Teaching is a deeply fulfilling and meaningful career that goes beyond simply imparting knowledge to students. Teaching plays a crucial role in shaping the minds and lives of young individuals, making it one of the most impactful professions.
But, getting into this rewarding career requires you to go through an interview process that can be daunting. Job interviews may seem intimidating initially, but with the right tips, you can confidently go into your teacher interview and ace it.
Before you go into an interview, consider and research the following teacher job interview questions.
The steps following this decision include getting teacher certified, updating your resume, and beginning the interview process.
This list is not all-inclusive but it includes all the essential steps you need to prepare to secure the teaching position you want. These questions will help you during the teaching interview and also help you be a better teacher.
Let’s dive in!
What Do You Love About Teaching?
This question can also be framed in any of the following ways:
- Why do you want to be a teacher?
- What is it about teaching that is motivating you to leave your current job?
- Who was one of your favorite teachers in the past, and why?
Hiring managers want to know that the person applying for the job is qualified and cares about being there. A job such as teaching magnifies the importance of caring because a teacher is there to serve young people. Make sure you emphasize how passionate you are about teaching.
Before the interview, think through what you love about teaching and why you want to pursue a career in that profession. Writing out your thoughts can be a helpful way of processing them. You want to answer your interview questions with solid reasons, concrete examples, and personal stories, where appropriate.
A few common reasons people want to teach are:
- They love learning and being in a learning environment
- Teaching is a job with a lot of variety
- Teaching is a way of serving their communities
- They like the creativity and independence teaching offers
- They want summers off
- They want to make a difference in people’s lives
Questions about your love of teaching are an excellent opportunity to show you are genuine and personable. If you can, share a story about one of your childhood teachers or someone else who inspired you to pursue teaching. Stories have a special way of resonating with people. Whatever you say, let your enthusiasm and passion for teaching be clear in your answer.
2. What Is Your Teaching Philosophy?
Questions about your teaching philosophy focus on what you believe is the purpose of your discipline and the best ways to fulfill that purpose. Write out your teaching philosophy ahead of time so that you can base your answers around it and share your ideas during interviews.
As you explore your teaching philosophy, consider the following:
- Why is your area of discipline important to society?
- Why does it matter whether anyone learns it or not?
- What is your role within your discipline?
- And what are your specific teaching methods that support and fulfill your philosophy?
In addition to your beliefs, explain how you will apply your philosophy in the classroom. How do you implement both formative assessment and summative assessment? This will naturally depend on the ages of your students.
Ensure you clearly understand the “how” and “why” of your philosophy. Knowing the “how” will help you prepare for questions about your teaching style and classroom management.
3. What Are Your Teaching Style and Methods?
Explaining your teaching methods demonstrates that you are competent and prepared to be a teacher. This includes:
- How do you help students to learn your subject?
- How do you help children with various learning styles?
- How would you help a student struggling to keep up with the material?
You’ll learn a lot once you start teaching in a classroom, but there are some basics about your discipline that you should be familiar with before you start.
Your teaching methods are the practical side of your teaching philosophy. What assignments will be most effective in helping you achieve your discipline’s purpose? How can you capture your students’ imaginations and bring your subject to life?
People learn in different ways. Some different methods include learning visually, aurally, or kinesthetically. How can you engage all five senses with your assignments? You could do a formative assessment by having students visualize a concept through drawing or painting. Incorporating crafts into lessons is a helpful strategy, especially for elementary teachers.
Musical students will appreciate you incorporating music into the lesson. Some students enjoy being outside or active more than discussing ideas in class. What can you incorporate into the lesson plan to get these students interested? Some Middle school students struggle with transitioning to a new school with no more recess. What activities or projects can you assign that will engage those students?
The team of teachers you work with will be extremely valuable and help you develop new ideas to implement in the classroom. In the meantime, there are many online resources you can browse to get advice about teaching your subject.
4. How Will You Manage Your Classroom?
Knowing how you will manage your classroom demonstrates that, in addition to being competent in your discipline, you can also lead and relate to students well.
