Practice

Interview Look For’s: How to Find the Perfect Fit for your Art Teacher Career

green flags

Are you a new art teacher hunting for your first job? Maybe you’re already teaching and are considering a switch. No matter where you are in your teaching career, finding the right fit for long-term success is key. Now’s the time to rework your resume, dust off that portfolio, and polish your interview skills. But how do you know if the school that is interviewing you is the right fit for you?

Before heading into the interview, make sure to research the district, school, and community for any red flags. Check out their social media and websites to see how they support the arts. Compile your notes and generate specific questions to ask. Then, take a look at our “green flags” below to help you make sure your next placement is perfect.

Discover the green flags to look for in a job interview so you will be able to accept a new art teacher position with confidence!

teacher on laptop

They are warm and inviting and also professional.

Consider initial vibes as you walk through the main entrance. Imagine how you want to feel in your new environment. How your potential new colleagues greet you can set the tone. Administrators should look and feel warm and inviting. Imagine smiles on their faces, walking towards you with an extended hand. During the interview, watch their body language for subtle but important cues that speak to their professionalism.

What do I look for?

  • They appear genuinely excited to talk to you about art and art education.
  • They want to see examples of your student and personal artwork.
  • They want to learn about you as a whole person and not just as a teacher.
  • They are honest and confident when answering your questions.

What questions do I ask them?

  • How do you support new teachers?
  • Is there a mentor program or new teacher training available?
  • Is there dedicated collaboration time with my team and other colleagues during the school day?
  • What are you looking for in your new hire?
  • Why should I choose your school?


They ask the right questions.

It’s not only what they ask but how they ask and respond that can tell you a lot about the school environment. Although generic teacher questions may apply, a strong administration will ask specific questions about you and your art teaching. The team will demonstrate their understanding of an art room and its unique needs. At a minimum, this team will do some research, ask for advice, and be open to how they can best support your teaching needs.

What do I look for?

  • They want to know how you’ll advocate and grow the program.
  • They ask art-specific questions that demonstrate knowledge of the unique needs of an art teacher and art classroom.
  • They use art vocabulary and ask clarifying questions when they don’t understand.
  • They want to know your long-term goals as an educator and person.

What questions do I ask them?

  • What is the retention rate of teachers at this school?
  • What are the trends for visual art positions?
  • Why are you hiring an art teacher right now?
  • What role do you see the art teacher having at this school now and in the future?
  • How does your administration support students with behavioral or chronic absenteeism issues and what are the procedures for handling these situations?

They advocate for the arts.

Plain and simple—you want to work at a school that values the arts. Sometimes budgets prohibit high-end technology and the best classroom furniture. The administration should still highlight the hardworking, talented artists in your classroom. Look for visual cues around the school and ask targeted questions to gauge community support.

What do I look for?

What questions do I ask them?

  • Is there a dedicated art room and can I see the room?
  • What are your long-term goals for the visual art program?
  • What types of engagement can I expect from the community?
  • What kind of arts integration or cross-curricular development do you have?
  • If I were to ask students how they felt about art, what would they say?
  • Who typically attends art events?

They show support for you as the expert.

It’s important to feel respected for the unique expertise you bring to your potential new school. As art teachers, we do far more than “just teach art.” The team interviewing you should affirm that you are an essential piece of the community. They should show genuine interest in your skills and how you can contribute beyond hallway beautification.

What do I look for?

What questions do I ask them?

  • How do you allocate budgets and how much funding is there per student?
  • Is there additional funding for the maintenance of the art room and equipment?
  • Do you provide subject-specific PD? If not, how do you or will you support PD for my unique needs?
  • How much autonomy do I have over my curriculum?
  • What does the schedule look like for this position?
  • How many students per class/teacher?
  • How often will I see my students and for how long?
  • How much prep time is allocated within my daily schedule?
  • Will I have a duty or other responsibility during my prep time?

experts book

They visually highlight the arts.

Your interviewers can talk a good talk, but do they walk the walk? Make sure you see evidence that celebrates the visual arts. Not every school has amazing display options, but showcasing student work in the hallways or on the school website is an easy win. If this hasn’t been the standard, ask about any limitations the school has around physical and digital displays. Their answer to this will give you big insight.

What do I look for?

  • They display student artwork in hallways and offices.
  • They feature a dedicated arts section on their website.
  • They celebrate student exhibition award winners and art scholarship winners.
  • They share the arts on social media.
  • They established arts-related clubs.

What questions do I ask them?

  • Is there a dedicated space to display artwork throughout the school?
  • What do the art shows at the school or in the community look like?
  • Do you have an art department social media presence or website? If not, is this something the district will allow me to create?
  • Is there an art club or National Art Honor Society?
  • Do you provide a stipend for being a club sponsor?

puzzle pieces

No matter where you are in your teaching career, finding the right fit is crucial. Often, frustration with teaching is more about the environment than the job itself. With funds like California Prop 28, many general education teachers are switching to arts education. Remember, while you are interviewing, you are also assessing the school to ensure it’s a good fit for your long-term success. Be prepared to interview them back and take notes. Although it may require a little more effort upfront to research and generate good questions, it will be well worth it when you find your perfect placement!

What questions would you add to this list?

Share your top piece of advice for a new art teacher going through the interview process.

Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.


Janet Taylor

Janet Taylor, a high school art educator, is also AOEU’s K–12 Content Specialist and a former AOEU Writer. She geeks out about choice-based curriculum, assessment strategies, and equipping new teachers.

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