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Questions for Educators


Sample Interview Questions for Educators

Listed below are actual examples of questions frequently addressed to teacher candidates during the interviewing process. Contrary to appearances, most questions are not designed to embarrass or confuse you, but rather to determine if you are committed to teaching. Do not memorize prepared responses to these questions, as you should cultivate your ability to reply in a natural and spontaneous way. However, concentrate on the basic concepts the interviewer may be addressing. Consider ways in which you can use the question to draw attention to your attributes and qualifications. Above all, honesty is the best guideline. If you do not know the answer to a particular question, don't be afraid to admit it and go on from there. Interviewing personnel are more impressed by sincerity, rather than by the "appropriate" response. In a very real sense, there are not correct answers, only your opinion. If you sense that the interviewer finds your attitudes are inconsistent with the atmosphere of his/her school district, it is possible that your personal needs cannot be met by the position for which you are applying.

Always analyze the interviewing process after each session. Undoubtedly, you will recall particular points of discussion that you could have pursued or clarified further. Experience will increase your perceptiveness and interviewing skills.


Personal Opinions and Background

  • Why do you want to teach?
  • Do you plan to make teaching a career?
  • What do you hope to gain by pursuing a teaching career?
  • What gives you the most satisfaction as a teacher?
  • Why do you want to teach in this district or community?
  • Do you have any misgivings about the position for which you are applying?
  • What is/are the most important characteristic(s) of the successful teacher?
  • What characteristics separate the above-average teacher from the average teacher?
  • Do you have a genuine interest in helping students learn?
  • What do you expect of your students?
  • What is/are the most important contribution(s) you can make to your students?
  • Do you accept the responsibility of being a good example?
  • What is the school's responsibility for preparing students for out-of-school experiences?
  • What can you contribute to the success of our school system?
  • What can you contribute to the profession?
  • Tell me about your personal background.
  • What are your hobbies and interests?
  • What are your professional plans or goals?
  • What is your philosophy of education?
  • How do you rank values, facts, and concepts in importance?
  • Why do you think you will be a successful teacher?
  • What is/are your strongest trait(s)/ Your weakest trait(s)?
  • How competent are you?
  • Why should we employ you?
  • How would you prefer to be evaluated?
  • What are your attitudes toward extra-duty activities?
  • Will you teach any place in my district?
  • Will you follow school policy?
  • What are your attitudes toward professional organizations and militancy?
  • What are your attitudes regarding minorities?
  • What do you believe to be the greatest problem facing American public education?
  • What is your impression of today's youth?
  • What information do you have about the district?
  • Can you be happy living in this community?
  • Are you willing to work?

Ability to Get Along with People

  • Do you get along well with most people?
  • What quality in other people is most important to you?
  • Can you get along with other faculty members?
  • What do you believe your role and obligations to be toward other faculty members?
  • Would you enjoy team teaching?
  • Describe your perception of your relations with the building administration?
  • What are your attitudes toward supervision?
  • How much loyalty do you believe that you owe the administration?
  • Are you capable of communicating with today's youth?
  • Do you like children?
  • Prove that you like students.
  • What techniques do you use in developing rapport with students?
  • What evidence can you provide that you can establish a good working relationship with students in the age group you will be teaching?

Teaching-Learning Process

  • How do you handle curricular content in classes of students with many levels of ability?
  • Are you prepared to individualize instruction (including diagnosis and preparation)?
  • How would you individualize instruction in your classroom?
  • What do you consider to be the most worthwhile innovations in your particular area?
  • What "pet" ideas or innovations do you plan to use in your teaching?
  • What do you consider to be the ideal learning environment?
  • What are the ingredients of an effective learning program?
  • Describe the role of the teacher in the learning process.
  • What can you do to improve learning opportunities in your particular area?
  • What teaching techniques are effective for you?
  • What are the major problems that you have faced in the classroom?
  • What are the objectives that you hope to achieve in your area?
  • How would you organize and what would you include in a unit lesson plan?
  • How do you expect to motivate students?
  • How will your teaching benefit the students?

Education and Experience

  • What subjects are you qualified and/or certified to teach?
  • Why did you choose your particular area of preparation?
  • Do you believe that your university/college has prepared you for a career in teaching?
  • What was/were the greatest highlight(s) of your college career?
  • Name and evaluate two professional books that you have read within the last six months.
  • What kinds of experiences have you had which will be of help when you begin teaching?
  • What out-of-school experiences have you had working with children?
  • Do you have experience with disadvantaged or minority students?
  • What kinds of work experience have you had other than teaching?
  • Tell me about your student teaching or previous teaching experience.
  • Based on your student teaching or previous teaching experience, how do you evaluate yourself as a teacher?
  • Were you successful in your student teaching or previous teaching experience?
  • What do you have to offer that no other candidate has?
  • Why are you leaving your present position?
  • Have you ever been discharged? Why?

