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What are Common Interview Questions for Teachers?

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  • Written By: Lori Smith
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 01 December 2018
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Interview questions for teachers are usually asked to help the potential employer understand the individual teaching style of an applicant. Depending on the grade level and special needs of the children who will be taught, an employer may be looking for specific qualities in an educator. Typically, queries regarding the level of education and previous experience will help determine whether the candidate meets the initial criteria. The interviewer may then wish to gain insight into the personality traits of a candidate, to determine the type of teaching assignment he or she will be most qualified to fill.

Once an applicant meets the certification and experience requirements of a particular educational institution, interview questions for teachers may include hypothetical situations to see how the individual responds. For example, the employer may ask, “how would you discipline a student who consistently talks in class and causes disruption?” Many times, a potential employer is looking for thoughtful, creative resolutions to common problems. Other times, these questions are asked to see if the candidate is familiar with school policies. It is important to construct such answers carefully, though, because certain responses may create the perception that an applicant is either excessively strict or inappropriately tolerant.

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Usually, the interviewer is looking for a teacher who is capable of keeping control over the classroom; garnering the respect of students, parents, and colleagues; and creating a positive and safe environment conducive to learning. In fact, the safety of students and teachers alike is usually of utmost importance. To help create this type of atmosphere, most schools have adopted an anti-bullying policy. Interview questions for teachers might include ones that address this issue. For example, “what would you tell a student who confides in you that he is being intimidated or harassed by peers?”

In addition to helping children deal with jealousy, rivalry, or intimidation among classmates, sensitive issues involving their home lives may also arise, which can sometimes require a teacher to step in to protect a child. For example, interview questions for teachers might include, “what would you do if a child arrived at school with a black eye, and upon questioning him, he told you that his father beats him?” The employer may also ask whether the candidate has ever encountered a similar situation and how it was resolved.

Not all questions are hypothetical ones, or draw on an individual’s past experience as an educator. Sometimes, interview questions for teachers are asked to gain insight into the type of person the applicant is outside the school environment. In other words, “how do you spend your free time?” Hobbies, favorite authors, or extracurricular activities that a person engages in can offer a different perspective as to how he or she views the world. For example, if skydiving is an activity that a teacher enjoys, one might assume that the person is a risk-taker. Alternatively, a teacher who spends free time knitting or bird watching may be perceived as someone with a tranquil disposition.

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pastanaga
Post 3

@croydon - Well, I guess you'd have to make sure you didn't come across as too needy though either. I would look at the wording of their job ads and whether they use the words "independent" or "community-focused" in order to know how to phrase my answers during the interview.

Just remember that you don't want to be false when answering questions. You can put more emphasis on one quality over another if it suits what they are looking for though.

For example, if you noticed that the principal likes rock climbing or something like that and you do too, then by all means mention that. But definitely don't mention it if you don't know anything about the hobby.

croydon
Post 2

@MrsPramm - There is always going to be a big emphasis on community in the teaching profession. They want someone who will be able to work well with others and they want someone who isn't going to hide problems from their co-workers.

I think, if anything, they'd prefer someone who was going to ask for help over someone who might be more capable, but wouldn't think of asking for help.

MrsPramm
Post 1

Something that surprised me was what my tutors advised me to say if I was asked what I would do if there was a personal issue between me and my students. It would usually be some kind of hypothetical situation, like a student being severely bullied or something that the parents get angry about.

My first impulse would be to explain some kind of process about talking to the parents and sorting out the problem, but apparently the right thing to do in an interview situation is to tell them that you would immediately go to your supervisor and explain the situation.

I guess that's something I would actually do, but not something that I would think they'd want to hear in an interview.

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