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Preschool Teacher Interview
Questions

25 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns

Updated August 30th, 2018 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Question 1 of 25
How do you encourage a misbehaving child to pay attention to the task at hand?
View Answers
How to Answer
Since you are a well-educated individual in the field of early childhood development and education, this answer should come very quickly to you. If you have a particular method or even a specific example, be sure to discuss this.

This question is open-ended so be careful to avoid rambling. Keep your answer to the point. It's also a great idea to ask the interviewer which method they encourage in these instances. Their reply will help you to determine further whether their childcare center is a fit for you.
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Top 25 Preschool Teacher Interview Questions with Full Content
1.
How do you encourage a misbehaving child to pay attention to the task at hand?
Since you are a well-educated individual in the field of early childhood development and education, this answer should come very quickly to you. If you have a particular method or even a specific example, be sure to discuss this.

This question is open-ended so be careful to avoid rambling. Keep your answer to the point. It's also a great idea to ask the interviewer which method they encourage in these instances. Their reply will help you to determine further whether their childcare center is a fit for you.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I believe that all children are inherently good, and they want to behave, but there may be a variety of factors causing their lack of attention. I use the respect, respond, reciprocate method when working with misbehaving children. It's been shown that children respond best to adults they trust and to which they have an attachment. Kids gain attachment through consistently positive responses and feedback. So, I respect their feelings, they respond through trusting me, and I reciprocate the trust by not micromanaging or disciplining them, but by guiding them gently."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Here are some ways to encourage a misbehaving child to pay attention:

- Ask them to help you complete a hands-on task
- Be a guide versus a disciplinarian. If they trust you, they will respond more positively
- Give positive reinforcement when they do behave such as a smile or clapping for them
- Prevent scenarios where misbehaving is an option. Remove temptation!
- Meet them at their level when talking to them. Crouch down and don't yell from across a room
- Rather than a time-out space, create an alternative learning space that is quieter"
Anonymous Answer
"I make sure that my lessons are engaging and inviting so that children want to be a part of it. If a child is misbehaving or not participating, I may choose to ignore the behavior. However, If the child is disruptive, I may look at the child or point to our class rules poster, but I do not like to stop teaching. If the child behavior continues, I may ask the child to take a time out, and then I'll review the rules with them. Once I know the reason for the disruptive behavior. I like to give the child an acceptable solution which I model, and we practice together. But sometimes, the reason for misbehavior is the teachers' fault. The child may be unable to complete the task or misunderstood the directions. In that case, I need to modify my teaching so that the child can be successful."
Rachelle's Answer
Your answer is thorough, and very thoughtful! I like that you come at this answer from multiple angles. Well done!
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2.
How will you instruct students with varying abilities?
The interviewer wants to know that you can adapt your teaching style, and pace, to a variety of student needs and learning abilities. Demonstrate your ability to modify the same material to a range of competencies.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I pace the section I'm teaching based on the student's ability and receptiveness. For instance, if a student has stronger art skills they typically tend to need less reading and writing assistance, so I spend more time working on science or math-based games with them. I want to make them feel like the class is suited to their abilities rather than forcing them to "
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Here are some suggestions for instructing students with varying abilities:

- Practice differentiated teaching and create a plan for each student with differing abilities
-Tweak your content to include more visuals for those students who are visual learners
- Offer more opportunities for hands-on learning
- Include more group discussions where students can openly ask questions
- Encourage educational support at home by involving the parents"
Anonymous Answer
"I try to teach lessons to my students that will interest them, and this way, I know regardless of their ability, they are all engaged. I ask a variety of questions beginning from easy to more difficult and let I them the more experienced children answer the more difficult questions. During center time, I'm sure to have a variety of activities out that will interest all students with different skill levels. For examples, I may set out some easy puzzles for beginners and more advanced puzzles for the more experienced child. Also, during small group, I can pull a group of students with similar abilities and work on needed skills. I don't make it a big deal if a student answers a question or struggles to complete a task."
Rachelle's Answer
It sounds as though you are well-prepared to teach students of all abilities. Well done!
"I teach lessons that will interest my students, and this way, I know, regardless of their ability, they are all engaged. I ask a variety of questions beginning from easy to more difficult and let the more experienced children answer the more difficult questions. During center time, I'm sure to have a variety of activities out that will interest all students with different skill levels. For example, I may set out some easy puzzles for beginners and more advanced puzzles for the more experienced child. Also, during small group, I can pull a group of students with similar abilities and work on needed skills. I don't make it a big deal if a student answers a question incorrect or struggles to complete a task."
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3.
Discuss a time in which you had to confront a parent about their child's behavior or learning.
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.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"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."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"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."
4.
How important is communication between you and the parents of your students?
Of course, as a preschool teacher, you know that clear communication between school and home is imperative. Talk to the interviewer about the ways that you ensure clear communication, at all times. This answer can be to the point but be sure to reinforce the fact that you have excellent written and verbal, communication skills. If you have a real-life example, that's great too!

