8 Teacher Interview Questions and How to Prepare for Them

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Learn what you can expect when interviewing to be a teacher, such as standard interview questions and questions about how you approach teaching, students, and your classroom.

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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 encounter 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.

What types of questions do you get in a teacher interview?

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:

  • Common interview questions 

  • Behavioural interview questions

  • Situational interview questions

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.

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8 teacher interview questions

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.

1. What is your educational philosophy?

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 where you were able to put your teaching philosophy into practice.

2. What do you enjoy most about teaching?

Everyone has different reasons for pursuing a teaching career, and the interviewer wants to understand yours. If possible, 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.”

If you’re applying for a subject-specific role, this question can also be a good opportunity to share your passion for it. For instance, you may love science and the sense of discovery students experience when learning it, or you may enjoy teaching students to express their creativity through drawing, painting, or sculpture.

3. How would your students describe you?

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 almost everyone raises their hand with an answer to my question, I know I’m on the right track.”

4. Why do you think you are a good fit for this school?

Preparing for a teacher interview often involves researching more about the school you’ve applied to, and getting a sense of its 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.

5. Tell me about your behaviour management strategy.

Your ability to manage your classroom, including your students’ behaviour, 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 misbehaviour

  • Establishing open communication with students and parents

6. How do you engage with parents to ensure they’re involved in the learning process?

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 be successful adults. 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 children with homework or studying

7. How do you ensure equity and inclusion in your classes?

Your interviewer wants to learn how you'll treat every one of your students equitably, so they feel safe in your classroom. Think of a specific time you’ve done this and explain the outcome.

You might start by sharing how you’ve created lesson plans to accommodate all learning styles, 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.

8. What do you feel are current issues in education?

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 equity and inclusion. Other potential issues worth discussing include:

  • Remote learning

  • Mental health

  • School funding

  • Teacher–student ratios

  • Bullying

  • Poverty

  • Social media

4 ways to prepare for a teacher interview

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.

1. Practice answering questions.

While your interviewers may not ask the exact questions above, the general themes of learning, classroom management, lesson planning, student behaviour, 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 favourite classes/teachers

  • Describe your preferred teaching methods and how students 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

2. Review the selection criteria.

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.

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

3. Research the school.

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 teaching their students and joining their community.

You can research information like the school's mission statement, how many children attend, and how the school involves families in a student's education. Here are a few ways you can find this 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.

4. Prepare your own questions.

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 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

Explore further

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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