Top 25 Teacher Interview Questions And Answers

teacher interview questions and answers

By Mike Simpson

UPDATED 5/21/2022

teacher interview questions and answers

Being a teacher can be one of the most rewarding jobs on the planet…but even with teaching vacancies rising and the number of opportunities increasing, getting those first jobs teaching can be a nerve-wracking experience. Fortunately, nailing that interview for your dream job doesn’t have to be a challenge. By reviewing teach interview questions and answers, you can study and practice your way to success.

Luckily, we’ve pulled together some easy tips for you to keep in mind while prepping for your teaching interview. Plus, we’ve gathered up some of the most common teacher interview questions, along with some example answers.

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s dig in!

Top 6 Tips For Answering Teacher Interview Questions

1. Get personal.

Teacher interview questions are meant to find out more about you as both an educator and a person. Make sure when you answer the questions that you’re giving actual personal answers and canned responses. Highlight your skills, background, and experience, and how you apply it all to situations you might encounter.

2. Get specific.

This relates directly to the behavioral questions and how you should answer them. Use examples from your own past and skills to illustrate exactly how you have done things in the past.

Also, make sure to embrace both the STAR Method and the Tailoring Method. That way, your answers are compelling and relevant.

3. Get coordinated.

Make sure you draw attention to specific skills you have that are directly listed in the job description. Before you head into the interview, review the desired qualifications in the job description and match those up to your skills. Use that as a guideline for building your answers.

4. Get educated.

As we mentioned above, research is essential. Look into the school you’re applying to and the school district. Do you know anyone working there already? Do you have friends who have children who are students at the school?

Any and all information you get ahead of time will not only help you determine what sort of environment is at the school but if you want to actually work there or not. Plus, coming in with knowledge about the academics, curriculum, sports, and school programs shows initiative.

5. Get cozy.

Be prepared for a possible panel interview. Education interviews are often conducted by multiple individuals and may include the principal, teachers, parents, and members of the administrative staff.

In some instances, there are education committees set up specifically to interview and screen potential teachers.

6. Get honest!

Above all else, always be honest during your interview. Lying your way into a position only hurts you in the long run.

10 Common Teacher Interview Questions With Great Example Answers

Now that we’ve gone over these tips, let’s take a look at the ten most common interview questions for teachers. We’ve listed them below and included a brief explanation of each one. Think of them as a study guide to help guide your own answers…but remember…no copying! Make them your own!

1. Why do you want to be a teacher?

This is probably the most often asked teacher question. You want to give an answer that is heartfelt, genuine, and really illustrates why you chose this field. Take time before your interview to really reflect on why you’re doing what you’re doing. Draw from specific examples. Make your response thoughtful, authentic, and honest.

EXAMPLE ANSWER:

When I was in third grade, I struggled a lot with reading, which affected my grades and caused me to fall behind. My teacher, Miss Emily, sat me down one day and talked to me about what was going on. I told her how hard it was for me to read, and we discovered together I was having vision problems. She moved me to a desk that was closer to the front and met with my parents to discuss options. Because of her, my parents took me to a doctor, and my astigmatism was diagnosed. Miss Emily reignited my love of learning at that moment. I want to be that teacher…the one who takes the time to really discover why students are struggling and give another child like me an opportunity to learn to love learning again.

2. Why do you want to teach at this school?

This question is another common teaching interview question. Use this opportunity to provide specific reasons why you’re interested in the school by drawing on the information you gathered during your research.

EXAMPLE ANSWER:

I’ve spent a lot of time researching schools within this district, and I’m very impressed with what you offer here. Between an award-winning teaching staff and a district that is very involved, your school has a teacher-to-student ratio that I think really allows for personalized education. Smaller classroom sizes, like the ones you maintain here, make it possible for me to give each child the one-on-one attention they deserve. On top of that, your after-school science program is exciting to me, and I would hope, should I get hired here, that I might be able to become involved in that as well.

3. What can you bring to our school that makes you unique?

This question is pretty straightforward. Talk about activities you’ve participated in or passions you have that can easily translate into teachable moments and classroom activities that fall outside the usual curriculum that is currently being enacted.

