A teacher job interview is like the gateway you must pass to enter your next teaching job. No matter how good or qualified you are as a teacher (or a prospective one), if you can’t perform great at the teacher job interview, your chances of getting the job are really very slim.
Whether it is primary teacher interview questions and answers, secondary school teacher interview questions or teaching interview for higher levels of learning, this samples here can come in handy.
Regardless of what teaching position you are looking for and what field, be it science, arts, commercial, primary, secondary, etc, we have a broad range of sample interview questions and possible answers to cover for them with helpful suggestions.
You can also download a PDF copy of the teacher interview questions and answers provided in this article.
Let’s dive in!
Top teacher interview questions and answers
1. Tell us about yourself
You need to show that you have the tenacity, determination, enthusiasm, and mindset to become a teacher. Be sure to look at the job description and tailor your answers to the key elements of the role.
“I am an enthusiastic person with an optimistic view on life. I love doing my job and it gives me an immense sense of satisfaction from seeing my students grow and develop as individuals.
Leaving a positive impact on their future gives me the feeling that my job is being done quite well. I communicate quite effectively in both writing and orally, I have a strong affinity for planning and organizing effectively.
I am able to cope with pressure and can adopt any effective teaching method when needed, to consistently deliver positive results. I understand the bigger picture and the pressures sustained by the school.
I often implement effective behaviour management processes in class and work on myself to continually grow both professionally and personally.”
2. Why did you become a teacher?
This is one of the most common questions asked. Interviewers want to know you are motivated to teach through unavoidable frustrations.
“I want to help people” will not work. You need to find something specific and relatable especially from experience that shows you are motivated like no other.
“reading as a pupil in primary 3 was a huge deal for me, Ms Mary, who was our class teacher introduced us to a list of amazing short stories and books. She worked with us on reading comprehension and read to us. Her patience and care triggered an unquenchable thirst that led me to eventually read tons of books on diverse topics. Her attention changed my outlook on life forever. Since then, I realized that I wanted to do exactly what she did.”
3. Describe your teaching philosophy
Describe your philosophy as something worthy of investment. The interviewers are not expecting you to tell them something or style they have not heard before (it would be nice if you have something new though).
Avoid answers such as “I’m very disciplined”. A great response to this question will integrate ideas such as group work, class engagement, exercises, and effective behavioural management. You have to demonstrate the capability of recognizing when a teaching style is appropriate for the subject or lesson at hand. You have to be flexible.
“My style of teaching is fundamentally centred on class engagement. I adapt my style of teaching in order to involve everyone and make the subject as interesting as possible.
I like using colourful PowerPoint slides, videos, and group exercises to buttress my points. From my experience, this significantly increases the students’ interests and leads to a better learning experience overall.
I take behavioural management seriously, and I tend to focus on respect, response, and discipline.
Finally, I have an all-inclusive, approachable style of teaching that is sufficiently flexible to cover for a diverse range of learning styles.”
4. To be most helpful to your students, how much do you want to know about them?
In answering this question, be honest, but also look for common grounds.
“I make sure to know a student’s problems, how they prefer learning, and passions. I once had a difficult student, Kevin, who was disruptive in class. I realized that he was being bullied after school when I followed him to the playground. Kevin’s parents had no idea until I spoke to them about it. Kevin became one of my best students in the class, this resulted in a quieter and easier to teach the class.”
5. Why do you want to work for our school?
Interviewers want to know if you really want the job. Research about the school and find things you love about the school. Go to the school’s website, vision statements, mission statements, and about us. You can talk to teachers who work there as well.
“I respect XYZ school’s belief in teaching the whole child. My philosophy and your focus on character, academics, nature, and community align perfectly. It’s much easier to teach well-rounded students. Whereas, a child who is struggling in other aspects of life will find little or no help even with the best lesson plan in the universe.”
6. What frustrates you the most about teaching?
Questions like this are meant to test how easily you can get discouraged. You have to show your inner strength in answering this.
“Kids who are intelligent but too confident and do not work on themselves frustrate me the most. I had several kids like this in my last position, they were not putting in any effort. I inculcated a research-based strategy that incorporates student ideas into the lesson plan. This created more engagement and their test scores went up 20% in less than three months.”
7. How do you evaluate students?
This question examines how you measure your performances. As usual, cite how you helped students achieve higher grades through your evaluation strategy.
“I use both formal and informal methods in evaluating my students, I also include tests and examinations. I also grade students in-class activities like group work, reports, recitations, desk work, etc. I had a student, Agnes who showed a great understanding of concepts during activities in class but would perform poorly during formal tests. Through working closely with her, I realized she had a vision problem that was not diagnosed. Agnes got corrective lenses and her scores grew to match her class comprehension.”
8. Why do we teach science in school?
Do not go saying “so that they can get good jobs”, you will fail. Evaluate why you care about the subject at the gut level.
“Our future, I believe depends on people using science in making decisions. Science is the pivot of wonders in our world. Those wonders can push students to improve their learning abilities. Learning sciences can take students places they never thought they could go to.”
9. On the first day of school, how will you get your classroom ready?
This looks at your preparedness. First impressions matter and your plan, in the beginning, says a lot about your teaching skills.
