Teaching Job Interview Questions and Tips

Preparing for a teaching job interview is very similar to preparing for any employment interview. You need to be prepared to answer behavior descriptive questions, skills assessment questions and hypothetical questions. Most people think that since behavior descriptive questions are so well-known that candidates, all candidates should know all the tricks for answering these questions.

However, this is not always the case and many candidates continue to reveal behaviors that would not make them ideal employees. In addition, many human resource professionals, people who at least conduct screening interviews for teachers, believe that since behavior descriptive questions are so well-known that there is no excuse for a lack of preparation to deal with these questions.

Behavior Descriptive Questions

Behavior descriptive questions ask about a past behavior in order to predict how the candidate with behave in future situations. Sample behavior descriptive questions include, "tell me about a time you had a conflict with a co-worker" or "tell me about a recent problem you have had and how you solved this problem".

Your answers should focus on one example and the response should include a positive outcome based on the actions that you took, or how you plan to improve your responses based on the outcome of this situation.

To answer these questions appropriately, you can use the STAR formula. STAR stands for Situation, Tactics, Actions and Results. Select a relevant professional example from your past, a true story in case a reference is asked to verify the situation, and explain the situation and your problem solving. Explain the actions you took based on your reasoning and the outcome for your action. Always try to put a positive spin on the situation or pick examples with positive conclusions from your past experiences.

Skills Assessment Questions

Skills assessment questions measure the skills you possess or what you can do for an employer. For teachers, this includes questions about lesson and unit planning, classroom management, pedagogy, dealing with parents and administrators and organizational and time management skills.

Be prepared to answer questions like, "Describe a lesson plan you developed and its learning objectives", or "Describe an assignment that you gave to students". This is your chance to talk to interviewers about your professional skills and work habits that are relevant to teaching.

Hypothetical Questions

You may be asked some "what would you do in this situation? Examples include, what would you do if a parent said you had marked an assignment too hard, or how would you deal with criticisms about giving too much homework/assigned reading. If you have some teaching experience, you can use past examples to show that you have experience dealing with these issues.

If you are a new teacher, you will have to rely on the advice from your textbooks, your supervised teaching experience, advice from a professional colleague or your pedagogical style. Always include your rationale when answering these questions, since they will help the interviewer understand your perspective, even if they don't agree fully with your answer.