As an educator (or soon-to-be) you already know that one of the strongest predictors of success is preparation. Beyond assessing your skills, educational background, and references, every teaching interview will vary in what it covers, pending the particular school or district, what grade level you are instructing, and what subjects you may teach.
Just like your daily lesson plan, it is important to prepare a plan of action for your interview and to know how to implement it. Part of your strategy should be to practice your responses to these 31 popular interview questions for teachers.
Tell me about your background and why you decided to become a teacher? (Was there someone in particular who inspired you?)
What was the most frustrating thing and the most rewarding that happened to you as a student teacher?
If a student said she thought you were the worst teacher she ever had, how would you handle the situation?
Do you agree or disagree with the notion that you should demand respect in the classroom?
What qualities do you believe make up a good teacher?
Are you an empathetic person? Give an example.
How does it make you feel when a student does not meet a deadline? And how do you deal with the situation?
How do you give your students recognition in and out of the classroom? Do you think a student can have too much or too little recognition?
How do you encourage students to learn? Can a student be forced to learn?
How do you prefer to use computers and technology in the classroom?
What are your strengths as a teacher? What are your weaknesses?
How do you establish authority/discipline in the classroom? What do you do when a discipline problem arises?
Would you say you are a patient person? And can you give an example of a time when a student has tested your patience?
Do you believe you should build a good rapport with students? If yes, how?
Do you ever feel angry toward your students? If so, how do you handle your emotions?
Where do you see yourself in five years?
What is your educational philosophy and teaching style?
Are you an objective person? Provide an example.
If you could create the ideal school, what would it be like?
If I were your principal and we were setting goals for next year, what would they be and how would you strategize to reach them?
Do you like to be challenged? Provide an example to back up your answer.
What do you like most/dislike most about teaching?
In what ways do you encourage creativity in your classroom?
How do you handle a child who seems gifted, but is a discipline problem in the classroom?
How would you handle making a difficult phone call to a parent? Do you have experience handling such situations?
How do you feel about noise in the classroom? How do you handle noise in the classroom?
Do you make learning fun for students? How?
Without providing names, describe the most challenging student you’ve ever taught and how you dealt with those challenges.
What would you do to calm an angry parent? Can you provide any specific examples?
What type of classroom management structure would you implement if you were hired?
How do you encourage team work in the classroom? On the other end, how do you inspire individualism/independent thought?
It is important to structure your answers in a way that not only puts your best foot forward but provides clarity to the interviewer that makes you stand out. Make sure you can identify your position for each answer and back it up with solid examples (if you can use real examples from experience, all the better.) Be ready and prepared to offer further explanation regarding each question if an interviewer decides to probe further.
Above all, make sure you research the institution you are interviewing with and know the school’s culture and philosophies on education. Be true to your unique talents and teaching style and align your personal goals with the mission of the school. Make it easy for the interviewer to see how you will fit in and help their students shine academically, as a school unit, and as individuals.
Robin L. Rayburn is the Editor & General Manager of Interviewing.com. Robin was introduced to the recruitment industry in 2007 and her passion for people has never let her stray far from it since. In her spare time she manages her blog, RestlessPillow.com, tweets from @interviewingcom and @chitowntexan, and is always striving to help those around her who have a vision for success. You can also find Robin on LinkedIn and Google+.