Rachelle's Answer #1
"Communication is incredibly important and I make extra efforts to ensure that the parents of my students are aware of the day-to-day activities in our classroom. When communication is clear, expectations are addressed and this leaves less opportunity for crossed wires."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Here are some ways that you can communicate with the parents of students:

- Send notes home in an agenda
- Have a classroom only Twitter account and encourage parents to join
- Send out regular e-newsletters
- Use an app like ClassDojo to keep communication fun between teachers and parents
- Meet the parents at the door during pickup and drop off every day"
5.
What do you enjoy the most about working with young children?
The interviewer wants to know that you have a genuine passion for working with young children. You can add a personal touch to your answer by talking about your education, your children, or perhaps the fact that working around young kids keeps you young at heart. Whatever drives you, be sure to let your passion for this career path shine through.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"There are many factors that I enjoy when it comes to working with young children; however, if I had to choose my favorite I would say it's seeing their wonderment every day. It makes me appreciated the small things in life, and forces me to slow down."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I have spent a good deal of time working as a preschool assistant and also as a nanny. Young children are so fun to be around! I love their energy and overall zest for life."
Anonymous Answer
"I enjoy seeing their young faces light up with excitement when they learn something new or when they master a difficult task. I love listening to their conversations that tell me about what they did over the weekend or a fun time they had with friends. I love seeing all the towers and pictures they draw when they are giving complete freedom to create. I love to see them imitate me and use what they learned during free play, in their everyday conversations, and on the playground."
Rachelle's Answer
Your job sounds like it fulfills you, 100%, which is exactly what the interviewer is looking for with this question.
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6.
What do you believe is the most important thing a young child can learn?
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."
Rachelle's Answer #1
"Our commitment is to inspire each child to find their way, be adaptive, help those around them, and enjoy the journey."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"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."
Anonymous Answer
"I believe the most important thing a child can learn is how to be kind. Children need to learn how to be good friends, how to solve problems without hurting each other, and how to respect each other regardless of each other differences."
Rachelle's Answer
Exceptional answer! You show a lot of insight, compassion, and emotional intelligence in this response.
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7.
What defines success for you as a preschool teacher?
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.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"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."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"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"
Anonymous Answer
"Success for me as a teacher is when the child goes home and tells their family what they learned today in school. Also, when a child leaves school feeling proud of all they accomplished in school that day. When a child leaves school feeling excited and proud of themselves, then I know I have been successful."
Rachelle's Answer
It's so wonderful to see a child excited about learning, and proud of what they have accomplished! This is a fantastic answer.
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8.
What is your current salary?
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.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I am currently earning a base salary of $38,000 plus health benefits. I am looking for a competitive salary in my next position."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"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."
Anonymous Answer
"I am currently earning $11.00 per hour of teaching preschool. I am looking for a competitive salary conducive of my experience in my next position."
Rachelle's Answer
Your answer will be very helpful to the interviewer, as they can gauge a competitive offer based on your current salary. Another helpful tool, if you are unsure of the going rate for a preschool teacher in your region, is payscale.com
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9.
How many days were you absent from work last year?
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.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"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."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"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."
Anonymous Answer
"I was absent a total of 5 days due to illness. I love my job a lot and do not like to miss work."
Rachelle's Answer
I really like that you added in the fact that you do not like to miss work. Great answer!
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10.
How often do you take work home with you?
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.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"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!"
Rachelle's Answer #2
"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."
Anonymous Answer
"I take work home with me every weekend so that I am prepared for the next school week. I often stay after school to complete tasks, change out my centers, complete assessments, and clean my room."
Rachelle's Answer
It sounds like you work very hard, going over and above your typical day-to-day activities. Well done!
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