When preparing for the all-important interview, most teachers want to know what kinds of questions they will be asked in an interview for a teaching job. It’s a wise question to ask since most interviewers ask probing, thought-provoking questions to judge prospective teachers’ reactions, skills, and goals. Teachers interested in leadership positions get asked different types of questions than most other candidates since hiring supervisors want to know how leaders expect to develop over time.
Questions About a Teacher’s Attitude Toward Teaching
The kinds of questions teachers are asked in a job interview often begin with questions about the candidate’s teaching philosophy. Since teaching requires a high level of dedication and care, interviewers want to know that you are passionate and thoughtful about your profession. A surprising but important question may involve asking an interviewee to justify an academic subject at its core. If you are asked, for example, “Why is English (or math, or science) taught in schools?”, the interviewer wants to hear a thoughtful answer based on your personal philosophy and experience. A good answer addresses points such as instilling in students knowledge, self-discipline, passion, independent thinking, career preparation, etc. At an interview for a teaching job, a candidate should be aware that she/he is promoting not only her/his own teaching skills and experience, but is also defending the education field as a whole.
A teacher’s philosophy then, will certainly come into question. If you’ve reached the point in your career trajectory in which you are facing a job interview, your philosophy on both education in general and how you view your specific role as a teacher should be established (although that’s not to say that your philosophy won’t change with your experience). Teaching philosophies will vary by teacher, and should demonstrate perspective gained in the classroom, during college and possibly in graduate school. Even though not all interviewers ask this specific question, teachers preparing for an interview should read over papers they’ve written and reflect on their teaching philosophy so that they can incorporate it into other questions.
Questions About a Teacher’s Classroom Skills
In a job interview, teachers are sure to be asked questions about their real-life ability to teach in front of a class. Interviewers want to hear specific examples of the teacher’s ability to engage students and encourage learning and good behavior. You may be asked what would it be like to sit through an ideal lesson in your classroom, because interviewers want to hear a description of your discussions with students, examples of students’ work displayed in the classroom and interactions between students. Interviewers may also prompt you for more information on how you’ve made an impact on students’ learning by giving specific examples of student progress.
More in-depth questions about your classroom skills may involve discussion of your classroom management structure, including guidance of student behavior and integration of students with special needs. Before your interview, you should learn about the school district’s policies on student discipline and behavior management. Teachers applying for a position in early childhood or special education will answer differently than teachers applying for a position in a high school or middle school. Depending on the district’s policies, a good answer may include an open discussion of classroom rules with the class, individual meetings with students or talking with parents.
School principals and hiring supervisors know the value of a focused, thoughtful teacher. Before applying for a teaching position, knowing what kinds of questions you will be asked in an interview for a teaching job can help you to effectively promote your skills, reduce anxiety, and improve your chances of being hired. If you are interested in further reading about topics on education and would like to know more about a degree in education, see 25 Highest Paying Jobs in Education.