Getting ready for your teacher interview can be tough. Most interviews are held with a small group or even one on one. A teacher interview can often be with your whole potential grade level along with administration team.
I have had my fair share of being on either side of a teacher interview and wanted to share ten questions worth preparing for. When you feel prepared with answers to these questions you are more likely to be confident going into your interview.
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While every teacher interview will be different there are common threads running through all of them. This includes the idea most questions are asking for anecdotal responses. The longer you have been in the classroom the easier it is to pull from your memory bank. If you are new to teaching it is important to remember you can refer to your student-teaching, and subbing you have done, as well as any experiences with children outside of the classroom. It is also okay to refer to jobs outside of education or yourself as a student.
Teacher Interview Question #1
What do you feel are your strengths and weaknesses based on your current position?
It is generally easy to think of a strength, and even to think of a weakness. The trick here is to think about how your weakness actually makes you a better teacher.
For example, I struggled with math during school. This is important to me as a teacher because I know how to explain a math concept in approximately seventy-eight ways because that’s how many ways it took me to understand.
Always take the time to explain why you feel an area is a weakness and how it will benefit your students or what you are doing to improve upon it.
Teacher Interview Question #2
How do you handle a task you find challenging?
This question goes hand in hand with the first question. Everyone faces challenges, and it is a good idea to have a particular example of a time you struggled in mind when describing how you coped with the situation. An example will ensure you have a clear process as well as will keep you on track.
It is absolutely okay to admit to a time you really truly struggled and tell about how you dug your way out. In fact, I find the more struggle a person conveys the more memorable it is.
Most important, the challenge and how you worked through it should be real.
Teacher Interview Question #3
Tell us about a time you had a conflict with a student, colleague, or parent and how you handled it?
This is the single question which always throws me off. No matter how I think through it I stumble when I go to answer it, and have been asked this exact question every single time I have had a teacher interview.
You have to be real and honest while not digging yourself into a hole you can’t get back out of.
Remember to focus on how you handled the conflict more than the actual conflict itself. It is best to have a couple of situations in mind and make sure they are different than the challenging time you discussed in question two.
Teacher Interview Question #4
Tell us about a time you had a challenging classroom management situation and how you responded.
Many teacher interviews hinge around trying to figure out a teacher’s style when it comes to instruction. Even more importantly classroom management. While it is hard to gauge someone’s management skills in a teacher interview setting, it is vital you share your experiences and ability to adapt.
It is tempting to go straight to the most difficult classroom management challenge you can think of. Describe how you saved the world. It is just as important to remember the day to day challenges teachers face and how you would respond.
Teacher Interview Question #5
Tell us about a time a procedure you had in place wasn’t working and what you did to correct it.
This question is all about showing your adaptability in the classroom.
As teachers, we have to always be ready to turn on a dime and admit when something we thought would work just isn’t.
A prime example of this is scheduling. During my sixth year in the classroom, I had what I would have considered the perfect schedule. ELA first thing in the morning. I loved starting off with writing in particular. There was a big BUT though. One of my students hated writing with a burning passion and it basically ruined his day every morning when we would start. I had to take a step back and do what was best for him by starting the day with math.
This situation showed my flexibility and desire to put a student’s needs before mine.
Teacher Interview Question #6
What is your proudest moment as a teacher?
This may be the hardest question I have ever had to answer in a teacher interview.
My advice for this one is to keep it simple. I would state you have so many proud moments it is hard to narrow it down to one, but then share one which is on your mind.
Teacher Interview Question #7
What are your learning goals as a teacher?
It is vital as teachers we continue to grow each and every day, year after year.
Have an idea of something you struggle with, something you are passionate about, or something you just want to learn more about. All of these topics are worthy of setting a learning goal for.
I prefer to make one big learning goal and then several small goals which will support the big goal throughout the year.
Teacher Interview Question #8
If you are hired for this position, what kind of support would you like to receive from your team and administration?
Teaching is tough, and if given the opportunity in a teacher interview you should be upfront and honest about what kind of support you would need in the classroom.
For example, personally, I would want to know what kind of support was offered for RtI and Inclusion students including whether services followed the push-in or pull-out model.
I would also want to know what resources were available for professional development including modeling lessons, lesson planning support, and what kind of prep period should be expected.
Teacher Interview Question #9
What is the most important thing about you we should consider while making our decision about this position?
This question knocks my socks off just because I want to tell them everything.
Instead of going on a tirade about all your greatest life accomplishments stick to two or three things you are passionate about.
Maybe you love to find new ways to incorporate technology into your classroom. You might just be an expert on diverse books for classrooms. Either of these items would make you stand out and allow your potential future team to get to know you a little better.
Teacher Interview Question #10
Do you have any questions for us?
This is your big chance. Don’t waste it!
Take the time and do some research about the school you are interviewing with before you get there. Have three to five questions relating to your research ready to go. The more specific your questions are the better.
Finally, end the teacher interview with confidence by asking a direct question such as, “When should I expect to hear back from you?” This not only shows confidence but tells your interview committee you want the job!
If you really want to WOW them, send a thank you note for email after the interview. I like to carry stationary with me and quickly write a personal note to the administration after leaving the room.
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