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40+ Common Teacher Interview Questions (with Example Answers)

Get 40+teacher interview questions with tips to help you ace your next interview.
40+ Common Teacher Interview Questions (with Example Answers)

Teacher interviews are a whole new level — apart from academic qualifications, you need to show passion and skills to prove that you can handle this impactful role well.

I know this because I spent the first 10 years of my career teaching, and I’m here to help you get better at interviews, fast.

You need to come across as trustworthy and student-focused, but also show you understand the school culture and values and that you’ll contribute to their success. All that with a single goal — get to the demo lesson and show them how it’s done.

Here’s what you’ll learn in this guide:

  • The exact requirements of the job and what to highlight in the interview
  • A list of 40+ most common teacher interview questions
  • Ten sample answers to make your own
  • Five bonus tips to nail the interview

Looking for only a list of common interview questions for teachers? Here are the top 10 questions to expect:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What inspired you to become a teacher?
  • How do you engage students who seem disinterested?
  • What teaching methods do you prefer and why?
  • Describe a challenging teaching experience and how you handled it.
  • Tell me about a successful teaching strategy you implemented.
  • Discuss a situation where you collaborated with other teachers and administrators.
  • How would you handle a situation where a student is consistently disruptive?
  • Imagine your students performed poorly on a test you believed they were well-prepared for. What would you do?
  • If a parent disagrees with your teaching style, how would you handle it?

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Don’t waste days compiling overused interview techniques. Get original answers to every single question you could expect.

Understanding the Requirements of a Teacher’s Job

In your interview, you’ll need to show your skills in classroom management, lesson planning and preparation, assessments, committee and team meetings, admin work, and professional development.

There are three technical skill areas you want to focus on:

  • Subject matter expertise. Show that you have a strong understanding of the subjects you’ll be teaching and that you can convey the knowledge well.
  • Pedagogical skills. You’ll get questions about lesson planning, teaching strategies, assessment methods, and classroom management.
  • Technical proficiency. They need to see you’re comfortable using new technologies and tools.

You also need to show you have the relevant soft skills like strong verbal and written communication, empathy, and patience. Don’t forget problem-solving — 9 times out of 10, the committee will ask you about dealing with academic and behavioral problems in the classroom.

What’s the teacher hiring process timeline like?

  • A typical teacher interview takes place face-to-face, at the school you’re applying to.
  • You could meet a principal, superintendent, counselor, another teacher, or have a panel interview with 3–4 school members.
  • Apart from the typical steps in the interview process such as the resume review and interview, you may be required to do a demo lesson with a group of students or a simulated lesson with the interview panel.
  • There’s also a mandatory background check.

Need some tips on writing your teacher resume? Get them here: Teacher Resume Examples + Writing Guide.

Common Teacher Interview Questions and Sample Answers

Below are the most common interview questions for teachers, with example answers you can use as inspiration, and tips on what to highlight in your answers.

Basic Interview Questions for Teachers

Tell me about yourself.

Sample answer:

My name is Lena Platanos and I’m currently employed as a Math Teacher in North Penn SD. My journey to becoming a teacher is rooted in my passion for both science and education. After earning my Bachelor’s degree in Math Education, I worked in New Jersey for six years before starting in North Penn. It’s been an interesting past few years here. When I first arrived, we had a lot of issues with the math scores but I worked really hard to boost the proficiency score to 48%. I also got to work in one of the most diverse districts in the state. Looking to the future, I’m looking to continue my career in a smaller district where I can really make a difference. I know Mt. Lebanon was rated the #2 district in the State last year, with an average math score of 69%, and I would love to be a part of the team that will push the district to number one.

Tips on how to answer:

  • Don’t forget about this question! “Tell me about yourself” is a common opener for any job interview.
  • If they phrase it as “Walk me through your resume”, don’t take it literally and repeat what they already know.
  • Use the Present-Past-Future formula to structure your answer. Start by explaining your current role, then rewind and briefly mention your experiences that helped you get to where you are now. Then explain how this role and this school align with your plans and wishes.
  • Focus on aspects directly linked to teaching and education, and avoid overly personal details.

What inspired you to become a teacher?

Sample answer:

My love of storytelling and teachers who made a difference. Growing up, literature provided me with a sense of connection, empathy, and understanding of the world around me, very often in situations when nobody else could. I was lucky to have exceptional literature teachers throughout my academic journey. Their influence showed me the profound impact a passionate and dedicated teacher can have on students’ lives.