“I, first of all, try to create a welcoming environment for the kids like a welcome sign, labelled desks, etc to help students feel homely and create a great sense of excitement among students. I then make the grounds rules and paste a list of rules and consequences to be heeded by students to help start on the right foot.”
10. In what way can you help our students/school?
Learn as much as you can about what the school needs to progress.
“After checking the school’s performance in the last mathematics competition, and the below-par performances from the student, I believe I can improve them a lot with my vast knowledge of mathematics and intriguing style of teaching which will engage the students in class properly and make them ever ready for any mathematics competitions in future as well as external examinations. Having worked with students who I coached to the finals of XYZ’s mathematics competition, I believe my experience will be invaluable here also.”
11. How would you describe your ideal school?
Interviewers want to know your thoughts on their school and surroundings. What the school and surroundings were meant to look like for students. They want to know if you appreciate a nicely maintained school and environment.
“An ideal school is one that has sufficient materials, equipment, and supplies necessary for fostering students’ growth and learning. A school that is clean, adequately maintained, and safe for both teachers and students.
A school’s poor environment has effects on the students’ attitudes and performances. A well-maintained school is one in which students will be proud of and would be excited to come to daily. An ideal school has fewer students in each class to increase more attention between the teacher and students. Not a small with many students crammed in.”
12. How would you involve the parents of your students?
Parents are themselves from their kids’ academics. Interviewers ask this question to see if you can get parents to be involved in their kids’ education.
“Communicating with students’ parents is very important to me. I strive to talk to every parent at the beginning of each session through calls, emails, or any way possible. I also make sure to send notes often to parents on the performances of their kids and ways to improve on them. I also make myself available at all times so that parents can reach me anytime. I am also planning on creating platforms that would enable parents to have access to their children’s day to day activities in class. This is a way to encourage parents to participate actively in their children’s education.”
13. What should a teacher avoid?
This question is thrown by recruiters to know your conduct, especially in class.
- A teacher should avoid judging students based on their academic performances.
- A teacher should avoid embarrassing students in front of others.
- A teacher should not bring in personal issues they had with any student to class.
- A teacher should give tasks to students based on their potentials
- A teacher should always avoid dominating their students
- A teacher should always avoid assuming that the students’ assimilation powers are equal to theirs
14. How will you handle a weak student?
Weak students are the more reason a school strives. If a weak student is striving, it gives the school a positive outlook and recommendations will pour in. So you need to provide answers that are realistic and compelling.
“I handle weak students by motivating them, letting them know they are not actually weak and they have what it takes to be top of the class. I then go ahead to motivate them further by letting them in on the subjects they are most comfortable in, seeing themselves doing great on a particular subject will boost their confidence and make them work harder to be comfortable with other subjects. I also try to coach weak students privately, allowing me to understand where they actually need help and helping them by taking all the time it requires.”
15. Are extracurricular activities important?
“Extracurricular activities are important, students can actually learn quite a lot. Extracurricular activities can boost the students’ confidence, build teamwork and relationship skills, help them look at other careers.”
16. How would you handle a disruptive student that seems gifted?
These issues come up all the time. Recruiters want to know how you can handle such situations. As usual, answer with instances.
“Behaving inappropriately can sometimes be a plea for help. I always try to communicate with them directly and privately to know what the problem might and see if I can help fix it.
If they are simply bored, I engage them further by giving them some more work to keep them occupied, that way, they would be challenged and keep getting better at what they know how to do best.”
17. Would you like to be involved in after school activities? If yes, which?
Recruiters are always on the lookout for teachers who are willing to give more of their time and themselves outside what their wages provide.
“Yes, I have skills like board games (chess, scrabble, Sudoku, etc) that can help develop the mind of the students and make them sharper. I would love to always be part of the extracurricular activities anytime I am called upon to guide, coach, and motivate the students. I believe these activities are so much fun and contribute to the building of trusts, friendships, and a good-nurtured environment between the teacher and the students.
18. What bulk of homework would you assign?
Recruiters want to know if you would overwhelm students with homework as this has been proven to weigh students down and keep them awake at night. So, keep it a minimum.
“My homework is kept quite minimum to avoid overburdening my students with homework. This allows them time after school for their friends, families, leisure, etc. However, there are a few times where I can give more work to help students practice a concept and get good at it. For example, long division and multiplication, these require a lot of practice to get used as they are quite important math skills.”
19. Do you have any questions for us?
Ask questions you feel are pertinent and cannot be found on the school’s website.
“Are there resources to help integrate computer technology in class? Are there opportunities for professional development? What are the remaining steps of getting hired? How long before I know the status of my interview? etc.”
20. How do you prepare students for standardized or external exams?
Students’ performances outside especially in external exams will not only measure the capabilities of the students but also improve the image of the school. Recruiters want to know how you intend on preparing students for these exams.
“I try to inculcate past questions into the lessons to help prepare the students for exams outside. I try to combine past questions into my tests and examinations, also in-class examples. This way, students are being prepared daily.”
Download teacher interview questions and answers PDF
We’ve put together teacher interview questions and possible answers for you in PDF format and here is it: download top teacher interview questions and answers (PDF).
In conclusion, we recommend you prepare very well by researching extensively about the school by checking their websites, asking teachers who work there, and any other means necessary. This will give you advantages on the loopholes they school might have and you can capitalize on them.
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