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Math Teacher Interview
Questions

25 Questions and Answers by Ryan Brown

Question 1 of 25

What do you like most about teaching math?

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Math Teacher Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    What do you like most about teaching math?

      Think about the most rewarding moments of teaching math, something that makes you feel immensely accomplished. Feel free to add more to your personal story as the interviewer wants to know you more about you than what's written on your resume.

      Ryan's Answer

      "I like teaching math because I love seeing the lightbulb moment when my students finally understand a problem they've worked so hard to solve. Math is really goal-oriented in that way because students are working to arrive at a right answer. There are multiple ways. Sometimes they they give up, are disappointed in themselves, or don't realize they've missed a step here and there. But the final moment when they're able to walk through it themselves and arrive at the right answer really makes me feel like theirs and my hard work is worth it."

      Anonymous Answer

      "I have an opportunity to change the way students feel towards Math. Many students walk into Math class with negative feelings. Maybe they struggle with math, or maybe they find it boring. I can make it exciting and relevant. I can help students perform to the best of their abilities, so they leave my classroom with a new feeling towards math."

      Rachelle's Answer

      This is wonderful! Your excitement, energy, and passion for math and student learning really shine through.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes (6) or No (2)
  2. 2.

    What do you feel is the most effective way to communicate with parents?

      The answer to this question varies depending on your communication experience and style. Usually, good parent-teacher communication is oriented at open discussion and problem-solving if the parent or teacher has concerns about their child.

      Ryan's Answer

      "I prefer to have open and honest communication. I often ask parents first about how they feel their child's progress is, and then provide my perspective. Giving them a chance to share brings down their defenses and creates a more open channel of communication."

      Anonymous Answer

      "1. Keeping Grades Updated 2. Sending out an email that has my syllabus and ways to contact me 3. Through Google Classroom or a comparable site, sending out my weekly plans 4. Contacting parents for personal conversations."

      Rachelle's Answer

      These are all fantastic ways to communicate with parents clearly and also consistently. Great approach!

      Was this answer helpful? Yes (1) or No (0)
  3. 3.

    What is your homework philosophy?

      Good answers here will focus on consistency and self-reflection, to some extent. Show the interviewer that you're not a lenient teacher and expect students to be responsible.

      Ryan's Answer

      "My homework philosophy is: do it to the best of your ability. If there's a problem you can't solve, work halfway through it, show your work, and mark it so you can bring your questions to class. If there are answers in the book and they're asked to check, I do expect them to check and go through their work again so we can use class time efficiently and so students can keep track of their own progress."

      Anonymous Answer

      "Homework is never meant to be a punishment. If we are working hard in class, they should not have a lot of homework. Coaching soccer is like homework."

      Rachelle's Answer

      Many people would agree with you on this statement! :) When it comes to 'coaching soccer is like homework,' can you expand a bit further?

      Was this answer helpful? Yes (3) or No (0)
  4. 4.

    What are your most effective teaching strategies?

      Talk about your strong suit in teaching. Answers can range from your continuity to your strict discipline, your relaxed nature, or your creative ideas. This question reveals a lot about your personality.

      Ryan's Answer

      "I find that a consistent format works well for my students. Middle schoolers tend to be rowdy and unfocused, so they need a lot of structure throughout the class. I go through a set lesson plan with homework review, teach a concept, have them practice with an interactive activity, assign homework, and end the day with games to bring their spirits up. This way, they know what to anticipate and have something to look forward to while also knowing what's expected of them."

  5. 5.

    Tell me about a lesson that didn't go well and why. How might you improve that lesson?

      Again, there's no right answer here. It's important to self-reflect and be honest about what you could improve upon.

      Ryan's Answer

      "When I first started teaching, I had a lot of trouble with discipline, and once my class was so noisy that I yelled at my whole class and had to leave the classroom temporarily. I don't think I knew how to gain the students' respect yet because I wasn't experienced enough. Later on in my teaching I learned not to lose my temper and that it's a good idea to take a break or do something else if the atmosphere of the class isn't great."

  6. 6.

    What is your greatest strength? How can you use it to benefit our students?

      The interviewer wants to know how you can contribute to the students as a whole.

