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15 Most Common Teacher Interview Questions and Answers

By Sherice Jacob

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Navigating the job market as an aspiring teacher can be a daunting task. With the right preparation, however, you can turn this challenge into a rewarding opportunity. Let’s delve into the most common teacher interview questions and answers and share effective strategies for formulating answers that will impress your potential employers.


What qualities and skills are hiring managers looking for in a teacher?

  • Passion for Teaching and Learning

One of the most essential qualities of a successful teacher is a genuine love for teaching and learning. This passion often translates into a deep commitment to their students’ success and a willingness to go the extra mile to ensure every student can achieve their full potential.

  • Communication Skills

Teachers must be able to effectively communicate complex ideas in a way that students can understand. This extends to communicating with parents, other teachers, and school administrators as well.

  • Patience and Empathy

A classroom environment often involves a diversity of students, each with their unique abilities, challenges, and pace of learning. Teachers need to be patient, understanding, and empathetic to effectively manage this diversity and foster an inclusive learning environment.

  • Adaptability

Curriculum plans can change, unexpected issues can arise, and each class of students will have unique needs. An adaptable teacher can handle these changes gracefully and adjust their teaching methods as necessary.

  • Classroom Management Skills

A productive learning environment requires discipline and structure. Effective classroom management skills ensure that students are focused, respectful, and engaged, which contributes significantly to their learning outcomes.


15 Most Common Teacher Interview Questions and Answers

1. Can you tell us about your teaching background and experience?

This is a common initial question, allowing the hiring manager to gain a high-level understanding of your background and experience. They’re seeking to determine if your skills, experience, and teaching approach match the requirements of the role and the needs of the school.

Do’s

  • Start from the most recent and relevant experience, then work backwards.
  • Mention both formal and informal teaching experiences, including internships, student teaching, volunteering, or tutoring.
  • Discuss specific accomplishments or initiatives you’ve been a part of, showing measurable impact if possible.
  • Make sure to mention any experience with the age group or subject matter of the role you’re applying for.

Don’ts

  • Overwhelm the interviewer with every single detail of your entire career. Stick to the highlights.
  • Speak negatively about past schools, students, or colleagues.
  • Assume they have fully read your resume. Summarize your experiences, even if they’re listed on your CV.
  • Veer off into unrelated personal history or stories.

Sample Answer:

“I’ve been in the education field for over seven years. I started my career as a student teacher at ABC Elementary School, where I fell in love with teaching third graders. I then moved on to DEF Middle School, where I worked for four years as a Math teacher. 

There, I developed a math curriculum that resulted in a 20% improvement in student test scores in one academic year. For the past two years, I’ve been teaching sixth-grade Math at GHI Junior High. I’ve particularly enjoyed the challenge of making math accessible and enjoyable to students who often find the subject intimidating.”

2. Why did you decide to become a teacher?

The hiring manager asks this question to understand your motivation for choosing teaching as a profession. They want to ensure that you’re passionate about this field, as this often translates to dedication and resilience, qualities essential in the classroom.

Do’s

  • Reflect on your personal motivations and passion for teaching.
  • Discuss any key moments or influences that led you to pursue teaching.
  • Highlight the rewards you find in teaching, such as helping students learn or grow.

Don’ts

  • Give generic answers that could apply to anyone.
  • Imply that you see teaching as an easy job or fallback career.
  • Forget to convey your enthusiasm for teaching and its impact on students’ lives.

Sample Answer: 

“My decision to become a teacher was greatly influenced by some of my own teachers who made a significant impact on my life, showing me the difference a dedicated educator can make. I was particularly inspired by my high school English teacher, who not only taught us grammar and literature but also encouraged us to think critically and express our ideas confidently. Seeing the transformation in my own and my peers’ learning was really profound. I realized that as a teacher, I could help shape minds and make a real difference in the world.”

