How to Answer with Confidence
You are now eligible to teach in South Carolina – congratulations! You’ve put in a lot of effort to get to this point, and now it’s time to land the job. If you – like me – have ever felt nervous during a job interview, then this post is for you! No matter how many job interviews have intimidated you in the past, we’re here to help you walk into your next teacher interview with complete confidence.
Preparing ahead of time will set you up for success. We’ve gathered the most common questions you’ll be asked during your teacher interview.
While this is not an exhaustive list of what you may be asked during an interview, it should help you prepare some flexible answers which apply to most questions. Carefully thinking through your answers to these questions will help you shake off those interview nerves and show your future employer that you’re dedicated to becoming a teacher. Let’s take look at the 8 most common teacher interview questions in South Carolina:
1. What Do You Love About Teaching?
Any hiring manager wants to know that you’re qualified and applying to the job for the right reasons. Truly caring about the profession is essential. Working with children and inspiring our future generations is a great responsibility and requires a dedicated and caring individual. Make sure you convey this adequately during the interview. If your passion for teaching is disingenuous, you may likely spoil your chances of getting hired.
Before the interview, think through what you love about teaching and why you are pursuing a career in education. Writing out your thoughts can be a helpful way of processing them. You want to answer your interview questions with logical reasoning, concrete examples, and personal stories, when appropriate.
A few common reasons are:
- You love learning and being in a learning environment.
- Teaching is a job with a lot of variety – no two days are the same!
- Teaching is a way of serving your community.
- You enjoy the creativity and independence teaching offers.
- You want to make a difference in students’ lives.
- You were inspired by a teacher and want to inspire the next generation.
Questions about your love of teaching are an excellent opportunity for you to show that you are genuine and personable. If you can, share a story about one of your previous teachers or someone else who particularly 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 are targeting what you believe is the purpose of your discipline and how best to fulfill that purpose. As you explore your teaching philosophy, consider:
- Why is your area of discipline important to society?
- Why does it matter if students learn?
- What is your role within your discipline?
- What does being a teacher mean to you?
- What are your specific teaching methods that support and fulfill your philosophy?
For example, if you are an English teacher, you might believe in cultivating great thinkers. You may also recognize that thinking and language are connected. The better people can articulate themselves, the more clearly they are thinking. You, therefore, believe that a significant part of your role as an English teacher is to help people become better thinkers by mastering the English language.
Your beliefs form one part of your teaching philosophy. You now need to explain how you intend on applying your philosophy practically in the classroom. How do you implement both formative assessment and summative assessment? Think of a creative and unique way to engage your students.
Make sure you clearly understand the “how” as well as the “why” of your philosophy. Knowing the “how” will help you prepare for questions about your teaching style. Having a clear “why” will feed your passion as a teacher.
3. What Are Your Teaching Styles and Methods?
Being able to explain your teaching methods demonstrates that you are competent and prepared to be a teacher.
- 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?
There is always, of course, room to grow within any profession. You will learn a lot once you start teaching, but there is a basic level of understanding you should have about your discipline before you start teaching it.
Again, your teaching methods are the practical side of your teaching philosophy. What assignments will be most effective in helping you to achieve the purpose of your discipline? How can you capture your students’ imaginations and bring your subject to life? What activities or projects can you assign that will engage those students?
After you land your teaching job, your colleagues will serve as a valuable asset when exchanging ideas. In the meantime, there are many online resources you can browse which offer advice about teaching your subject.
4. How You Will Manage Your Classroom?
Knowing how you will manage your classroom demonstrates how you interact with people. Your classroom management style will likely overlap with your teaching style. The more organized you are, the fewer misunderstandings between you and your students will occur.
The interviewer might ask you:
- Are you a tough teacher or an easy one?
- Can you tell me about a time when you had to deal with a particularly difficult student?
- How do you address disruptions in the classroom?
Part of your role as a teacher is to motivate and engage your students. Encouraging students to take part in the lesson will help them stay focused, on task, and involved in their own learning. Redirecting students’ attention when minds start to wander can easily be addressed with an effective classroom management strategy.
While this is an important topic for every teacher, even more emphasis will be placed on this question if you are interviewing as a Primary Education Teacher, a Special Education Teacher, or any other position where classroom disruptions may be more common. You should familiarize yourself with a variety of strategies for keeping students’ attention and dealing with disruptions.
If you haven’t already, gather age-appropriate strategies and be prepared to talk about them. Research the school’s disciplinary procedures so you can tailor your answer accordingly to match the school’s philosophy.
5. What Is Your Greatest Strength?
This is one of the most commonly asked questions, so don’t be shy about your answer! The key is to answer confidently without appearing arrogant. Craft your answer to objectively explain how and why you are a good fit for the school.
Browse through your past accomplishments and pinpoint the one of which you are most proud. If you need some help refreshing your memory, consider the following:
- 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?
- Do people consistently ask for your help on a certain topic?
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, such as setting clear expectations for your students. Specific examples always help strengthen your answer.
6. Why Do You Want to Work in This School?
Remember, you are allowed to ask questions too. Asking specific and relevant questions will show that you care about the school and the position. Research the school beforehand, so you can formulate a well-curated answer. Answering this question well shows that you care about getting the job and also helps you determine if the job is a good fit for you.
When researching the school, keep an eye out for the following:
- What are the school’s characteristics?
- Do the students in that school district have any specific needs you feel 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?
7. What Is Your Biggest Weakness?
The answer to this question requires a delicate balance of truth, vulnerability, and a demonstration of growth. No one is without their flaws, which is perfectly understandable and completely human. Being able to recognize your greatest areas for improvement can demonstrate that you are working on addressing the issue. It would be more alarming if you were unaware and making no effort to improve. This may be a perfect opportunity to share a story about an important lesson you’ve learned from a mistake. The key is to turn your answer into a learning opportunity. If you previously overcame a weakness, describe how you did so and what you do differently now.
8. Do You Have Any Questions for Me?
Asking questions shows your interest in the school and about the position for which you are applying. An interview is also an opportunity for you to learn about them – not just them about you! It is essential to ask a few questions – at least three.
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 are some challenges the staff has faced this year, within the school itself, as well as within the school district?
- How does the school relate to the community?
Across the country, the teacher shortage is growing. It’s becoming more difficult for schools to fill their teacher vacancies with qualified and well-prepared candidates. You can change this and it starts by mastering your interview! Your talents as a teacher are needed! We’re here to help prepare you, so you can land the job and make a difference!
Study these 8 questions and you will interview with confidence!