Preparing for a teaching interview is similar to preparing for any employment interview. Your research and preparation for interview questions will be more specialized, however, and should focus on the particular school to which you are applying, your past education-related experiences and teaching methodology.
Research the School/Board
Possible Interview Questions
You should always have questions for the interviewer. Don’t ask questions that have been answered in the interview or that you should know from your research. These can be asked in the middle of the interview if they connect to a question asked of you.
Note: You can use the print button on your browser to print this list for later reference.
Why did you become a teacher? What do you believe about students learning? How do you see the role of teachers in a community? All of these questions, and more, are clarified in your statement of educational philosophy, a document you likely wrote in your credential program and haven't examined in awhile. If you never defined your philosophy in the first place, here's how to do it and an example of how it's done. While studying to be teachers, you are often asked to write out our personal educational philosophies. This is not just an empty exercise, a paper only meant to be filed in the back of a drawer. To the contrary, your educational philosophy statement should be a document that serves to guide and inspire you throughout your teaching career. It captures the positive aspirations of your career and should act as a centerpiece around which all of your decisions rotate.
When writing your educational philosophy statement, consider the following:
My job, as an instructor, is to create an atmosphere that fosters learning. I am an instructor because I have a passion for guiding students through the learning process, in addition to a passion for the material I present. One of the best ways to foster learning is to demonstrate those feelings to my students. I encourage learning by creating a relaxed environment for students, stimulating conversation about concepts being presented and organizing material in a way that makes it easiest to understand. I treat subject matter as interconnected, emphasizing that everything students are learning fits together into a holistic understanding of the world, from which they develop their personal worldview. I believe this is best accomplished when I am demonstrating general research methodology. I demonstrate that learning how to find information applies to all areas of life and I use topics and examples that are multidisciplinary. Finally, I believe that respect for my students is one of the most important things I can show - not only to encourage their openness to the material I am presenting, but also to inspire them to respect each other and all other humans.
One of the most important concepts I hope to impart to students is that learning is a process that never ends. For me, the learning process includes improving myself professionally. I want to read more about formal learning theories to expand my understanding of how learning takes place. As I continue to instruct classes, I also aim to enhance my ease and confidence in front of classrooms and audiences. Finally, I plan to experiment with different methods and means of presenting information to classes in order to improve the learning atmosphere I create for students.
In teaching world languages, I facilitate the learning of speaking, listening, reading and writing skills in order to prepare my students to begin communicating in a foreign language while nurturing an understanding and appreciation of other cultures. The basic, fundamental skills they master in my class will enable my students to continue learning languages at the next level and beyond. Being a passionate, life long learner of languages myself, I strive to make my passion contagious. To that end, I endeavor to make my lessons engaging, tapping in to the interests and strengths of my students as often as feasible by allowing them to decide what direction to take on various assignments.
Each child is a unique individual whose learning style and attitudes may reflect his or her own interests, strengths and challenges, background, beliefs, experiences and personality. Taking the time to talk with my students, to listen to them, and to observe them in the classroom prove invaluable tools for me in evaluating their individual learning styles and attitudes. In turn, the knowledge I gain aids me in reaching them on an individual level.
In assessing progress toward reaching the high expectations I hold for each student, I offer each child multiple opportunities for success. Taking into account their diverse learning styles, I provide students outlets to demonstrate their mastery of the subject through presentations, projects and writing assignments in addition to homework, quizzes and tests. I am flexible to employ various methods of assessment which will allow my students to demonstrate their learning accomplishments, as I truly desire for every student to enjoy success in my classroom.
While I guide my students on their learning path, my students will have the best opportunity for success in life when our entire learning community--teachers, parents, administrators, and state officials--works as a team to provide them the best possible education. Collaborative efforts allow us to learn from each other, to improve as guides on our quest to educate, and to offer the most relevant education possible for our students. When we accomplish our goals to instill a passion for learning, prepare all students to become productive citizens and to reach their full potential, the door to opportunity will open wide for every student.
When the teacher's role is to guide, providing access to information rather than acting as the primary source of information, the students' search for knowledge is met as they learn to find answers to their questions. For students to construct knowledge, they need the opportunity to discover for themselves and practice skills in authentic situations. Providing students access to hands-on activities and allowing adequate time and space to use materials that reinforce the lesson being studied creates an opportunity for individual discovery and construction of knowledge to occur.
Equally important to self-discovery is having the opportunity to study things that are meaningful and relevant to one's life and interests. Developing a curriculum around student interests fosters intrinsic motivation and stimulates the passion to learn. One way to take learning in a direction relevant to student interest is to invite student dialogue about the lessons and units of study. Given the opportunity for input, students generate ideas and set goals that make for much richer activities than I could have created or imagined myself. When students have ownership in the curriculum, they are motivated to work hard and master the skills necessary to reach their goals.
Helping students to develop a deep love and respect for themselves, others, and their environment occurs through an open sharing of ideas and a judicious approach to discipline. When the voice of each student is heard, and environment evolves where students feel free to express themselves. Class meetings are one way to encourage such dialogue. I believe children have greater respect for their teachers, their peers, and the lessons presented when they feel safe and sure of what is expected of them. In setting fair and consistent rules initially and stating the importance of every activity, students are shown respect for their presence and time. In turn they learn to respect themselves, others, and their environment.
For myself, teaching provides an opportunity for continual learning and growth. One of my hopes as an educator is to instill a love of learning in my students, as I share my own passion for learning with them. I feel there is a need for compassionate, strong, and dedicated individuals who are excited about working with children. In our competitive society it is important for students to not only receive a solid education, but to work with someone who is aware of and sensitive to their individual needs. I am such a person and will always strive to be the best educator that I can be.