Expect questions about your teaching strategies. You might be asked how you would reach individual students if the class was a heterogeneous group of varying abilities and backgrounds. A good answer will describe the differences between a Socratic, question and answer style and small-group cooperative methods. Explain how you structure student groups carefully to play to the individual student's strengths. Describe how you provide material that is challenging but manageable. Your answer should demonstrate an awareness that lessons should be divided into segments with a variety of listening, speaking, reading and writing activities. Tell the interviewers how you provide ongoing assessment and prompt feedback to keep students informed about how well the class is learning and to help students monitor their progress.
► If a question seems unclear, ask for clarification or paraphrase what you think the interviewer meant.
► Freely acknowledge that you want the position and will work diligently to do what is expected.
► Ask if there is anything else that you need to do, and/or when a decision concerning the position will most likely be made.
► Thank them for their time and for the opportunity to share your thoughts with them.
► Send a handwritten note to everyone who interviewed you. Try to personalize it by including something that impressed you.
► When you enter the building, be aware of trophies and pictures that you may want to reference in some way.
► Walk in with a confident smile and shake each interviewer's hand if offered.
► Be prompt, pleasant, polite, enthusiastic, and interested.
► Sit up straight, uncross you arms and legs, and make eye contact with each interviewer.
► Be prepared to demonstrate that you have given the teaching profession a great deal of thought. Support your positions with confidence and insight. If you have had actual experiences that have influenced your thinking on a topic, be ready to discuss them.
► Be prepared to answer questions in written form immediately prior to being interviewed if requested to do so.
► Make sure you have an outfit that is clean, pressed, and comfortable, such as a suit or a neutral colored dress, skirt or pants with blouse and jacket. In most cases men should wear dress pants, shirt, tie, with a sport coat though for some formal school districts a suit may be most appropriate. Put everything you decide to wear aside in case you are given little notice of an interview.
► Make several copies of your current resume and letters of reference.
► Since first impressions are extremely important, look your best. Your hair should be clean and styled and your fingernails should be filed and unobtrusive. Dress conservatively and professionally.
► On your way to the interview, remind yourself that you are a great teacher and that any school would be fortunate to hire you.
► Be prepared to explain your classroom procedures, discipline methods and classroom management plan.
► Match your discipline plans to theirs. If they do not approve of tangible rewards, then accentuate other methods you use.
► You may want to write down your responses to help formulate them in your mind. Provide concise and straightforward answers that can be supported with examples of actual experiences. Practice answering the questions aloud.
► If you practice with someone else, look at him/her as you answer questions. Also, you may want to practice giving a firm hand shake and making eye contact.
► Do research on the internet to discover all you can about the school, school district and community: characteristics of the student population and faculty, size of the district, mission statement, upcoming initiatives, discipline plan, etc. Prepare to incorporate what you learned into your answers during the interview.
► If you know someone on staff or a child who attends the school, ask them questions that are not covered on the website. Also, find out as much as you can about the interviewer(s).
► Call the school and ask to receive a student or school handbook to review.
► Ask the secretary or personnel official what format the interview will follow and the number of interviewers.
► If feasible, ride by the school to note its location, surroundings, appearance and other characteristics.
► Make sure that you are certified or can be certified in the state in which you are applying for a teaching position.
► Complete the application form neatly and follow every direction. Enclose a short cover letter stating why you are interested in their school or district. Use resume paper, a business format, and do not repeat what is in your resume. To differentiate yourself, point out a unique interest, experience, or qualification that you possess. If you apply online, complete the application accurately.
► Contact references prior to listing them to receive permission to use their names. You may want to ask your supervising teacher, principal, professor, and/or a past or present employer who can attest to your attributes and skills.
► If you decide to hand deliver your resume and application, be prepared to meet any potential interviewer.
► Associate with as many educators as possible. A recommendation from a fellow teacher or administrator could facilitate you getting an interview.
► use a variety of teaching methods.
► have the ability to integrate technology into instruction.
► can motivate children to learn.
► can pace instruction so that student interest is maintained.
► can differentiate instruction.
► are amenable to changes.
► are willing to develop and implement new curricula.
► express an interest in collaborating with colleagues.
► have superior writing and verbal skills.
► exhibit "people skills," i.e. get along well with other educators, students, parents, and community members.
► show a genuine passion for teaching.
► care about helping children learn.
► are prompt, prepared, and organized.
► are flexible, enthusiastic and energetic.
► have classroom management skills.
► can maintain discipline.
► can create a calm, intellectually stimulating, and respectful classroom environment.
► have high expectations and hold students to high standards.
► possess knowledge of the subject matter.
► have an understanding of state standards and state testing.
► How would you describe parental involvement in the school?
► What kind of computer technology is available in the classroom?
► What is the typical class size for this grade?
► Is summer employment a possibility?
► What sort of opportunities do you offer for professional development?
► What do you consider as the toughest aspect of this job?
► What are your hobbies?
► What games would you play with your students and why would you choose these games and not other one?
► How would you win a heart of your students?
► When are you able to start?
► Do you have any questions?
► What teaching methods do you prefer and why?
► Do you think that all the students should be treated equally, or there should be an individual approach to every student, in accordance to his abilities and background?
► How would you improve the overall study environment in your class?
► Imagine that father of one of your students complained about something which is untrue. How would you react? What would you do?