Note that classroom management overlaps with teaching style. The more organized you are, the more you will be able to avoid misunderstandings between you and your students.
The interviewer might ask you:
- Are you a tough teacher or an easy one?
- Has there ever been a time when you had to deal with a particularly difficult student?
- If so, how did you handle that situation?
Teachers work with students with varying interest levels in the subject taught. Only some students will be excited about being at school. That’s why you need to be familiar with classroom management.
Classroom management is especially important for Special Education teaching positions. Special ed teachers need to be familiar with strategies for keeping students’ attention and dealing with disruptive students. They also need to explain how they’ll help students persevere with a difficult task.
Use your experience or online research to develop tactics appropriate for the age level and type of student you’ll be teaching. Research beforehand to learn about the disciplinary procedures at your applying school. Then you can tailor your answer accordingly. Know what you would do, and show how your methods fit the school’s philosophy.
For example, if you’re an elementary teacher, you could use non- verbal communication. Every time someone breaks a rule, write one letter of the word “sorry” on the board. Explain to your students that if you spell the entire word, the class will lose a fun activity for the day. This classroom management strategy could be useful for encouraging good behavior.
It’s also a good idea to mention how you would prevent conflict from arising ahead of time in your interview. You can make it a habit to make eye contact with each student throughout the day or greet each one at the beginning, showing you’re happy to see all of them. The more your students know you care about them, the less likely they will act out.
5. What Is Your Greatest Strength?
It’s common for hiring managers to ask you questions regarding your greatest strengths. Your answer to this question demonstrates your qualifications for the teaching position.
Don’t think of it as bragging about yourself. You are objectively explaining how you are a good fit for the school. Why would anyone hire you if you don’t have any relevant strengths?
Before your interview, brainstorm what your best selling points are. Consider them in a professional and personal context.
- Has your boss praised you for any achievements in your current job?
- What have been your recent successes at work, and what skills contributed to those successes?
- Have your coworkers ever pointed out any of your strengths to you? Ask them what they are.
You can ask the same question of your friends and family. Even though these are people you know on a personal basis, they can help you identify your primary character qualities.
For example, if people know you as an exceptional communicator, give recent examples of that strength. Then explain how you’ll use that skill in a teaching context. That skill could be public speaking, setting clear expectations for your class, or contacting parents on time. Whatever you mention, give specific examples from the past and apply them to the teaching position you’re seeking.
6. Why Do You Want to Work in This Job/School/District?
Only go into an interview if you know about the organization interviewing you. Answering this question well shows that you care about getting the job and helps you determine if the job is a good fit for you.
Some common mistakes made in interviews include:
- Not being prepared
- Giving cliché answers
- Seeming bored and not paying attention
Doing your research and thoughtfully preparing for the interview helps avoid the first two mistakes. As mentioned earlier, communicating your enthusiasm for teaching will ensure you don’t make the last mistake.
Find out what you can about the job itself, as well as the school and the school district.
- What are the school’s characteristics?
- Do the students in that school district have any specific needs you are suited to meet?
- Is there anything about the administration’s philosophy that you appreciate?
- What is the school doing well that makes you excited about working there?
Researching the position will help you with all of your interview questions. You can use whatever you discover in your answers where applicable.
7. What Is Your Biggest Weakness?
Everyone has weaknesses. This question is an opportunity to demonstrate your honesty and how you learn from your mistakes.
Be prepared to answer a question about your shortcomings.
- What is your primary weakness as a teacher?
- What do you dislike most about teaching?
- What do you find to be the most challenging part of teaching?
It’s understandable if you fear that answering this question truthfully will make you seem unqualified for the position. But you can respond accurately while still presenting yourself as a strong candidate. All people face difficulties in their jobs, and all jobs have aspects to them that are not enjoyable. These are just facts of working life.
One way to use this question to your advantage is by describing how you deal with challenges. Or you had a major weakness in the past that you have overcome. Describe how you did so and what you do differently now.