EXAMPLE ANSWER:

I love science and exploring the natural world beyond the borders of the classroom. For that reason, I started an after-school explorer’s club at my last school. We would go on nature hikes, visit museums, and invite local scientists and biologists to come speak to us about what they’re working on and their research. The response was overwhelming, and I have students who still come up to me years later and tell me how much they loved our club and how it helped inspire them to pursue careers in the sciences. I would be very interested in continuing the legacy of the explorer’s club here.

4. What frustrates you the most in a classroom?

This question allows your interviewers to get to know what it takes to ruffle your feathers and how you’ll behave when faced with that situation. Find a scenario that is fairly common for all teachers, and then explain how you’ve dealt with that frustration.

EXAMPLE ANSWER:

I have to admit, I get frustrated by the kids who think they’re too cool for school and who float through their day doing as little as possible. The same sentiment applies to teachers who play into that attitude. Rather than turn that frustration into anger or simply ignoring the issue and waiting for a slacker to drift through a year in my class, I turn that frustration into a challenge for both the student and myself. Most of the time, their attitude is a way for them to protect themselves, something they developed to manage the challenges they’re facing outside of school. Sometimes all they need is to know someone else believes in them. By giving them a little extra attention and encouragement, I’ve seen some of the ‘coolest kids’ turn into students who are focused, driven, and ready to turn themselves around.

5. What is your teaching philosophy?

Everyone will have a unique answer to this question as everyone’s experiences with education, and own personal history will determine how they’ve shaped their own philosophy. Take time before you get into the interview to really focus on what your philosophy is and how you apply it every day.

EXAMPLE ANSWER:

I believe that the best learning opportunities are the ones that the students come up with themselves. For that reason, I spend every lunch hour on the playground with my students and make myself available for them to ask me “playground pop quiz” questions. These questions have ranged from everything from “how is the ice cream we had at lunch made” to exploring the lifecycle of the mosquitos we found in a piece of playground equipment. I love challenging the students to try to stump me, and as a result, they go out of their way to explore the environment around them, making learning fun and exciting.

6. What do you learn about your students to ensure you’re the best help?

This question is tricky because every interview may have a different perspective about how much you need to know. Since that’s the case, it’s best to find an answer that will resonate logically, even if the interviewer has a different perspective on the matter.

EXAMPLE ANSWER:

Generally, I want to make sure I spend time getting to know each student’s learning style. With that, I can ensure that I use the right range of strategies during core lessons and that I can adjust my approach during one-on-one sessions when the need arises. Beyond that, I also try to learn at least one key interest that each student has, even if it isn’t related to my subject. That way, I can incorporate details that align with those interests on occasion. For example, I can talk about a bakery in math problems with students who love sweets or squeeze information about bugs into practice reading passages for kids who adore science. Overall, it’s an approach that I find particularly useful for engagement, so I use it regularly.

7. If you had to describe your teaching style in one word, what would it be and why?

With this, you need to balance brevity and thoroughness. It’s critical to focus on the “one word” aspect, as launching into a list makes it seem like you didn’t understand the question. Additionally, you want to back up with every word you choose.

EXAMPLE ANSWER:

If I had to describe my teaching style in one word, I’d have to pick “agile.” No two students are alike, so I know the value of keeping on my toes and pivoting my approach to ensure every child gets an exceptional experience. For example, I’ve taught science classes where some students were visual learning, and others were more tactile. So, I adjusted my strategy to incorporate both, bringing in colorful models that students could view, manipulate, and even take apart. It connected with both types of students, making the lesson more impactful.

8. If you could make one change to a school environment, what would it be and why?

Here, the interviewer is trying to gauge what you view as shortcomings in the broader system. It can be tricky to answer, especially as some responses may seem judgmental. Since that’s the case, it’s best to stick with a somewhat neutral topic, all while ensuring what’s best for students stays at the heart.

EXAMPLE ANSWER:

If I had the power to make one change, I would make school lunches free for all students. That removes the stigma that comes with being a student from a lower-income family, as no one has to worry about whether they can pay or if they’re on a free meal program or not. Since that’s the case, students who may feel uncomfortable being singled out for being on a free meal program – potentially to the point that they may opt to skip meals instead of getting that attention – don’t have any concerns.

9. How have you integrated technology into the classroom in your past roles?

Today’s students are increasingly tech-savvy, even at a young age. Since that’s the case, many interviewers want to know how you’ve integrated technology into the classroom experience in the past.

