I once had to answer 30 teacher interview questions in 20 minutes.
I was so nervous because in the front office they gave me a piece of paper with 30 interview questions to practice before my interview.
“Great” I thought, “this district understands how nerve wracking interviews can be and decided to give me the questions ahead of time.”
But boy was I wrong! Come to find out one of the reasons they gave me the questions ahead of time was because I had to answer 30 interview questions in 20 minutes or less.
So I sat there in that room for 20 minutes practicing these questions, and I was so nervous that I had to be careful how hard I held the paper with the questions so that the sweat from my hands wouldn’t get on the paper.
True story! But the good news is (spoiler alert) that interview went SO WELL that I got the job! In fact, I am currently teaching in that same district.
P.S. Before you get lost in this post, I wanted to let you know that this is Part 4 of a 4 Part Interview Series. Here are the links to Parts 1-3.
- Part 2: Ace Your Next Teacher Interview: How to Prepare for Your Teacher Interview Like a Pro
- Part 3: The Ultimate Guide to What to Bring to a Teacher Interview
Also don’t forget to download the Ultimate Teacher Interview Guide that goes with the series!
Now whether you have to answer 30 interview questions in 20 minutes or not, answering teacher interview questions can be very intimidating.
In fact you might be feeling like:
- You want to make a good impression and stand out from the other candidates but you secretly hate talking about yourself.
- You are absolutely terrified you are going to say something wrong OR WORSE freeze up completely.
- You are struggling to find the time to prepare for your interview.
If you can relate to any of these first off, don’t worry, I felt the exact same way when I last interviewed. But also there’s a secret method I use to answer interview questions that make me feel confident and I want to share that with you.
And that is the following steps:
- Restate (Restate the question to give you some think time)
- Experience (Relate the question to an experience you had to build credibility)
- Mission and values (Relate your answer to the mission and values of the schools)
- It Factor (Answer the question using your “it Factor or what makes you stand out)
To demonstrate how to answer teacher interview questions using this method I compiled a list of the top 10 teacher interview questions and how to answer them to help you feel confident and prepared.
So grab that cup of coffee (chai for me please!) and let’s get started!
Listen to the Podcast:
What inspired you to become a teacher?
This is a common question in teacher interviews and it’s important to have a thoughtful and genuine answer prepared. You might talk about a teacher who inspired you when you were younger, a personal experience that sparked your interest in education, or a desire to make a positive impact on young people’s lives. Whatever your answer, be sure to convey WHY your passionate about teaching and your commitment to helping students succeed.
My example would be something like:
“One of the reasons I am excited to be a teacher relates a lot to this story of when my brother was 5 years old. He had just entered kindergarten and was learning to tie his shoes. Well being the big sister I am, I sat there and helped him learn to tie his shoes. It was in that moment that my little brother tied his shoe for the first time and I saw that “light” in his eyes. That moment of pride is what I fell in love with. I am dedicated to making sure all students (myself included) become passionate about learning and being life-long learners. I love showing students the love of learning.”
How do you differentiate instruction to meet the needs of all students?
Another common teacher interview question I have seen a lot. Differentiating instruction is a crucial aspect of being an effective teacher. In order to meet the needs of all students, it’s important to understand their individual strengths, weaknesses, and learning styles.
One way to differentiate instruction is to use a variety of teaching strategies and materials, such as visual aids, hands-on activities, and technology. It’s also important to provide opportunities for students to work in small groups or one-on-one with the teacher. By tailoring instruction to meet the needs of each student, you can help them reach their full potential and achieve academic success.
My example would include a story about how my brother and I had different learning styles and that growing up I learned the importance of incorporating that in everything you do. There for I have a particular passion for incorporating different learning styles and student choice during lessons.
How do you handle classroom management and discipline?
Another common teacher interview question you might get is something around classroom management. Classroom management and discipline are important aspects of being a teacher. It’s important to have a clear set of rules and expectations for behavior in the classroom, and to consistently enforce those rules.
As an example, when a student misbehaves, it’s important to address the behavior calmly and respectfully, and to work with the student to find a solution. It’s also important to communicate with parents and other teachers to ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to classroom management and discipline. Use this question to highlight your classroom management plan.
For instance, I would talk about how my first year of teaching I learned that consistency in a classroom management is key. Therefore here are the different stages of my plan (Insert plan here).
Having your classroom management plan thought out ahead of time will help you be consistent if they decide to give you another question about it.
How do you incorporate technology into your lessons?
To be honest, this has become a more popular teacher interview question as of late. Incorporating technology into lessons is becoming increasingly important in today’s classrooms. As a teacher, it’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest technology and find ways to integrate it into your lessons.
