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Teaching Interview Questions and Answers

We have collated resources from around the web to help you prepare for your teaching interview. As usual, there is a comments section available at the bottom of the page where you can discuss these teaching articles and interview questions and answers.

Preparing for your teaching interview

It's natural for people to get nervous before and during a big interview. Sure, you know you're a good teacher. You've graduated from college with a teaching degree and you've worked with students in the past. So, WHY are you nervous?

It's those pesky little questions, isn't it? If you're like most people, you're probably afraid they'll ask you a difficult question and you'll be giving them a blank look.

If the questions don't make you nervous, maybe it's the vocabulary that scares you. Sometimes interviewers like to throw out intimidating jargon-- those big words you used to see in college textbooks. You might be afraid you won't know how to answer a question about differentiation, IEPs, ELL students, or block scheduling.

Or, maybe you know the vocabulary well, and you're not afraid of the questions. Are you fearful that you will not be able to prove that you're a successful teacher? Do you have trouble putting yourself up on a pedestal and showing off your successes?

Well, the good news is that all three of these fears can be overcome if you prepare yourself well for your next interview.

Your nervousness is natural. But the amount of stress you have to endure can be minimized. How? Follow the steps below to prepare and practice for your next teaching interview.

Interview Preparation Step #1:

Predict what the questions will be and prepare your answers

The Internet is filled with sample teacher interview questions. It's pretty much guaranteed that they'll ask you about your classroom discipline plan, your ability to work with special education students, your favorite lessons, your strengths, and your weaknesses. As you research sample interview questions. Write them down or print them out.

Sometimes you'll have to think beyond the Internet, though. Questions that relate to your specific age-group or subject may be more difficult to find. Still, if you use some basic logic, you can predict what will be asked. Think to yourself: "If I were hiring someone for this position, what would I ask?" If you teach middle school English, for example, common sense should tell you that they'll ask you how you teach writing. If you teach high school calculus, chances are good they'll ask you why Calculus is important for high school students.

When you have a list of questions, sit down any try to plan your answer for each. If you have a close friend or family member in education, you might want to discuss your answers with them. Oftentimes, they will have ideas or suggestions that will help you focus your thoughts. No matter how you prepare, simply having an idea of how you will answer common questions will make you a more confident candidate at the interview table.

Interview Preparation Step #2:

Make a list of popular education buzzwords and acronyms... and study them.

What terminology might be used during the interview? If a principal asks you how you use differentiation, will you be able to tell him/her? Or will you be the candidate that asks, "What do you mean?" If you're asked how you meet the needs of a student with an IEP, will you be the candidate with the deer-in-the-headlights look?

Educational jargon often trips up candidates. It's embarrassing for candidates at an interview to admit that they're not familiar with a word or phrase used, yet if they don't ask for clarification, they risk giving an answer that doesn't make sense.

Here's what you do: make a list of common educational buzzwords on index cards. (Differentiation. IEP. ELL. Block scheduling. Looping. Four Block Writing. Everyday Mathematics. And so on...)

Then, check to see how many of the words you know. One the back of each index card, define each word. Also, in one sentence, relate each vocabulary word to your teaching. Look up any words you don't know.

Interview Preparation Step #3:

Assemble a Teaching Portfolio

Your teaching portfolio is your professional brag book. Find lots of evidence of your teaching (or student teaching) experiences, and assemble it all in one big, fat binder. It should be chock-full of student work samples, lesson plans, parent newsletters, and philosophy statements. Be sure you have a type-written table-of-contents and dividing tabs so you can easily find information at an interview.

When you're at an interview table, don't wait for an interviewer to ask to see your portfolio. Instead, be ready to pull out examples of your work whenever something in your portfolio relates to something being asked. Interviewers will be impressed by your organization and preparation. Even more importantly, you'll be PROVING that you're an effective teacher, rather than just TELLING them.

Interview Preparation Resource

Guide to Getting the Teaching Job of Your Dreams! is an eBook that can help you with each of the steps above.

Step #1: Predict what the questions will be and prepare your answers.

The eBook features 50 common teacher interview questions. It also gives you advice for answering each question.

Step #2: Make a list of popular education buzzwords and acronyms.

The eBook features an entire chapter dedicated to terminology and buzzwords that might be used at a teacher interview.

Step #3: Assemble a teaching portfolio

The eBook also features a chapter on teaching portfolios. It tells you exactly what to include and teaches you how to effectively use your portfolio at an interview.