Ultimately, it was the desire to share my love of literature with young people, show them how literature can raise important questions, help practice critical thinking and also provide a sense of comfort in difficult times. I also love it that I can provide a sense of direction to students, as well as support them to find their own voice through writing and analysis.

Tips on how to answer:

  • Be genuine and share a heartfelt story about what inspired you to choose a teaching career.
  • Connect your motivation to the impact on students’ lives.

How do you engage students who seem disinterested?

Sample answer:

Students are typically disinterested for three reasons — the topic at hand is too difficult to understand so they dissociate and disengage; it’s too easy, and they’re bored; there’s something on their mind which prevents them from engaging in the lessons. Whenever I get a feeling that one of my students switches off, first, I talk to them one-on-one and just ask. I also ask the other teachers if they are experiencing the same. Once I have a clearer idea about what’s going on, I devise a strategy. It can be anything from interactive learning or giving the student a key role in a project or assignment so that they have a bit more personalized attention.

Tips on how to answer:

  • Show you can personalize the approach to meet the needs of the particular student.
  • Show that, whatever your tactic, you always have the end goal in mind — student success.

What teaching methods do you prefer and why?

Sample answer:

I’m a big fan of group work and group projects, as well as flipped classrooms. I think this gives students a lot more independence and active engagement when compared to classic lectures. I think the key here is to challenge students with realistic goals and support them in solving problems on their own. PBL also works great for teenagers, as it promotes critical thinking, collaboration, and creativity. Of course, sometimes the subject matter requires a more traditional, lecture-based approach, but I try to spice it up with visual aids, video materials, and discussions to increase student engagement.

Tips on how to answer:

  • If possible, relate methods to positive outcomes and student engagement.
  • Show you can guide them beyond the academic results/achievements.

Although you’ll face more specific interview questions about working with students or designing a lesson plan, make sure you’re prepared to answer these other interview “classics”:

Behavioral Interview Questions for Teachers

Behavioral questions typically start with “Describe a time when…” or “Tell me about a…”, followed by a past situation. To answer them well, you need to be ready to recount a relevant similar experience from your past.

The STAR formula will help you organize your thoughts into concise stories that highlight your skills. But more on this approach later.

Here are the behavioral questions that often come up in teacher interviews:

Describe a challenging teaching experience and how you handled it.

Sample answer:

A few years back, I had a student who was clearly bright, but just couldn’t seem to get engaged in class. He was disruptive, refused to participate, and distracted everyone else. Detentions didn’t work, so I knew I had to try a different approach.I sat down with him one-on-one, and it turns out he was really frustrated with the curriculum, and thought the lessons were quite outdated. So I took what he told me and used it to adjust my approach. I adapted the lessons, brought in more recent examples, put him in charge of some projects, and noticed he did well when given extra responsibility. I started assigning him small leadership roles in group projects, and that really made a difference.

Over time, he became way more involved in class, his behavior improved dramatically, and his grades got a lot better, too. He even started mentoring younger students, which was awesome to see. This whole experience was a big lesson for me. It taught me just how important it is to empathize with your students and understand what’s really going on with them, so you can tailor your teaching to their individual needs.

Tips on how to answer: 

  • Focus on the positive outcomes of your actions. Explain the positive change in the student’s behavior, engagement, or academic performance.
  • Highlight your problem-solving skills and how you adapted your teaching methods to meet the individual needs of the student.
  • Emphasize the importance of building relationships.

Tell me about a successful teaching strategy you implemented.

Sample answer:

I love incorporating simulations and role-playing activities into my history classes. For instance, during a unit on the American Revolution, my students took on the roles of key figures like colonists, British loyalists, and soldiers. They researched their assigned roles, debated their perspectives, and even recreated key events like the Boston Tea Party.The level of engagement was off the charts. The kids were completely immersed in the experience. They weren’t just passively absorbing information, but actively participating in a history lesson. They were arguing, compromising, and making decisions based on their understanding of the events and the motivations of their characters.

The impact on their learning was incredible. They developed a much deeper understanding of the causes and consequences of the American Revolution, as well as the perspectives of different groups involved. The goal of the lesson was absolutely achieved since it helped students hone their critical thinking, communication, and collaboration skills. Oh yes, and a subsequent test resulted in a 20% increase in straight As. 

