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Teacher Interview

25 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns
Updated August 17th, 2018 | 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

What techniques do you use to accommodate different learning styles?

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What techniques do you use to accommodate different learning styles?

The interviewer would like to know if you have a valid method for teaching students with varying learning styles. Not all students are suited to take a two-hour long exam. Visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners have different strengths and weaknesses. Think about your testing methods. Are your tests multiple choice, essay, or both? Do you have pop quizzes? Are there plenty of projects and research papers for students to have an opportunity to do well?

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I have several different ways of accessing my students' progress. At the end of the term, they can choose to do one big assignment that's worth 30% of their grade. This assignment could either be an exam, a research paper, or an alternative project which requires students to write a proposal. This method allows for different types of students to choose a style that they can benefit the most from or enjoy doing the most."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"While earning my Bachelor's Degree in Education, I learned a few interesting techniques when it comes to learning styles. I think a lot of kids are hands-on learners, so I plan to introduce technology to those who learn best that way."


What is the most challenging experience you've faced as a teacher?

We all have challenges in our professions, and it is okay to talk about them! The key is that we do not allow these situations to get the best of us. Begin by sharing your most challenging experience as a teacher. Express that you did not let the case to get the best of you. Instead, you turned it into something positive. Mention what you learned from that situation, and explain what you would do in the future if you found yourself in a similar position again.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"The most challenging experience for me in my teaching career was dealing with a parent who was always complaining about the things we did in the classroom. I was new to the school, and he wanted his daughter to be in the class of her former teacher. I called the parent for a sit-down and talked to him about the issues he had with me being the new teacher. I went over my credentials, complimented his child, and thanked him for his concern and involvement. In the end, he understood that his daughter will get new teachers now and then, and that was par-for-the-course in any school. He never complained after that, and we continue to have a great working relationship."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"The most challenging experience I have faced as a new teacher was with the faculty where I completed my internship. Unfortunately, it was very much a clique situation, and I did not gain the warm welcome that I was hoping. I made the most of the situation, kept my head high, soaking in all the knowledge that I could, and then moved on. What I learned is that I will always be warm and welcoming to the new teachers that come after me. I will do what I can to mentor and accept them, no matter how inexperienced they are."


A good teacher is always learning. What is something you are learning about recently?

Show the interviewer that you continue to advance your learning and that you have a genuine interest in your working environment. What is something new that currently has your attention?

Here is a list of things you can talk about:

1) a new hobby or sport you're passionate about
2) a new country or place traveled
3) a new dish you cooked or tried
4) an insightful book or TV show

Show the interviewer that you're interesting, and always interested. Make some connections to your teaching and tell them how you've applied or plan to use what you've learned to reach your students, academically or otherwise.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I recently watched a Netflix show called 13 Reasons Why which delves deeply and unabashedly into issues many teenagers deal with but are unwilling to discuss, such as suicide, and cyberbullying. One of the most interesting things I learned is that a teenager's hippocampus isn't yet fully developed, which is why they can interpret a negative remark or dirty look as lasting and eternal. It helps me to have more patience and empathy with my more problematic students as I realize there are plenty of issues beyond the surface that I might not be aware of."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I have been a University student for many years now and am always reading. To switch things up, I recently started subscribing to a few different podcasts. My favorite at the moment is 'French Your Way' which is led by a native French teacher who teaches the language to her podcast students. I love the variety of things that I can learn just from tuning in!"


How do you feel about inclusive classrooms?

Inclusive classrooms are a growing trend, intended to be beneficial for students with learning challenges. Have you had any experience with special education with children or children who may benefit from being in inclusive classrooms? Talk about your experience.

Here are some general benefits of inclusive classrooms:

1) Tailored teaching to target students with different learning preferences (i.e., visual aids like cubes or chips, and interactive whiteboards).
2) Allowing students to move around or use fidgets in the classroom.
3) Use of specialized services such as speech therapists or reading specialists.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"Inclusive classrooms are wonderful, so long as everyone involved, regardless of their learning status, feels they are getting what they need from the classroom environment. How do you embrace inclusive classrooms in your school?"

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I feel that inclusive classrooms should be a more widespread idea and embraced whenever possible. It's important for all students to have the opportunity to communicate with other students, at all learning levels."


