Common teacher interview questions and answers
Candidates for teaching positions are asked a wide variety of questions during their interview. For example, you may be asked about classroom management, be given scenarios and asked how you would handle the problem.
You also might be asked questions about your work experience, professional habits and motivations for a new position. Here are some specific examples.
Why do you want to be a teacher?
Many interviewers enjoy asking why you want to be a teacher because it gives them a chance to hear the passion behind your skills and experience.
Take this question as an opportunity to share personal and professional teaching motivations. Identify specific reasons why you enjoy helping students learn new concepts. Be sure to discuss your teaching experiences in a learning environment, particularly as they relate to the position you’re interviewing for.
This interview question is also a great opportunity to emphasize the things you’ve learned during your formative education. You’ll want to outline the value of any graduate-level teaching education as well. If you’ve earned a master’s degree in education, you should emphasize how that represents your ability to lead students toward success.
What do you think makes a good teacher?
Take your time in answering this question, making sure to identify and explain skills you believe make the best teachers. Be sure to share specific examples from your teaching experience that demonstrate when you’ve exhibited these skills.
Among other important teaching skills, many of the best teachers today are patient and articulate. They understand the need to clearly communicate with learners of different skill levels, without making one or more students feel unimportant. Great teachers are defined by their desire to help students succeed, even when that requires paying extra attention to particular learners who might be struggling.
What do you think is the most important thing students should learn in school?
This question isn’t always easy to answer. Remember that, perhaps more important than a single concept like reading or writing, students should learn concepts that help them grow into lifelong learners.
Students should learn how to think for themselves, using critical thinking techniques that they first learn in a classroom environment, as well as how to exercise creativity. Resilience is also an important skill; the best teachers often emphasize the importance of failure as a formative experience for students, one that helps drive future success.
After identifying important concepts students should learn in school, take a moment to defend your answer. Share why you believe these items are important to learn, and how you can teach them to students. This is a great opportunity to identify moments in your teaching career when you’ve integrated similar concepts into your curriculum and instruction.
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing education today?
Education today faces several challenges — including classroom size, teacher shortages and skills gaps. One of the most pressing challenges education faces is achievement gaps: the disparity between the performance of different groups of students.
This question represents an opportunity to discuss how you’ve actively worked to close the achievement gap in past learning environments. You can also mention strategies you’ve used to help students learn at an equal pace while allowing each student to exercise their strengths.
You can also share your teaching philosophy here to describe what you believe can be done on a larger scale to help schools nationwide close achievement gaps.
What do you do when a student is struggling in your class?
Teachers who wish to help struggling students must find creative ways to help them succeed without neglecting the rest of the class. This is your opportunity to discuss the ways you’ve achieved this outcome in past teaching experiences.
Discuss how important it is to adopt a compassionate, individualized approach whenever a student struggles. Emphasize how you can help students learn concepts by exercising patience and empathy. You can even mention student improvements, in both skills and morale, after you’ve helped them learn a difficult concept.
Earn a degree in education at University of Phoenix
A bachelor’s or master’s degree in education may help you better understand what it means to be an educator, from how to implement effective classroom management strategies to what challenges educators face today. If you’d like to learn more about an online degree in education, here are a few options University of Phoenix offers:
- Bachelor of Science in Education/Early Childhood Education — This program teaches curriculum planning, instructional practice, student engagement and many other valuable educational skills.
- Bachelor of Science in Education/Elementary Education — If you’re eager to teach at the elementary school level, this program will help build your instructional and leadership skills and provide background on essential learning strategies.
- Graduate Initial Teacher Certificate/Elementary — This certificate is intended for students who have no teaching experience. It builds education knowledge and a skill set for those interested in teaching at the elementary level.
- Graduate Initial Teacher Certificate/Secondary — This certificate is intended for students who have no teaching experience. It builds education knowledge and a skill set for those interested in teaching at the secondary level.
- Master of Arts in Education/Elementary Teacher Education — This degree program is designed to prepare you for teacher licensure and will help you build confidence as a general studies teacher in an elementary classroom. This master’s program includes a clinical component (field experience and student teaching), allowing candidates to acquire the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to positively impact student learning and development.
- Master of Arts in Education/Secondary Teacher Education — This degree program is designed to prepare you for teacher licensure and will help you build confidence as a single-subject secondary teacher. Skills taught are classroom management, lesson planning, learning strategies, technology integration and more.