Role-playing games and simulations like this have become staples in my teaching toolkit. 

Tips on how to answer: 

  • Explain how your strategy encouraged students to participate and become more active.
  • Use numbers or percentages to demonstrate the positive impact of your strategy.
  • Show how your strategy helped students develop skills that are valuable beyond the classroom.

Discuss a situation where you collaborated with other teachers or administrators.

Sample answer:

A while back, our school decided to put on a big production of “The Wizard of Oz.” It was an ambitious project, and I knew we’d need everyone’s expertise to pull it off. As the English teacher, I partnered with my colleagues in the art and music departments, as well as a few dedicated parent volunteers.We split the work based on our strengths. The art teacher was responsible for the design of the set and costumes, creating a visually stunning and whimsical Land of Oz. The music teacher worked with the students on the iconic songs and musical numbers, while I focused on adapting the script and coaching the actors. The parent volunteers were invaluable in handling the behind-the-scenes logistics, from building props to managing ticket sales.

The final performance was more than we had hoped for. The students truly shone on stage, the audience was completely captivated, and the whole school community came together to celebrate our shared success. For me, this experience highlighted the power of collaboration, the importance of recognizing and leveraging everyone’s unique strengths, and the sheer joy of creating something amazing as a team.

Tips on how to answer: 

  • Choose an example where you collaborated and worked together to achieve a common goal.
  • Explain your specific role in the collaboration and how your expertise or skills contributed to the project’s success.
  • Show you can resolve conflicts in a collaborative setting.

Situational Interview Questions for Teachers

Situational questions are easy to spot — they usually start with “What would you do if…” or “How would you handle”, followed by a hypothetical situation.

If you encountered the given scenario in your career so far, you can treat them as behavioral questions and base your answer on real-life experience.

How would you handle a situation where a student is consistently disruptive?

Sample answer:

No matter how experienced you are, handling disruptive behavior requires a balanced approach and is not easy. Of course, you need to prioritize the needs of the disruptive student, but there’s also the rest of the class to think about. I like structured environments and like to set clear expectations, but I also have a strong student-centered mindset.

Here’s what I would do. I would first try to understand the underlying reasons for the disruptive behavior. I would talk to the student one on one to see if they’re facing any academic struggles, social difficulties, or personal issues. Next, I would reinforce classroom expectations and boundaries in a calm and firm manner. I would remind the student of the rules for behavior in the classroom and the consequences of continued disruption. I would explain that, if the behavior continues, I would need to take steps to prevent future disruptions. This may include extra help with academic tasks, opportunities for movement breaks, or access to counseling or support services if needed.

Tips on how to answer:

  • Show that you understand the underlying reasons for the behavior.
  • Emphasize a constructive, respectful approach to discipline.

Imagine your students performed poorly on a test you believed they were well-prepared for. What would you do?

Sample answer:

I wouldn’t point fingers. Instead, I’d take it as a sign that something in my teaching approach or the assessment itself didn’t quite click.First, I’d take a good, hard look at the test results, analyze everything including specific questions that most students missed, and try to establish a pattern to the errors. This would give me some clues about where things may have gone wrong.

After that, I’d ask my students for honest feedback about how they felt about the test and what they found challenging. I’d use those insights to develop my future strategies.

Based on what I find out from analyzing the results and talking to my students, I’d take action. Maybe it means reteaching certain concepts differently, offering extra support to struggling students, or even adjusting the way I assess their understanding in the future.

The key is to see this as an opportunity for growth, both for my students and for me as a teacher. It’s a chance to reflect on my practices, learn from my mistakes, and come back stronger.

Tips on how to answer: 

  • Show that you’re open to student feedback.
  • Focus on your commitment to continuous improvement.
  • Talk about solutions.

If a parent disagrees with your teaching style, how would you handle it?

Sample answer:

I’d first schedule a meeting with the parent where I’d actively listen to their feedback, ask clarifying questions, and try to understand their perspective.I believe that explaining my teaching philosophy and the rationale behind my approach could help them rethink their attitude. Besides, I’d share examples of how my methods have benefited students in the past, while encouraging an open discussion about any research or evidence that supports my practices.

That said, I’d be willing to adapt and make adjustments if necessary, that is, if the feedback from the parent was genuinely constructive and based on good reasoning. 

Ultimately, my goal would be to find common ground and work collaboratively with the parent to create a positive and supportive learning environment for their child. I believe that students can thrive only when parents and teachers work together. 

