When hiring a Teacher, look for someone who will bring the requisite teaching experience and subject matter expertise to your team. A stellar candidate will demonstrate a passion for education and be eager to have a positive impact on the lives of students and their families.
Basic duties performed by the Teacher will be creating and presenting lesson plans, maintaining a clean and orderly classroom, and conducting parent-teacher conferences. We highly value Teachers who excel in both group and individual instruction, and are adept at identifying students with special needs. Enriching courses with creative in-class presentations and off-site educational activities is a big plus.
Candidates should be able to demonstrate lesson planning skills, classroom presentation style, and methodologies for conducting parent-teacher meetings.
General interview questions (such as “Can you tell me about yourself?” and “Why are you looking for another job?”) are a great way to get to know your candidate’s personal history, interests and goals. However, be sure to add inquiries specific to the role they’re interviewing for, so you can gain valuable insights into their likelihood of success in that position.
Below are Teacher interview questions to help you get started:
1. How do you account for different learning styles in your classroom?
What you want to hear: A qualified Teacher will explain that every classroom has students with different learning styles. For example, students may be visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learners. Listen for a candidate who can identify the learning styles in their classroom, prepare and deliver lesson plans to match individual and group needs, and monitor the progress of their efforts.
2. What do you find to be the most frustrating thing about teaching, and how do you manage it?
What you want to hear: Experienced Teachers are constantly running up against frustrations that affect them personally or their students and classrooms. Take note of what your candidate specifies as their frustration and how it affects them and their job performance. For example, are they frustrated with the teaching salary and having to work an exhausting second job? Or do they bemoan a lack of classroom supplies and constantly take time to petition school administrators for a larger budget? Or does a lack of student progress force them to rethink their lesson plans or instruction style?
Red flag: A candidate who can’t think of anything that frustrates them may be revealing a lack of passion for the profession. Look for Teachers who care and will act to help themselves and their students.
3. What is your opinion about the value of homework?
What you want to hear: This question doesn’t necessarily have a right or wrong answer. Some schools believe that homework is an essential part of the learning process, reinforcing lessons taught in the classroom. Other schools take the view that homework is largely a busy work exercise and has limited value in teaching skills. Before sharing your school’s approach, listen to what your candidate has to offer. Does their view of homework match with the view of your school?
Red flag: If your candidate’s teaching philosophies vary greatly from those of your current faculty and administration, that disparity can be confusing to students and parents, and affect the academic goals set by your school.
4. A student in your classroom is being disruptive. How do you handle it?
What you want to hear: It is inevitable that a Teacher will have one or more disruptive students in their classroom at some point. Look for a candidate who can outline their plan of action for ending such behavior and getting the student back on track. You might hear “On the first day of school, I would establish my expectations for classroom behavior. If a student later pushes the limits, I would approach them calmly and attempt to diffuse the situation. I would be firm and direct when telling them what they’re doing wrong, and I would listen to any explanation they want to give me. If the matter persists, I would continue the discussion outside the classroom to avoid any embarrassment for the student or further disruption to the classroom. If the matter becomes more serious, I would arrange a meeting with faculty and parents.”
Red flag: A Teacher who fails to establish authority over their students, or has a tendency to lose control of the classroom, will be ineffective when delivering lesson plans regardless of how excellent their other teaching qualifications may be.
5. Why would you be a better addition to our teaching staff than the other candidates?
What you want to hear: This is an opportunity for your candidate to show how much they researched your school before the interview. A strong candidate will first share their understanding of your school’s history, its faculty and student body, and teaching philosophies and academic goals. They should then continue on by describing why they pair so well with this job, including a discussion of their teaching credentials, subject matter expertise, classroom experience, familiarity with similar student bodies, and shared teaching philosophies.
Red flag: A candidate who uses this opportunity to throw a negative light on their competitors rather than focus on their own qualifications is showing the red flags of poor judgment and lack of self confidence.
6. What is your view of technology in the classroom?
What you want to hear: It is a constant debate in academia about how to balance this generation’s access to technology with the development of basic academic skills. Listen for a candidate who understands that a student should learn how to read, write and do math before enhancing their skills with computers and calculators. Be sure as well that the candidate’s views of technology in the classroom align with your school’s teaching philosophies.
Red flag: A candidate who holds the belief that computers are a substitute for basic skills, or is incapable of striking an appropriate balance between traditional and computer learning, may be doing a tremendous disservice to your students’ academic development.
Every interview question can help get you closer to the right fit for your Teacher position.
Be sure to keep an eye out for candidates who:
- Have a passion for teaching and adhere to teaching best practices
- Pair well with your school’s teaching styles and philosophies
- Are creative lesson planners and energetic presenters
Need help writing a Teacher job description? Check out our Teacher job description template.
How well do you need to know your students learning style to teach them effectively?
Why do you feel you would fit in well with teaching staff at this school?
Tell me what you like to accomplish on the first day of school.
What techniques do you use to measure a student’s performance?
Think about the most difficult student you ever had to teach. What made them so difficult and what was the result of your efforts?
What was the most rewarding teaching experience you had in your career?
You believe a student should be tested for special needs assistance. What do you do?
How do you conduct a parent-teacher conference?
What do yo believe is your biggest weakness as a teacher? What do you do to overcome or improve on that weakness?
How would you describe your teaching style?