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Elementary Teacher Interview
Questions

54 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns

Published August 17th, 2018 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Job Interviews     Careers     Education    
Question 1 of 54
Are you comfortable with the use of technology in the classroom?
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How to Answer
The interviewer is asking this question because it's important to them: the school is working on integrating technology into the classroom.

Affirm the importance of technology and explain what it enables. Then provide an example if have one.
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Answer Examples
1.
Are you comfortable with the use of technology in the classroom?
The interviewer is asking this question because it's important to them: the school is working on integrating technology into the classroom.

Affirm the importance of technology and explain what it enables. Then provide an example if have one.

Rachelle's Answer
"Yes, absolutely. In fact, I think it's critical to student success and achievement. Technology lets us engage students in so many different ways, which means that we can cater to different learning styles. For example, I use iPads to create interactive presentations, which lets the student learn in whatever way is best for them—if they like reading, listening, interacting with diagrams—whatever it is, they can do really engage with the material."
2.
Do you have any questions for me?
This question is usually saved for the end of the interview. You can use this opportunity to end things on a positive note by asking questions that focus on success.

Rachelle's Answer
"What are some of the areas that are most in need of improvement? If I were to start here as a teacher, and the principal said that he was really proud of me, can you tell me what she might say that I've done?"
3.
Have you ever taken care of someone? Did you enjoy it?
The interviewer is asking this because you'll be expected to take care of children. Most likely, you'll be teaching younger children Grades K-2.

Answer honestly and follow up with specific techniques that you could use to enable you to perform this job function. If possible, draw from an experience in which you performed well. The age of the person you took care of is less important than the fact that you were able to care for this person. End with a focus on something positive that you got out of the situation.

Rachelle's Answer
"I had to take care of my aunt for a month or so, back when I was in high school. She has cerebral palsy. It was tough in the beginning and I didn't like it at first. But after the first week or so, I got a lot of satisfaction out of the fact that she was depending on me."
4.
If I were your principal and we were setting goals for next year, what would they be?
You may want to ask for more information to make a more well-informed response. Regardless, you can answer hypotheticals by laying out the grounds of two different common scenarios and explaining the goals are. You can also wrap your answer up by telling the interviewer about one aspect of professional development that you would strive to work on regardless of what the school's needs are. Follow up with why you want to work on it and/or how it'll benefit the school.

Rachelle's Answer
"That depends on what the areas of improvement are. Maybe we need to work on reading scores or math scores, in which case my goal would be to raise the scores. I'm always trying to get parents more involved though, so increasing parent engagement is one of the goals I really want to keep working on throughout my career because I've seen that students succeed more consistently when parents are supportive of what the teachers are trying to accomplish."
5.
What activities has technologies replaced in your lessons, if any?
If you have an example where technology has replaced an activity, explain why. Note that it's not necessary that technology replace an activity in your lessons: a technology can also supplement an activity. The most important thing to understand is that the interviewer is looking at how you use technology to improve the effectiveness of your lessons.

Tell the interviewer about your stance on technology and give an example on how you do use technology to benefit the students.

Rachelle's Answer
"I don't outright replace any activities. The kids still need to learn penmanship. And they still need to know how to look up a word in a traditional dictionary. We can't let autocorrect and Google do all the thinking for them. I use technology to enhance my lessons.

For example, I use educational apps on the iPad so that the students can interact with lessons. This makes it more engaging and they learn better this way."
6.
Have you ever considered publishing a book?
It's usually best to be slightly ambitious, but not overly ambitious. Give a genuine answer.

If you have considered it, go into some detail about why and position it as an aspiration that you'll take steps to achieve over the long term. The key is to show your ambition and your proactive approach, but not so much that you appear to be a flight risk. Being concrete in your steps makes you appear professional and results-oriented rather than treating objectives like pipe dreams.

If you haven't considered it, give a quick answer as to why not and quickly segue into how teaching is your passion and commitment.

