By Teachers, For Teachers
You can do this, you are ready, or so you think. You have your teaching resume completed and up-to-date, your teaching portfolio is up to perfection, and you have bought the best interview suit that money can buy. But are you are ready for the most important interview of your career? There are literally hundreds of questions that can be asked during the teacher interview, and it is up to you to try and prepare yourself to answer whatever may come your way. While this may seem quite intimidating, you must also prepare yourself to be in front of a panel of individuals for the teacher interview for about 30-45 minutes. So, it is essential that you know your stuff. Here are a few of the most selected teacher interview questions as well as a few tips on how to answer them. Remember to use your own words and not to answer like you are reading from a script. The questions and answers below are for you to use as a guideline and to inspire you to come up with your own, unique answers.
Question: Why do you want to work for our school district?
Answer: To answer this question you need to have your done your homework on that particular school district. You can say something like this:
“I have been a part of this school district since I was in kindergarten, and I am invested in this community. In addition to that, I love how this school district has incorporated alternative seating like stability balls and standup desks into its classrooms. I also like how the district has gone above and beyond to make sure the classroom sizes are small enough that all students are attended to.”
The interviewer is looking to see if you can show them specific evidence to why you want to work in their district, and that you didn’t just send out a dozen resumes to any school district that was hiring. It is imperative that you do your research about the schools within the district. Look for what their main policies are, and what they are known for. Know their demographics and what kind of extracurricular activities that they have. Having all of this information in your back pocket will bring you to the head of the line.
Question: What would you say is your biggest weakness?
Answer: This is tough question because a lot of interviewees want to answer the question by saying, “I don’t have any.” However, this is not the answer they are looking for. Your response should include something that you had a difficult time with in the past, but have overcome already. For example, you can say something like, “My biggest weakness is trying to fit in too many classroom activities into the day and not focusing on just a few important ones.” You can go on to say “I realize that I need to prioritize which activities are more important so they will enhance my students’ learning.”
The key to answering this question is how you turn a negative into a positive. You are so excited to try all of these great activities that you have planned, but need to learn how to prioritize so that you choose only a few of the most important lessons for your students.
Question: How would you incorporate technology in the classroom?
Answer: For this question the interviewer is trying to see how familiar you are with technology, and they want to know what specific pieces of technology you will use in your classroom. You will need to do your research on what technology is available in that particular school district, as well as learn how it works and how you implement it into your lessons. It is also a good idea to go above and beyond the average technology that they have, and talk about any new educational tech tools that you are hoping the school district will get. You can even discuss how you will try to get this new technology for the school. Here is an example of how you can answer this question:
“I would incorporate several pieces of technology into my classroom, the first being a Smartboard. I would utilize this with the app Class Dojo as well as the app Go Noodle. The second piece of technology I will use in my classroom is a tablet or an iPad. I will use several different apps to help enhance my students’ learning throughout the day. Lastly, I would like a class set of tablets and if it is not feasible for the school district, then I will try and receive them by going to Donorschoose.org.”
Question: What is your classroom discipline strategy?
Answer: The interviewer wants to know that you already have a plan in place, and they also want to know what kind of teacher you are, and that you will not be a pushover to the students. Every individual will have a different answer to this question, because every prospective teacher has their own beliefs and values when it comes to classroom management.
You will need to come up with your own specific plan of action, as well as have examples to back it up. This is where your teaching portfolio can come in handy. You may have used this discipline plan before, and may have some tangible pictures or notes about it in your portfolio. You may also have it in your educational philosophy. You may respond to this question by saying:
“My discipline plan is simple. When I was student teaching in a 1st grade urban setting, I found the “Light system” to be very effective. Each day upon entering the classroom, every student starts on the green light. As they continue throughout the day, their color may change depending upon their behavior. It may change to yellow (which is a warning) or red (which is a note and/or phone call home). At the end of the week, the students who have stayed on green get to participate in “Fun Friday,” as well as the students who only got on yellow once or twice that week. The students who didn’t comply do not get to participate. The great thing about this discipline plan is that each day is a brand new day and all students get to have a fresh start on the color green.”
It is important to be open and honest with all of your answers. Do not say something that you think they want to hear. Organize your thoughts in advance and you will achieve a successful interview. And remember, when they ask you if you have any questions for them, always be prepared to have at least one or two questions. This will show them that you are interested in the job. Good luck!
Do you have any additional questions that you feel are essential to now for teaching interview? Please feel free to list them in the comment section below.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.