Tips on how to answer: 

  • Show that you value parent perspective and understand their concerns, even if you disagree.
  • Show you can stand your ground and advocate for yourself and your teaching methods and philosophy.

Get a full guide on situational interviews: Situational Interview Questions: Sample Answers and Tips.

Based on my personal experience and conversations I’ve had with ex-colleagues, here are some more common questions you can expect:

  • How did you get into teaching?
  • What’s your teaching philosophy?
  • How would your students and colleagues describe you?
  • What do you like/dislike the most about teaching?
  • What are the strengths that helped your teaching career?
  • What’s your biggest accomplishment as a teacher?
  • What about teaching in our district appeals to you?
  • How do you communicate and build relationships with parents?
  • For what reasons or issues would you reach out to communicate with parents?
  • When and how do you typically engage counselors?
  • What do you think is the most difficult aspect of the profession?
  • How do you evaluate students and what grading system do you use?
  • What methods do you use to assess student learning beyond traditional tests and quizzes?
  • A student always finishes their assignments early. How would you deal with the free time they have?
  • How do you work with students who perform below grade level?
  • Describe what experience you have in modifying lesson plans for students with special needs?
  • Imagine that a student is consistently late to your class. How would you handle the situation?
  • If the majority of your class failed a test, what would you do?
  • How do you implement technology in your lessons?
  • What would you do if a student refused to do the work you assigned?
  • What are the rules of your classroom? How do you establish and reinforce them?
  • What’s your approach to discipline?

Role-Specific Interview Questions for Teachers

In the interview, you’ll also get questions related to the specific subject you’re teaching, different educational levels, methodologies, or recent trends.

To do well, make sure you prepare for the more challenging questions and highlight the importance of thorough research on the school’s curriculum and values.

Here are some examples to give you a broad idea of what you can expect:

Questions for elementary school teachers

  • How do you incorporate social-emotional learning into your daily classroom activities?
  • Can you describe an activity you’ve designed that helps develop foundational skills in math and reading?

Questions for high school teachers

  • How do you keep students engaged in a subject they might find challenging or uninteresting?
  • Describe how you prepare your students for standardized tests and college readiness.

Questions for special education teachers

  • Tell us about a time when you adapted your teaching methods to accommodate different learning disabilities.
  • How do you collaborate with general education teachers to ensure inclusivity and equal learning opportunities for all students?

Questions for science teachers

  • What techniques do you use to teach complex scientific concepts to ensure student understanding?
  • How do you incorporate hands-on experiments into your curriculum?

Questions for PE teachers

  • Describe your philosophy on physical education and its role within the broader educational environment.
  • How do you motivate students who are reluctant to participate in physical activities?

Questions for art teachers

  • Can you share an example of how you integrate other subjects, like history or math, into your art lessons?
  • What methods do you use to assess student progress in a subjectively evaluated course like art?

Bonus Tips for Answering Teacher Interview Questions

Here are some tips to help nail those tricky questions and show your unique value better.

Use the STAR method for storytelling

When answering questions about your experiences, use the STAR method to keep your answers focused and engaging.

STAR is a 4-step approach that works great for all questions that require you to tell a story.

  • Situation: Set the scene by briefly describing the context of the situation.
  • Task: Talk about the goal or challenge you were facing.
  • Action: Outline the specific steps you took to address the situation.
  • Result: Discuss the outcome of your actions and how it impacted the students or your colleagues.

Let your passion shine through

Teaching is more than just a job. Let your passion for education and working with kids and young adults show through in your answers.

Share what inspires you about this profession and drives you to be a better teacher. Maybe it’s witnessing those “aha!” moments when a student finally grasps a concept or overcomes a learning obstacle with your help. Or when you see them get progressively better in an area they initially struggled with.

Be specific and genuine in your responses, and, whenever possible, use examples from your experience to make a point.

Focus on the positive & proven

When discussing your experiences, always highlight the positive outcomes you’ve achieved. Don’t just tell them what you did — frame it around the results and the difference it made. Such as:

  • Test scores improving
  • Engagement increasing
  • A shift in students’ attitudes towards learning

Be specific and use quantifiable data whenever possible.

Back up your claims by sharing anecdotes about students or talking about specific projects or lessons that led to exceptional results. This way, you’ll present yourself as a reflective practitioner who can analyze and improve their teaching methods.

