Congratulations to you!
You have landed an interview at the new school for a teaching position. But now you feel nervous. Don’t worry, nerves are natural and it is okay to feel that your interviewers are going to grill you like lunchroom meat at the interview. However, what isn’t natural is to let your nervousness and anxiety take over you. A little preparation can easily turn your world around and you’ll be ready for your interview in no time.
Your professional references, portfolio, prior experience, and resume will help, for sure, but your face-to-face impression is what you need to nail when giving an interview for the post of an in-house teacher or private teacher. Luckily, there are only a few types of questions that you can be asked as a teacher and they are easy to anticipate. And so we did!
Here are the most commonly asked job interview questions, along with sample answers to guide you in practicing different answering strategies:
1. Why Did You Become a Teacher?
This question is the perfect opportunity to show your passion for teaching while explaining your decision to choose it as a profession.
Here’s a sample answer:
“I decided to become an educator professionally because I was deeply influenced by my college Special Education professor Mr. Watson Pratt. His students always responded well to his way of teaching and it totally revolutionized the way I used to look at teaching. He treated us like intelligent, mature adults as he taught the subject matter with unparalleled passion. He provided us with a framework to lead thought-provoking discussions and perform critical analyses of abstract existential and philosophical existential questions. He was a one-in-a-million kind of teacher and the reason why I decided to become a teacher.”
2. Why Are You Ideal for the Job?
Use this question to highlight the things that are not on your resume. Talk about your personal skills and beliefs that make you an amazing teacher.
Here is a sample answer:
“To lay it all out in front of you; my concepts and ideas are quite similar to your institute’s mission statement. Plus, I am not just committed to my job but to the overall essence of teaching as well. For me, teaching isn’t going to a classroom and imparting education to students. My focus is also on nurturing my students physically and emotionally while providing them a safe place. I believe that you will surely not regret hiring me as a teacher. Since I am aware of your school’s culture and work ethics, I will fit like a piece of a puzzle and together we will be able to make a significant difference in how students are groomed.”
3. Why Do You Plan to Change Your Current Job?
If you are asked the reason why you want to leave your present job, you have a lot of chances to paint your experience in a positive light even if your experience hasn’t been all too positive. Your answer to this question will differ a bit based on your experience and the reason why you want to leave but here is an all-rounder way to answer it:
“I am looking for a bigger challenge to advance in the field of teaching as a professional educator. Moreover, it didn’t feel right to look for a part-time job because I did not want to use my current institute’s time to work on my professional goals. And the position at your school allows me to work while developing my teaching skills. Hence, why I want to leave my current job to find an ideal work situation which your school is offering.”
4. What Is Your Teaching Philosophy?
This is one of the top interview questions that teachers get asked. It is the equivalent of the ‘tell me about yourself’ question. So, don’t just give an unstructured answer, instead invest your time in learning about the school’s philosophy, and then shaping your answer accordingly.
Here is a sample answer:
“I strongly believe in educating according to every student’s passion. For example, in one primary school class, my students were struggling with punctuation. I noticed that a student, Mary, was very interested in apostrophes. I fueled her passion by giving her a book on punctuation. Her passion for the subject was contagious, and soon all the students were asking bright questions. So, whenever I get the chance, I try to deliver structured lectures in an unstructured way like I did for punctuation.”
5. How Would You Deal With a Difficult Student?
Difficult students exist in every lecture and every classroom. Even homeschooled kids can be difficult at times which is why parents also often ask this question when hiring a private teacher. So, you need to tell your interviewers that you can handle a difficult student appropriately should you need to.
Here is a sample answer:
“For me, when I come across a difficult student, the first step would be to befriend them. I would prefer pulling them aside and discussing the issue privately so they don’t feel attacked. My biggest goal would be deciphering the root cause of their conduct. Once I figure out the reason, I would try to work with them and let them come up with a solution so they feel included and important. I have used this strategy in the past to help a student who would never stay in his seat during class. I talked to him about how his conduct was affecting his peers and asked him the reason for moving around all the time. We came to a solution that whenever he felt anxious, he would raise his hand first, and then I’d allow him to take a lap around the classroom. Besides, I also made my lessons more hands-on and interactive so that the other students could also benefit from moving around every once in a while.”
6. How Do You Build Strong Relationships With Parents?
Being a teacher isn’t just about dealing with the students. A major part of your job is dedicated to working with guardians and building meaningful relationships with them. As a teacher, you’ll have to work with parents to make sure that your students, and their kids, meet all expectations.
