Interviewing for any job is a difficult prospect. There are plenty of ways to sink an interview before it even really starts, be it, dress, attitude, hygiene, punctuality—all of these things can affect the interview process greatly, and we haven’t even gotten to how to answer the questions you’re actually asked. And, when it comes to jobs in the education world, where prospective employees are trusted with the livelihoods of children, teenagers, and adults the standards and scrutiny in the interview process reach even higher than they would for many other positions and career fields.
So, with that in mind, it is imperative that any prospective teacher is more than prepared for a huge array of questions during the interview process to give themselves the best-possible chance of landing that job, regardless of what level of education it is for. Here are some examples of important, non-standard teaching interview questions that you may have to answer during your teaching interview process, some explanations as to why it’s important to have a good answer ready to go, and what those answers might look like.
What is your teaching philosophy?
Don’t answer with a cliché, generic response—this question is really asking you to answer, “Why are you a teacher?” Discussing your teaching philosophy is a chance to show off why you’re passionate and what you’re passionate about, what you want to accomplish, and how you are going to accomplish your goals in this new position.
How will you motivate parents to become involved in the classroom and in their child’s education?
The home/school connection is an important, yet tough to maintain aspect of teaching, so, try to answer this question with concrete ideas. Share ideas on how parents will volunteer in your classroom and how you’ll maintain regular contact, or how you’ll be providing updates on both positive and negative events.
How will you motivate students who seem uninterested in learning or are unwilling to participate in class?
With the myriad of distractions that exist in the classroom, how will you keep students’ attention? A good answer will have you sharing specific incentive policies to draw students’ interest, engaging lessons you’ve used, or ways you’ve built relationships with students to keep them invested in the classroom. An anecdote of how a past student (remember to protect privacy) that you taught was turned on to your subject because of your influence would also help your credibility here.
What kinds of qualities do students look for in teachers?
This question, when asked at a teaching interview, evaluates your ability to see yourself from the perspective of the student. Everyone has a different teaching style and students react differently to different styles and it is important to recognize the flexibility required to reach as many students as you can.
Which aspect of your resume are you most proud of, and why?
While this may be a more general question, it is still uniquely important for prospective teachers. Talk about how the application process helped you reflect and grow. If you’re a recent graduate, you can still brag about your accomplishments—describe your student-teaching experience and how it prepared you for opportunities like the teaching position you’re currently interviewing for.
Dean, California School of Education
California School of Education
Dean of the California School of Education for Alliant International University in San Diego, California. In addition to her leadership...