Ah, the teacher interview. It’s that thrilling yet nerve-wracking time when you have the chance to land the job that puts you at the front of the classroom, shaping young minds. You know, the role that could land you a salary of around $60,000 in the US or about £40,000 in the UK. Not too shabby, right?
But let’s get real: The interview process can be a tough nut to crack. You want to come across as passionate and knowledgeable without sounding like you swallowed a dictionary. So, what questions are likely to pop up, and how should you answer them?
That’s where “The MOST Common Teacher Interview Questions (And Sample Answers)” comes in. We’re talking about a straightforward look at the questions you’re likely to face and some sample answers that don’t require a PhD in English to understand. Whether you’re a newbie just starting your teaching journey or a seasoned pro looking to make a change, this guide will give you the inside scoop to help you nail that interview. So, take a deep breath and read on. It’s time to get prepared!
- 1 Looking for More Questions / Answers…?
- 2 Teacher Interview Tips
- 3 How Best To Structure Teacher Interview Questions
- 4 What You Should Not Do When Answering Questions
- 5 “Why do you want to be a teacher?”
- 6 “What is your teaching philosophy?”
- 7 “How do you handle classroom discipline?”
- 8 “How do you differentiate instruction to meet diverse learning needs?”
- 9 “How do you stay current with educational best practices?”
- 10 “How would you deal with a difficult parent?”
- 11 “How do you assess student learning?”
Looking for More Questions / Answers…?
Then, let me introduce you to a fantastic interview resource. Penned by the experienced career coach, Mike Jacobsen, this guide is packed full of interview tips. This 100+ page guide is packed with over 100 sample answers to the most common and challenging interview questions. It goes beyond simply giving you answers – it guides you on how to structure your responses, what interviewers are seeking, and even things to avoid during interviews. Best of all, it’s available for instant download! Dive in and give yourself the competitive edge you deserve.
Teacher Interview Tips
Know Your Subject Inside Out 📚 As a teacher, your subject knowledge is your greatest asset. Whether it’s Math, Science, or English, make sure you’re thoroughly prepared to discuss your subject area. Highlight your passion and your unique approach to teaching it.
Understand the School’s Philosophy and Culture 🏫 Every school has a unique ethos and culture. Research the school’s mission statement, values, and community involvement. Aligning your answers with the school’s philosophy shows that you’ve done your homework and are genuinely interested in being part of their team.
Share Real-Life Examples from Your Teaching Experience 👩🏫 If you have previous teaching experience, weave those real-life stories into your answers. Whether it’s a breakthrough with a struggling student or a creative lesson plan that went down a storm, personal anecdotes can make your answers come to life.
Show Your Enthusiasm for Teaching 🎉 Passion goes a long way in the teaching profession. Your enthusiasm for educating, inspiring, and motivating students should shine through in your answers. Talk about why you love teaching and what drives you in this incredible profession.
Prepare for Behavioral Questions 🤔 Behavioral questions that ask how you’ve handled past situations are common in teacher interviews. Think of situations where you’ve dealt with a challenging student, worked in a team, or adapted to new curriculum changes. Use the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) method to structure your responses.
Demonstrate Your Commitment to Professional Development 🌱 Show that you’re not just resting on your laurels. Talk about conferences you’ve attended, workshops you’ve led, or any additional qualifications you’re pursuing. Your dedication to growing and learning will show that you’re committed to being the best teacher you can be.
Ask Thoughtful Questions at the End 🧐 Prepare a few thoughtful questions to ask at the end of your interview. Perhaps ask about the school’s approach to professional development, their community involvement, or how they support teachers in their roles. It shows you’re serious and engaged, and it helps you ensure this is the right place for you.
How Best To Structure Teacher Interview Questions
When preparing for a teacher interview, structuring your answers effectively can make all the difference in conveying your experience and suitability for the role. Utilizing the B-STAR method can guide you in presenting comprehensive and engaging responses. Let’s break down how this method relates specifically to the teacher interview:
B – Belief: In the context of a teacher interview, your thoughts and feelings regarding the subject matter could relate to your teaching philosophy, classroom management style, or views on modern education. For example, if asked about how you engage students, you might start by expressing your belief in hands-on learning and the importance of fostering curiosity.
