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English 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 qualifications do you have in English?

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English Teacher Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    What qualifications do you have in English?

      Of course, you have information on your resume that expresses your qualifications for English. But, be sure to highlight a few areas that show your professionalism in the subject. Examples could include training, conferences, degrees, certifications, and more.

      Shane's Answer

      "In 2018, I attended the AP Seminar training to become a certified AP teacher. Over a week, I learned essential techniques for not only teaching AP Seminar but strategies I could use in Common-Core classes. One of my favorite pieces of training involved activities for teaching and bringing joy to students. These examples are in my classes still, and I feel I have become a better teacher because of them."

      Anonymous Answer

      "Not only do a have a Bachelor's Degree in English Education, but also a Master's of Science in Curriculum and Design. These qualifications give me an upper-hand when helping fellow teacher plan materials for their classrooms."

      Shane's Answer

      This is where collaboration can come into the fold. With the experience you have, this sounds like a great way to get cross-curriculuar work moving in your school.

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

    Do you have any questions?

      This question comes up often, and it is one of the easier ones to consider. But, you need to prepare ahead of time, expecting this question may come. A query here will help the interviewer understand that you care about the job or not.

      Shane's Answer

      "Tell me more about the English extra-curricular opportunities at the school. I read on the website that there are a few that students join. I wanted to get a better idea of how English works across the school dynamic."

      Anonymous Answer

      "I am interested in the English Department here at the school. What expectations do you have for the teachers outside of the normal teaching day?"

      Shane's Answer

      It is always good to get clear expecations before you hop into a new job. It is never great when you come into a job and a lot of extra tasks are expected, but were never communicated.

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

    How do you continue to learn and grow as an educator?

      By growing and learning yourself, an interviewer will see how you develop as an English teacher, as well as an individual. Whether you are reading some books, practicing a new skill, or diving into an interest of yours, having a growth mindset is what every school culture wants.

      Shane's Answer

      "I have wanted to learn the cello for a long time now. By playing the guitar and piano, I knew I could do it, but I never had the time. First, I started watching YouTube videos and decided to get private lessons. It is always great to learn something, no matter the age."

      Anonymous Answer

      "I continue to learn and grow by taking as many classes as I can. Anything to further my learning, and I feel like I get a lot of value for what I do."

      Shane's Answer

      I love the drive. Just make sure to not burn yourself out. Go, go, going has worn out even the most seasoned teachers.

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

    How can you tell if a student is on-task or not?

      This question goes a little deeper than just being observant of students being disruptive or not. The interviewer wants to know how you get students individually to speak their knowledge of the subject. Speak to strategies or implementations you have used over the years.

      Shane's Answer

      "Being off-task does not always involve students being loud and boisterous. Students can be off-task on their electronic devices that they should be using for my class, as well. During lessons, I walk about the classroom and check-in with each student to make sure they understand the subject material, as well as staying on-task. I can ask knowledge-based questions and fact-checking probes."

      Anonymous Answer

      "I am not the kind of teacher that just sits in their desk and let's the world go by. I move around during the class to make sure students aren't on their computers playing games."

      Shane's Answer

      Though it can be hard to stay diligent in this area, a quality teacher is always active and engaged. Do not settle for less.

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

    What do you do when a student asks to share something with you privately?

      An interviewer knows that you will find yourself with a student who wants to confide in you at some point or another. In this situation, be honest about how you will protect yourself and the student. This way, the interviewer can feel confident you will handle the situation appropriately.

      Shane's Answer

      "In situations that I have had before, I protect the student by keeping the door open if I can. If they want the door shut, I make sure to bring another teacher the student trusts into the fold, so we can be of assistance but be protected, as well. I also tell the student before the conversation begins that I am willing to listen to what they have to say. But, if the information pertains to them hurting themselves or someone else, I have to, by law, get this information to the administration."

      Anonymous Answer

      "I am always honored when a student confides in me. However, I always tell the student if they are going to tell me about hurting them-self or someone else, I legally have to report it."

      Shane's Answer

      Right you are. If you do not report something like that, you could lose your job or worse. Listen to the stuent, but set the parameters.

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

    What do you do to handle a challenging student?

      Any teacher will experience a problem student at one time or another. The interviewer knows this and cares about how you have handled situations in the past. One area to focus on is speaking to the fact that problem students have potential. These types of students should never be outcasts but be engaged more.

