As a teacher, you have a rare opportunity to nurture and motivate your students to understand and grow their God-given abilities and personal interests. You will also help to shape and guide their confidence and self-image, as well as inspiring their career aspirations and attitudes towards life and education.
But for you to become a professional teacher, you have to go through training and pass the necessary job interviews. This article gives you the nine common job interview questions for teachers and the right answers to give.
9 Common Job Interview Questions for Teachers with Answers
Since the position of a teacher requires serious commitment and strong presentation skills, a teacher’s job interview is quite multifaceted. Therefore, you need to be fully prepared to go through all the interviewing steps and to be victorious. Even the most confident and intelligent teachers will find the interview process quite stressful. Here are the common job interview questions for teachers to help you prepare.
1. Why Do You Want to Be a Teacher?
This question gives you a chance to explain your passion and dedication to teaching. Because every teacher has their personal reasons why they joined this profession, you shouldn’t shy away from outlining your personal anecdotes. You should also know if there is someone or experience that motivated you to join the profession.
Sample answer: “I became a teacher because of my high school algebra teacher’s impact on my life. Math doesn’t come naturally to me, but she took the time not only to explain the material in a way that made sense to me but also helped me understand that every form of intelligence is equally valuable.”
“There’s no job more important than teaching the future leaders of our world the information they need to know, but more importantly, showing them their worth, their potential, and their ability to form their own opinions by thinking critically and observing the world around them.”
2. What Makes You the Right Fit for this School?
This is meant to show if you did your research before showing up for the interview. Therefore, you need to understand all aspects of the school, including its history, mission statement, vision, motto, and any other important part of the institution. This will help you to demonstrate to the interviewer that you have deep knowledge of the school.
Sample answer: “I am inspired by this school’s reputation for educational excellence and for encouraging creativity through its renowned arts program. I note there has been a dip in the AP test scores in recent years, so I am extremely motivated to introduce my teaching strategies. I feel confident that I could help students improve their scores and opportunities for success.”
3. What Traits Do Students Want in Their Teachers?
Although every teacher has their unique teaching style, the best teachers are adaptable. Therefore, your answer should explain the characteristics you believe are critical for the teaching profession and how they benefit students. You also need to explain how you will cultivate those characteristics yourself.
Sample answer: “I believe that students want their teachers to be dedicated and approachable, and they can tell when a teacher doesn’t possess these qualities. If students know you’re working hard and want to support them as they learn, they’re more likely to succeed. For this reason, I keep an open-door policy at all times and strive to build rapport with each student.”
4. How Does a Teacher’s Personality Impact Their Success?
This is a perfect opportunity for you to explain your vision of success and the tools you will need to achieve it. Make sure that you explain the personal assets required to succeed as a teacher and the challenges you must overcome to be successful.
Sample answer: “Teachers need to have flexibility, compassion, self-discipline, drive, and patience to reach their students. Teachers also need to consider state and local testing objectives when devising lesson plans and making sure students understand the materials on which they’ll be tested. Teachers must be able to alter their styles so that every one of their students can learn effectively.”
5. Is Discipline Important in Teaching and What Is Your Approach?
As a teacher, you will be faced with disciplinary cases now and then, especially if you are teaching in an elementary school. So, you need to come up with ways to control your classroom.
How you handle disciplinary cases depends on the age of your students, teaching style, and the laid down district policies. When you are answering this question, explain how you handle indiscipline and how the approach affects the students.
Sample answer: “I believe that a teacher can’t be effective without the right disciplinary approach. I prefer to explain what’s expected of my students, so they’re set up for success. Without discipline, there won’t be respect, and keeping students accountable may be difficult.”
“After researching several methods, I’ve found that a rewards system is the best method for avoiding bad behavior. While there are certainly still cases that need to be addressed with the school’s behavior program, using rewards enforces positive behavior and gives children a goal to strive for.”
6. How Should a Teacher Incorporate Parents/Guardians into Students’ Education?
This question is aimed at determining how well you can establish relationships with the students’ parents/ guardians. Parents play a critical role in determining their children’s success in education. So, you have to communicate with parents clearly and effectively all the time. In your answer, explain the importance of a parent in their child’s education, as well as how you will involve them in your teaching work.
Sample answer: “A child’s education depends on the support of his or her parents. I believe that engaging with parents and making sure that they have an active role in their child’s success is vital. I give parents my contact information so they can get in touch and ask any questions they have about how their child is performing. I also provide updates about what my students have learned and accomplished.”