S – Situation: Here, you’d briefly outline a specific scenario from your teaching experience. Perhaps you had a mixed-ability class, and you needed to ensure that all students were challenged and engaged. Setting the scene like this helps the interviewer visualize the context in which you were operating.
T – Task: This part focuses on your role in the situation. In a teaching environment, it’s likely that you were the leader, responsible for adapting a lesson plan, addressing a particular student’s need, or coordinating a team project. Make it clear what your responsibilities were, emphasizing your active participation in the solution.
A – Activity (or action): In this stage, you’ll detail the steps you took and why you took them. This could involve a creative teaching method, individualized intervention, or a collaborative approach with colleagues. In a teacher interview, explaining the rationale behind your actions shows your critical thinking and aligns your methods with educational best practices.
R – Results: Concluding with the results of your actions brings the story full circle. In the context of teaching, these results might include improved test scores, a successful adaptation of a curriculum to meet diverse needs, or an increase in student engagement in a particular subject area. Whenever possible, quantify these results as it adds credibility to your story. For example, you might say, “As a result of the new teaching strategy I implemented, students’ engagement in science increased by 30%, and the class average on exams improved by 15%.”
The B-STAR method is a strategic approach to formulating responses in a teacher interview. It helps you weave the principles and practicalities of teaching into a cohesive story, showcasing your thought process, actions, and successes in a way that resonates with educational leaders. It enables you to demonstrate not only what you have achieved but how and why, reflecting a deep understanding of the teaching profession and your role within it.
What You Should Not Do When Answering Questions
Do not avoid the question.
Do not describe a failure (unless specifically asked).
Do not downplay the situation.
Do not overhype the situation.
Do not say you have no experience with the subject matter.
Do not reject the premise of the question.
Do not have a passive role in the situation.
Do not give a one-sentence answer.
Do not overly describe the scenario and miss the action.
Teacher Interview Question & Answers
“Why do you want to be a teacher?”
When approaching this question, consider the importance of passion for education and your desire to make a difference in students’ lives. Reflect on your motivation and commitment to the teaching profession, and how your unique qualities align with the goals and culture of the educational institution. Avoid generalized statements that could apply to any job; instead, focus on specific examples and experiences that illustrate your genuine interest and suitability for this particular teaching role.
I’ve always believed that education is the cornerstone of personal growth and societal progress, and becoming a teacher has been a calling that resonates with my core values and passions. From a young age, I was drawn to learning, not just for the accumulation of knowledge but for the joy of discovery, critical thinking, and personal development. This early love for learning was nurtured by some truly inspiring teachers, who not only imparted knowledge but also instilled in me a sense of curiosity, empathy, and self-confidence.
One particular moment that ignited my desire to become a teacher occurred during my time volunteering at a community center where I helped children with their homework. I worked with a young boy named Alex, who was struggling with reading. Through patience, tailored strategies, and constant encouragement, I saw him transform from a reluctant reader to a child who would excitedly pick up books on his own. Witnessing that spark in his eyes and knowing that I played a part in igniting it was an incredibly rewarding experience.
Later, as a student teacher, I was able to further explore the nuances and complexities of classroom management, curriculum development, and student engagement. I implemented a project-based learning approach in a social studies class, allowing students to explore real-world issues and create solutions. Seeing them take ownership of their learning, collaborate, and develop creative solutions reinforced my belief in the power of education to foster not only academic growth but also essential life skills.
I’m also passionate about creating an inclusive learning environment. In one of my classes, I had a student with dyslexia. Together with special education staff, I designed materials and adopted teaching strategies to cater to her learning style. The success we achieved wasn’t just in her improved grades but in her increased self-confidence and participation in class.
Teaching, for me, goes beyond the transfer of knowledge. It’s about nurturing potential, empowering students to think critically, fostering a love for learning, and contributing to their overall well-being. It requires empathy, creativity, resilience, and a commitment to continuous professional growth.
I’m particularly drawn to your institution’s emphasis on community engagement, holistic education, and innovative learning approaches. I believe these align perfectly with my teaching philosophy and experiences, and I’m excited about the possibility of contributing to and growing within your educational community.