If students were having difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

This question is two-fold. The interviewer is assessing your technique and ability to encourage and inspire struggling students. How can you help students improve academically? How can you support students personally in their learning?

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I had a student who wasn't showing much improvement in her test score after two months. During one of her diagnostic tests, her score even went down. Of course, she was discouraged and confused since she was doing all her homework. I spent a lot of time training her to work on the questions as precisely as possible instead of rushing to finish the test. I was excited whenever she would get just one or two more questions right and kept encouraging her throughout the progress. Another month later, she finally saw some notable improvements."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I firmly believe there are many ways to learn. If I had a student who had difficulty learning a skill or concept, I would sit with them one-on-one to learn more about their style, what they like to do, and which lessons of mine they like the best. Education is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and I will have no problem tweaking my lesson plan to suit a variety of learners."


Discuss one memorable parent meeting you have had in the past.

The interviewer wants to know about your ability to work well with the parents of your students. As you know, some parents can pose a challenge if they have unrealistic expectations of their child, or are not involved as much as they should be in their child's educational success.

As a part of your teaching job, you may be required to meet and talk to parents regularly, How do you interact with them? Is it a pleasant experience or do you dread meeting parents? The answer to this question will draw some light on how collaborative you are. Keep this answer positive, but don't exaggerate or be over-enthusiastic. A big part of communicating with parents is to be as open and constructive about their child's progress, and sometimes, these meetings can be uncomfortable. Be honest about difficult parents if you've had such an experience, and discuss how you overcame it.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"One time, I had to meet with a very disappointed parent whose child had seemingly stopped improving after almost a year's worth of additional tutoring. He wasn't too happy and demanded that I list out my teaching methods and what I was doing wrong because his child wasn't seeing any improvements. I had to prepare all of his score reports to explain that he had been improving a lot for over half a year but he was fatigued and busy at school, so he had plateaued. I finally recommended the students to take a few weeks off tutoring, and the parent was able to accept that idea."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I understand that parent meetings can be challenging. Parents can get defensive about their child's behavior or be in denial about their children's struggles. In the end, both you and the parent wants what's best for the child. I will always speak honestly but empathetically to a parent about his or her child."


How will you instruct students with varying abilities?

The interviewer wants to see how you can adapt to helping students who are at different learning levels and abilities. With this question, you'll want to demonstrate your ability to modify the same material to the learning styles and competencies of each student. Use a specific example, if you can.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"My teaching style is called differentiated instruction. I pace the section I'm teaching based on the student's ability and receptiveness. For instance, if a student has stronger math skills they typically tend to need more reading and writing assistance, so I spend more time working on grammar and brainstorming with them and breezing through the math section. I want to make them feel like the class is suited to their abilities rather than focusing on a curriculum that may not factor in their strengths and weaknesses."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"To the students with different abilities, it still essential for them to not feel singled out, and to fit in - being encouraged to show what they do have to offer. For that reason, I enjoy a collaborative classroom environment where students are encouraged to speak up, help each other, and do hands-on group projects together."


What is your classroom management plan and what do you hope to accomplish with it?

Think about your teaching style and personality surrounding management. Are you more hands-on or hands-off as a teacher? How passionate and active are you? Talk to the interviewer about your classroom management abilities and what has worked best for you in the past. This question is a great time to ask the interviewer if this school has preferences on classroom management techniques used in the classroom:

Some good ideas for the classroom management:

1) Set management goals - rate students' performances as a class each day.
2) Never punish an entire class.
3) Show students it pays to behave - incentives usually work!
4) Establish routines.
5) Give students options.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I'm a big proponent of keeping things predictable to manage my classroom. Before each class, I write down the day's schedule on the board so I can always go to the next thing when students are getting off-track and let them know what I intend to cover before class starts and ends. I also find this keeps me from being distracted by poorly behaved students, allowing me to stay on track with the lesson plan."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"My classroom management plan includes giving students options when it comes to how they like and need to learn. I feel that if they feel they are active participants in their education, they will be more engaged in the process as a whole. Could you share with me some of your school's preferences when it comes to classroom management and style?"


How do you communicate with parents on a regular basis?