Research the school

Start with their website. Dig into their mission statement, values, and educational philosophy. Find out what their priorities are and what kind of learning environment they strive to create. Look for information about their curriculum, extracurricular activities, and special programs.

Next, check out their social media. This can give you a glimpse into the school’s culture and community. Look for photos and posts about events, student achievements, and teacher highlights. You might even get a sense of the school’s personality and how they communicate with parents and the wider community.

Getting familiar with the school will serve two purposes — you’d be able to give better, more informed answers, and also show them that you took the time to explore, meaning — you’re genuinely excited.

Practice for the interview

As a teacher, you’re probably not afraid of being in the spotlight, but that’s when you control the classroom and make the decisions. Once the roles are reversed, and you’re put in a less powerful position, it’s easy to lose focus and panic.

Mock interviews are a great way to get more confident and increase your chances of getting the callback. You can practice on your own by recording yourself on your phone. This is useful because you can rewatch the recording and make corrections. You can also use interview simulation software like Big Interview to practice.

Big Interview software comes with a list of questions that you answer on camera. You get in, record yourself, and once you’re done, you get AI feedback on 12+ criteria like the relevance of your answer, pace of speech, use of filler words, or body language.

Screenshot 2024 05 21 at 14.26.56

If you’re a Big Interview user, you can practice if you go to Interviews, then Practice Sets, then By Industry, and then select the Teaching Profession. You’ll be able to choose a more specific set to practice: College Professor, K-12 Teacher, K-12 Teacher Level 2, and School Administrator.

Summary of the Main Points

  • Teacher interviews are tricky because you need to adapt to the role switch — you’re the one being evaluated. The pressure to do your best can get to even the most prepared candidates.
  • To do well in a teacher interview, you need to know what key skills they’re looking for — classroom management, lesson planning, passion for the subject, problem solving, enthusiasm, and knowledge transfer skills.
  • You should highlight your student focus, but also show how you will contribute to the success of the school.
  • The questions will vary depending on the exact courses and grade levels you’ll be teaching, but will typically be a mix of general interview questions like “Tell me about yourself” and role-specific ones.
  • Most of the interview will be centered around behavioral and situational questions, where you need to recall a specific situation from your past career or say how you would act in a hypothetical situation.
  • Before the interview, don’t forget to research the school and practice your answers, body language, and delivery, ideally through mock interviews.


How to respond to interview questions with limited teaching experience?

You need to emphasize your transferable skills, experiences, and potential for growth. Even if you haven’t had formal teaching experience, you probably have skills that are relevant. Mention the times you worked with children or youth, and focus on your willingness to learn. When you get behavioral questions, try saying: “I haven’t had that experience so far, but here’s how I would approach it”, and then say what you would do in that situation.

What are the most challenging questions a teacher might face?

Questions that involve uncomfortable situations and problem-solving, such as: “How would you handle a student who continuously misbehaves?” Questions that deal with cultural competence and diversity, like “How do you promote an inclusive classroom environment?” or “How have you adapted your teaching methods to support students with special needs?”

What questions should a candidate ask at the end of a teacher interview?

  • What are some of the school’s strengths and areas for growth?
  • What opportunities are available for professional development for teachers?
  • Have you set any programs in place to promote positive behavior and student engagement?
  • How does the district address emergency preparedness and crisis management?
  • Can you describe the collaboration between general education and special education teachers to meet the needs of diverse learners?

What’s the appropriate attire for a teacher interview?

To show respect for the teaching profession, it’s best to opt for formal business attire in neutral, inconspicuous colors. You want to be moderate — make sure your jewelry is minimal, your hair (and facial hair) groomed, your nails clean and neat, and your make-up natural. Your attire should reflect professionalism and confidence.

What are the best practices for researching a school or educational institution pre-interview?

Start by visiting the school’s official website and look for their mission statement, programs, extracurricular activities, and recent news or announcements. Check their social media and online platforms like GreatSchools, Niche, and SchoolDigger for reviews and ratings from students, parents, and staff. You’ll learn a lot about academic performance, campus culture, and community engagement.

Bojana Krstic
A writer who values workplace culture and knows a thing or two about resumes and interviewing. When AFK, she spends her time hiking or exploring the Adriatic. Here to help you land your dream job.
Edited By:
Briana Dilworth
Briana Dilworth
Fact Checked By:
Pamela Skillings
Pamela Skillings

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