In summary, my desire to be a teacher stems from a deep-seated belief in the transformative power of education, my personal experiences as a learner, volunteer, and educator, and a commitment to fostering a positive, engaging, and inclusive learning environment. It’s not just a profession to me; it’s a vocation that I approach with dedication, enthusiasm, and a genuine desire to make a lasting impact on my students’ lives.
“What is your teaching philosophy?”
Your teaching philosophy is a reflection of your beliefs and values as an educator. In answering this question, think about what guides your approach to teaching, how you create a positive and inclusive learning environment, and the methods you use to engage students. Avoid vague or generic responses, and instead provide a concise, thoughtful statement that gives insight into your personal approach to education and how it aligns with the school’s values and objectives.
My teaching philosophy centers around the idea that education is a collaborative and dynamic process. I believe that every student is unique, and as an educator, I strive to recognize and cater to their individual needs, interests, and abilities.
In my classroom, I work to create an environment where students feel comfortable and engaged. I put great emphasis on active learning, encouraging students to question, explore, and reflect on what they are studying. For example, when teaching a unit on environmental science, I have often engaged students in hands-on experiments and outdoor explorations to understand concepts more concretely.
Diversity and inclusivity are also core to my approach. I recognize the rich backgrounds that students bring, and I try to weave different perspectives into our discussions and content. I remember including literature from various cultures in our reading list, and it led to some of the most insightful and empathetic conversations in our class.
One thing that sets my philosophy apart is my emphasis on connecting subjects and making education a holistic experience. I love finding links between history, literature, science, and art. I have found that these connections often make learning more exciting and relevant for students. This interdisciplinary approach not only enriches their knowledge but also enhances critical thinking skills.
I also place a strong focus on integrating technology in a meaningful way. Whether it’s using online platforms for collaboration or employing educational apps to reinforce concepts, I find that technology can make learning more accessible and engaging.
A big part of my teaching philosophy is fostering social and emotional learning. I believe education is not just about academics; it’s also about nurturing emotional intelligence, resilience, and self-awareness. I often incorporate activities that allow students to reflect on their feelings and interactions, helping them grow as individuals.
Finally, continuous growth is crucial to me as a professional. I consistently reflect on my teaching methods, seeking feedback, and continually learning new strategies to be more effective. My goal is to evolve with my students, adapting to their needs and the ever-changing educational landscape.
In sum, my teaching philosophy is about creating a positive, inclusive, and innovative learning environment where students are encouraged to explore, think critically, and grow on both an academic and personal level. I see my role as not just an instructor but a facilitator and mentor, guiding students to become empowered learners and compassionate citizens. I believe this approach aligns well with your school’s values, and I’m eager to contribute my experience and passion to your educational community.
“How do you handle classroom discipline?”
Handling classroom discipline is a key aspect of effective teaching. When addressing this question, focus on your strategies for maintaining a positive classroom environment, including setting clear expectations, establishing consistent routines, and providing appropriate support and guidance. Emphasize your ability to handle challenges with empathy, fairness, and firmness, and avoid suggesting overly punitive measures or a lack of flexibility in your approach.
Handling classroom discipline is an essential component of fostering an environment conducive to learning. My approach to discipline is proactive rather than reactive, and it centers around clear communication, consistency, empathy, and growth.
Firstly, I believe that setting clear expectations from day one is foundational. At the beginning of each school year, I work with my students to develop a set of classroom rules and norms that we all agree upon. By involving them in this process, students feel a sense of ownership and responsibility. For instance, in my previous 6th-grade class, we collectively decided on guidelines like respecting each other’s opinions and maintaining a clean classroom. We even signed a ‘class contract,’ which symbolized our commitment to these principles.
Next, consistency is key. If a rule is broken, I ensure that the response aligns with what has been previously discussed. This doesn’t mean being inflexible, but it underscores the importance of fairness. A particular example would be a student repeatedly talking during instruction. I would first give a gentle reminder, then a warning, and finally, if necessary, a brief one-on-one conversation after class to understand the root cause. This approach shows the students that the rules are there for a reason and are enforced fairly.
Empathy plays a significant role in my disciplinary approach. Understanding the underlying reasons behind a student’s behavior allows me to respond appropriately. For example, if a student was acting out due to personal problems at home, I would take the time to talk with them and provide support rather than immediately imposing a punishment. Collaboration with parents and counselors, when necessary, ensures that the student receives the holistic care needed.
