As with any interview, preparation is key.  Arriving prepared is often the most overlooked portion of the interview.  You don’t realize you are not ready until you walk into the room and see anywhere from 1- 4 stone-cold faces examining you. You can expect to be interviewed by several Principals, Veteran Teachers and Administrators.  The first thing you show them, before speaking a word, is your level of confidence. A smile goes a long way in conveying a high level of self confidence.  The last thing they want is to end up with a grouchy teacher in their classroom. Here are some sample interview questions for teachers.

Tell me about yourself….

The answer needs to be extremely strong, as it will set the stage for the remainder of the interview. The response should be only a few minutes; providing a detailed overview of who you are and what you are looking for in this position.   Modesty should be left at the door, remember, you are selling yourself to the district right now, be confident in yourself and your accomplishments up to this point.  Start off by saying, “As my resume has shown you …” This is the time to mention all of the degrees you have earned. Let them know if you earned 2 Bachelor of Science degrees or both in Elementary Education and Special Education. The remaining time should be spent selling them on all the educational activities you were involved with during college. Did you participate in being a day to day Special Education Aide Substitute for several districts or were you involved with Special Olympics? If so, let them know! Be proud of the work you have done to get you to this point!. How will you enhance their district if you are hired? Often education interviews are setup for hiring several Elementary and Middle School classrooms at one time.  This is one of the reasons there are so many Principals and Administrators at the present.  To be fully prepared, you will want to access the school district’s website to be cognizant of the types of classrooms they are hiring for.  At the end of about 2-3 minutes discussing your accomplishments, specifically note why this position is one you are so excited for. If you are aware of their need for a 1st Grade Teacher, mention that you love teaching 1st Grade and note the reasons.

Grades K-2, how would your 1st day look?

Provide an answer that shows nurturing and inviting philosophies that these children will need. Mention the very large welcome sign you’ll have when the children enter your classroom.  What have you used or witnessed other teachers using.  Perhaps you are going to be implementing a daily schedule to show how your day is going to be ran. This will show consistency of the children’s daily schedule. Also explain the importance of using student name tags and the way your classroom will be setup; this will demonstrate your organization.  Provide the ways you will use organizational procedures that you have viewed or used during your student teaching or during previous employment.  Often the interviewers will have a checklist of ways to be organized and they will note which processes you discuss during your interview.  How are the desks going to be arranged?  The way you decide to lay the room out demonstrates your ability to anticipate best-outcomes.   Perhaps you are going to invite your classroom parents and their children to meet you before the school year begins. During this time mention that you’ll show the kids where their desk will be, how you will show the children the important layout of the school, where the nurse’s office is and where the main office is.  How you going to meet your classroom children when they get off the bus that first day.  Often K-2 teachers send letters home with their picture and what outfit they will be wearing so that the young students will be able to easily recognize you. If you have a portfolio of your accomplishments now is the time to show it. Show your passion, enthusiasm and excellent organizational skills and the interview will be successful.

Grades 3-6, how would your 1st day look?

Mention how you will have the books organized, how you will assess the students and any accommodations you may use to ensure that each student will be able to maximize their learning.  Whether they will need to have less important topics/examples omitted, taught in a different way, or high end learners that may need to have the topics expanded further.  This will lead into how students will be assessed. It’s not uncommon to have groups of children in your classroom to be assessed different ways.  Mentioning this will show that you are a flexible teacher.  Learning will not take place in your classroom until there is a behavioral plan that works for everyone.  You may want to first mention a whole class system, such as pennies in a jar.  That may work for 98% of your class, but what about the remaining 2%? This is another example of how you will show your flexibility. For the curriculum, share a way you would teach a lesson. If you were not provided with the particular curriculum guide for the school district you are interviewing for, you can print it out from the school district’s website. Look over the curriculum guides, this may seem overwhelming at first, but schools follow the same essential topics.  Think of a general way that you would go about teaching a topic, making certain you include ways to accommodate as well as enrich all students.

How will you motivate the parents to be involved?

For grades K-3 the students love when you invite their parents in to the classroom to monitor Language Arts & Math Centers.  They also like to see you hang the children’s art work inside and outside the classroom.  Generally students in grades 4-6 do not want their parents in the classroom while they’re learning, but they can still be used to decorate the hallways or if a parent is exceptionally talented in technology you may want them to come in and demonstrate to the students how to conduct an awesome project. Even having parents come in to help their children make a green screen movie will allow the students to feel technologically superior, providing the confidence and motivation they need to be successful.

What are some of the trends, terminology, issues and methodologies you are expected to know that will show that you are a well versed educator?

Many interviewers will want to hear you use terminology in your answers.  Some will simply say educational terminology and will want you to tell them what it means as well as how you would use it in your classroom. Be confident in your answers. It is possible that the interviewers will as you to define terms that you have not learned. If this happens, do not be afraid to tell them you are unfamiliar with the term. From time to time they will provide made up terms, to test the sincerity in your answers. After the interview, research these terms, if they were made up, you will be able to determine that fairly quickly.

Additional interview questions for teachers that may be asked;

  • If I walked into your classroom during an outstanding lesson, what would I see?
  • Describe your ideal lesson.
  • How would you describe an outstanding teacher?
  • Why do you want to be a teacher?
  • Every 1st year teacher is assigned a mentor, what do you hope to learn from your mentor?
  • How would you take advantage of resources from the community to enhance your teaching and student learning?
  • How important is teacher/parent relationships?
  • How would you ensure a good teacher/parent relationship?
  • Describe your planning process for a Unit or Theme?
  • Describe your worst lesson taught and what you learned from it.
  • Tell us about a troubled student and how you were able to teach him/her.
  • Why should you be hired over the other applicants?
  • What experience have you had with team teaching? What is your opinion of it?
  • How do you plan on integrating technology into your classroom lessons?
  • If a majority of your students failed a test, assignment or project how would you respond?
  • What are you currently reading for enjoyment?
  • List several adjectives that describe you & how would we see them in your teaching?
  • How will you structure your time to manage all of the duties that go along with teaching & your personal activities?
  • What is your least favorite subject and how would you overcome these feelings to teach it well?
  • You have graduated in both Elementary & Special Education. Which would you prefer to teach & why?
  • What is outstanding about school district that encourages you to want to work here?

Remember that when answering interview questions for teachers to add any personal experience you have had with a particular topic.  If you did not have a personal experience with a specific way of teaching yet, but did observe another successful teacher engage in this way, describe what you saw and the successes/failures you perceived.

Be as specific with your answers as you are able. If you know someone teaching at the school district you are interviewing for ask him/her what he/she feels is most important for the Administrators to know about. Don’t forget to mention what your teaching would bring to this district and the community.

Remember to have quality questions that relate to teaching in this particular school district to ask at the end of the interview.

Be confident in the the answers you provide and walk out of the interview with you head held high!

If you need help preparing for an interview, keep in mind that Evolution Coaching is here with Certified Career Coaches waiting to boost you confidence and help you Ace the interview!