3. Can you describe your teaching philosophy?

By asking about your teaching philosophy, the hiring manager wants to understand the values and principles that guide your approach to teaching. This can provide insights into your teaching style, your view of student learning, and how you handle classroom situations.

Do’s

  • Discuss your beliefs about teaching and learning in a clear and concise manner.
  • Mention how your teaching philosophy aligns with the school’s mission or philosophy.
  • Show how your philosophy translates into practical strategies in the classroom.
  • Illustrate your philosophy with a brief example from your teaching experience.

Don’ts

  • Give a generic or vague response that doesn’t differentiate you as a candidate.
  • Present a philosophy that is inconsistent with the way you actually teach.
  • Fail to align your teaching philosophy with the age group or subject you aim to teach.
  • Avoid discussing how your philosophy benefits students’ learning.

Sample Answer:

“I believe in creating an inclusive, engaging, and supportive classroom environment that fosters curiosity and a love for learning. I think it’s essential for students to feel safe and valued, as this encourages them to take risks and participate actively in their learning.

 I also believe that learning should be student-centered, meaning I tailor my teaching strategies to meet the diverse needs of my students, incorporating different teaching methods to accommodate various learning styles. For example, in my previous role, I integrated technology and hands-on activities alongside traditional lectures to cater to visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners.”

4. Who inspires you?

The hiring manager asks this question to understand more about your personal values, motivations, and the type of personalities you admire. The answer can also provide insights into the type of role model you might be for your students.

Do’s

  • Choose someone who genuinely inspires you.
  • Discuss specific characteristics or actions of this person that resonate with you.
  • Explain how this inspiration affects your work as a teacher.

Don’ts

  • Select someone without being able to explain their meaningful impact on you.
  • Choose a controversial figure without carefully considering how it might be perceived.
  • Give an answer that doesn’t connect to your role as a teacher or your personal values.

Sample Answer:

“One person who greatly inspires me is Fred Rogers, best known for his educational television show, ‘Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.’ He had a profound respect for children, seeing and valuing them as individuals. His gentle, caring approach to discussing complex subjects always resonated with me. The way he communicated with empathy and understanding, always with the intent of making the world a better and kinder place, is something I try to bring into my own classroom.”

5. Can you provide an example of a challenging situation in the classroom and how you handled it?

The hiring manager wants to know how you handle challenges and conflicts in a classroom setting. Your answer can provide insight into your problem-solving skills, resilience, and ability to maintain a positive and productive learning environment under stress.

Do’s

  • Clearly describe the situation, your actions, and the outcome.
  • Discuss your thought process and decision-making during the situation.
  • Highlight skills and strategies you used to resolve the issue.

Don’ts

  • Discuss a situation without focusing on your role in resolving it.
  • Speak negatively about any student, parent, or colleague involved in the situation.
  • Overlook discussing what you learned from the situation and how it has informed your teaching since then.

Sample Answer:

“I can share an experience from when I was teaching at my previous school. I had a student who was typically well-behaved but started becoming disruptive and inattentive. Instead of immediately implementing disciplinary measures, I chose to speak with him privately to understand if there were underlying issues. 

I found out that his parents were going through a divorce, and he was having a hard time coping with it. After discussing this with our school counselor and his parents, we arranged regular counseling sessions for him. I also gave him additional attention in class and tried to involve him more in group activities to ensure he felt supported. Over time, his disruptive behavior decreased significantly, and he became more engaged in class.”

6. How do you differentiate instruction to meet the needs of all students?

The hiring manager asks this question to assess your ability to meet the diverse needs of students in a classroom. Your answer will indicate your understanding of differentiated instruction and how you adapt your teaching strategies to accommodate different learning styles, abilities, and interests.

Do’s

  • Show an understanding of differentiated instruction and why it’s important.
  • Share specific strategies or techniques you use to differentiate instruction.
  • Give an example from your teaching experience to illustrate how you’ve implemented these strategies.

