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ESL Teacher Interview
Questions

30 Questions and Answers by
| Shane is an English Teacher at the High School level where he teaches English 9 Honors, English 11, Yearbook/Journalism, and AP Seminar.

Question 1 of 30

What communication do you have with parents when their child is not living up to expectations?

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ESL Teacher Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    What communication do you have with parents when their child is not living up to expectations?

      Protocols are things that interviewers want to see in a possible new hire. Go through a plan that you have to include parents in a student issue. A disorganized teacher with classroom protocols can get knocked down a peg if there is no preparation for a scenario like this in an interview.

      Shane's Answer

      "I like to give my students as many opportunities as possible to fix the behavior on their own. But, if this does not happen, I involve the parents through an email or phone class first. If improvement does not happen, I bring the parents and students into the school. Lastly, if the problem persists, I bring in the administration for added support."

      Anonymous Answer

      "This is one of the hardest areas for me to grow in. I like to engage my students, but talking to parents seems like an alien thing to do. Maybe it is because I do not have children of my own. But, it always seems to be a little awkard. Still, I have been trying to think of these conversations as if I was a parent myself. I would want to hear from the teacher and so do these parents."

      Shane's Answer

      Bravo! Thinking like a parent is a great way to go. So often, we are trying to think like a student to engage and develop their learning. But, at the same time, we have to find ways to diversify our own experiences. Continue to connect with parents more, in the good and bad of their student's life. Not all emails and phones calls have to be negative.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
  2. 2.

    Describe your teaching philosophy on a day-to-day basis.

      Giving the interviewer how your class works every day will assure peace of mind when hiring you. Be specific in what things matter most to you, so the interviewer understanding who you are and why the way you are as a teacher.

      Shane's Answer

      "My teaching philosophy every day is to strive for my students to learn one new thing each time. This way, I can assess at the end of each class what stuck out to them and how they can use the information moving forward. My class should never be stagnant, and I need to have my students in mind when planning out what I need to accomplish in class to help them to succeed."

      Anonymous Answer

      "Day-to-day, I want things to be different. I don't want my class to be stale or the same thing over and over again. This way, my students will stay engaged and more learning will happen."

      Shane's Answer

      It is good to have variety. There also can be consistent elements within your class that make learning fun each and every day. Continue to find your niche.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
  3. 3.

    Share one professional goal you want to achieve over your career.

      Interviewers want to see that you are growing and improving yourself. Think through professional goals beforehand that could make you a better teacher and educator. Giving specifics is the best way to go.

      Shane's Answer

      "One professional goal that I have is getting my master's degree in ESL. I have looked at a variety of programs and feel like Liberty University's certification would be best. With online curriculum and classes, I can teach as well as take school over a year."

      Anonymous Answer

      "A goal that I want to achieve over my career is getting each student to a place that they want to be at the end of each year. Some of the goals might be lofty, but we try our hardest to get them to a place of success."

      Shane's Answer

      I love the hope in your answer. Even if you do not complete the main goal, maybe you can have small goals or mini-goals to see some sort of progress moving forward.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
  4. 4.

    How would peers describe your teaching?

      Many times, an interviewer does not know the interviewee. Share a part of yourself on how others view your teaching. Be honest and connect how you partner with these teachers. The interviewer wants to see how you will fit into their community.

      Shane's Answer

      "My peers would say that I have an energetic teaching style. By interacting with my students in a class, small group, and individual settings, my peers get to see how I spend time in different environments. When teachers are in each other's classrooms, they get a greater sense of teaching. I have learned a lot by checking out different subjects."

      Anonymous Answer

      "I loved my peers in the last school I was a part of. The administration encouraged us to be in each other's classrooms. In turn, we got to see each other firsthand. Many of my peers would say I am diligent to students' needs and work overtime to help them on the road ahead."

      Shane's Answer

      Being in other teachers' classrooms is a big deal. Students see it as well, noticing that there is a team effort going on here.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
  5. 5.

    If you find out that a class will lose 15 minutes last minute, how do you adapt to the situation?

      Teaching can change on a dime. A seasoned teacher has to adapt to various situations. It is easy to get frustrated, but an interviewer wants to see how you modify lessons in tight windows of time.

      Shane's Answer

      "One of the best attributes of any teacher is being adaptable. Students vary from class to class, lessons change, and students' behavior shifts, but teachers can handle this. If I lose 15 minutes, I will not sweat the small stuff. I focus more on activities and less on the teaching of new materials. Then, students can learn and grow through some fun."

      Anonymous Answer

      "I will be honest. It is hard to not be upset. I want consistency for my class. But, I get over it because that is what a good teacher does. Still, I will have a civilized convesation with the adminstration to make sure things can be changed for the future."

      Shane's Answer

      Talking to the administration is a great thing. Always do this! Last minute things come up, but they should not be normal for the school. This can be a real problem. Come up with compromises for best results.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
  6. 6.

