great interview questions for teachers

Being a teacher can be one of the most rewarding jobs on the planet…but even with teaching vacancies rising and the number of opportunities increasing, getting those first jobs teaching can be a nerve-wracking experience. Fortunately, nailing that interview for your dream job doesn’t have to be a challenge. By reviewing teach interview questions and answers, you can study and practice your way to success.

Luckily, we’ve pulled together some easy tips for you to keep in mind while prepping for your teaching interview. Plus, we’ve gathered up some of the most common teacher interview questions, along with some example answers.

Bonus teacher interview questions
  1. Why do you want to teach? …
  2. What makes you a good fit for this school? …
  3. What characteristics do students want their teachers to possess? …
  4. How does a teacher’s personality affect their success? …
  5. What role does discipline play in teaching and what is your approach?

In addition to questions related to your content area, anticipate that you’ll be asked questions based on your knowledge of and experience with meeting the needs of the whole child. Be ready to explain how you honor and attend to the social, emotional, and academic growth of your students—both individually and as a group. And be prepared for questions concerning classroom management, teacher-student relationships, student engagement, and learning outcomes.

Commonly asked interview questions you can anticipate—plus tips and links to resources you can tap as you polish your answers. By

Congratulations! You’ve landed an interview appointment for a teaching position at a new school, or for a different position at your current school. This is an important first step, but there will likely be a number of qualified candidates vying for the same spot—how can you distinguish yourself from the pack and land the job?

2. How would you handle a student who is constantly disruptive or defiant? Instead of focusing on how you would react, explain the ways you approach classroom management proactively so that small misbehaviors rarely become chronic or severe. Here are eight ways to maintain student cooperation and courtesy. If the interviewers press you on the original question, this advice on students with oppositional defiant disorder may help.

1. Why did you decide to become a teacher? Prepare a brief professional mission statement that explains not merely how you want to change students’ lives but also how your own life is enriched by being a teacher. Also, look up the school’s vision statement and reference how your teaching will reflect those goals.

25 Most Common Teacher Interview Questions [1–10]

These teacher interview questions and answers will make the interviewers ask you a question:

They cover popular high school interview questions, special education teacher interview questions, substitute or assistant teacher interview questions, and more.

  • Why do you want to be a teacher?

  • “Why did you become a teacher?” is the most common of all interview questions for teachers.

    Administrators want to know you’re motivated to work through inevitable frustrations. And believe me, they’ve heard every generic answer in the books.

    “Because I want to help people” won’t work. Find something specific that shows you’re motivated like no other.

    I had trouble reading as a child My 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Paulette, introduced us to an amazing list of short stories and books. She read to us and worked with us on reading comprehension. Her care switched on an unquenchable thirst that led me to read thousands of books on topics as diverse as history, biology, sociology, and nature. Mrs. Paulette’s attention forever changed my outlook on life. Since then, I’ve known I wanted to do exactly what she did—to give children tools to last for their entire lives.

  • What is your teaching philosophy?

  • Teacher interview questions like this ask, “Are you a good fit for our school?” It’s the teaching equivalent of “tell me about yourself.”

    Don’t answer elementary teacher interview questions for an unstructured school with, “I believe in structured learning.”

    Take the time to learn the school’s philosophy before the interview.

    I believe in teaching to each student’s passion. For instance, in one kindergarten class, my students had trouble with punctuation. I observed that one student, Mary, suddenly got excited about apostrophes. I fueled her passion with a big book on punctuation. Her enthusiasm was contagious, and soon the entire class was asking bright and animated questions. Whenever possible, I try to deliver structured lessons in an unstructured way like this.

    That answer uses the S.T.A.R. approach to teaching interview questions. It shows a Situation, a Task, an Action, and a Result.

  • How much do you want to know about your students in order to be most helpful to them?

  • This is another of those interview questions for teachers that depends on the school’s philosophy.

    One administrator might think it’s crucial to know every detail. Another might say, “A doctor doesn’t need to know her patient’s favorite ice cream flavor.”