7. What Do You Think is the Place for Technology in the Classroom?
We are living in a digital world and therefore teachers are required to incorporate technology in their work to make their lessons more relevant to the modern generation. Therefore, your answer should explain your views on technology and how it translates to your work.
Sample answer: “I think that technology in the classroom can be a valuable tool in helping students learn. That being said, technology can also be distracting, so setting expectations for appropriately using tech is critical. Students should be able to use the technology for learning as well as to learn basic skills, so I give them assignments that require advanced use of the technology to complete the work.”
“For example, I may include formatting requirements with their writing assignments, so they’re progressively learning to format throughout the year. This allows the students to become more comfortable with different platforms and sets them up for success in their future workplace.”
8. How Would Your Past Students and Administrators Describe You?
This question is aimed at helping the interviewer learn more about you, especially your character and self-awareness. They will also compare your answer to the reports from your references. Therefore, your answer needs to be thoughtful and thorough. You should also include personal anecdotes and examples from your experience in your answer.
Sample answer: “My peers and students would describe me as encouraging, creative and inspiring. I love planning fun activities for my classroom and involving other classrooms as well. For example, last year I organized “Pi day” on March 14th (3/14) for the whole 6th-grade class. I planned scavenger hunts, relay races, and trivia all based around math. It was great to see all the students work together, have fun and learn.”
9. Do You Have Any Questions for Us?
This question is normally asked at the end of every interview. However, do not underestimate its importance. You should at least have one or two thoughtful and well-researched questions. This shows your interest in the job and creates a memorable final impression.
Sample questions: “How would you describe the culture of the school? What qualities do you look for in a candidate? What are some of the school’s greatest achievements? What extracurricular activities are offered to students?”
5 Job Interview Tips for Teachers
The interview is the most critical part of applying for a job in the teaching profession because it determines whether you will get the job or not. Therefore, you need to prepare yourself thoroughly for the interview. Here are some useful job interview tips for teachers.
1. Express Your Passion for Teaching and Students
School administrators are always looking for teachers who are passionate about their job and who are genuinely concerned about the welfare of their students. So, you should constantly express your passion for the job by explaining why you decided to join the teaching profession and what you hope to achieve.
2. Have Deep Knowledge of the Institution
Make sure you research widely on the institution where you will be interviewing before you go for the interview. This will help you to elaborate on its uniqueness and show the interviewer that you are already acquainted with the most important aspects of the school.
3. Show Willingness to Learn
Your employer wants to know if you are willing to expand your knowledge and improve your skills continuously by attending workshops, conferences and going for further studies. So in the interview, don’t forget to mention any recent conferences and workshops you attended.
4. Share Only Positive Stories About Your Past Teaching Positions
If you are asked about your experiences with students, fellow teachers, and school administrators, only share the positive stories. You can also use examples to explain the challenges you may have encountered and how you overcame them. Speaking negatively about your students, peers, and former employers appears unprofessional.
5. Politely Smile and Stay Positive Throughout the Interview
Since you will be interacting with students most of the time, you need to prove to your interviewer that you will provide a positive atmosphere for your students. A polite smile and facing each question positively throughout the interview will earn you strong points.
Teacher Interviewing Mistakes – What Not to Do
As you go for a teaching job interview, you need to carry yourself in a way that proves you are the right person for the job. Therefore, you need to be aware of the common mistakes that candidates looking for a teaching job make during the interview and how to avoid them. Here are the mistakes to avoid during a teaching job interview.
• Inappropriate clothing: Make sure you wear the right clothes for the interview. Women should wear conservative dresses or two-piece suits, while men should wear slacks and jackets or two-piece suits.
• Rambling: Don’t talk too much during the interview. Doing so reveals a lot about yourself and bores the interviewer. Just demonstrate your powerful communication skills by responding to questions clearly and concisely.
• Poor attitude: Do not criticize or blame other people in any way during the interview. Remember that a teacher is a role model. Also, do not appear too relaxed or disinterested.
• Lack of research: Never show up for an interview without having done prior research on the institution and its people. Doing so will show a lack of interest and incompetence.
• Lack of response: Sell yourself to the interviewer by giving comprehensive, well-thought-out responses to the questions asked. But this doesn’t mean that you brag about your deep knowledge and intelligence.
• Lack of questions: It’s almost certain that the interviewer will ask you if you have a question at the end of the interview. You should be prepared with one or two questions that are relevant to the interview. Failure to ask a question shows a lack of interest.