The interviewer would like to know the resources that you use to stay in touch with parents regularly. There are a variety of useful parent-teacher communication methods. If you can, do some research on the parent demographic at the school for which you're interviewing. If it's a more traditional environment, writing a homework log or making phone calls may be better. Perhaps you rely on email, texting, Twitter, or even a classroom blog to reach out to parents. Whatever they may be, make sure your methods are modern and up-to-date.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"In my classroom, we have a private Twitter account that the parents can join. The students will upload photos of their work and can also send direct Tweets to their parents when they are proud of their work. We also have agenda every day, and the parents initial the communication daily. Each parent has my email address, so they are free to contact me at any time."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I would communicate with parents on a regular basis by encouraging them to email or call me anytime they needed. I have also learned a great deal about the available apps that parents can download, allowing for regular communication between themselves and their child during the day. Do you have a preference at your school when it comes to apps used to communicate with parents?"


What are some techniques you use to teach besides direct instruction?

Although direct instruction works well for specific topics and types of students, teachers are alternating and expanding their teaching methods to combine both direct teaching and the alternative constructivist approach, which promotes social interaction through discussion and stimulates critical thinking. Think about your teaching style - are you more hands-on or hands-off? Do you allow students to figure out answers on their own? Do you like to be highly involved in their solution process?

Here are some strategies that you can discuss:

1) Peer editing, teaching, and assessment
2) Self and teacher assessment
3) Discussion-based lessons
4) Research
5) Learning through visual arts

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I like to use a broad range of techniques including learning through group discussions, hands-on arts-based projects, and self-assessment. I believe that by switching up the techniques in the classroom, I am keeping my students on their toes while also helping them to think more critically about their performance."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I look forward to incorporating a variety of techniques in my teaching when I enter the classroom. What I would like to do is incorporate multi-media, field trips, guest speakers, and group discussions as often as possible. By mixing it up, I will ensure that my students remain engaged and challenged."


How would your students describe your relationship with them, and your teaching style?

This question focuses more on your relationship with the students. The interviewer wants to know how you interact with your students and how they would talk about your teaching style if given the opportunity. Also, this focuses on what are your teaching methods and how well your students receive them. Are you accountable for your teaching style? Are you proud of your teaching methods, and confident that your students would speak highly of you? Think of two to three points which are especially liked by the students, something you do that has been very effective or helpful for students.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I think my students would comment on how my classes are fun and interactive. I never let anyone sleep or get away with not being engaged and I have a list of games up my sleeve to pull out whenever the class is getting dry. I also want to make sure my students are up and moving in my class. Sometimes we'll spend the afternoon enacting a Shakespearean sonnet or making posters for our Renaissance festival."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I would like for my future students to describe my teaching style as interactive, interesting, and modern. I want to incorporate pop-culture into my lessons so that kids are interested in the topics at hand, and ensure they can relate to the discussions that take place. I also aim to be a teacher that cares and is approachable, should a student be struggling with anything."


Why did you decide to become a teacher?

The interviewer wants to know more about the passion that drives you to be an educator. If there was a person or an experience that inspired you to choose the path of teaching as a career, share your story. Discuss your passion for what you do by pinpointing the best parts of your day-to-day, as a teacher. Genuine enthusiasm is the key to a successful reply!

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I always go back to memories of my eighth-grade teacher. He had a lot of passion for his class and put his whole heart into his teaching. He spent time after school talking to the students and getting to know them. While his classes were challenging, the biggest influence he had on us was that he always encouraged us never to give up. I believe his influence is what initially sparked my interest in becoming an educator. I try to emulate this same level of care and consideration with my students now."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"When I first started University, I entered into general studies because I honestly did not know what I wanted to do. I met with a career counselor who performed a Meyers-Briggs personality test on me, to see if we could discover some of my potential interests. She started talking about the path of an educator, and I was hooked. After a few background checks, and some strings pulled, she was able to get me a 1-week volunteer placement at a local elementary school. At the end of that assignment, I knew teaching was my path. I am ever-thankful for her guidance and have never looked back."


What is your teaching philosophy?

