Confrontation is challenging. Parents can get defensive about their children or be in denial about their children's struggles. In the end, both you and the parent wants what's best for the child. Think about a time when you were able to speak honestly but lovingly, and empathetically, to a parent about his or her child.
"One of my students would constantly disrupt class by distracting other students or refusing to participate in any activities. A few weeks after this behavior continued, I held a parent-teacher meeting and told the parent that while their child was bright and creative, I was concerned that she might be having some trouble focusing. We made a plan together which included a lower sugar breakfast, more sleep, and a more disciplined schedule overall."
"As I am new to my career as a preschool teacher I have not yet needed to speak to a parent regarding child-related concerns. I realize this would be a touchy subject handled with great care and empathy. I look forward to learning from such skilled directors, here, and emulating their problem-solving skills when it comes to parent communication."
"In my nine years of experience as a preschool teacher I have had many uncomfortable, but much needed, conversations with parents of students. I always start by genuinely complimenting their child. I then make a recommendation for improvement and growth and immediately provide resources to support this request at home. For instance last week the conversation went something like, 'I must say that I greatly appreciate Samantha's participation when it comes to dancing, painting, and other art based activities. She is certainly a creative force in our classroom! I would like to discuss how we can better support her interest in reading and language arts. For that reason, I have created a list of educational apps you can download on your tablet, to pique her interest further. Also, here is a list of age-appropriate books that she may enjoy reading. Could we work together for the next month and regroup to discuss her progress?' This method of coaching works for me every time because it's collaborative, non-blaming, and non-invasive."
The interviewer realizes that success will take on a different meaning for each person. They are looking for an honest and well-thought answer. Discuss what gives you a feeling of pride and accomplishment. Your answer could be something big, or small! There is no incorrect response here.
"To me, a successful day is when each child leaves feeling respected, like they learned something new, and gains self-confidence. The preschool years are the foundation of confidence, and I love that I get to be a part of it."
"Here are some ways you may define success: - Seeing a student's confidence grow - Helping a student overcome a learning roadblock - Cultivating a classroom environment full of respect and trust - Receiving an industry accolade or award "
"As a preschool teacher, I define success in a multitude of ways! First, a successful day is when my students feel safe in their learning environment. When they come, and go, with the same enthusiasm that is when I know the day was a success. My greatest success as a teacher; however, is seeing a student overcome a learning roadblock."
The way in which you answer this question will show the interviewer where you will put the most emphasis in your lessons. There is no right or wrong answer here; however, you will want to visit the childcare center's website to learn more about their mission statement and goals. It's likely that they will mention their priorities here. Let's say that the childcare website has a mission statement that says,"Our commitment is to inspire each child to find their way, be adaptive, help those around them, and enjoy the journey." You will then want to reply like this, "I believe that the most important thing a young child can learn is the ability to explore their creativity without hesitation or care of judgment. It's important to me that my young students feel the freedom to be themselves and extend kindness at all times."
"Our commitment is to inspire each child to find their way, be adaptive, help those around them, and enjoy the journey."
"In my opinion, the most important thing that a young child can learn is to stay kind to themselves and others. Often, we are our own worst critic, so I believe it's important for kids to be able to recover from failure quickly, and with confidence."
"This is a tough question since there are so many skills and qualities that I encourage my students. I will say that those children who have confidence in their abilities are the students who thrive in all other areas. So, I will say that the most important thing a young child can learn is self-confidence. What do you feel is the most important thing a young child can learn?"
"Here are some hard skills that may set you apart as a preschool teacher: - Bachelor's degree in a particular specialty - Language skills - Sign language skills - Professional development and training - Additional certification - Computer skills - Music or arts-based skills - Experience creating curriculum Here are some soft skills that may set you apart as a preschool teacher: - Kindness - Optimism - Sense of humor - Strong work ethic - Empathy - Etiquette "
"What sets me apart from other preschool teachers is the fact that I have a dual degree. My Bachelor's Degree in Education has set me up to be a successful teacher and my Bachelor's Degree in Classical Music has allowed me to spend time teaching children new skills in music, and the arts. It's important to teach music appreciation at a young age, and I'm proud to see each of my students find their voice through the arts, alongside traditional subjects such as math and reading."
