Typical interview questions for English teachers (plus tips)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published 8 June 2022
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Interviewing is a common part of the hiring process for English teacher roles and is critical for demonstrating that you possess the necessary requirements. English teachers typically require excellent interpersonal and communication skills and conducting interviews for these roles can be a great way of assessing these abilities. If you have an upcoming English teacher interview, you may benefit from learning about the typical interview questions and how to answer them. In this article, we look at general, background and detailed interview questions for English teachers, outline some common interview questions with sample answers and list some interview tips.
General interview questions for English teachers
General interview questions for English teachers allow interviewers to understand your personality, work style and approach to common challenges. Some examples of these general questions include:
What makes you a good fit for this position?
Tell me more about what you do outside of work.
What's your biggest strength?
What's your biggest weakness?
How do you prefer others to manage you?
What makes you stand out from other applicants?
Why are you leaving your previous role?
When have you experienced conflict and how did you deal with it?
What's the biggest challenge you've faced in the workplace?
Background English teacher interview questions
It's vital that English teachers have the appropriate experience and background to succeed in these roles. Due to this, interviewers for English teacher roles often ask the following background questions:
Why did you become a teacher?
What are your previous qualifications?
What's your teaching style?
How do you approach planning lessons?
How do you ensure that students understand each lesson?
What steps do you take to motivate students?
What do you believe makes the ideal English teacher?
What skills have you developed that may help you as an English teacher?
How do you evaluate students?
Do you have other certifications that are relevant to this role?
Detailed English teacher interview questions
In many English teacher interviews, the interviewer may wish to explore your ability to solve common issues within a teaching environment, alongside assessing your work ethic. Some of these more detailed interview questions include:
How do handle behavioural issues with students?
Tell me about any challenges you've specifically faced in the classroom and how you solved them.
How do you manage any stress that arises from teaching?
Tell me why you think English is a vital part of the syllabus for students?
What are the best parts of being a teacher?
What are the biggest challenges of being a teacher?
Can you tell me about a time when a lesson didn't go as planned? How did you adapt or recover in the classroom?
Tell me about a time when you collaborated with other teachers to solve a problem.
What are the key values that you strive to maintain in your classroom?
How do you ensure that you instil diversity within a classroom environment?
Common English teacher interview questions and answers
Below are some typical English teacher interview questions, alongside their respective sample answers:
How do you motivate students?
Ensuring that students stay focused on their work is one of the most vital aspects of being a teacher. It's essential that students are constantly engaged and feel rewarded for completing their work or overachieving. In some situations, it may be that specific students feel demotivated when studying certain elements of the syllabus. This is where the teacher may decide to intervene and provide new solutions.
Example: 'In every lesson, it's essential to provide the same level of attention to each child within the classroom. I always endeavour to encourage collaboration between students, as this encourages them to motivate each other when we cover different elements of the lesson plan. On a practical level, this may include group projects where each student has a different responsibility, as this encourages them to perform the task to reach a shared goal.
I may also provide incentives for the best performers as this motivates the students to earn something for their hard work. In some cases, it's vital to present less engaging elements of the lesson plan in a creative or fun way. Whether it's through reading, open discussions or more creative exercises, such as improvisation and creative writing, I encourage students to step away from simply listening and taking notes to ensure that they remain engaged as much as possible'.
Related: How to prepare for an interview
How do you prepare a lesson plan?
Teachers spend a lot of time outside of the classroom when they're creating lesson plans and setting up different activities. An English teacher who's committed to providing the best possible education often takes great care in creating lesson plans for the upcoming week. Interviewers may ask this question as they'd like to see how you apply your organisational skills and how well in advance you prepare the structure of your lessons.
Example: 'In each lesson, I strive to create an engaging and welcoming atmosphere for the students. I believe it's vital that students have a clear outline of what they're going to be learning, including why it's important and the consequences for not performing the tasks given to them. Initially, I may speak with the parents or the child themselves about what motivates them, so I can use this information for future lesson plans to ensure that they remain as focused as possible.
The reason why I do this is that getting to know the children at an early stage allows them to feel heard and respected. By establishing the expectations for my lesson plan early, the children always have a solid structure in place that helps them to learn. They then know at the start of each lesson exactly what they can expect and how the information can help them in the future, whether it's for examinations or homework'.
How do you integrate parents and guardians into their child's learning?
Parents and guardians have a key role in how their children perform during their education. This is why it's vital for a teacher to have good communication with both the student and the parent. When answering this question, it's essential that you highlight how you plan to build professional relationships with parents and guardians, alongside how you'd use these relationships to help their child succeed.
Example: 'Typically, the success of a child's education requires support from both myself and the parents or guardians. I always encourage parents to have an active role during their child's education as it provides structure both at home and at school, which facilitates deeper learning. This helps build an environment for the student where they understand the importance of engaging with tasks and the benefits of reaching long-term objectives.
I build relationships with parents or guardians by ensuring that they always have my contact details and encouraging them to speak to me regarding questions about their child's educational performance. In addition, parent evenings also provide an excellent opportunity to have a face-to-face meeting regarding their child's academic performance, while also building a stronger rapport between the child, parent and myself. Alongside this, I try to provide regular email updates to help communicate major achievements to parents or guardians, while reminding them about key school events, such as exams or homework'.
Tips for answering English teacher interview questions
Follow these tips to improve your interviewing experience for English teacher roles and make an excellent first impression:
Have questions ready for the employer. While having answers prepared for your English teacher interview is key to success, it's just as vital that you have questions you can ask. This demonstrates that you have a genuine interest in the role and also highlights any preparation or research you performed beforehand.
Complete research beforehand. Researching a school beforehand allows you to understand the institution's values and whether these align with yours. Additionally, through your research, you may discover any challenges the institution is currently facing and provide potential solutions to these, which can greatly impress interviewers.
Thank the interviewer. After your interview, try to send your interviewer a note or email that expresses your gratitude for them taking the time to speak with you. This creates a great first impression and allows you to emphasise your interest in the role and hiring organisation.
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