    Be honest, but find common ground, as in this teaching interview questions answer:

    I need to know a student’s learning styles, passions, and challenges. One difficult student, Tim, was disruptive in class. I joined him on the playground on and off. It turned out he was being bullied after school by his brother’s friends. I spoke with Tim’s parents, and they had no idea. Tim became my star student, and as a result, my whole class got quieter and easier to teach.

    How to Prepare for a Teaching Interview:

  • Research the school online and talk to teachers. Learn their challenges.
  • Brainstorm times you’ve solved problems like theirs.
  • Practice sample teacher interview questions. Write up your answers and drill with 3×5 cards. When possible, describe a problem you once faced, an action you took, and a positive result for your school or student(s).
  • Gather materials like a lesson plan, Praxis scores, and transcripts. Include s as proof of your accomplishments.
  • Why do you want to work for our school district?

  • Administrators want to know if you really want this job.

    So—find things you love about the school.

    Talk to teachers who work there. Check out the school’s website, mission statement, and “About Us” page.

    Finally, take some time to think of how you fit.

    Example Answer

    I respect Snowy Peaks High’s belief in teaching to the whole child. Your focus on academics, character, community, and nature fit perfectly with my own philosophy. It’s easier to teach well-rounded students. The best lesson plan in the world can’t help a child who’s struggling in all other areas of life.

  • How can you help our school/students?

  • Teacher interview questions like this don’t have to make you blink.

    Remember:

    Take the time to learn the school’s needs first.

    The example below is for a school with a high percentage of disruptive students.

    I’ve talked to several of your teachers and heard about their challenges with classroom management. My own classroom management skills are highly developed. I’ve taken 18 continuing education credits in class management from the University of Phoenix’s online program. I was commended at my last school after fully engaging a class with over 25% disruptive students. I used a mix of nonverbal cues, transition cues, timeouts, and several other kernel-based strategies. I believe I can be just as effective here.

  • What do you find most frustrating about teaching?

  • Teaching interview questions like this attempt to see if you are easily discouraged.

    So—your answer has to show your inner strength.

    I get very frustrated with bright kids who become overconfident and don’t apply themselves. There’s nothing sadder or more common than wasted potential. At my last position, I worked with several children who weren’t trying. I implemented a research-based program to incorporate student ideas into the lesson plan. The addition of their thoughts created more complete engagement. Test scores went up 15% in just two months.

    Pro Tip: Teaching is frustrating. Many common interview questions for teachers focus on that pain. Don’t minimize it. Instead, explain your skills at working through it.

  • Why should we hire you to teach here?

  • This is the teacher interview questions equivalent of the old standby, “Why should we hire you?”

    The example answer below is for a school that wants technology in the curriculum.

    I’m well aware of your new technology initiative. We were tasked with the same challenge at my last school. Thanks to my strong tech background, I was able to add online quizzes easily. The students loved them, and they cut administrative processing by 25%.

  • How would you get your classroom ready for the first day of school?

  • This and similar teacher interview questions look at your preparedness.

    First steps create a first impression. Your plan for first steps says a lot about your teaching skills.

    I want my classroom to be welcoming and nurturing. I also make the ground rules obvious. A welcome sign and labeled desks help students feel at home from day one. Engaging posters and other visual aids help create a sense of excitement. Beyond fun, a large list of rules and consequences at the front of the room helps the class start on the right foot.

  • Why do we teach (science, math, French, etc.) in school?

  • Why does your subject matter to you?

    If you say, “So they can get good jobs,” you’ll flunk common interview questions for teachers like this.

    Think why you care about the subject at a gut level.

    Top 6 Tips For Answering Teacher Interview Questions

    Teacher interview questions are meant to find out more about you as both an educator and a person. Make sure when you answer the questions that you’re giving actual personal answers and canned responses. Highlight your skills, background, and experience, and how you apply it all to situations you might encounter.