EXAMPLE ANSWER:

At my last school, we were fortunate enough to have access to tablets in the classroom. Along with using them for certain heads-down experiences, I took advantage of the tablets’ capabilities to revamp my approach to engagement. I integrated live polls into many lesson plans, allowing students to participate even during lectures. For example, I’d present a hypothesis relating to the subject and ask students what they think was true based on the four available answers. Then, we’d review the responses and engage in discussions before moving forward. It was a fun way to promote broader involvement, all thanks to the live polling features in the tablets.

10. How do you handle a parent that blames you for a child’s poor performance?

If a child isn’t excelling in school, some parents automatically blame the teachers. Since those conversations can get heated, the interviewer wants to ensure you’ll approach them in a professional manner.

EXAMPLE ANSWER:

If a parent feels I’m responsible for a child’s poor performance, my main goal is to remain calm and professional during the conversation. I strive to maintain a fact-based approach. After ensuring they feel heard, I concentrate more on working with them to find a solution than anything else. It’s not about placing blame; it’s about developing a plan that’ll help their student thrive. By maintaining that mentality, I find that most parents will pivot, allowing us to dive into the challenges the student is facing and how we can help them together.

15 More Common Teaching Interview Questions

  1. How would you prepare your classroom if it was the first day of school?
  2. How do you evaluate students?
  3. Why do we teach “X” in school?
  4. How do you communicate with parents?
  5. What are your strengths and weaknesses as a teacher?
  6. What did you love most about your last school, and what did you like least?
  7. How do you use data to analyze student performance and identify areas for your own improvement?
  8. Which subject was your favorite as a student?
  9. Why did you leave your last teaching role?
  10. Tell me about a challenging student you had previously. How did you manage the situation?
  11. Why should we hire you to teach here?
  12. What’s the biggest challenge that students face today?
  13. How do you incorporate collaborative experiences into your learning plan?
  14. What steps do you take to keep students motivated?
  15. How do you handle a disengaged parent?

Do You Have Any Questions For Me?

Questions to Ask at the End of a Teacher Interview

If you’ve ever been to a job interview, you know that after you spend time answering interview questions for teachers, you will usually be asked if you have any questions of your own.

This is the gold mine question and one that serves two distinct purposes. It gives you an opportunity to get information you might not have been able to gather during your research period while also allowing you one more chance to demonstrate you are the perfect candidate by having a pre-prepared list of questions you’d like answered.

Good questions to ask include:

  • Can you tell me a little about the culture here at the school?
  • What is a typical day like?
  • Are there any qualities you’re looking for in a teacher that were not listed in the job description?
  • Is there a teacher mentoring program here?
  • Are there opportunities for furthering my education available here?
  • What is the average classroom size?
  • How are the classrooms equipped? Is this a wired school?
  • What goals and expectations do you have for your teachers?
  • Are there any challenges the school/district is facing that I should be aware of?
  • Is there an active PTA here?
  • How is the relationship between the parents and the school?
  • Is the school a part of the community?
  • How does this school handle student discipline?
  • How does it handle bullying?

Putting It All Together

So, there you have it, tips, tricks, and a study guide stuffed full of teacher interview questions and answers for you to go over and use for practice. Make use of all of the information above.

And as always…good luck!

—-

P.S. Now that you’ve got a good feel for the teacher interview questions you are going to be asked, don’t forget that there are hundreds of non-teacher interview questions that you could be asked in your interview! Thankfully we’ve outlined the most common questions AND given you word-for-word answers in our free PDF below:

FREE: Job Interview Questions & Answers PDF Cheat Sheet!

Here's what you're getting:

  • Word-for-word sample answers to the most common interview questions
  • Tell me about yourself, why should we hire you?, What's your greatest weakness and more!
  • Free Access to our VIP resources area

Click Here To Get The Job Interview Questions & Answers Cheat Sheet

About The Author

Mike Simpson

Co-Founder and CEO of TheInterviewGuys.com. Mike is a job interview and career expert and the head writer at TheInterviewGuys.com. His advice and insights have been shared and featured by publications such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, CNBC and more as well as educational institutions such as the University of Michigan, Penn State, Northeastern and others. Learn more about The Interview Guys on our About Us page.