Don’ts

  • Provide a generic answer that doesn’t show your understanding of the concept.
  • Ignore discussing how you assess and monitor the effectiveness of your differentiation strategies.
  • Overlook mentioning how differentiated instruction contributes to student engagement and success.

Sample Answer:

“It’s important to understand that every student has unique learning styles and paces. In my classroom, I differentiate content, process, and product based on students’ readiness, interest, and learning profile. For example, I might present content through videos, reading materials, or hands-on activities to cater to different learning styles. When working on projects, I allow students to choose their preferred method of demonstrating their understanding, be it through a written report, a presentation, or an art project.”

7. Can you describe your experience with integrating technology into your lessons?

The hiring manager asks this question to gauge your comfort level and proficiency with integrating technology into your teaching. As technology becomes increasingly important in education, it’s crucial for teachers to be able to effectively use it to enhance student learning.

Do’s

  • Share specific tools and platforms you’ve used in your lessons.
  • Discuss how you’ve used technology to engage students and enhance learning.
  • Mention any training or professional development you’ve pursued to stay updated with educational technology.

Don’ts

  • Give a generic answer that doesn’t show your personal experience with technology in the classroom.
  • Neglect to discuss how technology has benefited your students’ learning.
  • Ignore any challenges you’ve faced while integrating technology and how you’ve overcome them.

Sample Answer:

“In my previous role, I integrated various digital tools into my lessons. For example, I used platforms like Google Classroom for assigning homework and tracking student progress. I’ve also utilized interactive educational software to make lessons more engaging and cater to different learning styles. For instance, I’ve used Kahoot for formative assessments, which not only helped me gauge students’ understanding but also made learning fun for them. I’ve also used Zoom for parent-teacher conferences, which provided greater flexibility for parents.”

8. How do you assess student learning beyond standardized testing?

The hiring manager wants to understand your approach to student assessment beyond the traditional standardized testing methods. This allows them to gauge your ability to effectively monitor and assess student progress, provide useful feedback, and tailor instruction based on students’ individual needs.

Do’s

  • Describe various formative and summative assessment methods you use.
  • Explain how these assessments help you understand a student’s learning progress and adapt your teaching accordingly.
  • Discuss how you provide feedback and encourage students to self-assess.

Don’ts

  • Rely solely on traditional testing methods in your answer.
  • Overlook the importance of ongoing, formative assessments in monitoring student progress.
  • Neglect to mention how you use assessment data to improve teaching and learning.

Sample Answer:

“While standardized tests have their place, I believe a variety of assessment methods provide a more holistic view of a student’s learning. In my classroom, I use multiple formative assessment techniques such as quizzes, class discussions, exit tickets, and learning journals. These not only gauge students’ understanding but also give me immediate feedback to adjust my teaching as needed. I also incorporate project-based assessments and presentations to evaluate students’ ability to apply their knowledge in real-world scenarios.”

9. Can you describe a lesson plan you developed and how it was effective?

The hiring manager asks this question to understand your lesson planning skills, how you align your lessons with learning objectives, and how you evaluate the effectiveness of your instruction. Your response will indicate your understanding of effective instructional design and your ability to reflect on and improve your teaching practice.

Do’s

  • Describe a specific lesson plan including the subject, the learning objectives, the teaching methods used, and any materials or technologies incorporated.
  • Discuss how you differentiated instruction within this lesson.
  • Explain how you assessed its effectiveness and made adjustments, if necessary.

Don’ts

  • Give a vague or overly general description of a lesson.
  • Forget to mention how you tailored the lesson to the needs and interests of your students.
  • Overlook discussing the outcomes of the lesson and how it contributed to students’ learning.

Sample Answer:

“Last year, while teaching the water cycle in my science class, I developed a lesson plan that combined direct instruction, group activities, and technology. The objective was for students to understand the various stages of the water cycle and the concept of conservation of matter. I began with a short lecture using a PowerPoint presentation, followed by an interactive animation on the SmartBoard. 

