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Teacher Interview Questions

What will they ask you?

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What to expect

Interviews are your chance to prove to your potential employer that you are the right person for the job. Unfortunately, it is all too easy to miss the mark when trying to convey your value while answering THEIR questions. Even if you have extensive interview experience, teacher interviews can be a whole different ball game.

To help you ace the interview, we have compiled a list of common interview questions that you will likely hear. We separated them into three categories: Introduction, Personal Questions, Pedagogy Questions, and Professional Responsibility Questions.

Continue scrolling or jump to specific portions of the article with the links below:

The Introduction

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Before the Interview

  • Prepare for the interview by dressing professionally and making sure you are well groomed (hair, nails, breath).
  • Do not be late!
  • Practice non-verbal communication, such as: maintaining eye-contact, a firm handshake, being relaxed, and being confident.

Small Talk and/or Ice-Breaker Questions

  • Be Ready: Small talk can happen on the way to the interview room or it can be the first question asked. This time is used to gauge inter-personal skills, communication skills and style, and to gauge how well you will fit into the culture of the school.
  • TIPS: Know something about the district so you can personalize conversation, compliment the school or district, and demonstrate an interest in the community.
  • Questions: The interviewer should not be the only one asking questions. Make sure you have a few questions prepared. This will show that you did your homework and also help you gauge if the employer is a good fit for YOU.

Personal Questions

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“Tell us about yourself.”

  • PURPOSE: This question is meant to give you the opportunity to speak about your background, education, qualifications to teach, and why you would love the job.
  • TIPS: Don’t overload them with your qualifications; don’t feel the need to go over every single qualification. Pick the most impressive qualifications and the most relevant background/education information on your resume.
  • PREPARATION: Look over your resume and choose the qualifications/education points you will speak of.

“Are you a flexible teacher? Explain how.”

  • PURPOSE: Use this question to show your awareness of the diversity that will make up your classroom. How well do you work with students from different socio-economic groups, or with students with differing retention rates? Show how you will be able to adapt your teaching style to meet the diverse needs in your classroom.
  • TIPS: Give specific instances of when you have had to be flexible in the classroom. Try to think of students who were starkly different in their retention rates and how you were able to adjust your teaching style to ensure neither was overlooked.
  • PREPARATION: Think of the examples you will give prior to the interview so you can say them off-hand.

“What did you find to be the most difficult aspect of student teaching?”

  • PURPOSE: This question is self-explanatory: simply share what areas you found difficult as a student teacher, and how you would work in those areas with your own classroom.
  • TIPS: Do not just speak of the areas that you found difficult, but expound on what you learned from those things and how you walked away better prepared to overcome or endure those obstacles well.
  • PREPARATION: Consider the ways those difficulties developed you as a teacher.

“Do you know what is going on in education today? Do you stay current with educational trends?”

  • PURPOSE: This is an opportunity to show your passion for the profession. Show how you have devoted yourself to being a life-long learner, specifically in how you will continue your education throughout your career. Especially show your competency in technological trends and how you could incorporate these into the classroom setting in an effective way.
  • TIPS: If you have not already considered it, consider how you will push yourself to be a life-long learner. They will be looking for someone who is passionate enough about the profession that they stay current with education trends and are planning on using those to grow as a teacher.
  • PREPARATION: Study education trends and make a plan for how you will pursue life-long education.

“Do you enjoy teaching children? If so, how would I know if I observed your class?”

  • PURPOSE: Don’t just say that you enjoy teaching children; explain why you enjoy teaching children. Then transition into how this delight would shine through in your day-to-day teaching habits and the environment of your classroom.
  • TIPS: The best ways to show that you actually enjoy teaching children is by giving an example of a child who has impacted you as you did student teaching. Try to think of the moment you realized teaching gave you joy.
  • PREPARATION: Consider specific moments that gave you joy to teach children.

“What can you contribute to our school community/teaching team?”