8. Do You Have Any Questions for Me?
You want to avoid getting to the end of the interview and have nothing to say when the interviewer asks this question. This is another opportunity to demonstrate you care about getting the job and determine whether you want it.
Having questions for the school shows you are sincerely interested in the teaching position. But it’s also a chance to discover the information you cannot get through your research.
If there is anything you’re particularly concerned about, this is your chance to ask about it! Your questions might include:
- How would you describe the culture of the school?
- What are the students like?
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of each grade?
- Are the teachers supportive of each other?
- What are the administration and parents like?
- What challenges has the staff faced this year within the school and district?
- How does the school relate to the community?
Don’t ask about time off or salary at this point. Questions like that are inappropriate until the school offers you the teaching position.
9. How Do You Incorporate Social-emotional Learning In Your Lessons?
Before you answer this question, it’s important to recognize that many states and districts have now integrated SEL requirements into their standards, showing the increasing significance of addressing students’ emotional well-being alongside their academic growth.
When answering this question, you can emphasize the following key elements:
- Balancing academic and social-emotional needs
- Core Competencies of social-emotional learning
- Building a supportive classroom community
- Real-life connections and relevance
You can highlight the importance of tending to your students’ academic needs while addressing their social-emotional development. Acknowledge that creating a supportive and inclusive classroom environment fosters optimal learning.
You should explain that addressing the core competencies of SEL, such as self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making is an integral part of your teaching philosophy.
Also, discuss your strategies to foster this sense of community and its positive impact on students’ social-emotional well-being.
For example, you can say that you intentionally incorporate activities that promote self-awareness, such as reflective journaling or mindfulness exercises. Add that you encourage your students to understand their emotions, strengths, and areas for growth.
Students learn to empathize with others, resolve conflicts, and appreciate diverse perspectives through these activities.
10. What Is Your Classroom Management Structure?
The classroom management structure is crucial because it sets the tone for a positive and productive learning environment. It combines the strategies and systems you use to establish expectations, maintain discipline, promote student engagement, and foster community within the classroom.
When answering this question, emphasize the importance of a well-defined management structure and highlight why you believe your structure is valuable to both you and your students.
For example, say you believe your classroom management structure effectively promotes a positive and productive learning environment, establishes clear expectations, reinforces positive behavior, and provides individualized support to help students thrive.
You can also talk about checking the school’s policies and guidelines. Every school may have its specific expectations and protocols in place.
By aligning your structure with the school’s policies and demonstrating your understanding of them, you show that you are adaptable and able to work within the established framework.
11. How Do You Feel About Classroom Observations?
When asked about classroom observations, express your comfort and openness to the process. Classroom observations are valuable opportunities for professional growth and feedback.
Avoid common mistakes, such as feeling nervous or desiring advanced warning, as they may negatively affect your adaptability and confidence.
For example, you can say that you genuinely welcome classroom observations as valuable learning experiences, allowing you to receive constructive feedback, gain insights into your teaching practices, and identify areas for growth.
Remember, expressing your willingness, confidence, and positive attitude toward classroom observations demonstrate your dedication to being an effective and reflective educator. Emphasize your value on feedback and your commitment to ongoing professional development.
12. How Do You Feel About Remote Working?
Approach this question with an open mindset and acknowledge that the school can gain valuable insights about your adaptability and work style through your answer. Even if the school does not teach online, your response can showcase your versatility as an educator.
For example, you can say that remote working has its unique advantages and challenges. While the school may not currently be conducting online classes, discussing your perspective on remote teaching will provide insights into your adaptability and versatility as an educator.
Compare online and in-teaching and highlight your strengths in both environments. Recognize the unique benefits of each teaching environment, and highlight your ability to excel in both remote and in-person settings.
13. How Important Are Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives For You?
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives are not just words; they are crucial aspects of education that promote fairness, respect, and equal opportunities for all students.
Today, questions about DEI initiatives, policies, and mindsets have become standard in most teacher interviews. You must demonstrate your commitment to these principles, be open to engaging in challenging conversations, and do the necessary work to build anti-racist curricula and policies.