Your answer can be a simple yes or no; however, you need to come prepared to the interview with proof of certification. Be sure to include your setting, age-level endorsement, and specialization.
"I do have a valid CDA certification. I brought my certification documents for you to verify, and feel free to take a photocopy or scan for your records. You will notice that I am certified in center-based programs for preschoolers, 3-5 years old with a specialization in bilingual programs."
"I understand the importance of holding a CDA Certificate which is why I have registered to take my certification exam later this week. Rest assured, my plan, before starting my career as a preschool teacher, includes full certification through the CDA Council."
"I am, in fact, certified! Since starting my career as a preschool teacher, I have never allowed my certification to lapse. I am certified in Family Child Care Programs, ages birth to five years, with a specialization in bilingual programs. I have brought my certification documents with me today. Feel free to make a copy for your records."
The interviewer would like to know that you are accustomed to working with a broad range of people. Share your experiences with students from culturally diverse backgrounds. Diversity can include children of different ethnic, religious, or socioeconomic backgrounds.
"I have worked with students from various backgrounds ever since I started teaching, five years ago. One of the most memorable was when I worked with a child who was a recent immigrant from Sudan. Her English skills snowballed because I would spend an extra 30 minutes with her before school started. She was such an eager and fast learner, I will never forget that rewarding experience."
"While completing my program at a local childcare center, I taught children in a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds. It was intriguing to see how children do not notice any differences. They just want to play with each other and make new friends."
"I have worked with diverse groups of students, and teachers, most of my career, including my time in University. I am most comfortable, and happy, in this type of environment because it offers a great learning opportunity for everyone."
A good employer will go out of their way to get to know what motivates you, and what keeps you happy. Everyone will have the particular triggers that cause them to feel dissatisfaction on the job. Talk to the interviewer about any factors that may deflate or discourage you in the workplace.
"I can feel dissatisfaction on the job when I am not feeling heard or when there is not mutual respect among the team members. I work best in more harmonious situations where there is little drama or gossip."
"I have felt dissatisfied on the job when I feel underpaid and overworked. I don't mind working hard at all, but I don't like to feel as though I'm being taken advantage of."
"I feel dissatisfied when I work hard but constantly hit roadblocks such as policy changes in the teaching industry. Obstacles happen, but when you can't get anywhere because there are so many of them, it is frustrating. I overcome this by creating alternate scenarios and preparing new ways to get around red tape and policy."
Ah, the challenge of stress management! Your ability to manage stress will directly influence your ability to do your job successfully. Before answering this question, think of some ways you have learned to deal with stress at work. As a preschool teacher, you can't always take a break when you need it, so what will you do?
"I've learned some helpful breathing techniques that I can do while I'm in the classroom. Sometimes my kids will do them with me! Even when I'm feeling rushed or overwhelmed by a situation, I can slow down my breathing and remain calm. Once I understood that it was okay for me to take a minute for myself, I learned to handle workplace stressors in a whole new way."
"Some workplace stress management strategies are: - Track your primary stress factors and make a plan for overcoming those - Establish boundaries with distracting coworkers - Breathing exercises, or meditation - Be sure to recharge your emotional batteries throughout the day - Express your stress to your manager/supervisor - Ask for help"
"I do well under pressure or stress, especially after ten years as a preschool teacher! I obviously need to balance myself and my workload out, as much as possible, or it can become unsustainable. I know myself and my triggers pretty well, so when I feel like there's too much on my plate, I know how to center myself and just dig in and get through it, knowing I'll come out better on the other side. I am also unafraid to ask for assistance when needed."
