There is nothing more daunting than an interview session, but what makes it even more daunting is the challenging questions you might be faced with. The key to succeeding in an interview is knowing how to handle yourself well under pressure. When you’re faced with challenging questions in an already anxiety-ridden situation, you should be equipped to handling any curveballs that come your way. The best way to do this is by practicing beforehand, and having some sense of what tough questions might be asked by your prospective employer.
Before any interview with a school district and interviewer, be sure to know everything there is to know about the school beforehand. Prospective employers are interested in candidates who are interested in working for their school. They want to see who knows the routine or the basics of administration and education at their district. As long as you familiarize yourself and prepare in advance prior to entering the snake pit, you shouldn’t feel at all like a prey. You’ll be confident during the interview, and this will make the interview process all the more smooth. Interviewers will respond positively to your confidence, and this will boost your chances of landing the job.
As long as you have some idea of how to answer any difficult questions you may face, you should be in the clear. No need to fret. Below is an overview of some of the toughest questions that teachers may face during an interview as well as some tips on how to handle them.
1) Tell me a bit about yourself.
A question such as this is quite general and the difficulty in answering it lies in the fact that you might not know where to start, or might ramble on for too long. The best way to handle this question is to first focus on why you are here and being interviewed: you’re being interviewed for a teaching position, so the employer wants to know about your experience and background as a teacher, and what makes you a great teacher at that. Try to keep this explanation under three minutes. If you always dreamed about becoming a teacher since you were young, then mention that, and go right into how you began your educational and career pursuit in becoming a teacher. If you love teaching, mention that as well. If you had great teachers who inspired you to want to pursue a similar career path, mention that. Don’t dwell on any singular topic or ramble on about something that doesn’t say much about you as a teacher. The goal here is to sell yourself as a great prospective teacher at this school. Focus on that.
2) What are your long-term goals?
This question is being asked to gauge your commitment to the school district, as well as what your objectives are as a teacher. It also wonders whether you are goal-oriented or not. For a question such as this, it helps if you have a five-year plan in place. It also helps if you have a goal as a teacher but also a vision for the school, so doing some research beforehand may help. When answering this question, always focus on how your goal-oriented tasks will benefit the school and the students.
3) Why do you want to work for our school?
This is a fairly obvious question, and the answer to answering this question successfully lies of research you do to prepare yourself in advance. Be sure to know about the school district, the needs of the school, the successes of the school, the faculty, the board, the educational vision that the school promotes, the reputation, demographic, activities and neighborhood. Have some sense of what the school struggled with but also have excelled in to provide a balanced vision of your own that would be a good fit at this district.
4) What are your weaknesses as a teacher?
This is always a challenging question. The best way to answer it is to be honest, humble but not defensive. You can go for an answer that says something positive about you but accurately reflects the fact that you are prone to human flaws. A safe way to answer a question such as this would be to say that you have a hard time fitting in your entire agenda for the day because there’s a lot you have planned for students, so what you try to do when faced with this challenge is that you prioritize what lessons that might benefit students the most in terms of their educational advancement, and set aside others activities for another time. This answer reflects your hardworking efforts and planning ability so that you don’t run out of lesson plans. It also shows that you have a sense of priority when it comes to educational assets for students. It also reveals that you have what it takes to keep students occupied.
5) How do you handle classroom discipline?
This is a tough one since the way of disciplining classrooms or students vary according to each teacher. It’s important that you stay apprised of on-going discourses regarding effective classroom disciplining in order to keep your teaching methods up to date. But the most important reason for having an answer in a case like this is to answer the question without offending anyone but also showing your effective teaching ability. The interviewer is asking this question to get a sense of who you are as a teacher, and whether or not you are prepared when it comes to disciplining students. Knowing the school district’s mission statement or discipline philosophy in advance will help you to answer this question best, so that you do not say anything out of line, but you must also remain honest to your own goals as a teacher. A good balance of these two elements will be the best answer. Try to provide a real scenario where you had to exercise discipline and it had an effective result. Explain why you felt that this course of action was best, and how it worked out for the student(s).
6) Have you ever had a conflict with a colleague or supervisor? If so, how did you resolve it?
This is a challenging question overall since it asks for you to be honest about something that you may not be comfortable with. But it’s important to answer it honestly because it’s a realistic question. Conflicts may arise but there’s always a way to resolve them. Be reasonable when you answer this question. Don’t get angry or defensive. Provide the scenario as objectively as possible and reflect on both sides of the argument. Be clear as to what happened step by step. Explain your side as well as the other position’s side. Explain how the situation was resolved. What the interviewer is looking for here is whether or not you’re a team player, and whether you have a reasonable state of mind. As long as you answer it providing the full picture and circumstances, you should be in the clear. Don’t discuss any major conflicts that might’ve led to enormous problems in your past.