When you're interviewing to be a teacher, you can expect standard interview questions alongside questions about how you approach teaching, students, and your classroom.
Whether you're a recent graduate applying to your first teaching position or an established teacher looking for a new role, it helps to be aware of the types of questions you may get in a job interview.
During a teacher interview, school leaders will want to find out more about your teaching style, lesson planning, and classroom management, among other things. In this article, we’ll go over the general themes that arise during a teacher interview and review eight specific questions you can use to practice.
In a teacher interview, you can expect a mix of questions designed to understand more about who you are, how you approach your work, and how you’d handle hypothetical situations. These include:
These standard interview questions will likely be geared toward teaching. For example, a corporate interview might include a question like, “How do you stay organized?” But in a teacher interview, the question could shift to something like, “How do you organize your lesson plans each week?” or “How do you stay organized when it comes to grading?”
You can also expect questions about the position and school, and how you approach teaching, students, and your classroom.
Let’s go over eight different questions specifically about teaching. We’ll discuss what your interviewers want to know and how you can form the best answer to showcase your experience and knowledge.
You likely submitted your educational or teaching philosophy as part of your application, and now you’re being asked to go into more detail about it. An educational philosophy is the way in which you approach teaching and what you hope to achieve (aka your teaching objectives). It should be unique to you and your goals in the classroom.
The interviewer is looking to confirm that you have a teaching philosophy and better understand how you’d fit their school culture. Pick a talking point or two from your philosophy and expand upon it. You might discuss the ideal learning environment, how you foster diversity in the classroom, how you believe students learn best, or even why you believe education is important. If possible, share a moment when you were able to put your teaching philosophy into practice.
Everyone has different reasons for pursuing a teaching career, and the interviewer wants to understand yours. If possible, try to connect one of your reasons to the school or role you’re applying to. For example, “I’m really excited about how you approach language arts here. It aligns with the innovative way I like to approach my time in the classroom.”
Also, if you’re applying for a subject-specific role, this question can be a good opportunity to share your passion for it. For instance, you may love science and the sense of discovery that students get to experience when learning it, or you may enjoy teaching students to express their creativity through drawing, painting, or sculpture.
With the two questions above, the interviewer wants to learn about your approach to teaching, but now they want to know how your style comes across to your students. This question is a chance to share an anecdote or two about a time when you really connected with a student or had a valuable impact.
For example, "I try to make lessons exciting by integrating more tactile activities into the classroom, and my students have really responded. When most everyone raises their hand with an answer to my question, I know I’m on the right track.”
Preparing for a teaching interview often involves researching more about the school where you’ve applied, and getting a sense of their mission, students, and curriculum. You’ll want to show that you’ve taken the time to understand the school and its needs so you can highlight how well you’d fit.
Now might be a good opportunity to discuss:
The sense of community and culture within the school
The extracurricular activities available to the students
The school's diverse student population
When developing your answer, think about how your interests, qualifications, and teaching experience can benefit the school, but also how you hope to grow as a result of your time there.
Your ability to manage your classroom, including your students’ behavior, is essential to creating an environment where they can learn. The school leaders you meet with may want to know how you plan to make this happen or have made it happen in the past.
Discuss the strategies you’ve used to keep students engaged and on task. These can include:
Introducing lessons that include various activities
Emphasizing respect in the classroom
Allowing students to contribute to the rules they're expected to follow
Being consistent with consequences for misbehavior
Establishing open communication with students and parents
You may spend most of your day with students, but building relationships with parents is equally important—and the interviewer wants to see how you’ve done this in the past.
When parents are involved, students are more likely to have academic success, better behavior, and higher attendance and social interaction . Here are a few talking points to consider as you discuss the way you’ve worked with parents in the past:
Inviting parents to volunteer in the classroom or on field trips
Informing parents about school-related activities through emails or texts
Creating a monthly newsletter with information like lesson themes and upcoming events
Providing parents with resource materials to help their kids with homework or studying
Your interviewer wants to learn how you'll treat every one of your students equally so they feel safe in your classroom. Think of a specific time when you’ve done this and explain the outcome.
You might start by sharing how you’ve created lesson plans to accommodate all styles of learning or you could mention that you’ve chosen books and films that feature people of different ethnicities, genders, abilities, and socioeconomic statuses. Finally, you might describe how you’ve introduced activities that foster collaboration and cooperation among students.
The field of education has evolved considerably over the last century as teachers, parents, and community members identify modern problems and look for solutions. The interviewer likely wants to know how you stay up-to-date on new issues or developments, showing a proactive engagement with the field of education.
One of the top issues is equality and inclusion. Other potential issues worth discussing include:
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You won’t know exactly what your interviewers will ask, but there are ways to prepare for your interview. Let’s go over four of them.
While your interviewers may not ask the exact questions above, the general themes of learning, classroom management, lesson planning, student behavior, and more will likely arise during your interview.
Take time to practice answering the questions we’ve outlined throughout this article, and review the prompts below for additional talking points.
Give further details about your education and your favorite classes/teachers
Describe your preferred teaching methods and how kids benefit from them
Explain ways in which you'll encourage interactive learning in the classroom
Expand on your feelings about in-class assignments and homework
Talk about how you would integrate technology into your classroom
Explain how you plan to stay on top of current teaching information and practices
Review the job description, which should contain the selection criteria—or the qualifications, knowledge, and experience the school hopes to find in top candidates—and be prepared to answer related questions that demonstrate how you meet each one.
Some examples include:
Skills and/or teaching experience
Ability to create a positive learning environment for children with diverse needs
Experience working with students, parents, teachers, and school administrators
It's important to research the school where you’re interviewing to know if it's a good fit for you. Doing your research also shows the interviewer that you've already taken an interest in the students and community.
Information to research might include the school's mission statement, how many children attend the school, and how the school involves families in a student's education. Here are a few ways you can get information:
Check out the school's website.
Look for recent news stories about the school.
Reach out to any teachers you personally know who work at the school.
Reach out to any parents you might know with children at the school.
At the end of the interview, you may be asked if you have any of your own questions. You should come prepared to ask at least two or three questions to convey your interest in the role and learn about topics that the interviewer may not have covered.
These can include:
Information about the school's culture
Ways the school fosters professional development
Extracurricular activities the school offers
School achievements the interviewer is proud of
Noteworthy spaces like computer labs or libraries
Learn more about what you can ask at the end of an interview with:
If you've got a teacher interview coming up, check out the University of Maryland’s Advanced Interviewing Techniques for tips on how to structure your responses, ace a telephone interview, or end your interview with impact.
If you're looking for tips on becoming a better teacher, you can also find courses like How to Be a Together Teacher and Practical Teaching with Technology from leading learning institutions on Coursera.
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1. Policy Institute for Family Impact Seminars. “Family Involvement in Education: How Important Is It?, https://www.purdue.edu/hhs/hdfs/fii/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/fia_brchapter_20c02.pdf." Accessed August 9, 2022.
This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.