Who practices teacher interview questions and answers? You – the successful new teacher!
So let's dive in and figure out how to answer the tough ones.
Look at the school's website if they have one
You may or may not glean much information from it. However, there is a chance that it will provide additional insights that will help you tailor your answers, just as you tailored your teacher cover letter.
Tailor your answers to the school when possible
To go along with your advance research on the internet, you may start an answer with:
“I noticed from your website that your building really focuses on technology integration. With the resources that you have available, I would approach that situation this way…”
This shows the interviewer that you cared enough to be as prepared as possible.
At the very least, use your research to avoid answering interview questions in completely unrealistic ways.
For example, if the school is in a very difficult area where it is known that both parents have to work during the day, then proposing a solution that includes motivating your classroom parent volunteers will mark you as naive and possibly unsuited to the scenarios you will face if hired.
Answer questions concisely
An interviewer must keep on schedule and needs to ask all prepared questions of each candidate. Get your point across but don't belabor it.
Use personal examples when possible
If you have personal experience with children (not necessarily in the classroom) that speaks directly to a particular question, share it. For an experienced teacher, this demonstrates hands-on knowledge. For a new teacher, this demonstrates that you are capable with children, not just filled with “book smarts” from college.
So for the teacher interview question…
How do you individualize reading instruction?
…you might open with a statement about assessing the needs of each learner and creating one-on-one or small group time, then provide an example:
- The teacher (including student teacher) with classroom experience may provide an example of a particular boy with developmental disabilities that tested a grade level behind.
The individualized program may have included a special selection of books for this student, grouping him with higher level readers to stretch him and devising a plan with the parents for extra work at home. (Note: never reveal a student's full name.)
- The teacher without direct experience in this topic may provide an example from tutoring her niece during second grade, working with the teacher to obtain extra homework and practicing reading fluency by alternating pages (mentor reads one page, student reads one page).
Video tips: answering tough questions
You MUST be ready to answer these teacher interview questions
Tell us about yourself.
- Develop a brief bio – the “nutshell” story of your professional life, starting with where you attended college and covering all relevant experience
- Keep this only about the profession of teaching, not about you as a person.
- Five minutes, max
And the other tough question:
Tell us about your biggest weakness.
…or some form of this question, such as:
What professional challenges are you working to overcome?
This is my least favorite interview question and I personally wish it would be stricken from all interviews worldwide. Why? Because this question automatically makes everyone think:
“What weakness can I come up with that actually sounds like a strength?”
“I care too much.” (Ick!)
No one is going to answer with a real weakness. The best method is to select something that is not only true for you, but true for everyone. That way it does not sound so much like a weakness and more like a universal human problem that we all strive to overcome.
Be ready to talk about anything and everything
You just never know what they may ask, besides the basic questions. That's why you can't memorize an answer for every possible question. However, by becoming familiar with a wide variety of teacher interview questions and answers you can become comfortable with your ability to respond no matter what they ask.
And what if you must teach a lesson to the interview committee? I've got you covered on that, too!