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Sample teacher interview questions

Getting to know you

  • Tell us about yourself.
  • If you had a co-teaching experience while student teaching, tell us about it and how it sets you apart from other candidates.
  • Tell us about the Teacher Performance Assessment (TPA) and your experience engaging with it as part of your preparation to teach.
  • What is your educational and professional preparation?
  • What strengths do you have that would enhance our teaching staff?
  • What would your worst critic say about you?
  • What three words would others use to describe you?
  • What is a unique quality specific to you?
  • What research have you done about our school?
  • What are your interests outside of teaching?

Teacher relationships with students

  • Describe a successful experience working with a diverse population of students.
  • Discuss your experience or interest working with struggling learners.
  • What kind of students do you like to work with?
  • What type of students could you teach most effectively?
  • How do you help students experience success?
  • How would you individualize instruction for students?
  • How would you challenge a slow learner and an advanced learner in the same class?
  • What is your experience working with special education students? English Language Learners?
  • How do you keep students motivated?
  • What do you think is the best approach for empowering students, rather than enabling them?
  • How will you establish and foster relationships with students, especially those with challenging behaviors?

Teacher relationships with colleagues

  • Describe experiences working in Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) in your common content courses and the benefits of collaborating with colleagues in other content areas.
  • Can you give a specific example of a project where you worked collaboratively? What were the goals, challenges and outcomes?
  • Give an example of something valuable you learned from a colleague.
  • What kind of assistance would you most like from other staff members?
  • Discuss your feelings about working in a team environment in which some items (i.e. curriculum) are agreed upon as a team, department, school, etc.
  • What kind of teachers would you prefer to work with? Why?

Teacher relationships with parents

  • What do you feel is the most effective way to communicate with parents? Describe how you have used these technique(s)?
  • Describe the reasons who you would contact a parent.
  • What would you include in your Open House presentations to parents?

Teaching techniques and pedagogy

  • Briefly describe your philosophy of education.
  • What is “academic language” and how will you incorporate it into your teaching?
  • Describe how you would make your content culturally relevant for your students.
  • Provide a specific example of how you used technology in an interactive way.
  • List and describe three teaching strategies you feel most competent using.
  • What are you prepared to do to address the racial achievement gap?
  • How will you make your classroom a safe learning environment?
  • How will you address Response to Intervention in your classroom?
  • What are the most significant challenges in teaching and learning in current classrooms?
  • Describe a lesson that would be very motivating to teach. What are the students doing?
  • How will you implement accommodations for students with special needs?
  • What is the most unique lesson you have taught in a classroom? Teaching strategy and/or pedagogy?
  • Tell us about two lessons you have taught that went really well and two that did not go so well.
  • Describe any innovative projects you have been involved in developing.
  • What teaching methods do you use most frequently (i.e. lecturing, demonstrating, worksheets, projects, research, daily puzzles)?
  • How do you decide which electives to teach, if given the option?
  • Do you feel it is important to teach values and morals in school, and how would you accomplish this task?
  • How would you integrate technology into the curriculum you would teach?
  • How familiar are you with the state academic standards and Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) testing?
  • Do you have experience with group teaching and/or subject integration, and do you think it is valuable?
  • Give an example of how you have used cooperative learning in your classroom.
  • What rules do you have for your classroom?
  • Who should be responsible for discipline in a school? Why?
  • Describe your teaching style and how you accommodate the different learning styles within your classes.
  • What do you consider to be your strengths and how will you use them in your teaching?
  • What methodologies do you use in your teaching?
  • How would you develop an overall teaching plan for the year?
  • Would you rather try new teaching strategies or try to perfect the approaches which work best for you? Explain.
  • An experienced teacher offers you the following advice: “When you are teaching, be sure to command the respect of your students immediately and all will go well.” How do you feel about this?
  • How do you decide what should be taught in your class?
  • Tell me about a lesson you use that integrates one or more standards.
  • What is your philosophy of classroom management?
  • Tell me about a lesson you use that utilizes reading, writing, speaking, and listening.
  • What would we see if we were to observe you at work in your classroom?
  • What are some ways you’ve thought of to reduce plagiarism?
  • What intervention strategies do you use as a teacher at the classroom level for students who are not having success?
  • Discuss your general philosophies related to grading, assignments, types of assessments, extra credit, etc.
  • What are your experiences working with Curriculum Cycles, designing curriculum and leadership roles related to designing and implementing a new/revised curriculum?
  • How do we overcome obstacles or barriers to learning?
  • What do you believe is the best strategy or tool for coaching students?
  • Tell me how you enforce a productive class environment.
  • Describe some reading strategies you’ve implemented to work with functional readers with very low comprehension, written, and work skills.
  • What procedures do you use to evaluate student progress besides using tests?
  • How do you assess what a student with behavioral issues needs to be successful? Describe methods, strategies, or interventions you have implemented with a student with serious behavioral issues.
  • Are you comfortable with online grading software?
  • What kind of student data do you use to inform your planning and instruction?

