10 Most Common Teacher Interview Questions and How to Answer Them
Whether you’re looking ahead to your first teacher interview or to your fourth or fifth, doing well in front of a hiring team is a lot different from being in a classroom full of students. Preparing for your teacher interview begins with research, self-assessment, and finding the keys to rise to the top of the slate of candidates.
If you’d like some objective feedback before your interview, you can practice with a mock interview and other career services in our job success package. To help get you started, let’s look at some of the most common teacher interview questions and answers.
1. Why did you pursue a teaching career?
“To make a difference in people’s lives” is an okay response, and probably very true. But it’s true for every other candidate coming into the interview room before and after you. Make your response to this interview question personal, honest, and heartfelt. For example, relate an anecdote about when the light flipped on and you knew you wanted to teach.
2. Can you describe your teaching philosophy?
Once again, be genuine and demonstrate your commitment to the teaching profession. Take some time before the interview to think about your answer. Ask a friend or family member (especially one who is a teacher) to listen to your response and give you some feedback on where you could improve. Talk about how you will apply your philosophy in a new setting.
3. What moved you to apply for a position at this school?
This is where your research really matters. Learn everything you can about the school, and you’ll be in a better position to respond well. Start with the school’s website, where you’ll discover most of what you need to know. Look for some particular facets of the school that interest you and use those as talking points in the interview. For example, is there a club, organization, or athletic team that interests you? Do you have any special skills that could be of benefit to these extracurricular activities? For instance, “I chaired the yearbook committee throughout high school. If you’re ever looking for an advisor, I’d be happy to step up.”
4. How do you motivate students, especially those who seem unmotivated by academics?
Getting students to participate and engage in a class is a constant challenge. It’s becoming more challenging with students who all seem to have cell phones. When answering this teacher interview question, think about incentives and methods you’ve used—or you’ve seen other teachers use—that spark students into participating in a class discussion or activity.
5. How do you deal with parents, especially those who continually bring you complaints?
You probably know the type of parent we’re talking about. If, for example, the parents feel their child should be getting higher grades, talk about how you use diplomacy or how you might anticipate the situation and try to be proactive. A good response might be: “I do everything possible to set up meetings with parents of students who are struggling or have particular issues. If we can work together to formulate strategies to encourage the student at school and at home, I usually see positive results.”
6. How do you stay current with educational trends and information?
Every teacher should believe in lifelong learning, so talk about how you engage in keeping up with new trends in your particular subject area. You might respond to this interview question by saying something like, “I open myself up to reliable sources of information, whether it be current events, books, podcasts, or newspapers. A great source of information is my own students. Sometimes they amaze me with all they know about popular culture. And I think it’s very important for teachers to know about that.”
7. How do you deal with bullying when you see it on school grounds?
Of course, this is an ongoing issue in schools that doesn’t seem to be getting better, so make sure you demonstrate keen awareness that it’s happening every day. You might say, “When I see it, I report it directly to our resource officer. To prevent it, I talk with my students about bullying on a regular basis. I don’t lecture them about it, but I engage them with activities that are sanctioned by the district to prevent bullying.”
8. What types of technology do you incorporate into the classroom?
A good answer to this teacher interview question might be an extension of how you keep up with trends and information. You can talk about what tools you’ve used on your own and in the classroom. If your previous school had iPads available to students, talk about how you integrated that technology into course work and encouraged students to explore relevant topics beyond the classroom.
9. Over the course of your teaching career, what achievement are you most proud of?
Don’t be shy when answering this teacher interview question. If you’re just starting out, talk about accomplishments from your college career. Have a couple of items ready to talk about and how they affected you as a teacher or aspiring teacher.
10. What questions do you have for us?
Always have two or three questions ready to ask. They could be about enrollment trends, the school’s mission and vision statement, or something you noticed on their website. Demonstrate that you are eager to learn more about the school, and show that you are a good fit for the school.
While you want to prepare good answers for these teacher interview questions, you still want your answers to be personal and unique. When your responses are honest and show your passion for teaching, you’ll take several steps forward in the hiring process.
If you feel you could use more personalized assistance, check out our mock interview services and other resources available to boost your career search.