Moreover, I firmly believe in focusing on growth and learning from mistakes rather than mere punishment. When a student in my class plagiarized an assignment, I didn’t only give them a failing grade but took it as an opportunity to teach them about academic integrity and the importance of original thinking. We worked together on redoing the assignment, and the student acknowledged the lesson learned.
I also recognize the importance of being a positive role model. Maintaining my composure and demonstrating respect, even when handling disciplinary issues, sets the tone for the students. They learn that disagreements and conflicts can be managed calmly and respectfully.
Furthermore, I incorporate positive reinforcement to encourage good behavior. Whether it’s verbal praise, extra playtime, or showcasing exemplary work, recognizing and rewarding positive behavior motivates students to adhere to the class norms.
Finally, flexibility is crucial. Every class is different, and what works for one may not work for another. Continuously assessing the class dynamics, seeking feedback from students, and being willing to adapt is essential for maintaining a positive classroom environment.
In conclusion, my approach to classroom discipline is multifaceted and centers on mutual respect, clear communication, consistency, empathy, growth, and flexibility. It’s about creating a space where students feel safe, understood, and motivated to learn, where they know that discipline is not about control but about nurturing responsible and empathetic individuals.
“How do you differentiate instruction to meet diverse learning needs?”
When discussing how you differentiate instruction, emphasize your ability to recognize and accommodate diverse learning needs. Share specific examples of how you’ve adapted lessons, materials, and assessments to support students with various abilities, interests, and backgrounds. Avoid making sweeping generalizations or offering a one-size-fits-all solution; instead, demonstrate a thoughtful and personalized approach that aligns with best practices in inclusive education.
Differentiating instruction is an integral part of my teaching practice, and I consider it a continuous journey to meet the diverse learning needs of all my students. It’s about understanding each student’s abilities, interests, backgrounds, and even their daily moods, and then adapting my teaching strategies accordingly.
In my previous role as a middle school science teacher, I had the opportunity to work with a class that included students with a wide range of abilities, including those with special needs and English Language Learners. This experience was a valuable lesson in the importance and complexity of differentiation.
First and foremost, I focused on building relationships and trust. By truly understanding my students, I could identify their individual needs, interests, and learning preferences. This meant engaging in regular conversations, observing them carefully, and even including them in decision-making about their learning.
For example, I had a student with dyslexia who struggled with reading. After understanding her unique challenges, I started to provide her with visual aids, audio resources, and one-on-one support during reading assignments. I also collaborated with a Special Education professional to ensure I was using the most effective strategies to assist her. This personalized attention not only helped her understand the material but also boosted her confidence.
I also believe in flexible grouping. I regularly shift students between different groups depending on the subject or even the specific lesson. This approach ensures that students have the opportunity to work with diverse peers and learn from each other. In a unit on ecosystems, I grouped students based on their interests in different biomes, enabling them to delve into specific areas of interest, like deserts or rainforests, and then share their expertise with the whole class.
Another strategy I employ is providing choices. I often create tiered assignments, where the core learning objective remains the same, but students can choose from different complexity levels or even different formats. In a project about renewable energy, students could opt to create a presentation, write a research paper, or even build a model. Offering these choices catered to their diverse talents and interests, promoting engagement, and allowing them to demonstrate their understanding in ways that made them feel competent and inspired.
Assessment is also an area where differentiation is vital. I utilize a variety of assessment methods, from quizzes and tests to portfolios and self-assessments. This varied approach allows me to understand how each student is progressing and provides them with multiple opportunities to demonstrate their learning.
One of the significant challenges in differentiation is the time it requires for planning and execution. To manage this, I have developed a system of collaborative planning with fellow teachers. We share resources, ideas, and support each other in creating differentiated plans. This collaborative approach has not only made the process more manageable but also enriched our teaching practices by bringing diverse perspectives into our planning.
Furthermore, I stay informed about the latest research and methodologies in differentiated instruction. I have attended workshops and webinars on Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and other inclusive practices, consistently applying what I’ve learned to my classroom.