The interviewer would like to know how you have encouraged others to think creatively. Encouragement to others is a great skill to possess. Talk to the interviewer about your ability to promote creative ideas in your fellow teachers.
"I like to encourage other people to be creative in their thinking and present ideas to the school, no matter how off the wall they may seem. Some of our most successful teachers are ones who are confident in their ability to bring forward their unique ideas. Our school encourages participation through an open door policy and strong praise for those who show initiative."
"Here are some ways that you can encourage ideas in others: - Get to know them and what they like to work on - Send an encouraging email letting them know you like their plan or ideas - Publicly praise their efforts - If they are doing a great job, offer them more related opportunities - If you are a leader, then tell them that you like their ideas - Say things like 'Well done' or 'Nice work' on a regular basis - Show that you believe in their quality of work before they even deliver it "
"I encourage my fellow teachers, and teacher assistants, to tap into the best parts of themselves. It helps to ask probing questions to get them to generate ideas on their own. I have found that by painting a long-term vision for where I want the center to go, my team will often jump in with creative solutions to get us there."
The majority of teachers will work overtime hours or take work home with them on occasion. Talk to the interviewer about how frequently to take your work home.
"I make sure to utilize my work hours very efficiently, so the only time that I take my work home is when there is an extremely stringent marking deadline or an issue in the classroom that needs attention. I would say that, overall, I take my work home maybe twice per month. It's all about being diligent with your time in the school!"
"I am used to working all hours since I have just completed my university degree. Rest assured, I am more than willing to take any work home with me. I suspect this will be quite often as I begin my career, build my curriculum, and get to know my new students' needs."
"I take my work home with me whenever it is necessary. Some teaching positions I have held, I work from home nearly every day. Other roles, such as my current position, I work from home just a couple of times per month."
A part of being a diligent teacher is to ensure that you are always on time and present when expected. It's great to be consistently early, to prep your classroom for the day, rather than just showing up right on the dot. Talk to the interviewer about your attendance.
"I had zero unexcused absences last year. In total, I took 12 vacation days out of my 15 allotted days. I was sick just 2, and those were accompanied by a note from my doctor, and I found a substitute teacher in sufficient time."
"I did not miss a single day of class last year, and I plan to bring that same level of dedication and diligence to my career."
"I think I missed ten days, counting vacation time. Of those, five were for my vacation. For three days, I was excused under a doctor's note. The other two absences were pre-approved family days."
Your answer can be a simple yes or no; however, you need to come prepared to the interview with proof of certification. If you require any upgrading, you are best to address this before the interviewer does.
"I do have valid First Aid and CPR certifications. I brought my certification documents for you to verify, and feel free to take a photocopy or scan for your records. You will notice that my First Aid is expiring at the end of June. I have already registered for a re-certification class."
"I understand the importance of current certifications in First Aid and CPR which is why I have registered to take both certifications this coming month. Rest assured, my plan, before starting my career as a preschool teacher, includes full certification."
"I am certified! Since starting my career as a preschool teacher, I have never allowed my certifications to lapse. I have brought my certification documents with me today. Feel free to make a copy for your records."
There is no right or wrong answer here, just your preferences. As a preschool teacher, you likely have your favorite resources so it should not be difficult for you to list these off-hand. It's a great idea to ask the interviewer if there are any favorite books and resources used at their childcare center. You never know what you will learn!
"I have a membership to a popular book subscription which makes my students lucky enough to have the best and newest books available to them. With that said, I do greatly appreciate the classic books by authors such as Robert Munsch and Dr. Seuss. Which books are favored by your students here?"