    Describe components that are imperative for a lesson plan.

      Some components need to be shared to prove that you know what you are doing when teaching ESL. Go through a traditional plan that gives students the best opportunities for a bright future. The interviewer needs to grasp how you put your lessons together for this question.

      Shane's Answer

      "Songs are one of the best ways that students learn. So, I start my classes with a hello song and a goodbye song that fit into the lesson I am teaching. Additionally, I have an introduction and wrap-up on the bookends of the class. In the middle of my time, I have a teaching section, assessment opportunities, and activities."

      Anonymous Answer

      "I have a kind of assessment each and every day. This way, I can see what progress has been made and where each student has to come."

      Shane's Answer

      Make sure to vary your assessments. Sure, you can have a quiz, but include exit slips, verbal answer, projects, tests, and presentations.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
  7. 7.

    What is the best teaching achievement you have experienced?

      Give a personal example of teaching accolades, but you can also focus on a teacher/student success story. Being more specific is the best answer here. The interviewer wants to get to know you and see what matters to you in the profession.

      Shane's Answer

      "Over my 15 years in the profession, I have had recognitions and accolades, but nothing is better than the achievement of student success. When a student leaves my classroom, I want a part of them to use the information they have learned in my class for the rest of their lives. By having students coming back to visit and hearing their stories, I understand the impact I have had on students that needed me during a particular time of life."

      Anonymous Answer

      "I received the "Teacher Of The Year" Award for my district a few years back. This has been a great thing to put on my resume and I proudly hang the plaque on the wall. It is nice to be recognized."

      Shane's Answer

      Recognition does not come around everyday. So, when it does come, cherish it. Continue to be proud of your accomplishments. Let them fuel you to become even better.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
  8. 8.

    What kind of homework do you give to ESL students?

      There is a time and place for homework. But, there are some teachers out there that give homework with no reasoning. Prove your homework's worth. Share what a typical week looks like for you involving extra work.

      Shane's Answer

      "I only want to give homework that enhances learning outside the classroom. With this in mind, I work to give homework that allows the student to view the world around them in a new way. Let's say we are working on words for different foods. I may have a homework assignment for students to write out the English name of foods that they have in their fridge or pantry."

      Anonymous Answer

      "I want homework for my students that furthers their learning. Each student gets different homework based on where they are at in the class. One student might need to dive into American culture, while another one needs to get up-to-date with American cars. Homework will be adapted in that way."

      Shane's Answer

      Don't overextend yourself. You are fine to use resources from the past and reach out to other ESL teachers who can help in the process.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
  9. 9.

    What technology implementation do you use in your classes?

      Technology is a part of the present and will continue to be in the future. The interviewer needs to see how you implement tech to enhance learning. There is a balance you will need to show in your answer here.

      Shane's Answer

      "PowerPoint presentations, Prezi, YouTube videos, and Kahoot! are some of the ways I get to use technology in my classroom. I still believe in paperwork because students can learn and remember key definitions. But, there are a variety of helpful online tools to help with memory and long-term understanding that I use weekly."

      Anonymous Answer

      "My favorite thing is using Google Translate. This is a great way for students to get a starting point for language. Even though it is not perfect, it is ideal for any beginner to have success."

      Shane's Answer

      As long as you do not spend all your time with the tool, this can be beneficial for all parties involved. Other translation platforms include iTranslate and Rosetta Stone.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
  10. 10.

    How accessible is your curriculum for ESL students?

      Not every student learns the same. An interviewer wants to see how you diversify what you do to give some students' extra resources if they are in need. Dive into different language levels in your class and how you use varying materials to help with personal learning.

      Shane's Answer

      "Assessment data is the best way for me to lesson plan and diversify my lessons. By understanding learning styles, I can see the kind of support students need, based on the activity. Specific modifications can be things like visual cues or other lessons that allow students' independence for what they need to be successful."

      Anonymous Answer

      "For me, it is imperative to have accessible curriculum. Every student is coming into my class with different experiences and language barriers. It is my job to make sure that every student has their own plan towards ultimate success."

      Shane's Answer

      Diversifying learning for each student is so key. Not one student is alike. So, one student might grasp one concept better than another. Be there ready to help the student that is falling short and move onto another student with different challenges.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
  11. 11.

    Share one thing about yourself.

      This question is an icebreaker of sorts. The interviewer wants to get a sense of your personality and likes in your life. Give them an answer that adds fulfillment to your life.

      Shane's Answer

      "One thing I like to do is run. After each day of work, I hit some running trails nearby. This exercise is a great kind of stress-reducer for me if I have had a hard day. Additionally, I sleep better at night, and I feel good to finish off my day."

      Anonymous Answer

      "I really wanted to wow my interviewer, so I choose something that they would remember. You know? Like what sets me a part from other teachers. I said I played the bagpipes and have been for 10 years. That certainly is not something everyone plays."