In conclusion, differentiating instruction is not just a method for me; it’s a philosophy that permeates every aspect of my teaching. It’s about empathy, flexibility, creativity, collaboration, and an unyielding commitment to ensuring that each student has the opportunity to succeed. By recognizing and honoring the diverse learning needs of my students, I strive to create an inclusive classroom environment where everyone feels valued, challenged, and supported in their learning journey.
“How do you stay current with educational best practices?”
The field of education is ever-changing, and staying current with best practices is essential for a successful teaching career. In responding to this question, focus on your commitment to professional development, continuous learning, and collaboration with colleagues. Share specific examples of workshops, conferences, research, or other professional learning opportunities you have engaged in. Avoid indicating a lack of interest or effort in keeping up with contemporary educational trends and practices.
Staying current with educational best practices is paramount for me as a professional educator. It’s an ongoing commitment that demands dedication, curiosity, and a willingness to adapt. My pursuit of this never-ending learning process ensures that I can provide my students with the most effective and engaging educational experiences.
In my current role, I have actively sought out professional development opportunities, both inside and outside the school. For example, I have attended annual teaching conferences, such as the National Educators Association Conference, where I have gained insights into the latest teaching methodologies, technology integration, and student engagement strategies. These conferences have not only broadened my knowledge but also allowed me to network with other passionate educators from various backgrounds, further enriching my understanding.
I’m also a member of professional teaching organizations, and I regularly read peer-reviewed journals to stay abreast of the latest research in education. Articles from journals such as “The Journal of Educational Psychology” have been instrumental in shaping my approach to differentiated instruction and inclusive education.
In addition to conferences and research, I have found value in working collaboratively with my colleagues. At my current school, we’ve implemented a professional learning community (PLC), where teachers meet bi-weekly to discuss, evaluate, and apply new teaching strategies. This collaboration fosters a culture of continuous learning and allows me to see firsthand how different approaches work in various classroom settings.
I also believe in learning directly from the students. They are often the first to adopt new trends and technologies, and their insights have helped me incorporate relevant and engaging content into my lessons. For example, I recently learned about a new educational game from a student, which I later integrated into my lesson plan, and it proved to be a fantastic tool for reinforcing mathematical concepts.
Technology itself plays a crucial role in my efforts to stay updated. I actively explore new educational apps and platforms, experimenting with how they can enhance my teaching practice. I’ve found that these tools can make learning more interactive and appealing to students, and I make a concerted effort to find ways to integrate them appropriately.
Furthermore, I’m committed to reflecting on my teaching practice regularly. Self-reflection, paired with feedback from students and colleagues, guides my professional growth and helps me understand where I need to focus my learning efforts.
In conclusion, staying current with educational best practices is a multifaceted process that requires continuous learning, collaboration, reflection, and a willingness to adapt. Whether it’s through professional development workshops, reading research, collaborating with colleagues, or leveraging technology, I am committed to ensuring that my teaching practice is informed by the most up-to-date knowledge and strategies. My ultimate goal is to provide the highest quality education for my students, preparing them for a rapidly changing world.
“How would you deal with a difficult parent?”
Dealing with difficult parents is a common challenge in the education field. When addressing this question, emphasize your ability to maintain professionalism, communicate effectively, and work collaboratively to support student success. Highlight your skills in listening, empathy, problem-solving, and conflict resolution. Avoid portraying parents negatively or suggesting an unwillingness to engage with them constructively.
Dealing with a difficult parent is a nuanced task that requires empathy, patience, clear communication, and professionalism. I believe that each situation must be handled uniquely, considering the underlying concerns and emotions of the parents, as well as the well-being of the student involved. Here’s how I approach such situations, incorporating lessons from my past experiences and my underlying philosophy as an educator.
First and foremost, I acknowledge that the term “difficult” is subjective. A parent who may appear difficult often has underlying concerns or fears regarding their child’s education. By understanding this, I approach the situation with a mindset geared towards finding common ground rather than confrontation.
I remember a situation where a parent was particularly vocal and persistent about her child receiving additional support in reading, even though the child was performing at grade level. The parent’s frustration was palpable, and our initial interactions were tense.
In our first meeting, I made a concerted effort to listen intently to the parent’s concerns without interruption. I asked clarifying questions to ensure that I fully understood her viewpoint. By acknowledging her concerns and empathizing with her desire to see her child excel, I was able to build a connection.
