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If you are a teacher looking for tips to ace your teaching interview, you’ve come to the right place.
This post should help you in making your interviews a breeze, and securing an awesome teaching job!
Below you will find questions that you will most likely get asked at an interview, along with sample answers. Of course, these are only suggestions, you are free to tailor these questions to your teaching style or personality.
First thing’s first, be yourself.
Interviewers usually can tell when someone isn’t being genuine.
Next, you need to look professional at the interview. The last thing you should do when preparing for an interview is to practice what you are going to be saying at the interview.
Here are the questions that you will most probably get asked, along with my sample answers.
1. Tell me a little about yourself.
While this may seem like a simple question, it actually does not mean that the interviewer wants to know all about your life. What they’re asking here is for you to tell them about your professional history.
Your answer can be something like this, “I’ve wanted to be an educator growing up since I was a little girl. My teachers were always my role models and made teaching look like the most rewarding job, so I decided to go into teaching. I graduated with a Teaching Degree from XYZ College in New Hampshire in 2010. Upon graduating, I taught grades 3 and 4 for a total of 5 years. Three years ago, I moved to XYZ school in Arizona where I’m still teaching first grade to this day. I have previously completed professional development courses in Understanding By Design and on Smart Technology, because I think both those are important skills to have in today’s teaching.”
2. Describe your philosophy of teaching.
This is a question which you should definitely prepare for, otherwise, you might get stuck talking in circles.
I would say something like this, “I believe that every classroom has a diverse group of students with different needs. My job as an educator is to assist each child in developing their learning styles and to make the classroom environment a safe and comfortable one. While developing my lesson plans, I will make the material relevant to the students’ lives, as well as incorporating student-based learning, projects, and group activities the students can work on together in order to learn from each other.”
3. What is your classroom management like?
I tend to focus on positive approaches rather than on answers that suggest I’m constantly punishing students when I get asked this question.
“I focus on teaching my students rules and routines of the classroom on the first 2 weeks of school. That way, they are aware of my classroom expectations and know what I expect them to behave like. Class Dojo helps a lot in my classroom when it comes to behavior management. My students love accumulating points for good behavior which they can then exchange for rewards.”
4. Describe what a typical lesson in your classroom looks like.
“A typical lesson in my classroom starts with a clear objective. I want my students to know what they will be learning, and I always have my objectives visible on the board in case we have to go back to it during lessons. The next thing I like to do is to ask the students questions about the topic in order to assess if they have any previous knowledge on the concept we will be working with. Then begins my instruction. I let students ask questions if they’re unsure of something, and after that, it’s time for independent work. I walk around and guide the students while they work, and after they are done we usually go back to the objective and I ask the students to self assess. They show me if they have understood the concept or not.”
5. Why do you want to work at this school?
For this question, you have to do some homework before your interview. Go on the school’s website and do some digging. Read their mission and vision statement, look at pictures of their facilities, and see if they have won any awards or tournaments.
Plan your answer from researching the school and picking the things about the school which most appeal to you and make you want to work there.
6. How would you describe your relationship with parents?
A big part of teaching younger students is keeping open communication with parents. Employers want teachers who are going to keep that communication going.
My sample answer is this, “I like to establish a good relationship with parents during the first few weeks of school. I think it is important to form a team with parents and work together in order to help achieve the students’ full potentials. I communicate with parents mainly through Class Dojo, as well as over the phone if it is something that requires a lengthy discussion, and I make sure they know they are welcome to message or call the school in case of any questions or concerns they might have for me.”
7. How do you differentiate in the classroom?
As a teacher, you are expected to differentiate between your different ability students, as well as use different teaching styles. Below is my sample answer.
“I differentiate in my classroom by using different level worksheets, providing extra assistance to students who need it and by meeting with different ability groups. Most of the time my students are sat according to their academic levels which helps me when I meet with them. I also incorporate a lot of videos and songs for my visual, auditory learners and kinesthetic learners.”
8. Tell us about a successful lesson you’ve had recently, and what made it successful.
This answer will vary since not all of us teach the same things or in the same way. I’m using one of my own previous lessons to answer this question.
“I recently taught a lesson on the phases of the moon. The students were first asked questions about the shape of the moon. They had mixed answers- some said it looked like a circle and others said it looked more like a banana. I then showed them a video that showed all of the phases of the moon. The students then had jumbled up pictures of the phases of the moon and had to order them from first to last. Lastly, the students were given Oreo cookies and they had to bit them to try and make the different phases. I know that the lesson was successful because all of my students were engaged at one point or another. They enjoyed the lesson, and all the activities to do with our objective really made them understand the concept they were learning about.”
9. Tell us about a lesson which was not very successful.
Again, this has to come from your own experience, but a thing to remember here is not to tell the interviewer about a lesson that did not succeed at all, but instead tell them about a lesson that started out weak which you were able to pull together at the end.
“A lesson I had trouble with recently was a lesson which got interrupted by a fire drill. The first five minutes of the lesson went well, and then we had an unexpected fire drill. I had planned out the lesson from start to finish, and the 15 minutes spent on the drill did not allow me to fully execute my lesson the way I’d planned to. As a teacher, I know that sometimes lessons don’t go as planned to the minute, but with that in mind, I made sure that my students met the learning objective as well as I could.”
10. Do you have any questions for us?
This is a question that you need to be prepared for. The day before your interview, write down some questions you might have for the school and bring them with you to the interview. If you don’t chances are that you will forget them.
I typically 3 of any of the questions listed below:
What is something you like the most about your school? Is there anything your school struggles with? What professional development courses have your teachers gotten recently? Why do teachers stay in your school? What would you like your school to improve? How has your school progressed in the past few years? How are lessons structured in this school? What is a typical day for a teacher here? Do you have mentoring programs for new teachers? What types of technology are available for teachers and students at your school?
If you are looking for more teacher interview questions and answers, check out this post from Zety!