►What is your opinion about information technology at elementary school?
► What is your opinion about foreign language education at elementary school?
► How would you handle the conflicts between students?
► Why do you want to become an elementary teacher?
► What do you want to accomplish on this position?
► Where do you see yourself in five years from now?
► What do you think are the key characteristics of a good teacher?
► Can you name the main problems teachers face nowadays? How would you solve these problems?
► What are your strengths and weaknesses?
► Young teacher at school drawing How would you approach the students of the first class, on the first day at school? What would you say?
► What methods do you use for classroom management? Describe one difficult incident with a student, and how you handled it?
► How would you handle difficult parents?
► Give me an example of a rule or procedure in your classroom?
► What methods have you used or would you use to assess student learning?
► What does being "at-risk" for school failure mean?
► What are some of the factors/conditions that might put a child at-risk?
► What experience have you had incorporating computers in a classroom?
► What grade level would you be most comfortable teaching?
► Are you a team player? If so, please give me an example?
► What are the most important or worthwhile qualifications of a good teacher?
► What are your strengths and weaknesses as a teacher?
► Describe your student teaching successes and failures?
► Describe a good lesson, explain why it was good?
► How would you go about planning a lesson?
► How would you individualize a curriculum for students at various levels?
► How would you identify special needs of students?
► Tell me about yourself?
► What type of reading program did you use in student teaching?
► If I walked into your classroom during reading time, what would I see?
► Tell me what you know about the 4-block Literacy Model?
► What is your personal educational philosophy?
► If you could design the ideal classroom for the elementary grades what would it look like?
► Which subject area do you believe is your strength, which is your weakest? What steps will you take to improve in this area?
Interview questions that focus on discipline methods are often worded as scenario questions. Expect to be asked how you would handle a student who is constantly disruptive or rude in class. Your answer should reflect patience, but also clear expectations of student behavior. Know what you would or would not tolerate, and what the consequences would be. Your answer should show that you are firm but supportive. Explain how you would start with a subtle approach such as moving closer to the disruptive student or glancing in her direction. Make it clear that if the student did not correct her behavior immediately, you would ask to speak with her after class, make a call to her parents, and contact the guidance counselors to determine whether there are any extenuating circumstances. Indicate that you would involve the office as a last resort. Most principals don't want teachers who believe sending a disruptive student to the office is the only effective disciplinary strategy.
You might be asked outright about your teaching philosophy, or the question might be, "Why did you decide to become a teacher?" Make a brief statement about what you believe about how students learn. Project a focus that is optimistic. For example, you might say something like, "I believe all students can learn when presented with subject matter appropriate to their level by a teacher who cares, is patient and helps to boost self-esteem". Don't say you chose teaching as a profession because the hours are short and the holidays are long, even if you are only joking. It is best to avoid humor in your answers. A good answer would describe past experiences you had where you taught successfully, and how rewarding you found the experience.
This question will come up at almost every elementary school interview. It's fairly common in the middle school and high school as well. You might have a weekly parent newsletter that you send home each week. For grades 3 and up, you may require students to have an assignment book that has to be signed each night. This way, parents know what assignments are given and when projects are due. When there are discipline problems you call home and talk to parents. It's important to have an open-door policy and invite parents to share their concerns at any time.
An IEP is an "individualized education plan." Students with special needs will be given an IEP, or a list of things that you must do when teaching the child. An IEP might include anything from "additional time for testing" to "needs all test questions read aloud" to "needs to use braille textbook." How do you ensure you're meeting the needs of a student with an IEP? First, read the IEP carefully. If you have questions, consult a special education teacher, counselor, or other staff member who can help you. Then, you just make sure you follow the requirements on the IEP word for word. When necessary, you may be asked to attend a meeting in which you can make suggestions for updating the IEP. Your goal, and the goal of the IEP, is to make sure the student has whatever he or she needs to be successful in your class.
You use lots of positive reinforcement. You are firm, but you don't yell. You have appropriate consequences for inappropriate behavior. You have your classroom rules posted clearly on the walls. You set common routines that students follow. You adhere to the school's discipline guidelines. Also, emphasize that you suspect discipline problems will be minimal because your lessons are very interesting and engaging to students. Don't tell the interviewer that you "send kids to the principal's office" whenever there is a problem. You should be able to handle most discipline problems on your own. Only students who have committed very serious behavior problems should be sent to the office.
There are standardized assessments at almost every grade level. Be sure you know the names of the tests. Talk about your experiences preparing students. You'll get bonus points if you know and describe the format of the test because that will prove your familiarity.
If you interview in the United States, school administrators love to talk about state, local, or national standards! Reassure your interviewer that everything you do ties into standards. Be sure the lesson plans in your portfolio have the state standards typed right on them. When they ask about them, pull out your lesson and show them the close ties between your teaching and the standards.
This will be among the first common teacher interview questions at almost every in-person. Just give a brief background in about three sentences. Tell them what colleges you graduated from, what you're certified to teach, what your teaching & working experiences are, and why you'd love the job.
The role of teacher is often formal and ongoing, carried out at a school or other place of formal education. In many countries, a person who wishes to become a teacher must first obtain specified professional qualifications or credentials from a university or college.
Elementary teacher (also called a school teacher) is a person who provides education for students.