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3 Tips to Help You Nail Teacher Interview Questions

Bored interviewer with emphatic potential new hire.

This is your wake-up call that you really need to update your interviewing strategies.

You've just landed your first teaching interview, and you're excited beyond words. All of your hard work has finally paid off. But are you ready for the most important opportunity of your career? You'll need to be prepared for teacher interview questions so you can easily answer what's thrown at you.

1. Be Knowledgeable

The last thing that you want to happen during an interview is to not have an answer to a question. Familiarize yourself with the school district and any programs they use or new technologies they may have. As with any prospective employer, this will show them that you cared enough to take the time to research. One extremely popular teacher interview question is "how will you incorporate technology into your classroom?" When I was asked this question (many years ago) there were no smartboards, iPads, or videoconferencing options—the "new" thing was creating a teacher website. So, not only did I discuss how I would use a website in my classroom, but I also created a mock website and added printouts of the homepage to my teaching portfolio.

In today's classroom, the bounty of new technologies at your fingertips give you many ways to answer this question. Here's an example:

"I plan to incorporate several pieces of technology into my classroom, the first being a smartboard. A smartboard will help me utilize the app ClassDojo to create a classroom management plan, encourage student sharing, and communicate with parents. The second piece of technology I will use in my classroom is an iPad. This will help me enhance my students' learning throughout the day with applications such as SpellingCity and Google Classroom. If these technologies are not available for my classroom, then I will try to raise my own funding through a resource such as DonorsChoose."

2. Research Educational Buzzwords

The educational world has its own unique set of words that we use. Terms such as differentiated instruction, data-driven instruction, problem-based learning, flipped classrooms, student-centered, and digital literacy are just a few you should be prepared to speak to when answering teacher interview questions.

I'll never forget how embarrassed I felt when I was asked a question during an interview and couldn't answer it because I didn't know the technical terminology. Familiarize yourself with as many new terms as you can because I can guarantee you that you'll hear more than one of them in an interview. And learning buzzwords is more than memorizing—it's also wise to research enough so you can use the words correctly and confidently in the interview, which will show the panel you've put in the work.

Further reading: Highlighting Your Past Teaching Experience in Interviews

A popular question for many teaching interviews is "how will you differentiate learning to meet the needs of all students?" This is a good opportunity to show that you know classroom terminology:

"I will differentiate learning to meet the needs of all students through a variety of different teaching strategies, such as the theory of multiple intelligences, student choice boards, flexible grouping, and tiered assignments."

3. Practice Answering Potential Questions

Teaching interviews are all about how you answer the questions. While it's important to know your stuff, you also don't want to appear over-rehearsed. I've found that the best way to prepare for an interview is to practice answering possible questions. Try crafting potential answers in your own words for different situations so you don't sound like you're reading from a script. Your best bet is to come up with answers on generalized topics such as classroom management, professional development, student behavior, and classroom technology, and think about more general interview questions, too.

Further reading: Advice for New Teacher Graduates: Making Your Resume Stand Out

  • Describe your behavior management plan.
  • How will you communicate and involve parents?
  • How will you prepare students for standardized testing?
  • What is your biggest weakness and why?
  • Why do you want to work for our school district?

When it comes to interviewing for a teaching position, you want to stand out from the crowd. The best way to do that is to be prepared, and to make sure that your teaching portfolio is up to par so you can showcase your knowledge and experience. Nailing that interview can make all the difference for landing your perfect classroom job. Good luck!