In my opinion the key to almost any job interview is preparation and an interview to land the job of a teacher is no exception to this. Due to the relatively high competition for most teaching vacancies, doing well in your interview is incredibly important should you wish to actually be hired. I will now list five questions that come up very often during teacher interviews and can be a bit tricky if you have not rehearsed answers before hand. I will of course also explain how to answer them in such a way that makes you shine.
How does your teaching plan compare to this states standards?
If you have worked as a teacher for long enough you will be fully aware how important it is considered to have lesson plans that heavily correspond with state guidelines. This question is one of the few that you will be asked where it is highly beneficial to have physical evidence supporting your answer as the perfect answer involves you taking out your lesson plan and illustrating how neatly it corresponds with that of the state standards. Doing so also highlights your attention to detail and the fact that you have put a lot of time into preparing for the interview, both of which paint you in a favorable light.
What approach do you take to prepare students for standardized examinations?
The first step of course is ensuring that you know the names of the standardized examinations within the state that you are applying for work. Though this may sound straightforward, it is a pretty common mistake to make when applying for work in a state that you have not worked in previously. The next aspect of the answer is a detailed explanation of the formats and techniques that you have used successfully in the past. Also do not be afraid to mention the techniques that you have found inadequate, such a mention illustrates both sincerity and a willingness to learn from your mistakes.
What is your discipline philosophy?
There a number of points that you should make when answering this question. One of the first is that you believe strongly in positive reinforcement and that you believe in being firm but find yelling to be pointless. You should mention that you believe in consistency and that the rules for your classroom do not change on a weekly basis nor do they bend for favoured students. You should also try to get across that you generally try to engage students and hence tend to have less discipline problems than many teachers, however you need to be careful not to sound contrived. Lastly you need to remember that the last thing that you mention is a tendency to send students to the principles office. You should after all be able to handle things yourself and principles have little interest in taking on teachers who are just going to increase their workload every time a student stands out of line.
How do you communicate with parents?
This question almost always comes up during interviews to work at elementary schools, however it is pretty common for high school positions also. If you have worked as a teacher before you will be aware that interaction with parents is an important and unavoidable aspect of the job. The two points that you really need to provide are first that you are not afraid to contact parents should a students discipline levels become a problem. The second point is that you are always willing to listen to any concerns that parents may have and often inform them of this fact at the start of term.
Do you have any experience of dealing with students with an IEP?
This is a question that can easily throw a spanner in the works for any teacher who has not had such a student. Many teachers have not and therefore a lack of preparation can lead to an answer consisting of a single word and this obviously does not come off as particularly impressive. If you have no experience in the matter do not be afraid to say so, however ensure that you understand what would be required should you have such a responsibility in the future. There are many resources online available and provided you do your research and offer a short concise explanation, there is no reason why this question should be a curve ball.