If you haven't already, download a copy of Guide to Getting the Teaching Job of Your Dreams! today. If you're looking for a teaching job, this really is a must-have book.

Top tips for closing your teaching interview

So your interview is coming to a close and you are relieved to finally be out of this intense situation. However, you want to leave a positive and lasting impression. That is why you must not walk out of that room without forgetting to do these ten things:

1. Highlight your teaching strengths as often as possible. Your interviewer is looking at all times to see what you can offer to enhance his or her academic community. Highlight your teaching qualifications and strengths as often as possible, as long as it relates to the job interview question asked, and does not become so repetitive to make you look cocky or arrogant.

2. Ask relevant, thoughtful questions. The night before your teacher interview, prepare a few questions that you can ask at the end - you will usually be given an opportunity. Make them relevant and insightful and ensure you could not have found the answers through their website or other print material about the school district. If you do, they will know you haven't done your homework. Perhaps you may wish to ask if there are any extracurricular positions you could become involved in, showing that you are willing to put in extra time and effort at the school. This is not the time to discuss wage, benefits, or other areas of compensation - these questions should only be asked after you receive a job offer.

3. Ask the interviewer if he or she requires further information. Offer the hiring principal the opportunity to ask anymore lingering questions they may have. Find out if there is anything else required before you move on to the next step such as a philosophy of education statement, portfolio, background check, driver's abstract, etc.

4. Discover what the next step is. Ask the interviewer what the next step is in the hiring process and when you should expect to receive a phone call. This gives you a good timeline to prepare for the next step and does not leave you wondering when you might receive a call. Furthermore, this is a great way to show your enthusiasm for the position and your desire to teach at that particular school.

5. Find out how you stand up against the competition. Ask how many other people are interviewing for this same teaching position. Inquire as to how well you have done. You may wish to word this as, "How do I look so far in comparison to the competition?" Ask the question once and do not pressure the interviewer if he or she does not want to discuss this. This tactic allows you to have a real perception of how you performed and whether or not you will advance. Plus the principal or superintendent will appreciate your frankness and openness. You can also learn from feedback and use that at your next interview.

6. Restate your interest in the position. There is nothing wrong with actually coming out and saying how much you want to teach Science, Social Studies, Math, etc, and this particular school. Do not beat around the bush and let the superintendent or principal guess as to whether or not you want to work there. By closing out your interview with enthusiasm and interest, you will leave a very good lasting impression with your interviewer.

7. Offer a firm handshake. Smile, make eye contact, and firmly, but not too aggressively, grip your interviewer's hand, if more than one interviewer, it is best to shake everyone's hand. This will show your professionalism, understanding of manners and etiquette, and possibility of being a good role model to the students. Regardless of the position you are applying for, this is the correct way to end any interview.

8. Say thank you. Thank the interviewer(s) for the opportunity to convey your passion for educating and helping students to advance academically and socially. Remember, they didn't have to offer you an interview, but they did. Make sure you let them know it is appreciated.

9. Leave a business card. This is a great way to give the principal easy access to your contact information. It is also a little and constant reminder of who you are. If the decision maker looks at that card even once or twice, they will have a better chance of remembering you; thus ensuring that you stand out amongst the competition.

10. Send a thank you letter. No, this is not done while you are still in the interview, but it is a crucial step that follows. These documents are a polite way to say thank you for the opportunity and pleasure of an interview. As well, this is an effective method to once again highlight your outstanding teaching qualifications, passion for teaching, and convey your enthusiasm for working for that particular school or district.


