Teacher Interview Questions and Suggested Answers

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Teacher interviews can be quite nerve-racking for both new and veteran teachers. One way to help you to prepare for a teaching interview is to read through questions such as those presented here and consider what interviewers may be looking for in a response. 

Of course, you should also be prepared to answer questions specific to a grade level or content area such as English language arts, math, art, or science. There may even be a "trick" question such as, "Do you consider yourself lucky?" or "If you could invite three people to dinner, who would you choose?" or even "If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?"

Traditional Preparation Questions

The following questions are more traditional and should be used to help you prepare for a general education interview. Whether the questions are in a one-on-one interview with a single administrator or posed by a panel of interviewers, your responses must be clear and concise.

Teaching comes with tremendous responsibilities at any grade level, and you must convince the panel that you are ready and capable of taking on these responsibilities. You must demonstrate your ability as a teacher to present information to an interviewer or panel so that they can visualize you as part of their teaching team.

01
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What are your teaching strengths?

This interview question is asked across many professions and offers you the best opportunity to present additional information that is not readily available on a resume or letter of recommendation.

The key to answering this question about your teaching strengths is to provide clear examples of your strengths as they relate to the job. For example, you might describe your qualities of patience, belief that every student can succeed, skills at parent communication, or familiarity with technology.

Your strengths may not be immediately noticeable, so it is important to provide an example to help an interviewer or panel visualize a strength.

02
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What could be a weakness for you?

In responding to a question about a weakness, provide the interviewer with a weakness you have already acknowledged and explain how you used that self-awareness to develop a new strength.

 For example:

  • I found that I was not well-versed in reading strategies, so I have taken some coursework to improve.
  • I realized I needed to slow down and spend more time specifically addressing the directions on a project so that students would be more independent.
  • I was afraid to ask for help until I realized that the best advice came from the teachers on my team.

Generally, you should be careful to avoid spending too much time discussing a weakness question.

03
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How do you find new ideas for lessons?

The interviewer or panel will be looking for you to demonstrate your knowledge and willingness to access and use many different sources for content information, lesson development, and student enrichment.

One way to explain where you get your new ideas can be by referencing current educational publications and/or blogs. Another way is to reference a lesson you saw a teacher model that you think you could modify to fit your particular discipline. Either way will illustrate your ability to stay on top of current education trends or your willingness to learn from fellow teachers.

During an interview, do not say that you would follow the lessons outlined in a textbook, as this would not show any creativity on your part.

04
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What are methods you might use to teach a lesson?

The key here is to show your ability to differentiate, or adapt, your instruction for the variety of learners in your classroom. This means that you need to summarize your knowledge of varying instructional techniques, your willingness to use them, and your ability to judge when each is appropriate. 

One way to show that you are aware of best practices of instruction is to offer suggestions as to which method would be most applicable to a topic or content area (such as direct instruction, cooperative learning, debate, discussion, grouping, or simulation) as well as to reference recent research on effective instructional strategies. 

Mention the fact that you need to take the students, their abilities, and their interests into account as to which instructional strategies you will use in your lesson plan designs.

05
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How do you determine if students have learned?

An interviewer or panel wants to see that you understand the importance of considering your lesson objectives and how you would evaluate students at the end of each lesson or unit. Explain that you recognize that a lesson or unit plan should rely on measurable results, not just gut instinct.

Additionally, reference how you would collect student feedback, such as a quiz, exit slip, or survey, and how you might use that feedback to drive instruction in future lessons.

06
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How do you maintain control in your classroom?

Before the interview, find out what rules are already in place by visiting the school website, and consider these rules in your response. Your answer should include specific rules, systems, and policies that you would set up from day one to manage the classroom.

You may want to reference specific examples, such as cellphone use in class, repeated tardiness, or excessive talking, from your own experiences. Even if you developed your experience while doing student teaching, your familiarity with classroom management will add credence to your answer.

07
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How can someone tell you are well organized?

For this question, give the following examples illustrating that you are well organized: 

  • How the desks are arranged;
  • How often you put student work on display;
  • How students know where materials are;
  • How you account for resources (texts, supplies) given to you.

Mention how you would maintain timely and accurate records on student performance. Explain how these records could help you to document student growth.

08
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What books have you read lately?

Choose a couple of books that you can discuss and try to connect at least one to your teaching career or education in general. You may want to reference a specific author or researcher.

Stay away from any politically charged books, just in case your interviewer disagrees with you. You may also reference any blogs or educational publication you read after you provide the titles of books.

09
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Where do you see yourself in five years?

If you are chosen for this position, you will most likely be provided with training necessary to help you become familiar with the school's policies and any technology programs the school uses. There may be additional professional development opportunities offered during the school year. That means the school will be investing in you as a teacher.

The interviewer or panel wants to see that their investment in you over five years will pay off. You need to confirm that you do have goals and that you are committed to the teaching profession. If you are still taking courses, you may also want to provide that information or plans you may have for more advanced coursework. 

10
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How have you used, or how will you use, technology in the classroom?

In responding to this question, note that the use of technology should support student learning. Provide examples of school data programs that you have used such as Blackboard or Powerteacher. Explain how you have used a software program such as Kahoot or Learning A-Z to support instruction. Explain your familiarity with other education software such as Google Classroom or Edmodo. If applicable, share how you connected with families and other stakeholders by using Class Dojo or Remind.

If you have not used technology in the classroom, be honest and direct about this. Explain why you have not used technology in your teaching before. For example, explain that you have not had the opportunity but that you are willing to learn.

11
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How would you engage a reluctant student?

This question is usually reserved for middle and high school grade positions. Explain how you would give such a student the opportunity to help choose what she reads or writes while still meeting the objectives in the curriculum. For example, explain how many of your assignments will allow for student choice in reading using different texts on the same topic, perhaps a few with different reading levels. Explain that offering students the ability to choose a topic for a report or allowing them the opportunity to choose a medium for the final product can help encourage reluctant learners.

Another way to motivate students is through feedback. Meeting with a reluctant student in one-to-one conferences can give you information about why he is not motivated in the first place. Explain how you realize that showing interest can help engage a student at any grade level.

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Do you have any questions for us?

Have one or two prepared questions specific to the school. These questions should not be about information readily available on the school or district website, such as the school calendar year, or the number of students or teachers at a particular grade level.

Use this opportunity to ask questions that show your interest in developing relationships at the school, such as through extracurricular activities, or about a particular program. Avoid asking too many questions that might give a negative impression, such as the number of days off a teacher gets. You can find this out through the district's human resources department once you get the job.