  • PURPOSE: This is the opportunity to transition into what your contribution to the overall school culture would be. How would your presence on the teaching staff positively affect the staff culture? What will you bring to the table as a co-worker?
  • TIPS: Think specifically about how you will be beneficial to the staff. Do not just think on how being an effective teacher will help, but give ways you will seek to make a positive impact on the staff.
  • PREPARATION: Consider the impact you have had on other teams in the past and ways you anticipate to benefit your co-workers.

“If you overheard some colleagues talking about you, what would they say about you? What would you hope they said?”

  • PURPOSE: This question is meant to get you thinking about your contribution to the school organization and the overall culture. How will your colleagues be benefited by your presence on the staff?
  • TIPS & PREPARATION: Think specifically about how you will be beneficial to the staff. Do not just think of how being an effective teacher will help, but give ways you will seek to make a positive impact on the staff.

“The more relaxed you are, the better you are at everything…”
– Bill Murray

“Why do you want to work at this school?”

  • PURPOSE: Use this questions as an opportunity to give an indication that you have done some background work about the school, and explain what appeals to you about how the school functions.
  • TIPS: Be specific about the school, do not give generalities on why you want to teach. Show why you would flourish as a teacher specifically at the school you are interviewing for.
  • PREPARATION: Do some research on the school’s history and how it has structured things.

“Why did you decide to become a teacher?”

  • PURPOSE: This is a chance to show your passion for teaching. Whatever inspired you to be a teacher will directly translate into your disposition in the classroom.
  • TIPS: Be clear about the inspiration. Stay away from generalities. Try to give a specific instance in which you felt especially inspired to teach.
  • PREPARATION: Take time and write out what you will say as your inspiration.

“Do you have any questions for me?”

  • PURPOSE: Interviewers and principals will use this question to gauge your serious for the job and how well you are able to seek out and identify potential issues.
  • TIPS: Think through what your ideal work situation would be and then ask questions about how this school and your ideal work situation might differ. For example: How does the principal handle discipline issues when you might send students to her office? Under what conditions should a conflict between teachers escalate to the principal’s attention? What are the expectations for in-service and after-school duties? All these questions are great to determine YOUR fit in the school, should the position be offered to you.
  • PREPARATION: Think of important aspects of teaching and job performance that are influenced upon the principal/authoritative figure(s) and use those aspects to create good questions.

“Why do you want to work for our school district?”

  • PURPOSE: This is another question that is meant to show that you desire to work in the specifics of this school or this school district. Show that you have done your research on the school district and that you don’t just generally want to be a teacher, but want to be a teacher at that district.
  • TIPS: Pick 3 things about the district that you find in your research that you can mention as to why you want to work in that school district.
  • PREPARATION: Research the school district in regards to success/failure rates, graduation rates, and the overall history of the district.

“What is your idea of a successful principal?”

  • PURPOSE: This is a subjective question used to gauge how well you will fit in the dynamics of the school. If your ideal principal is a strict authoritarian and the current principal is not, this may not be a good fit for you.
  • TIPS & PREPARATION: Think through what attributes you would want in a principal.

“What would your cooperating teacher say about you?”

  • PURPOSE: Use this question to describe how your master teacher during student teaching would describe your teaching abilities and teaching philosophy, as well as your overall competency and energy.
  • TIPS: Try to give actual descriptions from the person who oversaw your student teaching.
  • PREPARATION: Get in contact with the person who provided oversight for your student teaching and ask them what they would actually say.

“What unique experiences and perspectives will you bring to our teaching team?”

  • PURPOSE: This question will show what kind of influence you will have among the teaching staff. Most of your time will be with the students, but your role as a teacher on staff is pivotal.
  • TIPS: When it comes to this question, don’t be shy or timid. Step into this question with boldness, giving clear experiences that have and will affect your role on a teaching staff. Be specific, and connect how that experience or perspective will benefit your role on staff.
  • PREPARATION: Consider what has shaped you not only as a teacher but as a coworker. Write down two or three experiences that give you a unique value as a teacher/coworker.

Pedagogy Questions

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