Interviewing for a teaching position allows you to demonstrate your ability to lead a classroom and your dedication to student success. Before the interview, you can prepare quality answers to the most common questions school administrators are likely to ask. Reviewing potential questions in advance can help you organise your thoughts and give the best answers. In this article, we outline some important teacher interview questions and how to answer them.
How do I prepare for a teacher interview?
Before you appear for an interview for a teaching position, carefully review the website of the school and ensure that you fit into their working culture. Consider whether your ideals and philosophies match with that of the institution and prepare a good cover letter that expresses your intent in joining the institution. Build a well-formatted CV that lists your relevant educational qualifications and your past work experience.
Prior to the interview, try and talk to people who are affiliated with the school in some way. This includes parents, teachers and other staff. They may be able to provide you with reliable information about the functioning of the school. Prepare thoughtful questions about the job to ask the employer, so that they know you are serious in your intent to take up the job.
Related: How to Prepare for a Job Interview
What are the 10 most common teacher interview questions?
Here are 10 common questions (and answers) that you may face while interviewing for a teaching position:
Why do you want to teach these particular subjects at this particular level?
In your job application, you may have specified what subjects you would like to teach and the age group of students you want to teach. You should ideally have a justification for this, to illustrate your expertise in teaching a particular subject or a particular age group.
Example: “I want to teach English to secondary school kids because I see it as an opportunity to introduce them to good literature, cinema and music. Secondary school kids are at the right age to start picking up interests and honing their talents. They may need a little push to explore their interests and aspirations.”
What is your educational background?
This is where you can go into the details of your formal academic record. List out the courses you have completed at universities, the duration of your academic engagements, the subjects you have studied and any honours you received during your education.
Example: “I completed a B.Sc and B.Ed integrated course from Imperial College, Chennai in 2016. I studied a range of science stream subjects there, with a focus on chemistry, in which I graduated with distinction.”
Why do you think you are a good fit for this institution?
Your answer to this question should reflect the amount of research that you have done on the school and its functioning. Researching about student bodies, activity clubs and other aspects of the school shows that you are serious about taking up the opportunity.
Example: “I noticed that the school does not have junior level teams for any sport. As a physical education teacher, I believe it is important to get students into physical activities early on for their holistic development. I have previous experience in coaching primary and secondary school students for a variety of sports.”
How do you incorporate your strengths into your teaching profession?
Clearly state and define what exact qualities you bring to the table in your teaching profession. The strengths you list out may be in relation to your expertise in a particular subject, your work experience or any personal qualities you may possess.
Example: “I have always felt that my prior experience in drama has allowed me to retain the attention of students, especially while working with lower grades and kindergarteners. I often use small theatrics to make them comfortable in my presence and use voice modulation to hold on to their attention without boring them.”
What is the role of discipline in teaching, and how do you approach it?
Discipline is important for smooth functioning within a classroom, and it often depends on your teaching style and the age of your students. Describe your approach to discipline and explain in detail how you go about maintaining discipline within a classroom.
Example: “I prefer to explain what is expected of my students, so they clearly know what success looks like. Without discipline, students may not realise the consequences of their actions. I have personally found that a merit system is the best method for appreciating good behaviour.”
How do you work with the parents of your students?
Employers may ask you this question to understand how you would build professional relationships with the parents of students. A good answer will emphasise a parent's role in their child's education and will explain how you will involve parents in a child's development.
Example: “Parents play a huge role in the personal development of a child. I believe in working with parents to ensure that they take certain responsibilities towards their child's success. My contact information is available to the parents of all my students. They can contact me to ask any questions they have about their child's performance.”
How well can you incorporate the central or state board syllabus that the school follows?
Schools follow different curriculums and syllabi according to guidelines by central or state education boards. This question lets you demonstrate your knowledge or experience in a specific course structure or syllabus that the school follows.
Example: "I have previous experience teaching higher secondary students in a CBSE school and helping them prepare for their board exams. On average, around 30 percent of my students score an A grade in my subject."
How will you use technology in the classroom?
Your answer should illustrate your ability to work with technology and how you plan to incorporate it into your teaching. You must be aware of the fact that technology can also be a distraction, and suggest strategies to minimise distractions.
Example: “I think that technology accelerates a student's learning capacity and speed. But technology has the potential to distract, so setting guidelines for using technology is vital. I often give my students assignments that require consistent use of technology to achieve goals.”
What is your teaching style?
Clearly define what it is you do in a classroom. Break up your teaching activities into components and explain why the importance of each component and how you personally handle them.
Example: “I start preparing my notes a week prior to starting a classroom lesson. During this week, I populate the classroom with interesting visual material and infographics related to the subject matter. This way, my students can familiarise themselves with and develop queries about the subject before the classroom sessions start.”
Do you have any questions for us?
This is a fairly common question asked by interviewers in all domains. Feel free to prepare questions in advance to ask your employer. Make sure that your queries are genuine and lead to some meaningful discussion or clarity.
Example: "How would you define success in this particular job role?"
What other questions are asked in a teacher interview?
Apart from the commonly asked questions above, you should also be prepared to answer a variety of questions regarding the nature and challenges of the teaching position you are applying for. Here are 3 such categories of teacher interview questions:
General teacher interview questions
Interviewers may ask you these questions to gauge your personality and verify your interest in the position:
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
- Describe yourself in 5 words.
- How do you plan to improve on your weaknesses?
- What interests and hobbies do you have?
- Can you coach your students for extracurricular activities?
- What subjects are you most comfortable teaching?
- What subjects are you least comfortable teaching?
Questions about your experience and background
Interviewers will want to know whether you are a good fit for the institution and its ideals. These are some of the questions they may ask:
- What is your favourite thing about teaching?
- What is your least favourite thing about teaching?
- What challenges does our education system face today?
- What is the best way to organise a classroom?
- What challenges do students face today?
- What challenges do teachers face today?
- How do you facilitate active learning in your classroom?
In-depth interview questions
These are some questions interviewers may ask, to learn more about your goals, teaching style and problem-solving abilities:
- What is your opinion on a particular technology or teaching strategy?
- How can a teacher approach different learning speeds?
- How can a teacher foster creativity in the classroom?
- How can a teacher help a weak student?
- How can a teacher support a student with exceptional learning abilities?
- How can you inspire your students?
- How do you plan to work with troublesome students?