If you have decided to become a teacher, you are likely completing your teacher education. You should be getting classroom experience and developing important skills like classroom management and lesson plan development. But have you thought about what teacher interview questions you might face when looking to land your first teaching job?
Interview questions for teachers will overlap with general behavioral interview questions, but they will also be specifically tailored to the profession and the school. As you’re looking for your dream job in teaching, it’s a good idea to prepare for your interviews by checking out common teaching interview questions.
Hiring managers, typically headteachers or administrators at the school, will likely be ready with the interview questions you will find in this article.
Common Teacher Interview Questions
Make sure you are prepared for your teacher interview. Read on for examples and tips on how to tackle some of the most common teacher interview questions.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Teacher?
Your answer to this question should be a mini-mission statement of sorts about why you have decided to devote your professional life to teaching. Your answer to this question should center on your motivations and on how you can influence students’ lives for the better.
This is a simple question and it’s also a very important one. It’s a major opportunity for you to convey your passion for teaching and your excitement about becoming a teacher. Your answer should also highlight the rewards you get out of teaching and out of helping students.
What Is Your Teaching Philosophy?
When answering this question, you should speak of your teaching style and how it aligns with the school’s teaching philosophy and vision. You will want to talk about your teaching goals and what you think teachers should prioritize. You should also talk about educational goals and metrics for measuring success beyond traditional and problematic metrics like test scores.
Acknowledging how you approach a teaching challenge with individual students is a good idea. For example, teaching within a student’s learning style and learning needs. You may also discuss learning opportunities you hope to facilitate in your classroom.
What Are Your Strengths as a Teacher?
It’s important to walk into a teacher interview with confidence and a firm understanding of what your strengths and weaknesses are. A good way to outline your strengths when preparing for a teacher interview is by dividing them into two categories: skill-based strengths and character-based strengths. You might think of these categories as similar to the distinction between technical/hard skills and soft skills.
As a teacher, you might highlight the skill-based strengths you have in your particular subject area, especially if you’re interviewing for a high school teaching job where subject matter expertise is particularly relevant. Otherwise, you will want to focus this answer on character-based strengths that will contribute to the quality of your teaching.
Strengths like patience, clarity, and diplomacy, for example, could be described as character-based strengths that would help you excel as a teacher.
How Do You Intend to Focus on Your Professional Development?
Though to a certain point schools are responsible for giving teachers resources and opportunities for professional development, most schools will also expect teachers to proactively seek out self-directed professional development. If an interviewer asks this question, it’s because they want to gauge whether you are being proactive about continuing to learn and grow as an educator.
Do you have a plan for guiding your professional development? How do you intend to keep up with relevant trends in education and teaching? Be prepared to answer these related questions as well and to give specific examples of how you are consistently and proactively learning and growing.
How Comfortable Are You with Technology?
Hiring managers are more likely to ask this question now, especially as the pandemic has kept many classrooms virtual. Be ready to discuss your comfort level with technology and any experience you have with virtual classrooms as a teacher or student.
What Makes You a Good Fit for this School?
This is where you can demonstrate you have done your research about the school. Like with any job, being a good fit is as important as technical skills or qualifications. The school will want to know if your educational experience and teaching philosophy align with its mission and vision.
Familiarize yourself with what the school stands for and answer this question by detailing how your teaching style and philosophy will accomplish the school’s mission.
Classroom Scenario Questions
Teacher interviews will most certainly include questions about hypothetical scenarios you might encounter in the classroom. Be sure to prepare for these in advance because it can be really hard to recall good examples on the spot. The more hypothetical scenarios you can anticipate, the better off you will be during the actual interview.
Tell Me About a Time When You Helped Someone Learn or Grow
This is less of a question and more of a command. But really, the question is: How have you helped a student learn or grow in the past? If this is your first teaching job, you can still pull examples from your student teaching experiences.
You can even reference other experiences outside of a traditional classroom. For example, if you have volunteered in a mentoring capacity or if you have filled a teaching or mentoring role in your family, you can reference these experiences as examples.
With this question, interviewers want to know if you can acknowledge and understand specific times you have helped someone else as a teacher. They also want to hear about your methods and the way you went about the particular teaching and learning moment. Feel free to get as specific as possible here to give interviewers a clear sense of who you are as a teacher and a mentor.
How Would You Handle a Difficult Student?
A good way to answer this question is by sharing your general philosophy about working with students and then moving on to an example where you have handled a difficult student well. Typically, a good way to start is by acknowledging a strengths-based approach that emphasizes collaboration and re-engaging the student in learning.
This question is as difficult as the student it is referencing. Difficult students abound and it is really important to know how to handle them in any classroom scenario. You will likely get this question because the school wants to know you have the tools to handle difficult students.
What Are Your Classroom Management Methods?
This question is similar to the former, except it references classroom management and discipline more generally rather than asking about one difficult student. In this case, interviewers want to know you have classroom management tools and that you have familiarized yourself with the school’s philosophy around the subject.
This is very important since different kinds of schools have vastly different ideas about appropriate classroom management methods. For example, certain kinds of charter schools might prioritize very strict and disciplinarian classroom management while other independent schools may prefer a laissez-faire method to discipline.
It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the school’s or the district’s mission statement regarding classroom management. Then, in your interview, be sure to reference aspects of their mission statement and talk about how you will work to develop their classroom management philosophy in your teaching practice.
How Would You Communicate and Build Relationships With a Parent?
To answer this question, it’s a good idea to pull from your teaching philosophy or from any experience you have engaging with parents. You might give examples of how you have successfully built relationships with students and their parents in the past.
It’s also a good idea to acknowledge the particularities of the job you are applying for and how they might influence your communication with parents. For example, if you are applying for a high school teaching job, you might communicate with parents when their child is not doing well or when they need extra attention. Social media engagement can be an effective way to connect with busy parents.
Communicating with parents can be a major part of your teaching experience. Depending on where you teach and what level you teach, parents may be more or less involved. That said, sometimes you will need to work to engage parents and cultivate their interest in their kids’ education.
Conclusion: Rehearse Your Teacher Interview Answers
Hopefully these example teacher interview questions and tips on how to answer them have left you feeling more prepared to take on a teaching interview. Be sure to review them again and rehearse your answers.
As a new teacher, you will want to make sure you have done your research and you are capable of giving polished and thoughtful answers. We hope this guide can help you in your interview preparation process.