100 Sample Teaching Interview Questions

1. Tell us about yourself.

2. What is your educational background?

3. Describe your experience working with students at this age level.

4. Why did you choose to become a teacher?

5. What is your philosophy of education?

6. What are your strengths?

7. What are your weaknesses?

8. Describe a lesson in which you've used differentiated instruction.

9. How do you encourage creativity in your classroom?

10. How do you teach kids higher-order thinking skills?

11. Describe your most successful lesson. Tell why it was successful.

12. How do you make learning fun for students?

13. Besides lecture, what methods of teaching do you use?

14. How do you assess student performance in your classroom?

15. How do you prepare students for state standardized tests?

16. What would you do if a student did not hand in his/her homework on a regular basis?

17. How much homework do you give?

18. If I were to walk into your classroom, what would I see?

19. Describe your discipline philosophy.

20. What are your classroom rules?

21. What routines would be incorporated in your teaching?

22. What would you do if a student threw a pencil across the room?

23. What would you do if one student hit another student?

24. What would you do if a student was swearing in your class?

25. What would you do if a student was complaining about an assignment you've given?

26. Describe some methods of "positive reinforcement" that you might use in your classroom.

27. Would you describe yourself as a "tough" teacher or an "understanding" teacher? Explain.

28. How would you create a behavior modification for a student with ongoing behavior problems?

29. In your opinion, what is the best way to avoid behavior problems?

30. Describe the most challenging student you've ever taught.

31. How do you communicate with parents?

32. Can you show us an example of a parent newsletter that you might write?

33. What would you do to calm an angry parent?

34. A parent calls you because they are worried about their child's low grades. What would you say to the parent?

35. How do you keep parents informed of their childs' progress?

36. A parent writes a note and tells you that their daughter could not complete their homework assignment because she had a dance recital the night before. What do you do?

37. How do you encourage/teach students to be organized?

38. How do you integrate technology into your instruction?

39. How computer literate are you?

40. Do you think it is appropriate for children in school to be using the Internet?

41. Describe a time when you've worked on a team.

42. Describe a time when you've been a leader.

43. How do you feel about team-teaching?

44. How would you recommend a child for special education services?

45. Some classes have students with a wide-range of reading abilities. How can you met the needs of students with high reading abilities and low reading abilities at the same time?

46. What would you do for a student that is gifted?

47. Describe a gifted student.

48. What is your favorite subject (or age) to teach? Explain.

49. What is your least favorite subject (or age) to teach? Explain.

50. Describe your student teaching experiences.

51. What are some of the most important things you learned when student teaching?

52. What was the most satisfying moment throughout your student teaching?

53. What was the most frustrating thing about student teaching?

54. Describe one college course that taught you the most about being a good teacher.

55. Who influenced you to become a teacher?

56. What is the biggest challenge you've had to face in your life?

57. Are you currently reading any books? Describe.

58. What is a life-long learner? How can you help your students to be life-long learners?

59. A student confides in you and tells you that his parent abuses him. He asks you not to tell anyone. What do you do?

60. What extra-curricular activities would you be willing to help with?

61. Have you ever subbed in this school district?

62. What do you look for in a principal?

63. How do you communicate with administrators?

64. Would you like to be part of our new teacher mentor program?

65. What kinds of inservices would you be eager to attend?

66. List three adjectives that describe yourself.

67. What professional teaching organizations do you belong to?

68. Have you ever received an award for anything in your lifetime? Describe.

69. What were you like as a student?

70. In your opinion, what is the difference between a good teacher and a great teacher?

71. If you teach a lesson and your students don't seem to be "getting it," what do you do?

72. How do you provide support for students who are not performing as well as they should?

73. How can you meet the needs of a student who does not speak English?

74. In what ways can you teach students to be accepting of one-another?

75. How would you teach conflict resolution to your students?

76. Name a book that you'd like to read to (or with) your students. Describe the book and tell why you chose it.

77. How do you feel about working in an inclusion classroom?

78. How do you meet the needs of a student with an IEP?

79. Where do you plan to be in five years?

80. Are you a flexible person? Explain.

81. What can you offer our school that other candidates cannot?

82. Describe a high-interest project that you might assign to your students.

83. What do you like to do when you're not teaching?

84. How do you incorporate writing into your curriculum?

85. How would you teach the writing process?

86. What do you write in your lesson plan book?

87. How closely do you follow your lesson plans?

88. What part of this job are you most looking forward to?

89. What part of this job scares you?

90. What are the biggest challenges that teachers face today?

91. Why do you want to teach in this, particular district?

92. How can you make your teaching connect to students' real-world experiences?

93. Tell me about your references. Who are they and how do they know you?

94. If I were to call your references, what might they say about you?

95. How can you reach out to the community as a teacher?

96. How do you make sure you are teaching to the state standards?

97. What kinds of materials and supplies would you need to do your job well?

98. How do you feel about noise in your classroom?

99. Show us your portfolio.

100. What questions do you have for us?

So now you know the QUESTIONS....

....but do you know the ANSWERS?

Guide to Getting a Teaching Job in an eBook that features over 50 common teacher interview questions and answers! Check it out:


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