How to Answer the 10 Most Common Interview Questions for Teachers

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Interviewing for a teaching position is similar to interviewing for any other type of job, but interview questions for teachers have unique qualities that set them apart.

Preparation is key! In today’s digital world, you have access to plenty of trusted research sources, and time spent practicing for your interview is a great investment. Enlisting help to craft a great resume or practice with a mock interview can make the difference in whether or not you are hired.

In the meantime, check out these ten common interview questions for teachers and our recommended answer strategies.

1. What motivated you to become a teacher?

Of course, your answer has to go well beyond helping kids learn. The more you convey your genuine interest in students’ lives, the greater impression you’ll make on a search committee. Tell a brief story about a teaching role model you had as a student and how that teacher inspired you. Know your strengths and skills before going into an interview, and weave those into your replies.

2. Why did you apply to this particular school?

Answering this teaching interview question is a great way to show you’ve done your research. Rather than just saying you’ve heard it’s a good school, use concrete examples about its history, distinguished alums, particular teachers who’ve been recognized for their performance, or examples of what makes the school stand out in the eyes of the public. Then find some ways to match your experiences and teaching philosophies with those of the school.

3. What unique qualities will you bring to our school?

Reflecting on your skills, attributes, and personality before an interview can pay off in the long run. Before meeting with a search committee, take the time to list your qualities that match the job description. You might also want to consult with a close friend who can provide more objective ideas about your unique qualities. Careful preparation will make answering interview questions such as this much easier and make you sound more natural.

4. What is your teaching philosophy?

Among these interview questions for teachers, this is one you’ll definitely want to formulate a solid response to beforehand. If your experience allows, use an actual example of how you approach the profession. You might believe in always being there for your students, or you’re committed to being totally honest with them. Make your examples, whether from a previous teaching position or another profession, work for you in the interview process.

As you research the school before the interview, try to learn something about the school’s teaching philosophy to avoid giving a response that’s contrary to their beliefs.

5. What gets you down or frustrated about teaching?

In most interviews, you can expect to be asked something about your faults or weaknesses. We all have them, so interviewers and panels do not expect perfection. Because teachers often deal with the same types of difficult issues, you could, for example, talk about seemingly bright students who continually fail to apply themselves. You could follow up on your response with some methods you’ve used to reach those students. Maybe the long process of grading papers gets to you. Again, talk about some techniques you use during those times, such as yoga, meditation, or exercise.

6. How much do you want to know about your students?

Reflecting on the school’s philosophy, you could talk about how much you need to know about a student’s past, family life, previous infractions, or comments from previous teachers. You might focus on knowing just enough to help the student achieve his or her potential in the classroom.

Use examples if you are able to. Perhaps talk about a particular student who was having problems at home and how you were able to make a difference in his or her academic life.

7. What methods do you use to evaluate students?

Of course, don’t just talk about tests and multiple-choice quizzes. Discuss a variety of modern methods for thorough evaluations. You might also want to bring up different approaches for different students and their individual study plans. Most teaching interview panels will listen carefully to your responses and match them to the school’s testing and assessment policies, so doing your research is vital.

8. How do you deal with parents?

There’s no mystery about this common interview question for teachers. Of course, parents are an integral part of a student’s education, but they can challenge a teacher or administrator’s patience. One of the best responses is that you always try to be as honest as possible with parents about their students. You could also talk about having an open-door policy with parents. Be prepared for difficult follow-up questions, such as “How do you deal with two parents who have completely different ideas about education and how their child should be taught?”

9. If we hire you, what would you do to prepare for your first day in the classroom?

Discuss making your classroom as welcoming and nurturing as possible. Emphasize how important that first day is to the rest of the school year. Give some actual examples of activities you might plan for that first day. It could be as simple as taking extra time to learn and remember all your students’ names.

10. What questions do you have for us?

This is often the last teaching interview question, and it provides one more opportunity to impress the interviewer(s). You could ask about a school’s culture, its technology, if the school does e-learning for storm days, how active the parent–teacher groups are, opportunities for growth and continuing education for staff, or student population trends. The possibilities are endless if time allows.

This list should provide you with a great start when it comes to preparing for your teaching interviews. If you want to increase your chances of landing a great teaching job, consider boosting your interviewing skills with our mock interview services, which will help you stand out from other applicants.

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