Rachelle's Answer
"I think most teachers have thought about writing a book at some point in their careers. We have so many stories to tell! The thought had crossed my mind, but right now my focus is on the kids. I just want to be the best teacher I can to them."
7.
If a student came to you and said, 'None of the other students like me,' what would you tell him/her?
Demonstrate your interpersonal ability by laying out the flow of your conversation. If it makes it easier, ask the interviewer if you can imagine an actual student by name: this makes the answer less abstract and helps you appear more empathetic.

Rachelle's Answer
"Let's imagine that the student's name is Johnny. I'd say, 'Johnny, I feel bad that you think that none of the other students like you. Why do you think that?' I'd listen to the answer and look into the matter. If there's bullying, I'd follow school policy about that. At the end of the day, it's important to remember that this student trusted me enough to open up to me and is expecting me to improve his situation."
8.
Tell me about some specific motivational strategies you use to get students excited about a project.
Take the school's values into account before responding. Be specific and give concrete examples that you've used in the past. If your past experience doesn't fit exactly with the school's values, explain some small adjustments that you'd make at this school and explain why.

Rachelle's Answer
"I use both intrinsic and extrinsic rewards.

For intrinsic rewards, I'd ask each student about something fun that they'd like to do if they could do anything and they had the whole of next week to do it, no homework or assignments. That tells me a little bit about what is exciting to them. Some kids might say they want to play sports, some kids might want to play video games, some might want to ride a horse. I use these ideas as a springboard for lessons.

For the extrinsic reward, I let the kids choose a little prize from the prize box if they get enough stars at the end of the week.

Each student is different in which one motivates them more, so I adjust as needed."
9.
How will you instruct students with varying abilities?
Demonstrate your competence and professional knowledge by mentioning a few theories and then go into a little bit of detail for each technique. If you're an experienced teacher, you may also demonstrate your understanding of how to handle such situations by simply telling the interviewer what you would do.

Rachelle's Answer
"You're always going to have students who are slower or faster than each other. The ones who are faster tend to get bored, so I teach the base lesson and keep the faster ones busy with some more challenging pieces of work. I take note of the ones who are slower and remind myself that I need to spend a little more time with them."
10.
How can you tell that a person is a good listener?
Use your knowledge of pedagogy in your response.

Example answer; "A good listener will be able to paraphrase or otherwise demonstrate that they understand what was just being said. You can't rely on physical cues because people act differently: some people might stare into the ground because they're listening intently, others might look you in the eyes and nod. The only way to really tell is to ask them to explain what you said to them in their own words."
Rachelle's Answer
"A good listener will be able to paraphrase or otherwise demonstrate that they understand what was just being said. You can't rely on physical cues because people act differently: some people might stare into the ground because they're listening intently, others might look you in the eyes and nod. The only way to really tell is to ask them to explain what you said to them in their own words."
11.
How closely do you follow your plans?
It's important to demonstrate your professionalism and discipline by showing that you can stick to a plan regardless of how you feel or what happens. On the same token, flexibility is also important.

Rachelle's Answer
"I typically do stick very close to my plans. I spend a lot of time drawing them up. At the same time, if I see that the class isn't progressing according to plan, I'll adjust my plan and stick to the new version, and so on and so forth."
12.
How do you feel about computers in the classroom?
See how tightly technology is integrated into the school. Chances are that, like most schools, they are trying to find ways to use technology to improve.

Give an example of what you have done or might do to use technology to benefit the students.

Rachelle's Answer
"I think computers are great tools to supplement traditional classroom activities. Last year, I introduced email newsletters for the parents which increased parental engagement. Some of the students seemed to be more present in the classroom as a result."
13.
What is the toughest problem you've had to face? And how did you overcome it?
Choose a character trait that would be critical to overcoming one of the most difficult problems that an elementary school teacher might face. Draw from your own experiences and look for times when that character trait helped you overcome an obstacle.

Rachelle's Answer
"I had a violent student who would lash out at students and staff. I had to be very patient with him and I had to remain very calm when dealing with him because I knew that, if he saw my stress or any sign of aggression, he would lash out even more. I overcame the problem by showing him compassion."
14.
Do you believe you should build rapport with students? If yes, how?
Rapport is an important aspect of influencing others. Explain how you build rapport with students and end your response with a benefit to the students.