      Good qualities for teachers include:
      - patience: persistently explaining to students of different levels
      - creativity: thinking of different ways to approach one problem
      - hardworking: spending time preparing detailed lessons
      - constant follow-up with students' progress
      - flexible: able to adapt when class doesn't go as planned

      Ryan's Answer

      "I think my greatest strength is creativity. Some of my students really struggle with abstract math concepts and I incorporate figures, role-play, drawing, building with shapes, or animations to help them understand concepts."

      Anonymous Answer

      "My greatest strength is building relationships. I have learned from coaching and student teaching that students learn best when establishing a meaningful relationship with them. Because of my patience, caring personality, and my love for modern music, shows, sports, and video games, I can naturally carry on conversations and connect with students. This connection benefits student learning because they will feel engaged and comfortable, so they will participate and be excited to share ideas."

      Rachelle's Answer

      You bring such a personal approach - there is no doubt your students would respond well to you. It's great that you mention your strength while offering up tangible examples of this strength in action.

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

    What are your plans for continuing your professional growth?

      The interviewer wants to know how you will continue to advance your career. If you have plans to go back to school, you can discuss those, and if not, talk about an area of math teaching that you're interested in exploring.

      Ryan's Answer

      "I'd like to teach across the board to students of different levels. Most of my experience has been with middle schoolers and I'd really like to teach elementary school math to gain more experience."

      Anonymous Answer

      "Down the road, I plan to get my master's in education. I also plan to work closely with experienced team members to better my teaching knowledge and skills."

      Rachelle's Answer

      Your plans for growth are very clear - no doubt you will go very far in your teaching career...now, and in the future.

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

    What rules do you have for your classroom?

      Try to come up with a set of rules that facilitates a fun but respectful and responsible learning environment.

      Ryan's Answer

      "My classroom rules are: show up to class, do the homework, check your work, and follow the techniques taught in class. I tell my students it's okay to do things their way if they've already learned the concept before, but try the method I provide because it may be faster and more accurate, and maybe they'd learn a method they didn't know about before."

  9. 9.

    How do you get students engaged in the problem solving process?

      There are many ways to get students to become engaged in the math solving process. Good ways to motivate students include a reward system to keep track of progress, or group work by teaming up different leveled students together.

      Ryan's Answer

      "I think the best way I've used to get students to be more engaged is to put them in groups and set up a problem solving competition over a semester. I think a little positive competition is necessary and a good motivator. Throughout the semester the group will work together to do worksheets, projects, reports, and peer assessments together. This helps students feel like they're part of a group and not left to solve problems on theri own."

  10. 10.

    What skills and technologies are you most interested in improving upon or learning?

      Keep up with new technology and talk to your fellow teacher friends. There are a variety tools and techniques via Khan Academy and iTunes U.

      Here are some educational apps:
      - Math Bingo
      - Monkey Math School Sunshine
      - Mathemagics
      - Math Drills Lite
      - Math Fact Master

      Ryan's Answer

      "I think I'd eventually like to use iPads in the classroom. I want to make more of my lessons paper-free and more interactive. I find that most of my students can actually process the information better when it's on the tablet rather than on paper just by presenting it differently."

      Anonymous Answer

      "Learning whatever board technology you use. Like if it's a smartboard, taking a class or time on my own to master how to use it. My mom actually taught smartboard classes for 10 years, so I know there is help out there for learning any classroom technology."

      Rachelle's Answer

      Fantastic approach! Your answer shows strong interest in immersing yourself into this schools' offerings. Also, it seems you are resourceful when it comes to self-taught learning options.

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

    How would you make math class great for a lower-level student who feels bummed about their math ability?

      Lower-level students typically lack confidence, so most of the work here is on encouragement rather than teaching a specific math skill.

      Ryan's Answer

      "I spend a lot of time rewarding small successes. My students who aren't great at math usually feel like they're far from their target scores, but what they don't realize is that Rome wasn't built in a day. Every extra problem they get right is worth celebrating. I try to encourage them that way so they keep trying. I'll also emphasize the importance of accuracy over speed because some students are missing problems because they're rushing rather than because they don't understand the material."

  12. 12.

    Give an example of a situation in which you made math exciting for your students.

      Math can be tough and boring at times. Think of a situation in which you exercised your creativity through a game, simulation, a time when you brought your students outdoors, or drew a picture, or played a video - anything to demonstrate that you can think outside the box.