"Here is a list of favorite books often used in a preschool setting: - Jamberry, by Bruce Degen - Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak - Happy Birthday, Moon, by Frank Asch - The Very Hungry Caterpillar, but Eric Carle - Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, by Bill Martin Jr. - Corduroy, by Don Freeman - Green Eggs and Ham, by Dr. Seuss - Smelly Socks, by Robert Munsch "
"I love to learn about new reading resources and am constantly stocking my mini in-class library. My favorite books, hands down, include series like The Berenstain Bears and Amelia Bedelia. I can certainly provide you with a full list if you desire. Do you have some favorites at this center?"
Your specific teaching style will determine whether you are a fit for this preschool or not. Before going to your interview, you must research and be sure that their method is meant for you as well. If you are applying to a Montessori based program yet believe that teachers should remain the center of the learning environment, you may not find this role to be the best fit. Be honest about your teaching style and have the confidence to ask, up front, if your style is what they seek.
"I believe that the learning environment should be child-centered with the teacher acting as an encourager, guide, and coach. It seems that these are values you appreciate at your school, as well. Does my teaching style seem to be a fit for your center?"
"I learned a variety of styles while obtaining my Associate's Degree in Early Childhood Development. One method that resonated with me is the Waldorf play-based method. I appreciate that the environment remains child-centered encouraging free play time, along with a focus on cognitive development. Would this teaching style best describe your environment?"
"Through my career as a preschool teacher, I have explored a variety of teaching methods, including Reggio Emilia. I appreciate the blend of academic and play-based learning. I like the emphasis on project-based learning and focus on social interaction. My teaching style allows my students to self-guide; therefore, gaining confidence. Is there any reason why my teaching style would not be a fit here?"
It is imperative that you research the childcare center before your interview. When the interviewer asks this question, you need to have a unique answer that goes deeper than the information you find on the home page of their website. Take a look at any community involvement, news reports or online reviews and form your reply from that data. If you have a personal attachment to the center, such as being the parent of a child who attended preschool there, it is great to mention this as well.
"I have had my eye out for new opportunities at this center since my children attended your program five years ago. They were always so happy to attend preschool here, and I appreciated the high standards of care and the great level of organization that I witnessed here."
"I recently graduated with my Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education and had been looking for an opportunity with a center that offered Montessori based learning in a multi-lingual environment. Your center was made aware to me by one of my professors who recommended that I research your curriculum. Your center has excellent online ratings which are also very appealing to me."
"After being a Preschool Teacher in private, and public, sectors for many years I understand the importance of a solid curriculum and heavy community involvement. I see both of these qualities here and look forward to carving out a career with a program that holds such a strong reputation."
"Here is a list of desired qualities for preschool teachers: - High level of patience - Sense of humor - Great creativity - Strong enthusiasm for children - Clear verbal and written communicator - Ability to embrace diversity "
"A preschool teacher must have the best sense of humor! We need to be adaptable, accepting of change, and embracing of diversity. I see in your job description that you are seeking a preschool teacher who also brings a great level of creativity. In addition to my Education degree, I also have a diploma in multi-media arts which will be a great asset in this role."
Career progression can be a touchy subject, especially if you feel that your career hasn't progressed as well as you would have liked. Talk to the interviewer about your career progression and what you would like to see in the future.
"Overall, my career has progressed a touch slower than I would have liked. I have held a couple of positions that didn't offer the growth and learning that I was expecting; however, I have bounced back nicely. I feel that this particular position would take my teaching career exactly where it should be."
"I am new to my career as a preschool teacher, and so far, I am delighted with the opportunities that have come my way."
"I am thrilled with the progress of my career. I am proud of my accomplishments and the path my career has taken so far."
The interviewer would like to know what other career interests you may have. A hiring manager will be able to tell a lot about your personality by learning about your other career interests. If you could do anything over, what would you do, and why?
"I certainly do not regret the direction I have taken my career; however, if I had to start over in a new direction completely I would likely pursue my Degree in Design and become an interior designer. I enjoy decorating, and creating comfortable spaces."
"I have a variety of interests in addition to being a preschool teacher. If I could not be a preschool teacher, I would say that I would explore further opportunities as a music or art therapist for children."