      Shane's Answer

      "When it comes to challenging students, I work hard to paint the picture that they can succeed in my class. After I have spoken into their lives, then I engage with them more in a classroom setting. By devoting extra time to these students, I can work to help them beat the challenges they are having in my class. In turn, I have seen a lot of these same students participating in productive ways after the fact."

      Anonymous Answer

      "Challenging students can be frustrating. But, one of the most diffusing ways to interact with a troublesome student is taking them out of the classroom and asking if they are alright. This usually sets the frame of mind of the student for a better class moving forward."

      Shane's Answer

      Great way to handle this situation. Rather than making a scene with the student among his or her peers, this is a productive way to show you care.

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

    How would you handle a student who uses inappropriate language in your classroom?

      Students, at one point or another, are going to speak something inappropriate in your classroom. The interviewer wants to see how you will present yourself while speaking with the student kindly yet effectively.

      Shane's Answer

      "There is no reason for inappropriate language in my classroom. When I hear it the first time, I make sure to kindly direct the student to speak with a different word choice. If the problem persists, I speak to them after class and give the full picture of why students should not speak in this way."

      Anonymous Answer

      "Inappropriate language is a part of the English language. But, I pull the student aside and speak to them why we do not use the word they are saying, and we all move on together."

      Shane's Answer

      Even if you do have more issues with the student down the road, you will have established a base with them. Do not be afriad to get another teacher or the adminstration invovled in the process, as well.

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

    Tell me about how you've supported a student go from struggling to successful in a particular area.

      The interviewer wants to investigate how you care about your students. Teachers can teach content and deliver lessons, but not all teachers care. This example sets teachers apart from one another.

      Shane's Answer

      "I do not just share with the students that I care about them, but I put it into action. Whether I stay later or come early to help students with an assignment or ask them about their lives outside school, students can tell when a person cares or not. I believe this action allows them to see my value in them."

      Anonymous Answer

      "One student I had last year was really struggling to get work in on-time. We worked out a plan for the student to reach out if they needed more time. In turn, there was open and honest conversation and the student reaped the benefits in the end."

      Shane's Answer

      It is amazing how a plan comes together to help a student go forward positively. Keep consistent and you will continue to witness these great things.

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

    How do you motivate students, and why is it important?

      An interviewer wants to see the way you can influence students. Whether you are a virtual teacher or for in-person learning, motivating students involves creativity and planning. Speak of examples of students shining in your classroom.

      Shane's Answer

      "To motivate my students, I have to be willing to get to know my students. By understanding their weak points and strengths, I can personalize my approach with each student. In my last job, I was able to engage my students by seeing what drives them. For some of my students, they just needed praise and encouragement. Other students needed something tangible like candy, extra credit, etc."

      Anonymous Answer

      "Motivation is not the easiest thing to do. But, I work to get an idea of what my students want to accomplish. It is easier to motivate my stduents when they have interest in the material."

      Shane's Answer

      This is a good way to go. Thinking about your students and having open and honest conversations can make all the difference. You may be surprised on what your students will teach you in the process.

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

    What is the right way to teach English?

      The interviewer wants to identify your style of teaching English. There is no 'right way' because people learn English differently. One student may get a lot out of one approach, while another student may struggle. So, do not talk about one teaching method of English. Instead, talk about various learning styles that you will incorporate to help students' learn and enjoy English.

      Shane's Answer

      "I believe there are many ways to teach the subject of English. One teaching method will never fit every student in my class. For this reason, methods like drilling vocabulary, reading, and writing should be apart of the whole teaching curriculum."

      Anonymous Answer

      "Every teacher has a unique way of teaching English. For me, I want to inspire students through good prose, fun writing assignments, and ways to use English for the rest of their lives."

      Shane's Answer

      It really does depend on the individual. Continue to vary the things you do with English. In turn, you will see the majority of your students love your class.

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

    When would be a time to call the parents to give positive feedback?

      The interviewer is looking for examples of times parents were called for something positive. The stigma is that parents get called when their student is in trouble. Changing the narrative can go a long way with parents and the administration.

      Shane's Answer

      "I had a student who was struggling when we were working on analytical essays. Over time, I saw the progress that was changed the way he interacted in class, among his peers and myself. I, of course, told the student that I saw growth, but I called the parents as well to speak about the progress. This example needs mimicking in the classroom as much as possible."

      Anonymous Answer

      "At my school, the administration wants us to call 10 parents every semester. The conversations involve positive feedback. I love getting to speak with parents about how their child is succeeding."