Here are some important points you can consider when answering this question:
- Acknowledge the significance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in education.
- Highlight your willingness to engage in challenging conversations about race, gender, socioeconomic status, and other aspects of identity.
- Express your dedication to developing anti-racist curricula and implementing inclusive policies that actively promote equity and challenge biases.
For example, you can say that diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives are of utmost importance to you as an educator. You believe every student deserves an inclusive and equitable learning environment where their unique identities and experiences are celebrated and respected.
By embracing diversity and promoting equity and inclusion, you create a space where students can thrive academically, socially, and emotionally.
Avoid responses that dismiss or downplay the significance of DEI initiatives. If you need help understanding the complexities and challenges surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion in education, focus your response on the commitment to ongoing learning, self-reflection, and actively working towards creating an inclusive educational environment for all students.
14. How Do You Typically Motivate Parents to Support Their Children’s Education?
Motivating parents to support their children’s education is vital for fostering a strong partnership between home and school. When answering this question, it’s essential to highlight proactive strategies encouraging parental involvement.
Emphasize the importance of parent engagement in promoting student success and creating a positive learning environment.
Here are some examples of how you can motivate parents to support their children’s education:
- Establish effective communication channels
- Share the importance of parental involvement
- Offer volunteering Opportunities.
For example, you can say that you actively encourage parents to get involved through volunteering opportunities and invite them to contribute their time and skills during school events, field trips, or classroom activities.
Parental involvement is crucial as it positively impacts student achievement, behavior, and overall academic success.
By showcasing your strategies for motivating parents to support their children’s education, you demonstrate your commitment to creating a collaborative and supportive learning environment that encompasses both home and school.
15. How Do You Assess Students’ Progress?
Assessing students’ progress employs various strategies beyond traditional tests and quizzes. You can mention different types of assessments, such as formative assessment, portfolio reflection, and project assessment.
- Formative assessments: These take various forms, such as class discussions, questioning techniques, exit tickets, and mini-quizzes. It enables you to make real-time adjustments to your teaching strategies, promptly address misconceptions, and provide timely student feedback, supporting the learning journey.
- Portfolios: These may include artworks and projects to showcase your students’ work and growth over time, enabling them to take ownership of their learning, reflect on their strengths and areas for improvement, and actively engage in the assessment process.
- Projects and tasks assessment: These require critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity, allowing you to assess students’ application of knowledge and skills. Projects often provide opportunities for students to showcase their understanding in practical and authentic ways.
When answering assessment questions, discuss different methods you use to assess students’ progress, explain why it matters, and emphasize the importance of ongoing assessment throughout the learning process.
Avoid relying solely on traditional assessments like exams. Be cautious about mentioning only one assessment method without acknowledging the importance of a comprehensive approach.
By showcasing your understanding of different assessment strategies and their role in supporting student growth, you demonstrate your commitment to personalized learning and ongoing progress monitoring.
16. What Are the Greatest Challenges Teachers Face Today?
Approach this question with an understanding that it can be a trick question. The interviewer wants to assess your awareness of the current events and issues impacting the teaching profession.
Here’s how you can navigate this question effectively:
- Acknowledge that the teaching profession faces ever-evolving challenges.
- Emphasize that you understand the importance of staying informed and adaptable to address these challenges effectively.
- Demonstrate your awareness of recent events, advancements, and shifts influencing the teaching industry, such as education policies, technological advancements, social and cultural shifts, or the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For example, say that you believe the teaching profession constantly evolves and various challenges come with it. As an educator, you recognize that awareness of these challenges is essential to successfully navigating them. It is important to stay informed about current events and trends in education as they shape the landscape in which you work.
Avoid using clichéd answers or discussing challenges that have been prevalent for years, such as classroom management or standardized testing. Instead, focus on recent and relevant challenges that reflect the current educational landscape.
17. How Do You Deal with Bored or Lacking Interest Students?
It’s normal to engage bored or disinterested students in class. In answering this question, demonstrate your understanding of your student’s needs and showcase your ability to adapt your teaching style to foster their engagement.