Try to show that you’ll take benefit of every chance you get to interact with parents and guardians in person. It is important that your potential employer knows that you’ll take the time to build an ongoing and open conversation with guardians.
So, here is a sample answer:
“I am of the opinion that it is super important to get to know the influential members in each student’s family, the people they look up to. This is why at the start of every school year, I like to invite guardians and parents to my classroom to have individual meetings with them. I also give students a survey to take home with them to get it filled out by their parents to get a better understanding of their home life, and family dynamics. Moving on, throughout the academic year, I try to touch base with parents to share positive updates about their kids and their small wins along with discussing any challenges their child might be experiencing personally or academically.”
7. Tell Us About a Time When You Had to Work With a Team to Solve a Problem.
Apart from working with students and their parents, you will also be required to interact with other teachers, aides, and staff to help your students succeed. Hence, an interviewer would like to know if you’ll be able to get along with their other employees.
So, when answering this question try to shine some extra bright light on how you got through the problem to reach an effective solution. A team event where things didn’t go as planned is the perfect opportunity for you to show that you can effectively collaborate and communicate with others even when there is a conflict going on or when times are tough.
Here is how you can give a suitable reply to this question:
“In my last role as a class coordinator, I had to work with the social workers and community helpers of our locality to complete a project focused on students’ mental and emotional nourishment. We all got a little frazzled as the deadline was nearing and because the project still needed a lot of revisions, but we put our heads together and assigned specific tasks to ourselves. Some of us, including me, decided to stay late for some days to make sure that our project got finished on time. I am sure that we wouldn’t have accomplished our task if it wasn’t for our cooperation and teamwork. I also believe that as a teacher you must coordinate with other staff members because you can’t do it on your own if you want to successfully improve your students’ behavior.”
8. Tell Us About a Time When Someone Offered You Feedback and How You Handled It.
Teachers are required to have a growth mindset which means that they must know how to receive feedback and implement it to better themselves and their teaching methods. This is one of the most critical teacher interview questions and acts as the deciding factor in your job landing.
When answering this question, think about a time in your career when you received some harsh feedback from someone which you felt was quite tough to digest. But ultimately you used it to your benefit to make yourself better at your job as a teacher. Talk to your interviewers about when you received it and how you received it, as well as how it affected you and helped you make a good change.
Here is a good way of answering this question:
“My last manager called me to his office one day to give me some feedback on how I could use some better teaching methods to connect with students on a more personal level. Obviously, it was quite hard for me to hear that I was not able to connect with my students as best as I could. However, I also realized that improving myself and acting on my boss’s feedback would not only benefit me but it will improve my whole dynamic with my students. So, I went home that day with a new spirit of dedication and signed up for several teaching courses, and started implementing new and better teaching methods during my lessons. I now feel very confident in my teaching skills and I am much better at preparing and presenting lectures. I saw improvements in the way I was able to connect with my students and I saw that they also appreciated the change. I am still, to this day, grateful to my manager for helping me improve myself with his feedback.”
8. Do You Have Any Questions That You Might Want to Ask Us?
When you hear this question, it means that your interview has come to an end. However, don’t bolt out of your seat and leave the interview. Instead, use this question as a last chance at leaving a memorable good impression on your potential employers.
Take a notepad and jot down some questions before your interview and remember them. If you cannot figure out what to ask, try looking up the school’s website and check their strategic plan, recent accomplishments, and their goals. Refer to these things during your interview. Interviews appreciate it when they know that you have done your research before coming to the interview. It also shows them that you have an inquisitive side to you.
So, don’t just ask them when you can expect to hear back from them. This question is better suited if you ask it after you have asked other questions. Plus, you can also use this question to conclude the interview but don’t start with it. There are so many better questions to get the ball rolling.
Some of the questions you can your interviewers are:
- What is your most favorite part about working for this school?
- What is your least favorite part about working for this institute?
- What is something you wish you knew about your role at this school before you started working here?
- What drew you to work at this school?
- Can you walk me through a typical day as a teacher at your school?
- What is something that you are the most excited to accomplish as an admin at the moment?
From your teaching philosophy to why do you plan to change your current job best answer, these questions are the essence of every teaching interview. If you prepare these questions beforehand, you can make job interviews exciting for you instead of something you dread. Moreover, interviews are not just new opportunities, but also a ground to make new colleagues, and accept new challenges that will groom you as a professional. No pressure, right? Just prepare these sample interview questions and answers and you’ll be good to go!