Classroom Control

  • What is your philosophy of discipline?
  • How would you handle discipline problems?
  • Can you maintain good classroom discipline?
  • Do you anticipate any difficulty in classroom control?
  • How successful have you been in your previous experience in maintaining good discipline?
  • What procedure(s) work(s) best for you in maintaining discipline?
  • What type of classroom atmosphere would you establish to prevent discipline problems?


You should be prepared to ask questions during the interviewing process. Such inquiry is essential for two reasons:

  • the more information you can accumulate about a particular teaching environment, the better prepared you will be in assessing whether the atmosphere is conducive to your personal fulfillment and professional growth, and
  • interviewing personnel often formulate initial impressions about particular candidates by the interest and enthusiasm expressed in the prospective position and school system. Asking pertinent questions is one excellent method of conveying such interest and can only result in increased understanding by all parties involved in the employment process. You should not be afraid to ask pointed questions in a tactful manner. This is your right. Remember: the interview is a two-way evaluation process. The following questions are suggested for your use during the interview session.

Community Environment

  • What type of community does your school system represent(social, cultural, political, economic atmosphere)?
  • How does the cost of living in your community compare with other locations within the state?
  • What is the attitude of the community toward education?
  • What does your community expect of its teachers? Are there any unique community pressures with regard to the local school system and its employees?

School System

  • What is the educational philosophy of the school system?
  • What specific audio-visual equipment and materials are available for instructional use?
  • Does the school district have an institutional policy regarding ability-grouping of students for instructional purposes?
  • Are curriculum guides and paraprofessionals available to assist the classroom teacher?
  • What procedure is used to report student progress to parents?
  • Are special teachers provided in the areas of art, industrial arts, music, physical education, remedial education, special education?
  • What is your school system's approach to Career Education?
  • What new and innovative teaching methods are currently employed in your school district? Will I be expected to participate in any of these programs?
  • To what extent will I have input, as a classroom teacher, in the adoption of curriculum and methods guidelines for the district?
  • What procedures are used in evaluating new and career teachers?
  • What role is the classroom teacher expected to play in the handling of disciplinary problems?
  • What is the organizational structure of your school system? Could you draw me a chart depicting this structure?
  • What do you consider to be the strong and weak features of the instructional program for which I am being interviewed?

Teaching Conditions

  • What is the average class size within the school district?
  • What is the duration of the expected work day for the classroom teacher?
  • What extra assignments are expected of the average classroom teacher?
  • To what extent will I be permitted to implement innovative ideas and methods of instruction that I feel are valuable?
  • To what extent will I be expected to participate in P.T.A./P.T.O. meetings and extra committees?

Financial Considerations

  • What is the district salary schedule for the coming year?
  • What specific fringe benefits are provided to the classroom teacher?
  • How do these salaries and benefits compare to those available in neighboring school districts? advisement, coaching debate teams, yearbook advisement, coaching athletics?

Handle financial questions with care. It is best not to make an interviewer defensive nor to make him/her feel that money and benefits are your primary concern. Often it is advisable during an initial interview to inquire only about the salary or salary range offered.


  • Poor personal appearance.
  • Overbearing--overaggressive--conceited "superiority complex"--"know-it-all".
  • Inability to express him/her clearly--poor voice diction, grammar.
  • Lack of planning for career--no purpose and goals.
  • Lack of interest and enthusiasm--passive, indifferent.
  • Lack of confidence and poise--nervousness, ill-at-ease.
  • Failure to participate in activities.
  • Overemphasis on money--interest only in best dollar offer.
  • Poor scholastic record.
  • Unwilling to start at the bottom--expects too much too soon.
  • Makes excuses--evasiveness--hedges on unfavorable factors in record.
  • Lack of tact.
  • Lack of maturity.
  • Lack of courtesy--ill mannered.
  • Condemnation of past employers.
  • Lack of social graces.
  • Marked dislike for school work.
  • Lack of vitality.
  • Fails to maintain eye contact with the interviewer.
  • Limp, fishy handshake.
  • Indecision.
  • Loafs during vacations--lakeside pleasures.
  • Unhappy married life.
  • Friction with parents.
  • Sloppy application blank.
  • Merely shopping around.
  • Wants job only for short time.
  • Little sense of humor.
  • Lack of knowledge of field of specialization.
  • No interest in organization or in industry.
  • Emphasis on whom he/she knows - name dropping.
  • Unwillingness to go where the assignment is located.
  • Cynical.
  • Low standards.
  • Lazy.
  • Intolerant--strong prejudices.
  • Narrow interests.
  • Poor handling of personal finances.
  • No interest in community activities.
  • Inability to take criticism.
  • Lack of appreciation of the value of experience.
  • Radical ideas.
  • Late to interview without good reason.
  • Failure to express appreciation for interviewer's time.
  • Asks no questions about the job.
  • High pressure type.
  • Indefinite response to questions.