The interviewer would like to know what kind of attitude, and approach, you will bring to their school if hired. Having a positive philosophy when it comes to work is crucial, especially if you spend your days with impressionable young students. Talk to the interviewer about your belief in approaching work, and life in general.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"My philosophy, when it comes to teaching, is to never give up on my students. Everyone has their talents and strengths. Too often I see teachers giving up on a student because they didn't perform to expectations. But perseverance is key, and I've seen a transformation when a teacher is willing to spend time committing to a student and guiding them through a difficult learning curve."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I believe that healthy study habits start at a very young age, and continue to develop as the student grows. My philosophy will be to teach my students HOW to study, HOW to maintain focus, and HOW to ask the right questions. With those tools at their fingertips, they will be able to achieve so much more."


What interests you about our school?

The interviewer would like to know the depth of your knowledge regarding their school and the demographic. The way you answer this question will help them to determine if you will be a good fit when it comes to their workplace culture. Do some research beforehand about the learning environment. For what is the school known? Is it rigorous and academically-oriented, or perhaps its known for its sports teams? Know what strengths the school offers in the district. Then, let the interviewer know precisely how well you believe you will fit in.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I've always been interested in e-learning and alternative learning methods for students because I think this is where the future of education is. From my research, this school is very technologically advanced and uses smart boards and offers plenty online classes that students would not otherwise have the opportunity to take, such as AP French Language and Culture. I see that your school also provides students with laptops and promotes a paperless environment, which is a big part of my lifestyle as well."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"My interest in your school stems from the fact that I have lived in this community most of my life, and even spent a couple of my educational years attending here. Now that I have completed my degree in Education, I would be thrilled to carve a career for myself in the same community, and district, where it all began!"


What was your most rewarding experience during your student teaching internship program?

The interviewer would like to know which types of circumstances inspire you to be a fantastic teacher. Remember that time you walked away from a tutoring session feeling on top of the world? What made that experience so great? Perhaps a student had a significant knowledge breakthrough. Maybe you finally connected with a student you had been trying to build a relationship with for some time. Describe your most rewarding experience giving a little background on the situation and providing a solid explanation for why the experience was so satisfying.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"During my student teaching internship program at School ABC, I had been working with a student for a few weeks on algebra. He was having a hard time understanding the concept of letters in equations. I designed a funny poem to help him understand how to solve equations, and he had a breakthrough! The poem was the resource he needed, and he aced his next exam at school. It was so great seeing how excited he was to tell me about his exam score!"

Rachelle's Answer #2

"When I first entered my student teaching internship program I honestly didn't realize how much of a mentor I would end up being to these young students. I knew that teaching was similar to coaching; however, I didn't expect anyone to look up to me. It was so rewarding to have these kids ask for life advice like, 'How do you study even when your friends want to hang out?' and 'How did you choose the University that you wanted to go to?'. This experience has opened my eyes to precisely the example that I need to be for my students all through my future teaching career."

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Interview Questions

  1. What techniques do you use to accommodate different learning styles?
  2. What is the most challenging experience you've faced as a teacher?
  3. A good teacher is always learning. What is something you are learning about recently?
  4. How do you feel about inclusive classrooms?
  5. If students were having difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
  6. Discuss one memorable parent meeting you have had in the past.
  7. How will you instruct students with varying abilities?
  8. What is your classroom management plan and what do you hope to accomplish with it?
  9. How do you communicate with parents on a regular basis?
  10. What are some techniques you use to teach besides direct instruction?
  11. How would your students describe your relationship with them, and your teaching style?
  12. Why did you decide to become a teacher?
  13. What is your teaching philosophy?
  14. What interests you about our school?
  15. What was your most rewarding experience during your student teaching internship program?
  16. Describe your typical lesson.
  17. What experience have you had with students from culturally diverse backgrounds?
  18. How do you use technology to improve your lessons?
  19. If you were asked to create a behavior modification plan for ongoing misbehavior, what would it be?
  20. How do you accommodate for non-English speakers or low-level English speakers?
  21. What changes do you make to your lesson plans each year?
  22. How would you improve public education, if you had the power to do so?
  23. What techniques do you use to keep students actively involved during a lesson?
  24. How can you encourage a student who lacks confidence and inspire him or her to learn?
  25. As a teacher, what makes you happiest?
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