This is a great opportunity to draw on the research you have done on their organization. Your answer should include ways that your teaching methods and reading programs align nicely with theirs.
Reading Teacher Interview Questions
What specific reading programs would you like to see implemented for struggling readers?
"I am a huge proponent for psycholinguistics in reading as well as audiovisual methods. I find my students have responded very well to these method in the past. On your website, you also mention teaching by way of phonetics; which I am also experienced in. Which methods would you say your facility has seen the most success with?"
What is your greatest weakness? What are you doing to improve it?
It is important to keep your answer positive. Growth is a good thing! Show that you can recognize areas of improvement within yourself.
"I would say my greatest area for improvement would be prioritization. I feel because of the nature of my work that absolutely everything is a top priority. Over the years I have become much better at placing certain projects on the back burner while focusing on the task at hand. It's been very helpful. I have also started using an online project software to keep track of deadlines. This has helped me to prioritize."
Do you manage your time well?
You can answer this by using an example of a time when you were under a tight deadline and were able to make it through.
"I am very strong with time management and will use multiple tools to ensure my time is divided appropriately throughout the week. Just last month I had a major exam to grade for 35 students. Knowing I was under a tight timeframe to grade these, I turned off my phone and email and spent 2 hours focusing solely on grading before I moved to another task. Blocking off sections of time to focus is very helpful for me."
What do you see as your role in the educational, social, emotional, and psychological development of students?
This answer should come more from the heart. There really is no wrong answer to this, so long as you are genuine.
"I am humbled by how important my role as a reading teacher is in all aspects of a child's life. Helping a student learn to read, strengthen their skills and build their confidence is an incredible opportunity. When a child understands how to read, and enjoys it, it changes their whole world."
What do you like most about a teaching career?
What gets you out of bed in the morning? Why are you excited to go to work? Be sure to answer this in a way that shows your true interest in the career path you have chosen.
"The one thing that I am most excited about it the morning is knowing that I am on my way to making a difference in a child's life. I have been given the irreplaceable task of influencing them for hours a day - teaching them how to communicate and giving them confidence. That truly is what drives me in this career."
What three words would you use to describe yourself?
Your answer should reflect traits that would make you a great Reading Teacher. You want this answer to be relevant to the position. Also, you can back it with a qualifying statement.
"I would describe myself as creative, patient and encouraging. I have been told from my peers, colleagues and students that these are, indeed, characteristics that I carry."
Why should we hire you?
It is best to answer this question in two parts. First you should tell them why you think you are the best fit for the position. Second, be sure to finish with a question. Ask them if there are any objections to them hiring you.
"I believe you should hire me because not only do I fit all of the requirements for this position, I also bring the bonus of my specialization as a special needs educator. My work history is strong and I have many great references within the education community. Is there any reason that you would hesitate to hire me, or anything that I can elaborate on?"
What methods have you used or would you use to assess student learning?
To answer this question you can let the interviewer know more about your favourite styles/methods of teaching.
"I like to assess my students' learning in both formal and informal ways. An example of an informal assessment would be to have them create a concept map. I do this about once a month so that I can see any advancements that are happening in their learning. A more formal way of assessment is regular in-class testing."
What was the most frustrating thing that happened to you as a teacher?
You can answer this truthfully but be aware to not create a negative vibe in the interview. Telling a story and getting upset about it would be the unprofessional thing to do. Remain positive and talk about how it helped you grow as a person and in your career.
"One of the things I do find frustrating as a teacher is when you are making amazing strides with a student but you know that their parents are not giving them the one-on-one time at home in order to keep the momentum going. I have learned that I cannot control what happens with the students outside of the school. So, I have tasked myself with creating such a natural passion for reading in each student that they cannot help but want to continue and grow in their reading journey."
Why do you want a career as a reading teacher?
When answering this question you can absolutely incorporate a personal story. You could also talk about what inspired you to become a teacher in the first place.
"When I was in elementary school, I personally had a tough time with reading. I had a teacher who would take additional time out of her day to help me. She made sure I didn't fall behind. When I looked back, years later, and realized how important her role was in my education it really inspired me to follow the same career path. I want to be a reading teacher because I understand the importance of making a difference in a child's life. And, I am really good at it because I genuinely care."
How do you see yourself partnering with teachers?
The best way to answer this question is to talk about where you see your strengths, and what can you offer your fellow teachers. What can they offer you?
"When I have previously partnered with other teachers it is because we see a natural synergy between our skill sets. I am happy to partner with other teachers whose skills compliment my own. Recently, I partnered with a music teacher. He wanted me to teach his students how to read music sheets like they were a story. I was able to help him in that regard. Later, he attended one of my classes where he taught my students how to incorporate rhythm into reading."
What kind of work environment do you thrive in?
Since there are many different environments within Education, it is best to talk about 2 or 3 of your preferred types of environment and then finish by asking the interviewer how they would best describe the environment at their specific institution.
"I have worked in a variety of environments within education. My current role is in a classroom setting with multiple students. My previous position was a more one-on-one based environment. I was able to succeed in both environments. How would you best describe the environment here?"
What experience do you have with diverse populations?
This is best answered by briefly explaining the demographic of the communities you have worked in previously.
"I have worked as a reading teacher in both private and public schools. The private education facilities naturally see a more affluent family demographic where the public system has exposed me to a wider variety of populations. I am open to working with all types of populations and am not adverse, in any way, to diversity."
Please tell me about your most challenging experience while working with children and how you handled it.
This is a "Tell me about a time when..." type of question. Use a recent example and be sure to include the positive outcome and why you were proud of that outcome.
"Tell me about a time when..."
What is your philosophy on reading?
This is an answer that you should think of, write down and practice. It is essentially going to be your qualifying statement on why you do what you do.
"My philosophy on reading is that every child should have a solid understanding of reading since it is an incredibly complex and important form of communication. Developing healthy readers from a young age is of utmost importance."
What are your career goals?
What is your greatest strength?
How do your life experiences prepare you for teaching?
As a Reading Teacher, what do you believe is your best asset?
Have you ever been overloaded with work?
Describe a situation where you had to make a quick decision.
Ten years from now, where do you see yourself?