Interviewing for teaching positions can be challenging. I would know – I have had to do it WAY too many times. Because my husband’s career has caused us to move every couple years, I have interviewed (successfully!) multiple times in Illinois, Virginia, and Kentucky. This has allowed me to figure out many of the common teacher interview questions (and come up with Top Teacher Interview Tips that you can read about here). In an attempt to make YOUR life easier as you prepare for teaching interviews, I have put together a list of the 20 most commonly asked teacher interview questions with some suggestions about how to answer them well. You can also download a printable copy of these questions with space to plan your answers here. I hope you can use this list of teacher interview questions as you prepare for your teaching interviews!
Common Teacher Interview Questions
1. Tell me about yourself and your experience.
This is almost always the first question interviewers will ask. Be prepared to give a brief personal and professional history. I like to begin with college and how I decided to study education, then run through my work experience and how it has prepared me for the teaching position I want.
2. How will you manage behavior in the classroom?
Because good classroom management is SO important to teaching, this question (or some variation of it) ALWAYS comes up during a teaching interview. Make sure you have a clear idea about how you will manage behavior, as well as some pertinent examples of how you have done so in your past classroom experiences.
3. What’s your teaching philosophy?
This question does not always come up, but it’s good to have an answer prepared, just in case. You should have a sentence or two prepared that describes what your teaching philosophy is. Personally, I would probably say something silly if I was asked this question and did not think about what to say beforehand!
4. Describe what your reading block looks like.
By asking this question, interviewers want to find out if you know that reading should have some whole group time and some small group time (usually guided reading). All of the schools at which I have taught told teachers what their reading block would look like, so most of the time administrators are just trying to see if you are up-to-date on good reading education practices.
5. Describe what your math block looks like.
Similarly to the previous question, interviewers ask this question to see if you know that math instruction should be comprised of some whole group time and some small group time. Just as with reading, your administrators will probably tell you what your math block should look like, but this is a time to show your knowledge of best instructional practices for math.
6. Why do you want to teach at OUR school?
Before interviewing at any school, you should do some research to find out more about that school. Whether the interviewer asks this question or not, you should find some way to say why you want to teach at THAT PARTICULAR SCHOOL, as opposed to other ones. This shows that you are interested in that school, not just finding any teaching job (even if that really is the case!).
7. How will you communicate and connect with families?
Since this is also such an important part of teaching, most interviewers will ask some question about your relationship with families. Make sure you have specific ideas about how to communicate with families, such as making positive phone calls or sending home a weekly newsletter.
8. What are the most important routines and procedures for students to know?
Routines and procedures are KEY to having a classroom that runs smoothly and facilitates learning effectively. There are so many ways you could answer this question, so just make sure you have a few routines or procedures that you could talk about in detail. Some ideas are arrival/dismissal, what to do if students finish their work early, small group rotations, or how to get the teacher’s attention.
9. How will you build and maintain relationships with your students?
Building positive relationships with students is a crucial part of being a good teacher. In order to answer this question well, come up with a few concrete ways you plan to (and maybe have already in other classrooms!) establish good relationships with your students. Some examples are greeting your students at the door every day, getting to know your students interests, having lunch bunch, or regularly giving compliments to your students.
10. How would you handle a disagreement with a parent?
Disagreements with parents happen. It’s simply part of being a teacher. How you handle them, however, is so important. When answering this question, be sure to mention staying calm and focusing on what is best for the child.
11. Some sort of personal question (favorite tv show, favorite book, hobbies, etc.)
In every interview I’ve been to, the interviewers have asked some sort of personal question. Sometimes they ask about your favorite tv show or movie or book or food. Sometimes they ask what you do for fun outside of work. Sometimes they ask what you would do on a perfect day. They just want to get to know you as a person. Many times, school staff is like a family and they are looking for someone who will fit in. Just answer this question honestly – this is one that you can’t get wrong! Yay!
12. What’s the most recent book you read?
So, this question is kind of a double-edged sword. You could answer with a professional book you have read. Or you could answer with a for-fun book. If you really can’t decide, then you could say both (maybe you read them at the same time!). Either way, this is another question to help the interviewer get to know you better. Another question you can’t get wrong – awesome!
13. What are three adjectives that best describe you?
One more get-to-know-you question. Again, just answer this question honestly.
14. Questions about the specific population the school serves.
As I mentioned earlier, before you interview, you should do some research about the school. You should know, therefore, the general demographics of the student population. Many times, interviewers will ask about your experience with their specific demographic or about how you will respond to the specific needs of their population. To best answer these questions, think of a few concrete ways you can better serve the students at that school.
15. How do you use assessment in the classroom?
Assessment is a HUGE part of teaching, now more than ever. At any interview, you will be asked about assessments because all teachers are expected to give them. In your answer, be sure to talk about pre-assessment, formative assessment, and summative assessment. Also, remember to use specific examples in your answer, not just broad generalizations.
16. How do you use data to inform your teaching?
This question goes along with the previous one. Just as all teachers are expected to give assessments, all teachers are expected to use those assessments to collect data and adjust their instruction accordingly. Be prepared toexplain how the data you collect will help you decide when to provide reteaching or enrichment, and which students need what.
17. What do you do if a lesson is not successful?
Reflecting on your teaching is a valuable trait in teachers. At most interviews, someone will ask you a question about how you reflect on your lessons and how to improve them. In order to answer successfully, make sure you say something about how you think about how your lesson went and how your class responded in order to improve your next lesson (and reteach that lesson, if necessary).
18. What are the key components of a good lesson?
At almost every interview I have attended, someone has asked this question (or a similar one). Interviewers ask this question to determine what you know about lesson structure and the “non-negotiables” of a lesson. I would recommend mentioning a learning target, the standards taught, assessment (beginning, during, and after), I do/We do/You do (gradual release model), materials, and student activities. You may also have other components you find important – talk about those, too!
19. How will you meet the needs of ALL your students?
This question gets at differentiation – so important!! To answer well, you need to talk about concrete ways that you will differentiate your instruction to meet the needs of each child in your class. For example, you could talk about small group instruction, reteaching, enrichment opportunities, leveled activities, or stations/rotations/centers. As long as you give examples of how you will differentiate your instruction, you will be fine.
20. Why did you become a teacher? OR What inspired you to go into teaching?
Oftentimes, interviewers want to know what you are like as a teacher and a person. This question lets you tell a bit of a story and help the interviewers get to know you. Just be yourself!
So, that is my list of 20 common teacher interview questions. I hope you have found this post helpful and that you can use these teacher interview questions to prepare for your interviews. Be sure to read my post Top Teacher Interview Tips to get more information about what to expect from your teaching interviews and use this printable freebie to help plan your answers to these teacher interview questions. Also, if you have any further questions, feel free to leave a comment below or click here to send me an email.