    This relates directly to the behavioral questions and how you should answer them. Use examples from your own past and skills to illustrate exactly how you have done things in the past.

    Also, make sure to embrace both the STAR Method and the Tailoring Method. That way, your answers are compelling and relevant.

    Make sure you draw attention to specific skills you have that are directly listed in the job description. Before you head into the interview, review the desired qualifications in the job description and match those up to your skills. Use that as a guideline for building your answers.

    As we mentioned above, research is essential. Look into the school you’re applying to and the school district. Do you know anyone working there already? Do you have friends who have children who are students at the school?

    Any and all information you get ahead of time will not only help you determine what sort of environment is at the school but if you want to actually work there or not. Plus, coming in with knowledge about the academics, curriculum, sports, and school programs shows initiative.

    Be prepared for a possible panel interview. Education interviews are often conducted by multiple individuals and may include the principal, teachers, parents, and members of the administrative staff.

    In some instances, there are education committees set up specifically to interview and screen potential teachers.

    Above all else, always be honest during your interview. Lying your way into a position only hurts you in the long run.

    In fact we we wanted to let you know that we created an amazing free cheat sheet that will give you word-for-word answers for some of the toughest interview questions you are going to face in your upcoming interview. After all, hiring managers will often ask you more generalized interview questions!

    Click below to get your free PDF now:

    Commonly Asked Questions in a Teacher Interview:

    Introductory Questions:

      1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
      2. Why did you decide to become a teacher?
      3. Why do you want to teach at this school?
      4. What three adjectives best describe you, and why?
  • Questions about your skills, experience, and interests:

      1. What strengths do you have that help you as a teacher?
      2. What are some of the most important things you learned from student teaching?
      3. What activities would you consider coaching or advising as part of the teaching staff?
      4. How do you handle constructive criticism?
      5. What do you think would be your greatest challenge in this role, and how would you handle it?
      6. What curriculum are you familiar with in your specific subject area?
      7. How have your past experiences prepared you to do well in this role?
  • Questions about teaching style:

      1. What is your teaching style/philosophy?
      2. How do you keep your students engaged and motivated?
      3. What would you like your students to take away from their learning experience with you?
      4. What is your philosophy on classroom discipline?
      5. What are your classroom rules, and how do you make students aware of them?
      6. What methods of positive reinforcement do you like to use?
  • Scenario Questions:

      1. Tell me about a time you helped someone become more successful.
      2. Tell me about a time when you worked with a team to solve a problem.
      3. How would you handle a student who is consistently disruptive or defiant?
      4. How would you manage students on different academic levels?
      5. How would you cultivate positive relationships with your students?
      6. How would you establish authority in the classroom?
      7. What would you do if your lesson was not getting through to students?
      8. How would you provide support for students who are falling behind?
  • Once you make it to the end of your interview, it’ll be your turn to ask a few questions! Take advantage of this opportunity to get some helpful insight about the school and the position. Asking thoughtful questions will also help you make a good impression, and show that you are serious about wanting to work there.

    Here are 15 possible questions to ask your potential employer.

    FAQ

    What are the 10 most common teacher interview questions and answers?

    Good questions to ask in a teacher interview
    • Why is this position open?
    • Can you tell me some of the qualities you are looking for in this position?
    • What is a typical day like for someone in this position?
    • What extracurricular activities are available and/or mandatory for teacher participation?

    What qualities make a good teacher interview question?

    Questions to Ask in a Teacher Interview
    • What would my goals be for the first year?
    • What’s the average classroom size?
    • What’s the school’s culture like?
    • Do you have an active PTA?
    • What are the other teachers like?
    • How is the interaction between the school and the parents?

    What are the top 10 interview questions and answers?

    Analyse the qualities that made them successful – these might include:
    • enthusiasm.
    • pace.
    • resilience.
    • subject knowledge.
    • a range of teaching methods.
    • an ability to hold the attention of the class.
    • empathy.
    • encouraging children to think rather than being told.

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