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Social Studies Teacher Interview
Questions

25 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns

Updated June 28th, 2020 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Job Interviews     Careers     Education    
Question 1 of 25
How do you deal with difficult parents?
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How to Answer
The interviewer wants to know that you feel confident in facing difficulties, especially when talking to the parents of your students. Difficult parents can be much more challenging than the students at times! When a student is struggling in your class, you might be faced with parent meetings. Speak from experience. If you haven't been in this situation before, talk about how you would handle it, drawing from your personal experience.
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Answer Examples
1.
How do you deal with difficult parents?
The interviewer wants to know that you feel confident in facing difficulties, especially when talking to the parents of your students. Difficult parents can be much more challenging than the students at times! When a student is struggling in your class, you might be faced with parent meetings. Speak from experience. If you haven't been in this situation before, talk about how you would handle it, drawing from your personal experience.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I talk to the parents in the same way I approach a struggling student. I want to understand the bigger picture of what's wrong, so I ask questions and I listen. Once we identify the problem, we discuss ways that we can work together to help their child improve their results."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I understand that some parents may be challenging. I would remind the parent that we are working together towards the same goal, which is guiding their child towards a lifetime of success in learning. I would ask the parent what their expectations are for me, as the teacher, and make a plan from there."
2.
How do you handle stressful situations?
There is a broad range of examples you could give here. You want to show that you are capable of coping with stress keep you in your job, sharing tools or strategies that help you stay calm. Show you are prepared, as you will likely face stressful situations in this position from time to time.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I have learned to stay relaxed and try not to react. I know what situations make me stressed, and I know how to respond. Typically if I am overwhelmed with too much work on a tight deadline, I prioritize tasks that need to get done each day working towards that final deadline to make sure I use my time wisely and have realistic expectations. This helps me to feel less stressed."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I handle stress very well, and when you call my references, they will attest to this fact. When I am under pressure on the job, I focus on the task at hand and make sure not to get distracted. Staying on deadline is very helpful, and I will delegate when necessary to alleviate some stress."
3.
Other than tests, how do you assess student learning?
It's important to be able to measure how your students are doing so that you can identify gaps and know how to move forward with your teaching. Maybe you conduct a daily quiz or assign homework after teaching a new topic to measure how well your students are retaining the information. Describe some ways that you do this.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"Every morning we have a quiz over the material from the day before. It's a participation grade, but it helps me to tell how well the students are understanding the material. It's been effective for me to make adjustments and know what areas to focus more time on."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"While completing my Bachelor's Degree in Education, we explored a variety of methods for student assessment which included concept maps, exams of varying kinds, and assessing students in group work. Are there any types of assessments you prefer to use at your school?"
Anonymous Answer
"My lessons include an entry task, a group based projects, and exit tasks. The entry and exit tasks are formative assessments. It gets the lesson started and gives me a sense of a student's general understanding of a new topic, or with an exit task, I can gather what the student's learned at the end of the lesson."
Rachelle's Answer
This answer shows that you are controlled in your assessments, and very structured. Well done!
Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
4.
What is your greatest strength? How does it help you as a teacher?
Which personal strengths make you an excellent social studies teacher? Advantages can be skills or qualities that help you overcome difficult circumstances or accomplish challenging tasks. In a work context, your strengths will help you to complete your to-do list, understand students needs, and guide you in your relationships with other members of your faculty.

In preparing for this type of question, list your strengths. You can narrow them down by thinking about how they help you as a teacher. Think of situations where your strengths help you shine, such as dealing with an unmotivated student or when teaching a topic that most students would find uninteresting.

For example, if you are an encourager and motivator, you could say that you love coaching your students. Give a specific instance, such as working with a student who was unmotivated and failing the class. This situation could incorporate multiple strengths, such as being strategic and observant, seeking to understand the problem and then coming up with a way that worked for the student to help empower them. Using examples helps the interviewer get a better picture of your strengths in action.
Rachelle's Answer #1
"Some great strengths to mention are:

- Communicative
- Loyal
- Collaborative
- Tech Savvy
- Flexible in Schedule/Availability
- Persistent and Determined
- Eager for Knowledge/New Skills"
Rachelle's Answer #2
"My strongest skills as a teacher are my ability to be relatable and command the attention in a room. I relate to my students, get to know them and their needs, build a rapport and can make solid lesson plans that suit them."
5.
How do you encourage teamwork among your students?
Describe your involvement as a facilitator when you divide your students into teams for projects. How do you teach them to work together? Give an example of how you have helped your students be successful in their group projects or empowered them to resolve a conflict by giving them tools to address issues themselves.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I incorporate group activities to encourage students to work together and learn how to listen and communicate with each other. When my students come to me with issues about their peers, I challenge them to work things out within the group, looking for ways to compromise and divide work fairly."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Most students are good at collaborating with their friends. With those they do not know, that can be a different story. For this reason, I plan to ensure that students don't always choose the same partners for group work. I want them to embrace diversity in the classroom, and I will encourage that regularly."
6.
Tell me how you develop your daily lesson plan and what do you include?
The interviewer wants to learn your process of lesson planning. Everyone may have different steps that they take, but you will want to address a few key points. Some examples might be:

1) What do I want my students to learn?
2) What activities will I use?
3) How will I check for understanding?

