There are many reasons why people are interested in the noble profession of educator, but perhaps the most compelling is the opportunity to help mold the young minds that will one day become leaders in industry, politics, religion, and pretty much every other walk of life. However, before you can start teaching kids to think you first have to qualify for the job. This is not so difficult; with a bachelor’s degree, a teaching certificate, and student teaching experience you can start applying for jobs with school districts. You’ll have to get a master’s or PhD to teach at the college level, but if you’re interested in primary education, the requirements aren’t hard to meet. What may be more difficult, unfortunately, is getting a job when you’re up against other qualified candidates. And the interview can make a big difference. When you have an idea of the questions that will be asked you can consider your answers ahead of time in order to ensure that you are not only honest, but also diplomatic. In the interest of preparation, here are a few common questions you might face, as well as how to best answer them.
- Why do you want to be a teacher? This falls under the category of “tell us about yourself” questions designed to give your interviewers some idea about your personal and career goals, as well as a notion of what drove you to the field of teaching. The best way to answer here is honestly, although you might want to practice a bit to ensure that you remain concise. When we talk about what we love, it’s easy to ramble. So try making a list of reasons you want to teach and then pare it down to create a manageable response that conveys your passion for the profession in a concrete and finite manner.
- What is your plan for standardized test preparation? You will no doubt have to answer plenty of questions pertaining to your ability to plan lessons that meet not only school criteria, but also standards at the local, state, and national level. However, all of these pursuits are really leading to the culmination that is standardized testing. If you want to prepare for this answer you need to know the names of the tests at the very least, but you should also take the time to research what these tests entail. You are going to have to consider this question very carefully as a teacher, so it couldn’t hurt to start your own preparation now so that you can answer with confidence during your interview.
- What are your thoughts on disciplining students? The diplomatic answer here is to convey that you will fall in line with the standards and practices of your school and your district. But you should also elaborate by discussing how you can turn disciplinary action into more than simple punishment; you can make it a learning opportunity that helps students to think about not only the consequences of their actions, but also how they might make different and better choices in the future.
- How will you employ technology in the classroom? Technology has become a very big deal where education is concerned. This is partially linked to the possibility for cheating, but more important is the potential to benefit students. So you need to come up with an answer that takes into account the latest technologies, how they may help to enhance lessons, how they can train students for future endeavors (where knowledge of technology will be important), and how you can accomplish your goals with a limited budget.
- What is your teaching philosophy? This is perhaps the most difficult, and yet most pertinent question you will likely be asked during the interview process. Whether you’re faced with students that have been learning with Baby Einstein since infancy or you have to try to reach kids that have emotional and learning disorders, you need to develop an overall philosophy that anchors and informs your teaching style and your behavior in the classroom. This can be extremely hard to define, but if you want to be a good teacher you need to put in the time and effort to formulate a personal philosophy where your job is concerned. And you’ll certainly need to speak about it clearly and confidently if you want to get the job in the first place.