Teacher Job Interview Questions
Educators have one of the most important jobs in society. Watching students engaging in meaningful material is incredibly rewarding, as your job directly helps shape generations to come.
For this reason, interviewing for a teaching job can feel stressful, especially if you don’t know exactly how to prepare.
To feel more comfortable going into your teaching interview, it helps to review potential interview questions that you might be asked. Just like your future students will do in your classroom, practice makes perfect!
10 Teacher Interview Questions, And How to Answer Them
In your teaching interview, you’ll likely be asked common questions like “Why do you want this job?,” and “Why did you decide to become a teacher?,” but you’ll also likely be faced with other specific and more difficult questions that might take more forethought.
To help you prepare for your interview, below are 10 potential questions that you could encounter and tips about how to answer them effectively.
1. How do you motivate students?
The motivation of students can vary depending on their interest in the topic, emotional or mental state, or level of engagement in the lesson. Being able to motivate your otherwise unenthusiastic students is key to providing them with the best education possible.
This makes for an excellent interview question because it gets at the root of how you handle difficult situations.
The best way to respond to a question like this is by acknowledging that each and every student is unique and will be motivated by different things. You really have to know your students well to engage them.
Consider speaking on reinforcement strategies you might use to keep students focused. Positive reinforcement and words of affirmation are two fantastic methods to do so.
2. Can you walk me through a typical lesson that you would teach?
When an interviewer asks you to walk them through a sample lesson, they are trying to see how you plan and execute a quality lesson. This question requires more thought and planning than other questions do.
Remember, it’s okay to ask for a few seconds to think of an appropriate response rather than rushing into an answer without knowing where it’ll end up.
To answer a walkthrough lesson question, be confident in your knowledge. Tell your interviewer what your lesson would look like from start to finish. Include ice breakers and attention grabbers, ways to present content, and debrief strategies.
To take your answer one step further, try highlighting what you would change about future lessons depending on how your students respond.
3. What is your experience with IEPs? Is there a process you take to ensure you’re meeting the needs of students with IEPs?
If you’re a teacher, it’s more likely than not that you’ll have to work with students with IEPs. With questions like this, interviewers are looking to see that you know how to be flexible and are willing to meet the needs of all of your students regardless of their special needs.
Your response to IEP questions should be forthcoming. If you have plenty of experience with IEPs, it may be beneficial to highlight an example where you were accommodating.
However, if you don’t have much experience with special needs students, it’s important to become familiar with IEPs and come up with an action plan to differentiate your instruction methods to support individual needs.
4. Could you tell me about a time when you worked with a team to solve a specific problem?
Teamwork is especially important in a teacher’s job. This is a great question for interviewers to ask when they want to understand how you collaborate with other educators to support your students and how you reach out to your coworkers if you ever need advice or suggestions for improvement.
Consider responding to a question about teamwork where you faced a conflict where you required support. Make sure to focus on the process and solution more than the conflict. Highlight your communication and collaboration skills, and discuss how you grew from this moment.
5. How do you go about including parents or guardians in their child’s education?
Teaching your students is only part of the job of an educator. Another major aspect of teaching is building relationships with parents.
Your interviewer wants to know that you will include your student’s parents or guardians in their school life, as the learning that happens at home is a continuation of everything that is enforced in the classroom.
When it comes to a question about parents or guardians, it could be useful to focus on how you take your relationships with them seriously. Discuss ways that you can keep them up to date with student progress like through conferences and meetings, surveys, and regular academic and behavior updates.
6. Please describe a time where you had to discipline a student. How did you handle it?
Let’s face it – not all students will be cooperative at all times. With this, it’s important that you can handle disciplining a student in the appropriate way when they display inappropriate behavior.
In an interview, this question can truly help the questioner understand the strategies you take to teach students about negative behavior and consequences rather than solely reprimanding them.
One successful way to answer this question is by providing an example of a time where you had to address a student and take control of your classroom to provide a safe learning environment for everybody involved. How did you use your voice? Were there any actions you took, such as serving detention or extra work?
Describe the ways you’ve taught your students to be better in the future.
7. How would your past students, peers, and administrators describe you and your teaching style?
Hirers don’t just want a great educator – they want an educator with a great attitude and personality that can fit in with their school system. By asking how other students and faculty would describe you, they can get to the core of your personality.
This question is a great place where you can stand out from all other applicants. It’s easy to say that you are “intelligent,” or “hard-working,” but digging deeper and displaying your character is the key to this answer. Some great examples could include “empathetic,” “creative,” “attentive,” or “even-tempered.”
8. What makes you a good fit for this school?
Interviewers want to know exactly why you applied to their school. Even if you applied around, they want to see that their school caught your interest and that you will be passionate about working there rather than just looking for a job to work at until a better opportunity arises.
This is an excellent question for schools that have unique selling points.
When answering this question, think about what each particular school has to offer. Does it have small class sizes that allow for closer student-teacher relationships? Is there a focus on a specific aspect of society such as encouraging volunteer efforts or offering specialized classes that can benefit students in long-term situations? Do you enjoy the location of the school itself?
Be honest about why you believe you could fit into their environment – not just why you like their institution.
9. How do you incorporate SEL (social-emotional learning) into your lesson plans?
Social emotional learning (SEL) is an up and coming learning process that puts a deep focus on developing not just a student’s intelligence but their emotional and social well-being, too.
Schools that put an emphasis on SEL want to hire educators that put an emphasis on self and social awareness, decision making, and relationship skills.
If a school asks you about SEL, it indicates that they want to foster a safe and nurturing school environment for all students.
Try discussing a time where you encouraged a student to learn about their personality and their social environment. It may also be beneficial to enunciate how you foster a nurturing environment in your classroom.
10. Do you have any questions for me/us?
This is arguably one of the most important questions of an interview. While it can be tempting to want to answer “no,” your interviewer may want to see that you are inquisitive and curious about the position at hand. This is your last opportunity to leave a good impression.
Before your interview, you should’ve done research about the position you’re applying for and the school that it’s located in. If there are any interesting aspects of their educational process that you’d like to discuss, now is the best time to do so.
It’s important to show the interviewer that you’ve done your research. Try asking specific questions like “What are some qualities that make an educator successful here,” or “Are there things you wish you knew about this school when you first started working here?”
Your interviewer will respect your desire to learn more about the school and position.
Nail Your Interview
A successful applicant for a teaching position is one that is honest. The best piece of advice that you can take out of this piece is to be open and truthful to who you are and your teaching style.
Some teaching styles don’t mesh perfectly in some schools, and you don’t want to fake who you are and end up unhappy in your position only to apply to other institutions in the next year! By highlighting your authentic self, you make yourself available for positions that work best in your life.
Be sure to follow all of the other traditional tips of interviewing: dress well, be on time, and communicate well, and be confident. These indicate professionalism and self-assurance, both of which are excellent qualities to display as an educator.
Being familiar with the types of questions that interviewers can ask you can be the difference between you being hired or not, as you’ll be prepared to answer whatever is thrown at you.