Teacher Interview Questions With Examples

Teachers need to effectively communicate their qualifications as well as their passion for teaching during a job interview. With some preparation, you can be ready to meet with the hiring manager and answer interview questions with ease. In this article, explore some of the more common questions asked during a teaching interview to help you prepare for your next job opportunity as a teacher.

Common teacher interview questions

Here are some common questions asked during a teacher interview:

Why did you decide to become a teacher?

Interviewers are looking for passionate individuals who will be able to overcome the inevitable obstacles that come with this line of work. Your answer should explain what you love about teaching as well as offer them something unique will set you apart from the other candidates. 

Example answer: ‘When I began kindergarten, I found myself severely behind in reading. Mrs. Armstrong, my teacher, began tutoring me after school and during recess. I’ll never forget, she used sandpaper to show me the difference between hard and soft sounds. Within the year, I was not only reading, but I was one of the best readers in my class. I have always remembered Mrs. Armstrong and how she recognized my individual needs. I want to be that person for others…Someone who will help students reach their potential.’

What is your teaching philosophy/style?

The research you do about the school before the interview will give you the information you need to effectively answer this question. Remain honest, but try tailoring your response to mention their specific values. Though each school will differ, it’s usually a good idea to recognize that learning requires a community and that you are only one aspect of each student’s journey.

Example answer: ‘I consider myself a strict teacher who is still fair and compassionate. I want to challenge my students to do more and be more, but I want to meet their individual needs instead of creating a gold standard. I strive to partner with the various support systems in my students’ lives to ensure that they are happy, motivated and, most importantly, growing.’

How do you handle a difficult student?

Difficult students are inevitable and your interviewer wants to know that you understand how to appropriately handle any issues that may arise in the classroom. Your answer should focus on determining the cause for a student’s behavior and discussing possible solutions with the child in a way that is calm and collaborative. Including an anecdote is extremely effective for this type of question.

Example answer: ‘I would likely pull the student aside to try to figure out the root of the problem. Once I’m able to determine why they’re having a difficult time, I will work with them to try and brainstorm possible solutions.’

How do you motivate your students?

Every student is different, as is the method that will work to motivate them. Your answer should emphasize a personalized approach that encourages engagement from all students.

Example answer: ‘Positive reinforcement is always a powerful motivation for students so, aside from compliments and verbal recognition, I like to have a little treasure box for students to pick out prizes when they have a good day or perform well on a test. I have some generic prizes in there, but I also try to include things that I know certain students really like.’

How do you approach communicating with parents?

In order to be an effective teacher, you must also work with a child’s guardians to collaborate and create a consistent plan for both academic and behavioral issues. Make sure that your answer to this question recognizes the value of frequent and personal interactions with parents.

Example answer: ‘It is so important to become acquainted with the people in each student’s life. That’s why, at the beginning of the school year, I invite families to come for an individual tour and meeting. I give them surveys to fill out about the child’s needs, little quirks and preferences. I also hold open office hours for parents to stop in and discuss their child’s performance every month. And periodically, I like to reach out to the families to give them updates about challenges and triumphs.’

How would you assist a student with [specific situation]?

These types of questions can vary drastically depending on the subject and school. Typically, the answer will be subjective. In order to appropriately address it, you will want to reverse engineer the problem. In other words, explain your thought process and approach for resolving the issue. For example, let’s say the question is: ‘How would you assist a student who is struggling with decimal places in math?’

Example answer: ‘I would encourage them to use zeros as place holders after lining up the decimals. This will likely minimize their confusion, but I would also teach them to draw lines from each number all the way down to the solution.’

Describe your structure for classroom management.

This is another instance when your research will be beneficial. Tailor your response to reflect the school and school district’s classroom management philosophies. While still being truthful, mention how you will incorporate this philosophy into your classroom.

Example answer: ‘I have found it effective to create a point system for students in which they can earn a prize of their choice at the end of the week if they reach a certain number of points. Additionally, if the whole class reaches a certain number of points by the end of the month, they get a special prize, like a pizza party.’

How do you use technology in your lessons?

Technology is such a powerful tool in education and your interviewer wants to know that you understand how to utilize it. Mention how you’ve used it to improve the learning experience of your students.

Example answer: ‘I love incorporating technology into my lesson plans. Last year, my class and I recorded and produced a radio and TV show. They had so much fun adding in sound effects and learning how to use the editing software.’

How do you use social-emotional learning in your lessons?

Comprehensive learning incorporates social and emotional skills as well as academic abilities. Make sure that you explain how you will support your students as they learn to handle conflict, build relationships and make wise decisions.

Example answer: ‘I try to incorporate empathy and consideration into every lesson plan I create. I always express that I am here for my students for any questions that they may have, regardless of the topic. I offer them support as they navigate social situations and help them to develop their emotional intelligence.’

How do you assess the progress of students?

This is a common interview question that is trying to evaluate how you measure the performance of your students. Use specific situations that will demonstrate how you’ve helped your students improve.

Example answer: ‘I use both informal and formal methods to evaluate my students. I use tests, quizzes, in-class activities and worksheets. Last year, I had a student who did really well in the classroom but their test scores didn’t reflect that. After working with them, I was able to determine that they were having trouble seeing. They got glasses and their test scores improved to match their classroom comprehension.’

Performing well during a teacher interview is easy if you are qualified, prepared and passionate. Make sure that you practice with your own, personalized answers by using the questions and sample answers provided in this article.