8 Teacher Interview Questions to Help You Prepare

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

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.

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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 review the general themes during a teacher interview and review eight specific questions you can use to practice.  

What types of questions are you asked in a teacher interview?

In a teacher interview, you can expect a mix of questions designed to understand who you are, how you approach your work, and how you handle hypothetical situations. These include: 

  • Common interview questions 

  • Behavioural interview questions 

  • Situational interview questions

These standard interview questions will likely be geared towards teaching. For example, a corporate interview might include questions like, "How do you stay organised?" But in a teacher interview, the question could shift to something like, "How do you organise your lesson plans each week?" or "How do you stay organised when it comes to grading?"

You can also expect questions about the position, school, and how you approach teaching, students, and your classroom. 

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 how 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 wants 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 education is important. If possible, share a moment when 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. 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 an excellent 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 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 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 teaching interview often involves researching more about the school where you’ve applied 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 you get your answer, please consider how your interests, qualifications, and teaching experience can benefit the school, and how you hope to grow during 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

  • Emphasising 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 have academic success, better behaviour, and higher attendance and social interaction [1]. 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

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

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 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 student collaboration and cooperation. 

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 would like 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: 

  • 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 precisely 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. 

Practice answering the questions 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 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 demonstrating 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 essential to research the school where you’re interviewing to know if it's a good fit for you. 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 know who work at the school.

  • Reach out to any parents you know with children at the school.

4. Prepare your questions.

At the end of the interview, you may be asked if you have any questions. It would be best if you came prepared to ask at least two or three questions to convey your interest in the role and learn about topics the interviewer may have yet to cover. 

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, check out the University of Maryland’s Advanced Interviewing Techniques for tips on structuring your responses, ace a telephone interview, or end your interview with impact. 

Suppose you're looking for tips on becoming a better teacher. In that case, you can also find courses like How to Be a Together Teacher and Practical Teaching with Technology from leading learning institutions on Coursera. 

Article sources

  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 April 2, 2024. 

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