Answer this question with confidence and an understanding of students’ diverse needs and interests.
Here are some tactics you can mention:
- Implementing differentiated instruction techniques to cater to students’ diverse learning styles, interests, and abilities.
- Providing various activities, assignments, and resources allows students to choose options that align with their preferences and strengths.
- Incorporate active learning strategies that promote student engagement and participation. These strategies can include collaborative projects, problem-solving activities, debates, simulations, or interactive discussions.
- Establishing connections between the curriculum and real-world situations to make the content relevant and meaningful to students.
Avoid assuming that all bored or disinterested students are the same or that their lack of interest is solely their responsibility. Instead, demonstrate your willingness to adapt your teaching style, provide options, and create an engaging learning environment catering to their needs.
For example, to capture the interest of bored or disengaged students, embrace active learning strategies and encourage them to actively participate in the learning process through group work, problem-solving tasks, or class discussions that promote critical thinking and real-world applications.
18. Describe Your Experience with a Troubling Student
Approach this question in a way that showcases your strengths and demonstrates your ability to handle difficult situations in the classroom. Using a problem-solution approach, you can highlight your problem-solving skills and commitment to supporting the student’s growth.
Here are some guidelines to follow and common mistakes to avoid:
- Emphasize the positive aspects of your approach and strategies to address the situation.
- Highlight your ability to create a supportive and inclusive classroom environment and your commitment to the student’s well-being and academic success.
- Refrain from making negative judgments or speaking disparagingly about the student.
Adopt a compassionate and understanding tone, focusing on identifying the underlying causes of the behavior and providing appropriate support.
19. Share One Mistake You Made with One of Your Students And What You Learned From It.
Teachers, like everyone else, are prone to making mistakes. When discussing a mistake you made with one of your students, it’s crucial to highlight how that experience contributed to your growth as an educator.
While answering this question, begin by emphasizing that making mistakes is a normal part of students’ and teachers’ learning and growth process. Reflecting on and learning from these mistakes is essential for professional development.
Describe a specific mistake you made with a student and the valuable lesson you learned. Emphasize how this experience contributed to your development as a teacher and improved your understanding of student needs or instructional approaches.
Conclude your response by highlighting how the mistake helped you become a better teacher and how you have since adjusted your approach to better meet the needs of your students.
By openly discussing a mistake you made with a student and sharing the valuable lesson learned, you demonstrate your ability to reflect, grow, and adapt as an educator. This showcases your commitment to ongoing improvement and dedication to meeting your students’ diverse needs.
20. How Would Your Teacher Colleagues Describe You
This question lets you showcase your interpersonal skills, teamwork abilities, and overall fit within a collaborative work environment.
The opinion of your colleagues matters as it reflects your ability to establish positive relationships, contribute effectively to a team, and create a harmonious work atmosphere.
Here’s how you can approach this question:
- Highlight that your colleagues’ opinions are valuable as they provide insights into your ability to collaborate, communicate, and work effectively within a team.
- Emphasize that a positive perception from colleagues signifies your potential to contribute positively to the work environment and foster a supportive and collaborative culture.
When answering this question, highlight your strengths and qualities your colleagues would appreciate and value. Choose qualities that align with the expectations and values of the teaching profession.
For example, say the opinion of your teacher colleagues is important to you as it reflects your ability to work collaboratively, contribute effectively to a team, and create a positive work environment.
By focusing on your strengths and qualities that align with effective teamwork and collaboration, you demonstrate your ability to fit well within a new work environment.
Your answer should reflect your positive and cooperative attitude and commitment to building strong professional relationships with your colleagues.
Across the country, teacher shortage is growing. Schools require qualified and dedicated teachers like you. Finding a teaching job and going through the interviews can seem like a lot, but we can help you prepare.
Here is a graph detailing the level of preparedness for interviews among teachers.
can help you get prepared.
By following these teacher job interview tips, you face the application process with confidence.
If you’re struggling with the Teacher Test, take a look at our teacher testing tips and get tips on how to ace that test.