Give the interviewer your structure for planning. For the activity, you may want to give an example such as a game, writing exercise, or discussion topics. Sometimes it's easier to discuss an actual lesson plan you taught in the past and explain how you came up with it. This is a question you want to be prepared with examples and details. They may ask you, "why" after you explain your process, so be prepared to talk about your method in depth.
Rachelle's Answer #1
"why"
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I feel that the most important step to developing a lesson plan is first to set my learning objectives. Then, write a very clear outline. The final step would be for me to set learning timelines and deadlines for each."
7.
Describe your teaching style.
Your teaching style incorporates your understanding of the different ways students learn, how you manage the classroom and how you view your students.

Are they empty vessels waiting to absorb the knowledge you impart? Or do the students play a more active role, engaging in the learning process through activities?

Describe your interaction with the students and how you engage with them. What type of teacher are you? Your style is unique to you. Giving an example of a lesson plan or activity, you do with your students to reveal more of who you are as a teacher.

Here are some words you could use to describe your teaching style:

-Analytical
-Assertive
-Creative
-Enthusiastic
-Honest
-Vibrant
-Imaginative
Rachelle's Answer #1
"Although I recently graduated with my teaching degree, I have put a lot of thought into the ways that I want my teaching style to be formed. I want to be the type of teacher that has a fun classroom environment where mistakes and questions are encouraged just as often as researched statements. We all learn best when we have wiggle room for error. I want to provide my students with securing and confidence inside, and outside, the classroom."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"My teaching style can best be described as interactive, supportive, and transparent. I encourage my students to have a voice in the classroom, ask questions when they come up, and participate actively in all conversations regardless of their level of confidence."
Anonymous Answer
"I have grown into an analytical teacher. Learning how to align learning targets with states standards is benefiting my ability to understand which lessons I need to revisit for my students. And in turn, this information allows me to build a lesson with more creative energy. For example, if I notice my students are weaker in a particular standard than I know my original method is not working. So, I need to think outside the box and gather more strategies from new sources."
Rachelle's Answer
You know your teaching style well, and you sound very confident in your approach. Excellent answer!
Was this answer helpful? Yes (2) or No (0)
8.
Why do you believe social studies is a valuable subject that every student needs to learn?
Explain to your interviewer precisely how the information you're teaching will be influential in the lives of your students. Why is social studies a fundamental subject for your students?

Rachelle's Answer #1
"By teaching students about events and people from the past, they have a better understanding of how different societies came to be, and a deeper understanding our culture in the present and the past. Social studies also will help students develop their values and think more critically about our world."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I believe that social studies teach a great deal of insight on diversity. When students have their minds broadened by societies and cultures outside of their own, it truly is life changing."
9.
How would your students describe you as a teacher?
Think of three to five qualities you have or some words that your students have used to describe you in the past. What would your students say about you? What kind of teacher do you want to be? Highlight some of the top qualities that make you a great teacher that the students will appreciate.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"My students say I'm tough but fun. I try to create a positive learning environment, so I can be strict about enforcing rules. I care about my students, and I want the best for them. I stay positive and give them projects that allow them to use their creativity."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I developed some strong connections with my students during my 12-week practicum. I believe they would say that I am a good listener, fair at giving feedback, and dedicated to their success."
10.
If you could only teach one topic out of social studies, what would it be?
The interviewer wants to hear that you are passionate about the topics which you teach. As a teacher, you are a motivator. It is your responsibility to provide a positive learning environment for all of your students. If you feel mediocre about the topics you are teaching, that will be clear to the interviewer. As you prepare for your interview, think about examples of when you have taught your favorite topic and why you enjoyed teaching it.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I enjoy teaching about citizenship because I am teaching about my favorite topics: human rights, equality, and freedom. My passion is apparent in my enthusiasm, and in the way I creatively present the topics. I like to facilitate discussions and role play. I want my students to know their rights and know their duty to their fellow citizens."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Here are some social studies topics that you could mention, and suggested by the National Council for the Social studies

- Culture
- Time, Continuity, and Change
- People, Places, and Environments
- Individuals, Groups, and Institutions
- Individual Development and Identity
- Production, Distribution, and Consumption
- Power, Authority, and Governance
- Science, Technology, and Society
- Civil Ideals, and Practices"
11.
Why do you want to be an educator?
There are many reasons why you may have chosen the teaching field. You may naturally have the knack for teaching. You might have been inspired by a teacher you had in high school. Share your passion for teaching. Why is education important to you? Think about the aspects of teaching that bring you the most joy.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I have always loved working with children. I enjoy their energy and their excitement about learning. It is such an honor to be in a position to influence them and share knowledge that will help shape them as they grow up."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I always knew I wanted to become a teacher and follow in the footsteps of both my parents. I am great coach and love to learn so this line of work comes very naturally to me."
12.
What are your career goals as a teacher?
You may plan to continue working as a teacher for a long time. Maybe you are interested in moving into the administrative side, working as a principal or superintendent of schools. Your goal could also be to complete your masters, furthering your education.