"That is a very tough question! I cannot imagine being anything other than a preschool teacher. If I had to choose another career path, I would choose a career in the arts. I always had a penchant for acting and never did chase that dream. This is part of the reason why I so greatly enjoy teaching acting and music to my young students."
Studies show that play is the best way for 4-year-olds to learn. Take the interviewer through some of the activities you include in your curriculum. You do not need to verbally go through the ins and outs of your entire curriculum plan; however, if you have a paper or digital example, you are encouraged to bring this with you to the interview.
"I have brought a copy of my curriculum plan from my most recent preschool teaching position. As you take a look through this curriculum, you will see that I have a strong preference for play and group-based activities. Each day includes ample reading time, nature walks, playing with Duplo to build hand/eye coordination, exploring dance and song, and independent learning time where they can choose a book to read on their own."
"I have not yet created my own curriculum plan; however, I have followed the plan provided to me in my current teachers' assistant role, in a very close way. I have learned to guide my students through hands-on play, physical activity, group collaboration, and independent learning."
"Four-year-olds are such fun, and my curriculum reflects that. I brought with me a semester example for you to look through. You will see that I offer a large range of activities in a day, ensuring to keep the activities flowing to avoid boredom. I start each day with open-discussion where kids can talk about their evening. Then, we enter into reading time, nature walk, and some math-focused board games. We finish the day on a high note through dress-up time, or song and dance."
When you answer this question, remain positive, even if the experience wasn't. Avoid talking about any previous drama and do not speak poorly of your employer. Keep your answer short and respectful. If you had a good relationship with your previous director: "I had a very healthy relationship with my previous employer. She was easy to approach, and we would bounce ideas off of each other quite often. I would sum it up as a relationship lead by strong mutual respect." If you did not have a good relationship with your previous boss: "I have had healthier relationships in the past with previous employers, but we did the best that we could. Our communication styles were very different which made it challenging at times."
"I had a very healthy relationship with my previous employer. She was easy to approach, and we would bounce ideas off of each other quite often. I would sum it up as a relationship lead by strong mutual respect."
"My previous boss and I got along well. We had very different interests, so we did not spend a lot of time chatting, but our work interests were aligned, and we respected each other."
"My previous boss and I had a great working relationship. We were in sync when it came to accomplishing things we needed in regards to school communication and curriculum. We scheduled weekly touch base meetings to stay current on our progress and address any issues that came up along the way. I learned a lot from them on leadership while adding great value to the team."
A potential employer will often base their offer on your current salary. You should be transparent about your most recent earnings and be prepared to back up any salary requests.
"I am currently earning a base salary of $38,000 plus health benefits. I am looking for a competitive salary in my next position."
"As I am a recent graduate, I would like to be offered a fair salary that reflects my recent education. I am most concerned with joining an organization that will help me to grow my teaching career. Compensation is not my primary driver."
"I am currently making $50,000 per year with the opportunity to earn a commission based on new enrollment referrals. I am looking for compensation that is aligned with the role and provides an opportunity for growth."
Preschool Teachers help foster a young child's mind with learning and creativity. Preschool Teachers typically teach and provide child care for children aged 3 to 5.
Preschool teachers will create a stimulating environment with their upbeat, positive energy that engages a children's learning desire. They will also help fulfill the emotional needs of children. Communicating with parents and understanding the needs of the children are important tools a preschool teacher needs to possess. Most childcare learning centers will require a certain amount of early child educational credits or an associates degree.
Preschool Teachers should begin their interview preparation by researching the childcare center and the core values of that center. After identifying how the center wants to promote growth with their children, write down how your skills match their values. Here are some practice interview questions: Describe your passion for children. Why are you the best preschool teacher for our center? If a child has a biting problem, how would you handle that? What type of goals do you want to have when you are communicating with parents? For more interview questions, browse our site, Mockquestions.com.