      Ryan's Answer

      "One of the most exciting classes I remember is when I put the class into groups and used dominoes to teach them multiplication. It was active and you could see the students' eyes sparkle when they got the right answer. Some were just happy sitting on the ground lining up the dominoes. It was much more effective than doing board work."

      Anonymous Answer

      "NCFTL - National Classroom Free Throw League I had convinced my 7th-grade students that I started this big classroom free-throw league. Had pictures and an official emblem on the board. I divided the students into 4 teams, then had each student shoot 2 free throws using a mini basketball and a wastebasket. Students recorded the class results as fractions, percentages, and decimals. To understand the relationship among those 3 terms, and to, of course, see which team had the best Classroom Free Throw shooters. The kids had a lot of fun while showing an understanding of the learning target. Linear Equation (Y = mx + b) Example - Having students graph the equation using their bodies."

      Rachelle's Answer

      This does sound exciting! I may have enjoyed math growing up had we done activities like this :) Great example of your creative mind at work.

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

    Which math subject is your favorite to teach and why?

      Show off your expertise a little here! Be modest but reveal your strengths.

      Ryan's Answer

      "I think multiplication is probably my favorite because i can use a variety of tools like marbles, blocks, or other interactive math games for students to practice with. I also like it because it's practical and sometimes I'll set up real-life scenarios for students to use what they've learned and it's all of fun for me and them."

      Anonymous Answer

      "I really like teaching algebra because you are constantly solving for missing variables in life."

      Rachelle's Answer

      Nice, straightforward response, and you back your reasoning very well.

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

    What is your greatest weakness? What are you doing to improve upon it?

      Be honest, but give yourself an opportunity to turn the negative into a positive down the road. Show that you are willing to work on this teaching weakness, or indirectly show how one of your strengths can make up for that weakness.

      Ryan's Answer

      "My biggest weakness is probably impatience. I tend to get frustrated with students sometimes when I'm explaining a concept or if they don't understand what they missed on a math problem. But over the years I've learned to get more creative and be persistent with helping them figure out the missing pieces. I realized that sometimes we're not able to meet our teaching goal for the day but it's possible they'll get a better picture of the concept next week after they've learned other parts of it."

      Anonymous Answer

      "Some may perceive my lack of experience as a weakness."

      Rachelle's Answer

      This skill will certainly come over time, although it's great that you are addressing this already. What action could you take, independently, to grow this particular skill?

      Was this answer helpful? Yes (1) or No (0)
  15. 15.

    Share with me what you think a good piece of mathematics is - something you really like.

      This is a completely open-response question. It could be as simple as a multiplication trick or as complicated as a calculus formula. Share something your students have benefited from.

      Ryan's Answer

      "When I was teaching middle school math, we had a lesson on adding and subtracting positive and negative numbers and my students had difficulty remembering which result was positive and negative. So I came up with a cute mnemonic for my students to memorize: positive means love and negative means hate. So if we love to love, then it's positive. If we love to hate, then it's negative. If we hate to love, it's still negative, but we if we hate to hate, then it's positive. I've been using that for years!"

      Anonymous Answer

      "Creative thinking. And you are probably thinking, "Creative Thinking in Math, but there's typically just one right answer." This is true, but there are multiple ways to get thereā€”for example, 13 x 25. One student may do the standard multiplication algorithm. Another student may say, "25 cents is a quarter. Well, I know 12 quarters is 3 dollars. One more quarter would give me 3.25. I moved the decimal place and got 3."

      Rachelle's Answer

      It's important to teach kids to think this way to come to the right conclusion in a variety of (creative) ways. Good approach!

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  16. 16.

    What do you have that would enhance our teaching staff?

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  17. 17.

    How would you challenge the slow learner and the advanced learner within the same class?

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  18. 18.

    What kind of students do you like to work with? What type of students could you teach most effectively?

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  19. 19.

    Other than tests, how do you assess student learning?

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  20. 20.

    What makes you unique as a math teacher?

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  21. 21.

    What three words would your students use to describe you?

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  22. 22.

    Tell me about a lesson that went well and why.

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  23. 23.

    What was the most frustrating thing that happened to you as a teacher?

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  24. 24.

    Tell me about someone who has influenced your own education and educational career.

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  25. 25.

    Why did you decide to become a math teacher?

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