Showing that you are interested in growing on a personal and a professional level is essential to convey to your interviewer. You want to show how your goal is relevant to the position you are interviewing for. Talk about how the position will help you reach your goals, giving as much detail as possible.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"My goal is to teach college-level Sociology in the next eight years, so I am taking online courses to complete my masters. I'm looking forward to the challenge of teaching at a higher level. Teaching high school social studies at your school will give me the experience I need to get closer to accomplishing my goal."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I am new to my teaching career which means that my primary goal right now is to carve a name for myself in the industry. I want to continue learning from more experienced teachers, and create amazing lesson plans."
13.
How do you make the curriculum relevant to the lives of your students?
As a teacher, it's up to you to make the curriculum applicable to your students. It can't always be relevant but it can be made easier to digest.

Think of an example of a topic that was very difficult to teach because it was a little beyond the scope of your students. How did you present the material? Sometimes it comes down to your passion for the subject and how you interact with the students.

If you give them an activity to do in groups or alone that interests them, the topic can be that much more interesting. Incorporating elements of your teaching style will help in your example. Also sharing tools and techniques you have learned are other ways to make the curriculum more interesting to your students.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"In order to make a curriculum more relevant to the lives of my students, I choose topics that are relatable and current. I study a lot of pop-culture and try to incorporate the current happenings into my lesson plans."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I want to get to know my students, and what excites them. I think it's important to take suggestions from them on what they want to hear more about, and which current events they find most riveting. Of course, I need to stick with the curriculum, but I can always find ways to incorporate their interests at the same time."
14.
Why do you want to work at this school?
Are you just looking for a job or are you genuinely interested in what this school has to offer you? It's important to know the values of the school and what they are doing for their students that stand out.

What are they doing for their teachers? How is their education program better than others? Maybe you want to grow in your knowledge or expertise teaching differently and the school offers the means to do that. Show how you share their values and discuss your passion for education.

Learn more about the school by talking to teachers who work there to get a better picture of their culture and their views on education. Research test scores or graduation statistics. Think about what is important to you in a place that you work and learn about how this school compares to your values.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"Your school has a reputation for creating a learning environment that encourages students to be open-minded and thinks for themselves. I want my students to be proud of their individuality and ask hard questions."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I have had my eye on your school ever since I applied here for my practicum. My professor recommended your school, citing that he knew many students who came to teach here and loved it."
15.
In what ways do you encourage creativity in your classroom?
The interviewer wants to know that you encourage your students to be creative and that you have tactics for adapting your material to promote creativity. Give examples of different topics you teach creatively. Depending on the age group you may have more opportunities to be creative.

For example, with middle schoolers, you could have them do a project where they create their tribe based on what you learned about the Native American tribes. Show that you can think outside of the box and that you are willing to take the curriculum into your own hands to make it easier to digest.
Rachelle's Answer #1
"I like to encourage creativity through the use of music, new technology-based tools, and multi-media. Students love the variety, and the more I offer, the more fun they have in the classroom."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I have found many ways to increase creativity in the classroom. Some of my favorite ways to do this are to create in-class awards, host open-discussions, go on outside field trips, and encourage deeper emotional connections between the students. What are some of your favorite ways to encourage creativity in the classroom?"
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25 Social Studies Teacher Interview Questions
Win your next job by practicing from our question bank. We have thousands of questions and answers created by interview experts.
Interview Questions
  1. How do you deal with difficult parents?
  2. How do you handle stressful situations?
  3. Other than tests, how do you assess student learning?
  4. What is your greatest strength? How does it help you as a teacher?
  5. How do you encourage teamwork among your students?
  6. Tell me how you develop your daily lesson plan and what do you include?
  7. Describe your teaching style.
  8. Why do you believe social studies is a valuable subject that every student needs to learn?
  9. How would your students describe you as a teacher?
  10. If you could only teach one topic out of social studies, what would it be?
  11. Why do you want to be an educator?
  12. What are your career goals as a teacher?
  13. How do you make the curriculum relevant to the lives of your students?
  14. Why do you want to work at this school?
  15. In what ways do you encourage creativity in your classroom?
  16. Tell me about the most challenging experience you've had as a teacher.
  17. What types of personalities do you work with best?
  18. How have you showed leadership within your school in the past?
  19. What is your greatest weakness? What are you doing to improve it?
  20. A good teacher is always learning. What are you currently learning?
  21. What is your teaching philosophy?
  22. Do you feel that you are currently paid what you are worth?
  23. What questions do you have for me?
  24. How do you manage your time, even on the busiest days?
  25. Would you say you are a better verbal or written communicator?
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