What questions are aspiring teachers in for during an interview?

Interviews | Student teacher | Teachers - 03 Dec 2020

Your studies are done, and the degree is in hand. Now comes the fun part for aspiring teachers to find their ideal teaching job. The process of job hunting is indeed exciting, but when applications are unanswered and interviews don’t go the way you thought they did, can be discouraging. The secret to interviews is to be prepared and make sure that you stand out from the crowd.

It is important to know that there will always be standard questions that can be expected in an interview and this will ensure that you can prepare structured answers and obviously just adapt to how the conversation transpires.

As a teacher, you are going to be directly involved in the lives of your learners and of course their parents, especially if you are going to specialise in foundation phase teaching. Interviewers will care about who you are and what type of personality type you portray. Always stay true to yourself and make sure that you are giving authentic answers and not say what you think interviewers would want to hear. Don’t ever lie to get yourself into a teaching position. These are some of the common questions that will come up in an interview.

1. Why did you decide to become a teacher?

This is probably the most popular question and interviewers have heard every story in the book of answers. Giving a standard answer ‘because I love kids and to help them learn’ or ‘teaching is my passion’  is definitely not going to cut it. Always keep it real and give them a heartfelt answer that really shows why you chose the road in education. Really think of what was your driving force – something or someone who influenced you in the past, how a teacher maybe changed your life for the better? Be specific and dig deep!

2. Why do you want to teach at this specific school?

Teachers are always proud of their schools and if a newcomer applies for a position there, interviewers are eager to know why you chose their school. This is why it is critical that aspiring teachers put thought into which school they want to teach at and do research in order to provide structured answers and honest feedback. Interviewers will easily pick up if you were just sending out resumes and hoping for the best. Be sure to visit the school’s website and social media accounts in your preparation for the interview and get a feel for the school’s ethos.

3. What makes you different and what can you bring to our school that other candidates can’t?

This is the perfect question and opportunity to sell yourself honestly and let your unique qualities and thought processes shine through. Talk about activities you’ve participated in or passions you have that can easily translate into teachable moments and classroom activities that fall outside the usual curriculum. Every teacher is unique and believes that they are the ideal candidate for the position. Be sure to substantiate your answer with proof of what makes you unique. Keeping a digital portfolio of evidence and sharing links (this works well for an online interview) to visuals of what makes you a unique teacher will blow your competition out of the water.

4. What frustrates you the most in the classroom environment?

This is by no means a trick question. Interviewers need to know what gets you on edge and want to know how you are going to behave when tricky situations arise. Remember to use examples of common frustrating situations that can take place in the classroom and concentrate on the positive aspects of your teaching style. Again, always remember to be honest. Don’t forget to also include how you prevent getting into these sticky situations. Principals don’t want you to cause more problems. They want to see how you’d be able to solve challenges.

5. What is your teaching philosophy?

Everyone will, of course, have a unique answer when it comes to this question. Make sure you think critically about what drives you to teach and how you ideally see yourself running a classroom. This is not a question that you will just be able to answer on the day, you will need to spend some time formulating your thoughts on how you view education as a whole and what role you could play.

There are no right or wrong answers in interviews, as everyone’s experiences are different, but there are definitely are structured and wishy-washy answers. Be prepared, know what you want and go get that dream job!









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