      Shane's Answer

      Certainly, telling something about yourself that is unique with help the interviewer recall who you are. It is important that you make yourself memroable, in a positive way, before, during, and after the interview.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
  12. 12.

    What makes an ESL classroom different from a traditional classroom?

      The learning environment in a classroom with non-English speakers does look different from a regular classroom. With a variety of resources and teaching tools, new language learning needs support. This question's answer needs to give clarity to the interviewer if you can support ESL students or not. Giving examples of how you have done this before will help.

      Shane's Answer

      "In the last school, I brought in Chinese and English cues to help the Chinese international students. By recalling vocabulary and enhancing language concepts, practice happened every day through online text, videos, and other activity introductions."

      Anonymous Answer

      "In my classroom, an ESL classroom is different than the norm. I have more visuals all around the classroom. My room should be the teacher as well."

      Shane's Answer

      Yes. I think educators sometimes think that elementary classrooms are the only place that should have visuals. But, this could not be further from the truth.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
  13. 13.

    How would you describe a strong teacher?

      Many people can define this type of teacher as being someone who demands respect in the classroom, is superior, and is dominant in a class setting. This example does not always have to be the case. Speak of a time where a teacher was strong, even though they still have a soft heart for the students.

      Shane's Answer

      "At my last job, there was a female teacher that I respected. When I entered her classroom, I got the sense that she cared about her students. Sure, she still had rules, classroom management, and commitments in the classroom, but she spent time going around to every student through the period, truly engaging them. To me, this example is a strong teacher."

      Anonymous Answer

      "A strong teacher is someone who demands attention in the classroom, cares deeply for the students, and has high-expectations for his/her students."

      Shane's Answer

      Make sure with expectations that there are sub-goals to make these expectations realistic. Some teachers come in thinking the students can do more than they think and then there is disappointment all around.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
  14. 14.

    What modification do you do with students who are struggling behaviorally in your classroom?

      Diversification is one of the best ways an interviewer can see if you are a qualified teacher or not. Talk through situations where you had modifications with a student to breed success. A plethora of examples can show the interviewer you have experience in this area.

      Shane's Answer

      "There are a few things I can try to diversify a student's learning who is struggling. Sometimes, moving a student refocuses them on the material. If poor behavior is still happening, I talk with them one-on-one to see how I can support them. Even asking the student if they are o.k. can diffuse any behavioral issues."

      Anonymous Answer

      "I know not every teacher has this, but I have an aide that works in my class with me. The aide has built a repetorie with one of my difficult students. When they are struggling behaviorally, the aide takes them aside, works with them one-on-one, and then gets them back into engagement with the rest of the class."

      Shane's Answer

      This is fantastic. If you do not have an aide, sometimes you can work out a solution by pairing them with another student they trust. Or maybe there is a student aide in your class who can be helpful, too.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
  15. 15.

    In what ways do you modify lessons for ESL students who also have a learning disability?

      Just like a traditional English learner, ESL students can have learning disabilities. For some, ESL students are in the class due to this fact. Share a typical lesson that could have some modifications to give more baby steps to help a student with a learning disability along in the right direction.

      Shane's Answer

      "Let's say I am working on a lesson involving past tense. For the typical ESL student, I may bring in previous knowledge about using past tense in their native language and adapting it to English. For a student with a learning disability, I would get the class started and work with this student one-on-one, working on the basics of past tense in their language again before diving into more challenging material. By seeing progress, then I can see if they are ready to move on or not. For certain sections, I may group students into different parts of the classroom, based on their knowledge, to give each group the teaching they need for ultimate success."

      Anonymous Answer

      "Learning disabilities and a new language can be a hard barrier to overcome. But, I need to back off my expectations and work slowly with a student. Many small goals need to be paired for success in this area."

      Shane's Answer

      When you focus more on what the student needs than what you want from the student, success happens quicker than you might think. Continue to evaluate and re-evaluate a plan for a positive experience to abound.

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  16. 16.

    Speak to an example where a challenging student became a better student in your class.

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  17. 17.

    Give an example of your most challenging students and how you handled situations with them.

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  18. 18.

    How do you work with troublesome students?

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  19. 19.

    How many years have you been an ESL educator?

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  20. 20.

    What other languages do you speak fluently besides English?

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  21. 21.

    What certifications do you currently have in ESL?

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  22. 22.

    What questions do you have about this school?

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  23. 23.

    What professional development has furthered your education to this point?

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  24. 24.

    What is the best thing about teaching?

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  25. 25.

    What are the best ways to motivate your students?

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  26. 26.

    What keeps you motivated to teach during the day?

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  27. 27.

    What do you like about this school?

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  28. 28.

    What is your approach to developing an assessment?

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  29. 29.

    Give an example of progress monitoring in your ESL class.

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  30. 30.

    What do you do to communicate with ESL students' families?

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