Rachelle's Answer
"Absolutely, rapport is very important. Students respond to teachers when they feel like the teacher really cares and has a genuine connection with them. I build rapport with them by getting to know the people in their lives during one-on-one talks. Every week, on two different days, I assign an independent activity to the class and during that time I have a chat with each student for about five minutes. I take that time to get to know them individually, so that they know that they aren't just an anonymous face in a class of 30 kids. The students usually do better because they have a direct line of communication with me that they know they can rely on."
15.
How would you rank these in importance and why? Planning, discipline, methods, evaluation.
Note that 'discipline' is the only character trait that is based on you. Planning, methods, and evaluation are all skills that can be taught. If you choose another aspect from the list, make sure you justify your statements with a clear explanation. It may help to think in terms of how one aspect supports or is a prerequisite for another aspect to function.

Rachelle's Answer
"Discipline is the most important because your work ethic is something that you're ingrained with. Everything else is something that can be taught. You need discipline to execute a plan, you need discipline to learn new methods, and you need discipline to implement the feedback that comes from evaluation. I'm very disciplined it shows in my dedication to my students."
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54 Elementary Teacher Interview Questions
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Interview Questions
  1. Are you comfortable with the use of technology in the classroom?
  2. Do you have any questions for me?
  3. Have you ever taken care of someone? Did you enjoy it?
  4. If I were your principal and we were setting goals for next year, what would they be?
  5. What activities has technologies replaced in your lessons, if any?
  6. Have you ever considered publishing a book?
  7. If a student came to you and said, 'None of the other students like me,' what would you tell him/her?
  8. Tell me about some specific motivational strategies you use to get students excited about a project.
  9. How will you instruct students with varying abilities?
  10. How can you tell that a person is a good listener?
  11. How closely do you follow your plans?
  12. How do you feel about computers in the classroom?
  13. What is the toughest problem you've had to face? And how did you overcome it?
  14. Do you believe you should build rapport with students? If yes, how?
  15. How would you rank these in importance and why? Planning, discipline, methods, evaluation.
  16. What would you do if 50% of a class did poorly on a test?
  17. How would you apply technology to enhance daily instruction and increase student learning?
  18. What attracted you to this school?
  19. What are your computer skills? What computer software have you used?
  20. How do you encourage students to learn? Can a student be forced to learn?
  21. How do you deal with the unmotivated student?
  22. How would you weigh a plane without scales?
  23. What would you tell a parent who complained about his/her child not having enough homework?
  24. Give me examples of ideas you've had and implemented?
  25. What's the last book you read?
  26. Was there a person in your life who really made a difference?
  27. Are you an empathetic person? Give an example.
  28. What are the qualities of a good leader? A bad leader?
  29. Do you prefer to do long term or short term plans? How do you plan for instruction?
  30. What do you feel are the most important factors in classroom control?
  31. Why is your GPA not higher?
  32. What would you do if your Principal made a decision you did not like?
  33. What experience have you had with students from culturally diverse backgrounds?
  34. Why did you decide to become a teacher?
  35. Are you a positive and energetic person?
  36. If a student said she thought you were the worst teacher she ever had, what would you say?
  37. Are you a team player?
  38. What is your philosophy towards work?
  39. What is your greatest strength?
  40. How do you handle stressful situations?
  41. If you had enough money to retire right now, would you?
  42. What was your most rewarding experience during student teaching?
  43. If students were having difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
  44. What techniques would you use to be sure that students understand?
  45. How do you feel when a student fails?
  46. What techniques do you use to keep students actively involved during a lesson?
  47. Why are you the best person for this job?
  48. What challenges are you looking for in a position?
  49. It seems like there is never enough time to cover the curriculum or to get children to master content and skills. Would you comment on that?
  50. What are your weaknesses?
  51. Where would you like to be in your career five years from now?
  52. Are you constantly searching for things you can show, tell, or demonstrate to students? Tell us about some recent discovery, something that you have found.
  53. What are you most proud of?
  54. What do you like to do in your spare time?
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