Content knowledge

  • Why did you choose to study your subject area?
  • Describe the three most important concepts in your subject matter that students must understand to become successful.
  • What are the current trends in curriculum in your teaching area?
  • Describe your preparation and study in your subject matter.
  • What is the most exciting thing happening in your field of study?
  • What is your favorite concept in your subject area to teach?
  • What was your favorite course in college?
  • What was your most difficult course in college?
  • What areas of your subject are you uncomfortable teaching?

Professionalism and motivation

  • Why did you choose to become a teacher? What do you hope to accomplish?
  • What does it mean to be a professional educator?
  • Describe characteristics of the best/worst teacher you have known.
  • What is the correct professional dress and demeanor for a classroom teacher?
  • What are your three most important reasons for wanting to be a teacher?
  • What are your professional aspirations in the next five years/ten years?
  • What are your thoughts on being a role model and its importance in the classroom?
  • What has been your most positive teaching experience? Negative?
  • What do you think will provide you the greatest pleasure in teaching?
  • Tell us about the three people who have most influenced your own education and educational career.

School/community/position

  • What is the position(s) for which you are applying?
  • What do you know about our school?
  • What activities would you like to work with at our school?
  • What community activities would you like to be associated with? Why?
  • Please describe your education, training, experiences, and accomplishments to help us better understand your qualifications for these positions.
  • How do you anticipate working at this school will be different from your previous experience?
  • Why are you the best candidate for this position?
  • What sets you apart from other applicants?
  • What needs and/or expectations do you have of the school administration?
  • How do you deal with fast-paced, high intensity, high expectation job settings? What experiences will help in preparing you for a demanding situation?
  • Discuss the ideal teaching situation for you. What type of students are you teaching, what courses, what resources are available to you, what level of students, etc.? What teaching situations do you do your best work?
  • Please identify our school's guiding principles or mission that “jump off the page” for you. How would you bring those ideals to life?
  • If you were offered this position, what would be the first thing you would do to prepare?
  • If you were asked to do more than your job description required, how would you respond?
  • What do you know about state and national standards?
  • Do you see any value in being involved in your state’s association?
  • If you were offered and accepted the position here, what changes would you make immediately and what would you want to change down the road?
  • Describe your organizational skills. How would you stay organized with planning, correcting, and parent/teacher communications about academic and behavioral issues?

Behavioral-based interview (situational) questions

  • If you had given students 15-20 minutes after your lesson discussion to do their homework and a student puts his head down on his desk, what would you do or say?
  • You have a special needs student with ADHD in your classroom, she is repeatedly disruptive – talking to those around her, getting up to sharpen her pencil a couple times during the class period, and making comments such as, “This is stupid. Who needs to know this stuff anyway?” What would you do?
  • A paper was due at the end of a two-week unit. Johnny didn’t meet the deadline. He tells his parents that he did not have enough time to finish it. His mother is a school board member. What would you say or do?
  • If you told a student (who was disruptive) to go to the office and she refused, what would you do?
  • A student is doing poorly in your class. You talk with her, and the student tells you that she considers you the poorest teacher she has ever met. What would you do?
  • You give an assignment. A student ridicules the assignment, saying it doesn’t make sense. What would you do?
  • If you see a 180-degree turn in a student, what would you do?
  • A parent comes to you and complains that what you are teaching his/her child is irrelevant to the child’s needs. How would you respond?
  • How would you initiate a discussion with a student who has not completed their work for two days in a row?

Additional topics and background information

  • What personal attributes do you possess which will enable you to be a positive role model for students?
  • What are your plans for continuing your professional growth?
  • Tell me about an interesting article you have read recently in a professional journal.
  • What current trends in public education please you? Displease you?
  • Discuss your experience in leadership positions and how you can best add to the leadership here?
  • “The fundamental purpose of school is learning, not teaching.” Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Why?
  • To whom would you go if you weren’t sure how to handle a situation?
  • Are you interested in coaching?
  • If you were coaching, how would you handle a student who does something unsportsmanlike?
  • Project yourself five years into the future and place yourself into your vision of what this learning environment will look like?
  • Please respond briefly to the following: All children can learn; Multiple Intelligences; Site- based management; Inclusion; Cooperative Learning.

Unique questions

  • If you could pick a famous person to interview, who would you pick and why?
  • If you could be one color of the rainbow, which color would it be and why?

Questions to ask at the interview

    Select two or three.

  • What would staff, students, and parents say are the strengths of the school?
  • How does the school support professional development?
  • Do you have an induction program?
  • How do teachers integrate technology into the classroom?
  • Describe parental involvement within the school?
  • What is the school policy or philosophy on inclusion?
  • What extracurricular activity opportunities might be available?
  • Are there any aspects of my background or qualifications that are unclear or need further explanation? If so, I’d be happy to clarify them for you.
  • What is the next step in the hiring process? When do you hope to make a decision?
  • What technology resources are available for myself to use and for the (insert grade level or subject area)?
  • What is the school policy or philosophy on inclusion?
  • Are there duties outside the classroom that are expected of teachers?
  • How receptive are you of changes to the curriculum? What is the process?
  • What is the next step in the hiring process or when do you hope to make a decision?

Questions to ask after the job offer

  • Tell me about your health insurance plan(s).
  • Tell me about your retirement package.
  • Tell me about the salary scale.