      Shane's Answer

      Positive feedback conversations with a parent can include a student working with in groups, a student adding to a discussion, and a student acing an exam, to name a few.

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

    How do you stand up for other teachers within a classroom setting?

      Students are not going to like every teacher they ever have. The interviewer knows this fact. But, they do want to see if you will stand up for fellow faculty members or not. Give a brief description of how you have handled the situation before.

      Shane's Answer

      "There was a teacher in my last school that some students were very vocal about their dismay with him. Whenever I heard it come up in my classroom or the hallways, I would pull them aside and have a quick discussion on how he was my friend. Even though they may have a frustration with the teacher, I would encourage them to talk to the teacher instead of spewing anger around the school."

      Anonymous Answer

      "Students can easily talk down about a class they have just came from. I have a rule in my classroom that we do not talk down about anyone and that includes teachers."

      Shane's Answer

      Staying positive is a teaching moment that teachers can share with their students. You can always remind students that if they are having problems with a teacher, they can go talk to them face-to-face.

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

    How do you go about planning a lesson, and what are some 'musts' that you always incorporate?

      Preparation is the whole part of this question. Make sure to bring along example lessons from your past job. Maybe whipping up a lesson plan could help you get the upper hand, as well.

      Shane's Answer

      "My typical day involves taking roll, while the students write about a quote of the day. Next, we dive into our text, spend time journaling or free reading, and have interactive activities to get students working in groups. To close, we have a group discussion on what students learned in the class period."

      Anonymous Answer

      "Planning a lesson should not be thrown together. I have consistency in my lesson plans as well that my students expect."

      Shane's Answer

      Consistency is an ideal method. Do not forget to assess your students somehow before the class is over.

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

    If you had to choose one, who would be the most influential author of your youth?

      By getting an idea of who inspires you, an interviewer can see what your line of thinking is. This example is a question to free up the conversation and make you feel more comfortable.

      Shane's Answer

      "An inspiration in my life is Ernest Hemingway. I love his short prose and depth of learning. I feel like his novels have inspired me to teach students how to write so they can enjoy the writing process."

      Anonymous Answer

      "The most influential author for me was Dr. Seuss. The pictures were fun and the rhyme schemes were memorable."

      Shane's Answer

      Do not be afraid to use Dr. Seuss in your classroom. No matter the grade, you can have value in your class using this material.

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

    When did you accomplish something satisfying in teaching?

      By answering this question appropriately, the interviewer will see achievement in your life. Speak about the growth of a student. The interviewer wants to see how success has happened with the job applicant.

      Shane's Answer

      "Having success in life is all about the stretching process. When I was teaching 9th graders, I had a student who was not particularly satisfied with the class. The rest of my class seemed to be engaged and interactive, so I stuck with this student. I listened to the student and what I could do to help in the process. Over time, I built trust with the student, and they started enjoying my English class."

      Anonymous Answer

      "I try to look for satisfying moments in teaching all the time. One recently was having a student come back and thank me for their experience at the school. If I only taught that one student, teaching would be worth it."

      Shane's Answer

      Isn't it amazing when a student comes back to thank you? Cherish that for the end of time. Not all students will come back, but a few will make your day. Continue to teach knowing you have students watching.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
  16. 16.

    Tell me about a time when you used problem-solving to accomplish something on a team.

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  17. 17.

    Have you ever found yourself in a situation in which you did not understand the language around you? If so, how did that experience shape your understanding of English and how you teach it?

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  18. 18.

    How can you tell if a student understands the material or not?

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  19. 19.

    What is your protocol for students who are acting out in your class?

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  20. 20.

    What would you do if a student has asked to go to the bathroom every day for a week?

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  21. 21.

    What do you like to do when you are not teaching?

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  22. 22.

    What importance do you place on collaborating with other teachers? Tell me about a time when you worked with another teacher to integrate elements of your lessons.

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  23. 23.

    If a student shares something in class that is inappropriate, how do you handle the situation?

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  24. 24.

    What is your greatest strength?

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  25. 25.

    What is your greatest weakness?

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  26. 26.

    What is your teaching philosophy?

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  27. 27.

    Tell me one thing about yourself that makes you stand out against other English teaching candidates.

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  28. 28.

    Why do students need English in their lives?

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  29. 29.

    What have been some successful teaching methods used in your English classes?

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  30. 30.

    Tell me about a time when you planned a great lesson , but everything went wrong. What did you do?

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