How to Answer the 10 Most Common Teacher Interview Questions

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One of the most essential jobs anywhere at any time in history is teaching. If you are devoting your life to being a teacher, you’ll enjoy many rewards among the many challenges.

When you have an interview for a teaching position, as with any job interview, the more you prepare beforehand, the greater your chances for doing well with the interviewer or hiring team. If you’re feeling uncomfortable about how to present yourself, you can practice a mock interview and receive valuable feedback as part of our job success package.

To get you started thinking about what to expect, here are 10 of the most common teacher interview questions.

1. What motivated you to become a teacher?

You could probably write a book about why you went into teaching. Your reasons are many—from all those folks who influenced you as you grew up, to your heartfelt desire to make a difference in young lives. For this teacher interview question, you could prepare a personal story about a particular teacher who made a lasting impression on you.

2. Why are you seeking this particular position?

Responding to this teacher interview question is where your research about the school will pay off. The interviewer wants to make sure you’re a good fit for their school. Talk about what you know about the school and how your qualifications and skills will match their mission and vision. Mention a particular interest you have and how it will benefit something particular to this school: “I appreciate how this school has focused on holding down the student-to-teacher ratio. I believe strongly in giving individual attention to students as much as possible.”

3. Can you tell me something about your teaching philosophy?

There are several ways you could answer this teacher interview question. How you shape your philosophy and style is an evolving process, so take some time before the interview to reflect on your beliefs and what sets you apart from other teachers. A good answer might be something like: “I want my students learning more by example and less by me lecturing to them. If I can provide practical experiences that will make a lasting impression on my students, I know they will learn effectively and be eager to learn more.”

4. If I walked into your classroom unannounced, what would I see and hear?

What the school administrators want to see is students engaged in learning. You might say, “There are any number of things you might observe in my classroom. I adhere to a course schedule, but I mix up activities to keep students moving forward and making steady progress. What I hope you would see is a lively discussion of a particular topic where students are encouraged to express their thoughts and opinions.”

5. What’s the most challenging or frustrating part of teaching for you?

Teachers share many of the same frustrations. You feel unappreciated. The pay and benefits don’t match what you put into your job. The list goes on. When you answer this teacher interview question, also describe how you deal with your frustrations or list solutions you’ve found effective. For example: “Like most teachers, I get frustrated by smart kids who refuse to learn. What I’ve found to be effective is small group learning sessions two or three times a week. Those kids who try to hide in a room full of 25 students can’t hide as easily in a small group of five.”

6. What strategies do you use to deal with behavioral problems?

When preparing for your interview, try to learn something about the school’s policies regarding discipline. Your response could be more of a general, philosophical nature followed up by some situation examples you’ve used effectively.

7. What unique or outstanding qualities do you bring to a school?

A bit of reflection before the interview will help you respond to this teacher interview question. Your answer is a good opportunity to showcase those things about education that you are passionate about and that will complement the school’s mission. For instance: “As a special education teacher, I’m involved in several community organizations devoted to children with special needs. Among other things, I’ve coordinated our community’s adaptive summer sports program for the past three years.”

8. What do you think are some qualities students look for in teachers?

Students generally don’t open up about this, but if you look back on your experience in the classroom, you should have a pretty good idea. You might say: “I believe students want a teacher who is fair and who provides a balance of educational tools and methods. Most students want to feel like they matter and they’re important. I think they want some assurance that what I’m teaching them is relevant in the grand scheme of things. And I continually try to improve and enhance those qualities.”

9. How do you spend your first day with a new group of students?

For this interview question, you could talk about how you prepare the new class for the semester. For example, you might spend half an hour learning names and a little something about each student. Here’s an example of a good answer: “I had a high school teacher who came into her first class not knowing anyone’s name. She used a fun exercise, and by the time we left that first session, she knew everyone’s names and never forgot them the entire semester. It showed me she was really interested in every one of us.”

10. Do you have any questions about our school or the position?

By this time, you should have several questions. Make sure the ones you ask are well thought out and reflect your interest and enthusiasm about teaching at the school.

We hope this list gives you some idea of what kind of teacher interview questions to expect. Above all, prepare ahead of time and make sure your responses are honest and sincere. For more personalized assistance, check out our job success package for resume writing, career coaching, mock interviews, and more, so you can stand out from other applicants.

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