Once I understood the parent’s concerns, I provided clear information about her child’s progress, using specific examples and data to support my observations. I also explained our reading program and the strategies I was using to support all students, including hers.
I invited the parent to collaborate with me in supporting her child’s reading development. Together, we developed a plan that included reading activities at home, regular communication between us, and additional reading support within the classroom. By involving her in the solution, I transformed a potentially adversarial relationship into a partnership.
After our meeting, I made sure to follow through on the commitments we had made. Regular emails and occasional meetings ensured that we stayed aligned and that the parent felt heard and valued. Over time, her child did make additional progress, and the parent’s trust in me grew.
At all times, I maintained professional boundaries, focusing on the child’s educational needs and not allowing personal emotions to guide my actions. Even in moments of frustration, I remained calm and respectful, modeling the behavior I expected in return.
I also recognize that there may be times when a situation requires additional support from school administrators or counselors. In another instance with a different parent, where we were unable to reach an agreement, I sought the assistance of our school counselor to mediate the discussion. This brought an objective perspective and facilitated a resolution.
In conclusion, dealing with what might be perceived as a “difficult” parent is an opportunity for growth, collaboration, and strengthening the home-school connection. By approaching such interactions with empathy, clear communication, collaboration, consistency, professionalism, and a willingness to seek support when needed, I’ve been able to turn challenges into successes. My underlying belief is that parents, no matter how they express themselves, want what’s best for their children. Aligning our goals and working together towards them has been the key to resolving conflicts and creating positive outcomes for the students.
“How do you assess student learning?”
Assessment is a crucial part of the teaching process, and it helps in understanding the effectiveness of your instructional methods. When discussing how you assess student learning, provide specific examples of the tools and strategies you use, such as formative and summative assessments, observations, or student self-assessments. Focus on how these methods align with instructional goals and promote student growth. Avoid vague or overly generalized statements that don’t convey a clear understanding of effective assessment practices.
Assessing student learning is at the core of my teaching practice. It’s not about ticking boxes or filling in grades; it’s about really understanding where each student is in their learning journey and how I can support them to reach the next level.
I place a significant emphasis on formative assessments. These are the ongoing checks for understanding that happen every day in my classroom. Whether it’s a quick quiz, an exit ticket, or a casual conversation with a student, I’m continually trying to gauge what my students know and what they still need to learn. I find these kinds of assessments incredibly valuable, not just for the students but for me as well. They help me understand if my teaching is effective or if I need to adjust my approach.
Summative assessments, like tests or projects at the end of a unit, are also essential. They provide a more comprehensive picture of student understanding. I recall one project where students were asked to design a sustainable city, incorporating mathematical and environmental concepts. It wasn’t just a test of their knowledge; it was a showcase of their ability to apply that knowledge in a meaningful context.
Peer and self-assessment are tools that I use to empower students to take ownership of their learning. When students evaluate their own work or the work of their classmates, they learn to think critically about what quality work looks like. I remember one instance where students were involved in creating the rubric for a project. They had a clear understanding of what was expected, and they held themselves to a higher standard.
I also value the power of simple observations and one-on-one conversations with students. Sometimes the insights you gain from watching students work or talking to them about their thinking are more revealing than any test could ever be. I’ve often found that these informal assessments uncover misunderstandings or learning barriers that might otherwise go unnoticed.
Differentiated assessments are something I’ve worked hard to integrate into my practice. I recognize that students are unique and have different ways of expressing their understanding. So, whether it’s through a visual project, a written essay, or a hands-on experiment, I provide varied opportunities for students to show what they know.
Technology has also played a role in my assessment strategies. Tools like Kahoot! have made assessments more interactive and engaging. It allows for instant feedback, helping me adjust my teaching on the fly.
Lastly, I believe that assessments are not just for the students; they’re for me as well. I continually reflect on my students’ performance to see how I can improve my teaching. I also actively involve parents in the process, keeping them informed about their child’s progress and working collaboratively to support their learning at home.
So, in essence, my approach to assessing student learning is dynamic, student-centered, and reflective. It’s about creating a complete picture of each student’s learning and using that knowledge to guide my teaching and support each student’s growth.