For instance, this could include using educational apps, online resources, or interactive whiteboards. It’s also important to ensure that all students have access to the technology and that it’s being used in a way that enhances their learning experience.
For instance, I would talk about a certain class I took in college where I learned some of my favorite resources for technology and have incorporated them since. I might even emphasize some of the success my students have had with these resources.
How do you assess student learning and adjust instruction accordingly?
Utilizing assessments to drive instruction is another common teacher interview question you might get. As a teacher, it’s important to regularly assess student learning to ensure that they are understanding the material and making progress. This can be done through a variety of methods, such as quizzes, tests, projects, and class discussions.
Once you have assessed student learning, it’s important to adjust your instruction accordingly. This could mean re-teaching certain concepts, providing additional resources or support, or modifying your teaching approach to better meet the needs of your students.
In response to this question, I would speak about a specific lesson where I used a pre assessment, 3 formative assessments, and a summative or formal assessment at the end to drive instruction. I would then expand on how I refer back to those assessments to gauge if I need to adjust or reteach a part of my lesson before moving on.
Can you tell us about your teaching experience?
This is a common question in teacher interviews, and it’s important to be prepared with a clear and concise answer. Start by highlighting your relevant teaching experience, including the grade levels and subjects you have taught.
Also, be sure to mention any special certifications or training you have received, as well as any notable achievements or successes in your teaching career. Emphasize your passion for teaching and your commitment to helping students succeed.
Similarly to my answer to the first question, I would talk about a story of when my students thrived and then what grade levels I have taught and how I have been consistently passionate about instilling lifelong learners for future generations.
How do you effectively communicate with families?
One of this administration really wants to see is your ability to work as a team with your families. That’s why how you effectively communicate with families is another common teacher interview question.
As you answer this question, talk about instances where you have worked alongside families. Also don’t forget to reiterate why you are passionate about working with families in the academic setting.
One way to answer this would be to restate the question, and then I would talk about how I started communicating with my families on ClassDojo during the pandemic. I would expand on how I was passionate that all my students and FAMILIES felt seen, heard, understood, valued and supported no matter what was going on.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
This question is often asked in teacher interviews to gauge a candidate’s long-term goals and aspirations. As a teacher, it’s important to have a clear vision for your professional development and growth.
For instance, you might discuss your desire to take on leadership roles within the school or district, pursue advanced degrees or certifications, or explore new teaching methods and technologies. It’s also important to emphasize your commitment to ongoing learning and improvement, and your dedication to supporting student success in the years to come.
When I got asked this question, I personally wanted to convey my dedication to the District and spoke of finding a District that I felt aligned with so that I would be proud to have my future children attend the district. This is a great way to emphasize your commitment to a district you align with and that you are serious in finding that alignment.
If you have a student who is not following directions in class, what do you do?
This teacher interview question is designed to assess your classroom management skills and your ability to handle difficult situations with students. Your answer should demonstrate your understanding of the importance of clear expectations and consistent consequences, as well as your ability to communicate effectively with students and their families.
Much like the previous classroom management question, you might discuss strategies such as positive reinforcement, redirection, and individualized behavior plans, as well as the importance of building positive relationships with all students in your classroom. It’s also important to emphasize your commitment to creating a safe and supportive learning environment for all students.
In this particular case I would walk them through my classroom management plan and even speak of a scenario where I had experienced this with a student and how I solved it. Always lean into the questions you already answered for support.
Can you give an example of a successful lesson you’ve taught?
This teacher interview question is designed to assess your teaching skills and your ability to plan and deliver effective lessons. Your answer should demonstrate your understanding of the importance of clear learning objectives, engaging instructional strategies, and effective assessment practices.
For example, you might discuss a lesson that you designed and implemented, highlighting the specific learning objectives, instructional strategies, and assessment methods that you used. It’s also important to emphasize the positive outcomes of the lesson, such as increased student engagement, improved student understanding, or higher student achievement.
In this scenario I would refer back to a lesson plan I brought and expand how the experience was for myself and my students. I would highlight how I utilized assessments to drive instruction and differentiation to ensure mastery of the skill.
To Wrap it All Up
Overall there are several ways you can answer teacher interview questions but I personally recommend answering with the following:
- Mission and values
- It Factor
And if you want more help preparing for your next interview, checkout the Teacher Interview Workshop!
Inside this workshop you’ll walk away with:
- The confidence to stand out from other candidates with your “it factor”
- All of your Interview Assets set up and ready to go
- Systems in place to flawlessly execute your interview like a pro
- Leverage your takeaways to perfect your interview process
PLUS it’s $10 off through email and Podcast only! So make sure to grab your spot now so you can confidently prepare for your upcoming interview with everything set up and ready to go!
Can’t wait to see you inside!