Interviewing

Top 5 Common Teacher Interview Questions and Answers

February 23, 2021

Interviewing for a teaching position allows you to demonstrate your ability to lead a classroom and dedication to student success. Before the interview, you can prepare quality answers to the most common questions school administrators are likely to ask.

Reviewing potential questions and preparing your answers in advance can help you organize your thoughts and consider the many elements you may include in your answer. This preparation can help you better showcase your interpersonal skills and confidence during the interview. 

In this article, we look at the five most common interview questions for teachers and explore how to prepare for these questions with example answers.

Read more: 50 Teacher Interview Questions and Answers To Help You Prepare

Preparing for a teaching interview: the STAR method

A recommended method for preparing interview answers is the STAR technique, which is a tool designed to help you formulate answers using specific examples from your experience. Following this formula generates thoughtful answers that fully answer a variety of interview questions:

  1. Situation: Provide the context of a situation or challenge.

  2. Task: Describe your involvement and responsibilities in addressing this situation.

  3. Action: Explain what steps you took to resolve the situation. If it was a group effort, focus on your contributions to the solution.

  4. Result: State the outcome of your actions in addressing the situation.

Using the STAR technique to develop answers that focus on positive outcomes can help you make a good impression on school administration by highlighting your best attributes and demonstrating the qualities you would bring to the classroom. 

Common teacher interview questions

Here are five frequently asked questions and example answers to help you prepare for a teaching interview:

  1. Why did you decide to become a teacher?
  2. What is your teaching philosophy?
  3. Why do you want to work for this school?
  4. Why do we teach [subject] in school?
  5. How do you evaluate your students?

1. Why did you decide to become a teacher?

This question is the most common a teacher can expect in an interview. Your answer can demonstrate your dedication to your students and the elements of the job that you enjoy. When preparing your answer, consider what initially drew you to this field: What personally motivated you to pursue this career path?

You can discuss a former teacher who inspired you or another personal experience that made you want to impact the lives of students. Thoughtful answers can show how much you care for your students and value your role.

Example: “Growing up, my younger brother Charlie was diagnosed with a learning disability. He felt self-conscious and frustrated that he wasn’t able to do the coursework the same way that other students could. I hated seeing my little brother struggle, so I started helping him with his homework every night. It took some time and patience but spending time with Charlie in this way really helped me understand how his mind worked.

Once we gained that understanding, we developed strategies that Charlie could use to understand the coursework better. The change that we saw in Charlie was astounding. Suddenly, this kid had confidence in himself and wanted to learn more. Being a part of his growth was eye-opening to me. I decided then that I wanted to be a teacher—to help kids like Charlie.”

2. What is your teaching philosophy?

Questions about your teaching philosophy help the interviewers understand how your teaching methods align with the values of the school. There are many ways to answer this question because it depends on your personal approach to education. To help center your thoughts, consider what goals you have for your students. Ask yourself what makes you feel successful as a teacher, and try to articulate the methods you use to gain those positive outcomes.

Example: “I believe students learn best when they have a hand in creating their own curriculum. At the beginning of every month, I have a classroom discussion about things my students want to learn and let them decide what topic we will be covering next. Last month, they decided they wanted to explore astronomy, and the month before that they wanted to learn about zoology. I center the curriculum around the things they express interest in, which makes them excited to learn.”

Read more: Interview Question “What Is Your Teaching Philosophy?”

3. Why do you want to work for this school?

You can use this question to demonstrate your enthusiasm for the specific position and the school by referencing what you know about their values and goals. Your answer should discuss what interests you in this position and that you understand what you can expect if you receive an offer. To prepare for this question, learn about the school’s mission and research any local news coverage of their events, accomplishments or unique student experiences.

Example: “After researching Sunny Ridge, I’m really impressed by the school’s dedication to programs in the arts. Programs like that are incredibly important in a child’s formative years, and it really seems like Sunny Ridge cares about providing that enrichment. I want to be part of a school that has that holistic approach to learning and development.”

Read more: Interview Question “Why Do You Want To Work Here?”

4. Why do we teach [subject] in school?

If you are interviewing for a position that requires you to teach a single subject, you can use this question to discuss what you believe is the significance of your subject and demonstrate how this school’s students benefit from learning it.

If your position involves teaching a variety of subjects, you can use this question to discuss the importance of the specific subject the administrator asks you about to demonstrate what value you see it having in your current and future classrooms.

The key to answering this question well is considering why knowledge of this subject enriches the lives of students. 

Example: “History is something that informs everything we know to this day. When I was a student, it was amazing to me that there was so much I didn’t know, and I love seeing that same amazement in my students now. I like to engage my students in an open discussion about our thoughts on a subject before and after we learn about it. I teach my students to look carefully at the stories we are told and the people who tell them. I believe that knowing the past helps us understand where we came from and where we’re going.”

5. How do you evaluate your students?

Your answer to this question can demonstrate how you measure success and how closely your methods align with the school’s values. This question is also a way to examine how you evaluate your own performance as a teacher.

The most effective way to answer this question is to illustrate how your evaluation methods help in the growth and development of students. Think of a victory you have had with a student who was experiencing challenges with the curriculum, and use that as an example of the cause-and-effect of your evaluation style.

Example: “I evaluate students through a variety of methods, including traditional tactics, like tests and the occasional pop quiz. I also grade in-class exercises, like project presentations, group work and class discussions. Having a variety helps me recognize and address what challenges my students face in the classroom.

For example, a former student of mine, Anna, was very engaged and bright during class discussions but struggled when it came to writing about those same subjects. I worked with Anna to address this problem, and we realized she had undiagnosed dyslexia. After realizing this, we changed our approach to reading and writing assignments and saw amazing improvements in that area.”

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