Before you get there:
Remember that first impressions count. The job will not be yours if you do not create a good impression to begin with. With this in mind make sure:
- You look smart and are in appropriate ‘school’ attire.
- Arrive early. Make sure you are not late.
- Good friendly body language will assure the interviewer that you will fit in with their school.
- Be confident when you are answering questions. If you are not sure of the question then ask them to repeat it.
- Ask questions yourself. You are interviewing them too. If you are not sure of something or want to know any information then ask. You need to know you are going to fit into the school and enjoy your time there just as much as they are looking at you for the same things.
- Prepare your answers to some common teacher interview questions before you set foot in the office of your future principal
Here are 16 teacher interview questions that are highly likely to come up. We recommend that you research your answers now. Then, stand in front of a mirror and start practicing!
Why did you decide to become a teacher?
If you don’t have a substantive answer to this question, then why are you even applying? Schools want to know you’re dedicated to enriching the lives of students. Answer honestly and with examples that paint a clear picture of the journey that you took to become a teacher.
How have you handled a situation where a student is consistently late to your class?
This teacher interview question is designed to see how you handle a problem in your classroom. Your answer should highlight your ability to deal immediately with a potential issue in a calm and controlled manner.
Include details about:
- questioning the student to find out the underlying cause of the problem
- explaining the negative impact of his/her behavior to the student
- coming to an agreed commitment to appropriate behavior in the future
How do you handle discipline problems in the classroom? Give me an example.
Teachers regularly experience various types of disruptive student behavior, from the frustrating but relatively minor problem of talking during class, to more challenging problems, like students confronting the authority of the teacher.
Provide a specific example and in your answer show your ability to have planned ahead for such instances by having measures in place and a clear action plan to deal with serious discipline problems.
Support any disciplinary action you took with reasons as to why it was effective and why you used it. The interviewers are looking for an effective classroom behavior management plan.
Describe your discipline philosophy.
With teacher interview questions and answers like this it is a good idea to have a well organized statement about your approach to discipline.
Your interview answer will depend on your teaching style, the position (including age group) you are interviewing for and your past experience.
Do some research about this school or district’s approach to discipline so that you are on the same page with your answer. Provide a clear and concise statement and back it up with examples.
Example interview answer:
“The purpose of discipline is to facilitate learning and foster better relationships and respect between the students. It is also intended to help students become more self-directed, self-disciplined and accountable for their behavior.
I have found that students respond poorly to forceful discipline but well to discipline that is helpful. My philosophy is to provide clear limits and rules that are communicated to the students so that they have a clear understanding of what is expected of them. The rules are discussed and agreed upon to encourage accountability from the students…….”
Tell me about your classroom management style.
Your answer should demonstrate how you achieve effective student management and control. Include aspects such as:
- environmental control
Explain how you are able to adapt your style according to the situation. Provide examples.
Tell me about a student who was not progressing satisfactorily in your class, what steps did you take?
This question explores your ability to foster motivation in students. Provide a specific example and demonstrate why it worked for this particular student
Support your answer by describing other instances where you managed to motivate and encourage students using different methods.
- analyzing each situation and developing an understanding of the student’s issues
- using the most appropriate method and resources to deal with the situation
- the outcome of your action
How do you build rapport with your class?
Teacher interview questions and answers about establishing rapport should include an understanding of the role of rapport in contributing to effective teaching.
Demonstrate what behaviors you use to develop rapport such as:
- a sense of humor
- showing interest in the students
- relating lessons in everyday terms
- using examples that are relevant to the students
Give examples of how you have demonstrated these behaviors in the classroom such as finding out something about your students’ interests, hobbies, and aspirations.
How do you give your students recognition and positive reinforcement?
Focus on developing self-worth by providing honest and effective encouragement and valuation.
Include aspects such as:
- acknowledging the student’s efforts as well as accomplishments
- the words and language you use
- awareness of your body language
- adapting the reinforcement to meet the particular needs of the student
Provide specific examples to support your answer.
How do you communicate with a parent about a student’s performance?
Interview answers should demonstrate your ability:
- to work together with parents to help and assist students
- to encourage parents to provide the right support and environment for optimal learning
- to remain non-defensive and positive
Again support your answer with examples.
How do you evaluate the success of your teaching?
No teacher is perfect and everyone has room for improvement. Evaluation is the means by which we try to identify which aspects of our teaching are good and which need to be changed. Provide specific methods of self assessment that you use
An example is keeping a journal in which you reflect on your lessons and highlight positives and negatives. This helps you to build on your successes and improve where necessary. Formal student feedback sessions, test results and outside observers are other methods.
What are your personal and professional goals?
Schools are looking for teachers who are learners themselves. Discuss your goals as they relate to self improvement in the teaching context and how they translate into benefits for the students, the school and the community.
Think about this carefully before the interview so that you can easily articulate your goals when asked.
Include evidence of any professional development activities in your teacher portfolio
What qualities do you look for in a principal?
Teacher job interview questions about what you consider to be a successful principal are trying to assess which traits you value most as a teacher and your understanding of what makes an effective principal.
Focus on leadership attributes such as:
- having a vision and clear sense of purpose
- planning and motivating
- communication and visibility
- consistency and accountability
- nurturing and developing staff and students
Describe your teaching style
In your answer show a clear understanding of your own basic teaching style.
However you should be able to adopt a number of teaching styles that are appropriate for different learning situations.
Highlight how you are able to adapt your style to the needs of the students. For example:
“I adopt a facilitator type style that emphasizes student-centered learning with students who are comfortable with independent learning”
You can support your answer with references to the phrases and words students and colleagues have used to describe you as a teacher.
What strategies do you use to encourage group work with your students?
In your answer to teacher interview questions like this it is important to demonstrate that you understand what the advantages of group work are including:
- encouraging cooperation among students
- facilitating the cross-pollination of ideas and information
And what the disadvantages are:
- social loafing
- domination by certain personality types
Discuss when group work is appropriate to a learning situation and when it won’t work.
Tell me how you develop your daily lesson plan and what do you include?
Take a couple of lesson plans with you in your teacher portfolio and use these as the basis for your explanation.
- how you determined the lesson objectives
- the conditions under which the objectives would have to be accomplished
- what materials and resources would be needed
- the lesson procedure
- assessment and evaluation
Do you have any questions?
While it may be tempting to get out of the hot seat quickly by answering with a simple no, this will generally be the final question and your last opportunity to leave a good impression. So, grab a journal or pad and jot some ideas down before your interview and proudly pull these notes out on cue. If you are at a loss for what to ask, peruse the school’s website, check out their goals, strategic plan, or recent accomplishments and refer to them specifically. Your potential principal will likely appreciate your inquisitive side if it is paired with genuine interest about their school.