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Teacher Interview Tips for
New Teachers

Eric Ciechanowski
By Eric Ciechanowski
Last Updated: September 04, 2020
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So you’ve landed your first teaching interview and you’re ready to put your years of study and passion for education to use. But what should you expect in the interview? What questions will you have to answer, and what should you say to impress a prospective employer? We spoke to some experts to find out what they look for in a new teaching hire, and what common teacher interview questions they might pose. Here are some teacher interview tips based on what they told us.

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Candidates who understand the job

Make sure you fully review the job listing before coming in for the interview, and do some research on the school, its culture and its standards. You may also want to have a lesson plan prepared that is designed to fit the standards and curriculum of the school you are interviewing at.

“Often people’s perception of what the job actually involves is far from reality,” says Jonathan Sandling, director of studies at the UK College of Business and Computing.

Be prepared to answer

  • What experience do you have working with children?
  • Describe a scenario that challenged your patience working with kids
    and tell me how you overcame it.

A focus on students

At the end of the day, teaching is about the students, so that student focus should be at the heart of all your interview responses.

“Teachers need to be aware of every child’s right to learn in their class and how they will accomplish this,” notes Bianca J. Corozzo, founder of H&B Learning. “Teachers should expect to answer interview questions related to reaching every child in the class: differentiation, building relationships with parents and colleagues, and using student data to inform instruction.”

Be prepared to answer

  • If you noticed a student was falling behind, what action would you
    take to help?
  • Why do you want this position?

A solid record of success

Even a brand new teacher should come to the interview armed with at least one solid example of a time when their teaching skills were effective. For instance, this may be an anecdote from a student teaching experience.

“Prepare examples that demonstrate how your past experience will help you succeed in the position,” suggests Jane Nethercott, from ITN Mark Education. “Be ready to refer to situations you have had to deal with, how you handled them, how successful you were, what you learned from them, and what you would do differently if dealing with them again.”

Be prepared to answer

  • Describe a lesson that has gone particularly well and what contributed
    to its success.
  • What strategies have you used to manage behavior in the classroom?

A willingness to try new things

School administrators want to see teachers who are flexible enough to fit into their environment and meet their standards, but also passionate enough to always being testing out new ways of teaching. You might come to the interview with a new idea or two about teaching that you’d like to try out on a class.

“Teachers need to be compliant with the fundamentals of teaching and the requirements of the awarding and regulatory bodies,” says Sandling, “but around this, teachers who try new ideas will continue to improve over time and become better teachers.”

Be prepared to answer

  • How will you use data to inform your instruction?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?

A positive attitude

Teaching is a challenging job, and a good attitude can go a long way. Plus, customer service is an important part of teaching when it comes to dealing with parents, so demonstrate a positive attitude and strong communication skills at the interview.

Remember, “Thoughtful and enthusiastic candidates are always the people that interviewers remember at the end of the day,” reminds Nethercott.

Be prepared to answer

  • Describe a lesson that hasn’t gone so well and how you handled it. What would you do differently if you found yourself in a similar situation in the future?
  • How do you develop positive relationships with students? With parents?

If you are interviewing for a teaching position, you are probably already passionate about what you do. The best way to ace a teaching interview is to prepare answers to common interview questions in advance, and then let that passion shine through at your interview.

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