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Typical Interview Questions for Teachers and How to Answer Them

Published on Monday, 09 May 2016

Job interviews can be very stressful. It’s important to be simultaneously punctual, confident, knowledgeable, and friendly. If you’re looking to get hired as a teachers whether in English  or other subjects you will need to be prepared for these typical interview questions you will have to answer.

Since employers tend to ask similar questions, it is advisable to plan out your responses in advance so you won’t find yourself getting tongue-tied during the interview. Below are several examples of common interview questions for teachers and how best to answer them. 

1) What is your philosophy on education? 
For this interview question you’ll want to talk about the educational approaches you like to employ day-to-day. For example, is your teaching style childstudent-centered or teacher-centered? Do you prefer to teach your students hands on? Do you aim to make learning fun or serious? You may answer this question with something like, “I prefer to adapt my teaching style to find what works best for each child, over following a specific methodology.” or “I like to incorporate projects to allow the children to use tactile learning.” Be sure that you elaborate in detail upon your answer.

2) How will you maintain discipline in your classroom?
Most employers will want to know how you’ll manage your classroom and maintain order. For example, do you follow a proactive approach of setting expectations and rules from the get-go? Offer a response that explains your method and provide a solid example of how it proved to be successful in a past classroom setting. 

3) How do you feel about team teaching?
 When answering this interview question, it is essential to be completely honest as it will set you up for a position you may or may not want. If you had an enjoyable experience, explain that “I really love team teaching because it helps the students see teamwork first-hand and having a second perspective is helpful for student learning.” If you’ve never done it before, fess up and offer an answer as to why you would, or would not, be willing to give it a try. 

4) How would you handle a constantly disruptive student?
 This question can typically be interpreted to mean: Do you work with the individual student to find out what’s causing the behaviour, or do you prefer a conference with the student and his or her parent? Try responding with, “I take the student aside to find out why they continue to break the rules and discuss how we can eliminate the behaviour. If the behaviour continues, I would let the student know that I will have to call their parents and discuss the situation with them.”

5) How do you ensure that each student understands the material you are teaching?
 If you see that your students aren’t understanding a lesson, would you try re-teaching the lesson using another approach? Have an answer response prepared in the interview that includes how you would gauge the class’s comprehension of new materials and how you may teach the lesson differently to ensure that all students are learning.

6) How would you incorporate technology into your lessons?
 In this day and age, especially in Hong Kong, technology is everywhere and students have grown up with it. Will you provide internet research projects? Will you build a class website for homework assignments? Perhaps you will use class blogs and wiki pages? If you haven’t already done so, brainstorm new ways that students can incorporate their tech-savviness into their education. 

7) What role would you like to play in school improvement?
 What is it that you would like to change within the system? This can be a tricky question because you may not want to sound like you are already criticising the school before you even receive the job offer. Let the interviewer know that you will need to experience first-hand the daily operations of the school, but also highlight the role you have played in past schemes and improvement projects in your previous school. If there are school initiatives you’re passionate about, mention it in your answer. Or if you are an English teacher, you can mention how your native English will improve the school’s overall English language proficiency. 

8) How would you encourage parents to be more involved in their children’s education?
 Some things to consider for your answer would be: Is it important to you to call home when a child is in trouble? Do you often give positive feedback on how a child is doing? Do you send home assignments that require parental involvement? You could aAnswer with, “I try to send home monthly assignments that require parent involvement and parent signature. This helps keep parents updated on what we are learning.” Or if you believe parents should be more involved, outline how you propose to implement the means to achieve that in the school. 

9) Why would you like to teach at this school? 
 Answer this by asking yourself these questions before the interview: Did you attend this school yourself? Is it close to your home? Does the school have a good reputation? Do research on each specific school and be authentic in your response to the interviewer. 

10) What grade level do you prefer to teach and why?
 For this question you may want to leave your answer a bit open as availability will play a big role in whether or not you get an offer. You can say something like, “I have always wanted to teach grade 1 because the children are very eager to learn at that age. I’m also open to teaching grade 2-5 because the students are beginning to understand more and I can be more creative with my lessons.” Feel free to be clear on a grade level you absolutely would not want to teach. 

Interviews are difficult and stressful. Don’t be afraid to admit when you’re not sure how to answer a question and give yourself a moment or two to reflect on the question. Remember that while it’s important to put your best foot forward, it’s also important to focus on evaluating whether a school will be a good fit for you. So Ffeel free to ask questions of your own!

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