Students were then divided into groups to create their own diagrams of the water cycle using a digital drawing tool. This task catered to different learning styles – visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. I circulated around the room, providing guidance and answering questions. I assessed their understanding through the accuracy of their diagrams, their participation in the group activity, and a short quiz at the end.”

10. How do you align your teaching with the Common Core or other state standards?

The hiring manager asks this question to ascertain your familiarity with the Common Core or other state standards, and how you incorporate these into your teaching. It’s important for teachers to align their instruction and assessments with these standards to ensure they are meeting educational requirements and supporting students in achieving these benchmarks.

Do’s

  • Demonstrate your understanding of the Common Core or relevant state standards.
  • Describe how you use these standards to guide your lesson planning and assessment.
  • Discuss how you use standards to set clear expectations and learning goals for students.

Don’ts

  • Ignore the connection between these standards and your day-to-day teaching practice.
  • Fail to mention how you keep up to date with any changes or updates to the standards.
  • Neglect to highlight the importance of these standards in promoting consistency and equity in education.

Sample Answer:

“Incorporating the Common Core standards into my teaching is integral to ensuring that my students are on track and meeting the appropriate grade-level expectations. When planning lessons, I first identify the relevant standards for the subject and grade level. These standards inform the learning objectives of each lesson, the instructional activities I choose, and the assessments I use to measure student learning.

For example, if a standard requires students to be able to analyze a text’s structure, I would design activities and assignments centered around this skill. I also reference the standards when giving feedback to students and parents, so they understand what is expected and how their work aligns with these goals”

11. How do you accommodate for special needs students in your classroom?

The hiring manager asks this question to gauge your understanding and experience in providing inclusive education. It’s important for teachers to be able to adapt their teaching strategies to meet the needs of special education students and create an inclusive and supportive learning environment for all.

Do’s

  • Discuss specific strategies you use to accommodate special needs students.
  • Highlight your knowledge of Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) or 504 plans, if applicable.
  • Show your understanding of the importance of communication with special education staff, parents, and the students themselves.

Don’ts

  • Give a vague or generic answer that doesn’t show your personal experience or understanding of special education.
  • Neglect to mention how you foster an inclusive classroom environment that respects and values diversity.
  • Overlook discussing the role of ongoing assessment and adaptation in meeting these students’ needs.

Sample Answer:

“In my classroom, I adapt my instruction based on the needs of each special education student. If a student has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 plan, I closely follow the accommodations and modifications outlined in it. For example, I might provide extended time on tests, use assistive technology, or incorporate visual aids to support understanding. I also differentiate instruction and use flexible grouping to promote effective learning for all students.”

12. How do you communicate with parents and guardians?

The hiring manager asks this question to evaluate your communication skills and your approach to establishing strong relationships with parents and guardians. Effective communication with parents is crucial in ensuring students’ academic and social success.

Do’s

  • Highlight different methods of communication you use.
  • Discuss how you establish open lines of communication from the beginning of the school year.
  • Mention how you handle difficult conversations or issues that arise.

Don’ts

  • Overlook the importance of regular and proactive communication with parents.
  • Neglect to discuss how you respect and accommodate the communication preferences of different families.
  • Forget to mention how you involve parents in their child’s learning process.

Sample Answer:

“At the start of the year, I share my communication plan with parents, which includes regular updates on their child’s progress and classroom news. I typically use emails, newsletters, and the school’s online parent portal to share information. I also schedule parent-teacher conferences to discuss student progress in detail. In these meetings, I make sure to highlight positive achievements as well as areas for improvement. If there are any issues or concerns, I reach out to parents promptly and professionally, inviting them to collaborate on solutions.”

13. What are your long-term goals as a teacher?

The hiring manager asks this question to understand your commitment to the teaching profession and your aspirations for professional growth. Your answer provides insights into your motivations, your dedication to continuous learning, and your potential future contributions to the school.

Do’s

  • Discuss specific goals related to professional development, student impact, or contributions to the school community.
  • Show enthusiasm and passion for teaching and learning.
  • Connect your goals to the values or mission of the school.

Don’ts

  • Provide a generic answer that doesn’t show your personal commitment to growth and improvement.
  • Ignore discussing how achieving these goals would benefit your students and the school.
  • Overlook mentioning any steps you’ve already taken or plan to take to achieve these goals.

Sample Answer:

“I plan to pursue a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction to deepen my understanding of effective teaching strategies and stay updated with current educational research. I also aim to take on a mentorship role for new teachers in the future. I believe that by sharing my experiences and learning from others, we can foster a collaborative and supportive teaching community.”

14. Can you provide an example of a project-based learning activity you have implemented?

The hiring manager asks this question to understand your experience and proficiency in implementing project-based learning, an educational approach that emphasizes student-centered and experiential learning. Your response should demonstrate your ability to engage students in complex, real-world projects that enhance their problem-solving skills, creativity, and knowledge application.

Do’s

  • Describe a specific project, including the subject, the project goals, and the steps students took to complete it.
  • Highlight how the project aligns with curriculum standards or learning objectives.
  • Discuss the outcomes of the project and how it contributed to students’ learning.

Don’ts

  • Give a vague or generic description of a project.
  • Forget to mention how you guided and supported students throughout the project.
  • Overlook discussing how you assessed student learning during and after the project.

Sample Answer:

“In my previous role, I implemented a project-based learning activity for my 6th-grade science class around renewable energy. The project objective was for students to understand different forms of renewable energy and their impact on the environment, aligning with our state’s science standards.

Students were grouped into teams, and each team chose a type of renewable energy to research. They were responsible for understanding how their chosen energy source worked, its benefits, drawbacks, and its potential impact on our local community. They then created a presentation, including models and diagrams, to present their findings to the class.

I guided students throughout the process, providing resources, answering questions, and facilitating discussions. I assessed their learning based on their research, collaboration skills, final presentation, and their ability to answer questions from their peers. The project was a success, and students were deeply engaged. They demonstrated a thorough understanding of renewable energy and developed valuable research and presentation skills.”

15. How do you promote social-emotional learning in your classroom?

The hiring manager asks this question to assess your understanding of social-emotional learning (SEL) and how you integrate it into your classroom. This shows your ability to support students’ emotional well-being and social skills, which are crucial for their overall development and academic success.

Do’s

  • Discuss specific strategies or activities you use to foster SEL in your classroom.
  • Highlight the importance of a positive and respectful classroom environment.
  • Show your understanding of the five core competencies of SEL: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.

Don’ts

  • Overlook discussing how you model positive social and emotional behaviors.
  • Neglect to mention how you address social-emotional learning in your lesson planning and instruction.
  • Forget to talk about how you support students in developing these skills over time.

Sample Answer: 

“I incorporate SEL in various ways. Firstly, I explicitly teach and discuss SEL skills through various activities. For instance, we might have a weekly class meeting where we discuss topics like empathy, managing emotions, or conflict resolution. Secondly, I integrate SEL into academic instruction. For example, when teaching literature, we discuss characters’ emotions and decisions and relate them to our own experiences. I also make an effort to model positive SEL behaviors such as active listening, empathy, and respect. Furthermore, I create a safe and inclusive classroom environment where students feel comfortable expressing their feelings and perspectives.”

Your Next Steps to Becoming a Teacher

From being able to clearly articulate your teaching philosophy to showcasing how you handle classroom challenges, differentiate instruction, and engage parents, your responses will reflect your readiness for the role. The key is to stay focused, authentic, and put the students’ needs at the forefront of your practice. 

Remember, teaching is not just about imparting knowledge, but about inspiring curiosity, fostering a love for learning, and helping students develop essential life skills. By demonstrating your commitment to these principles, you can prove your potential as a valuable addition to any educational institution. 

The good news is that it’s easy to get the guidance you need on your next steps. From creating a stellar resume and preparing for your interview, take your next steps with confidence!


Sherice Jacob

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