39 maths teacher interview questions and their answers

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 5 November 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.

Working as a maths teacher can be a very rewarding profession. From helping students learn mathematics to offering them support, there are many job roles that it entails. If you have an interview coming up, you may be wondering what questions the employer might ask. In this article, we discuss potential maths teacher interview questions, so you know how to respond and succeed at the interview.

General maths teacher interview questions

Here are some of the basic maths teacher interview questions your employer may ask during your interview:

  1. ‘What interests you about our school?'

  2. ‘Do you have experience in our school district?'

  3. ‘Do you have experience as a mathematics teacher?'

  4. ‘Why do you feel you're a good fit for our mathematics department?'

  5. ‘How do you typically encourage others in your department?'

  6. ‘How would a past employer describe you?'

  7. ‘How do you plan to contribute to the school?'

  8. ‘How do you define success in your own words?'

  9. ‘Where do you see yourself in five years? How about in 10 years?'

  10. ‘Do you have any questions about the mathematics teacher position?'

  11. ‘How do you approach development?'

Related: Basic math skills: definition, types and importance

Questions about experience and background

After your employer asks you some general questions, they typically move on to questions about experience and background. Here are some of the possible questions they could ask you:

  1. ‘Why did you choose a teaching career?'

  2. ‘What is a defining moment in your teaching career?'

  3. ‘How do you best inspire students or other educators?'

  4. ‘How do you define an effective lesson?'

  5. ‘Can you describe a situation where you helped a student understand a complicated concept?'

  6. ‘What qualifications do you have as a mathematics teacher?'

  7. ‘How would you best approach classroom challenges?'

  8. ‘What previous challenges have you faced and how did you handle them?'

  9. ‘What technical experience do you have?'

  10. ‘How do you typically track your students' grades and progress?'

  11. ‘What communication methods do you utilise to communicate with students and students' families?'

Related: Careers in maths and tips to get mathematics degree jobs

In-depth math teacher interview questions

Here are some of the more in-depth questions an employer may ask you during your interview:

  1. ‘How do you calculate probability? When do you use probability at work?'

  2. ‘If you had 597 students competing, how many games would you need to play to accurately choose a winner?'

  3. ‘If you earn £60,000 per year after a 10% raise, how much was your original salary?'

  4. ‘Have you solved an everyday problem before using maths?'

  5. ‘In your own words, what's the difference between a derivative and an integral?'

  6. ‘In your own words, what's the difference between a point and a plane?'

  7. ‘How do you integrate maths vocabulary into daily class activities?'

  8. ‘What do you know about scaffolded teaching?'

  9. ‘How do you support and encourage students with lower mathematical abilities?'

  10. ‘Tell me in your own words about a time when you helped a teacher and supported their learning outcomes.'

  11. ‘How do you make sure that your lessons uphold national curriculum standards?'

Related: How to become a maths teacher

Interview questions with sample answers

If you're still unsure about how to prepare for the interview, here are some interview questions with sample answers, so you know how to best answer them:

1. What kind of maths do you consider your speciality? What's your favourite kind of maths? What kind of maths do you prefer?

Employers might ask questions like these to understand what experience you have. They might also want to find out what thought processes you employ during your work. When answering these questions, list the mathematics fields you have experience in and explain why you prefer one maths field over others.

Example answer: ‘I have experience in a variety of maths areas, such as arithmetic, trigonometry and calculus. For example, in a previous job, I used arithmetic to figure out how much change to give back to customers. I utilised calculus for more complicated issues, like the rate of change. I also added up the currency types at the end of my shift, and my tills always matched the reports I handed in.'

Related: How to highlight math skills on your CV (with examples)

2. What maths courses have you previously taken?

Employers might ask this question to find out how much maths education you have. They may also want to gauge what your background in maths is. Mention any courses you've taken in secondary school and university. If you took any GCSEs in maths, then it's recommended to mention which ones. Also mention if you've taken any additional courses.

Example answer: ‘In secondary school, our curriculum had courses in geometry, algebra and calculus. When I went on to university, I took more advanced maths classes. These included advanced calculus and other mathematics coursework.'

3. What are some challenges to teaching maths? How do you choose to overcome them?

Mathematics is often a difficult subject to teach, so the employer asks these questions to see how you overcome any challenges in teaching maths. When answering such questions, it's best to mention any challenges you've overcome previously, where you've used critical thinking skills. Also, explain how you motivate and help students to succeed if they're struggling to learn.

Example answer: ‘The biggest challenge I typically see when teaching mathematics is the way students view the subject. Most students think that maths is difficult, and if someone is struggling with it, they typically lose motivation and stop making progress. To overcome this issue, I try to approach teaching maths as if I'm teaching a foreign language course. I help them understand maths vocabulary and theories in a simple manner, and when I'm sure they have the easy concepts covered, I introduce more complex forms. This approach helps more students succeed, even if they find maths difficult.'

4. How do you communicate and connect with students?

Teaching requires strong communication between students and their teachers. So, the employer may ask this question to gauge your communication skills and figure out how good you are at engaging with students and creating a safe, communicative learning environment. When answering, explain a few communication strategies you've previously used while teaching. Make sure you include how you first deal with and meet students and also how you build classroom communities and solve issues that may arise.

Example answer: ‘One technique I use to improve communication when I first meet students is a questionnaire. In this questionnaire, I ask students about their interests, goals and maths background. This helps me understand what I'm dealing with and gives me realistic expectations for the class. I also ensure that I foster two-way classroom discussions to make sure my classes aren't just me giving a monologue, but that they inspire students to reach out and ask questions. I try to create a classroom environment where students are comfortable to collaborate, share ideas and make mistakes that can be corrected.'

5. How do you utilise your leadership skills when teaching?

Being a good leader is often critical to a teaching role. Your employer wants to know what your management style is and how strong your leadership skills are, so students don't take advantage of you. When you answer this question, give an example of how you've previously used your leadership skills in the classroom. Afterwards, state what the outcome of using these skills was.

Example answer: ‘In a previous role, I was a key member in organising a literature club for students who love reading. I collaborated with language and reading teachers to help build the club structure and discuss how it would go. We established and set expectations, outlined future activities and created meeting schedules for students joining the club. I believe the way I took initiative and helped coordinate the club helped it become a great success. My students still thank me for helping establish the club, as they've made lifelong friendships from it.'

Related: How to become a teacher in the UK

6. If you were tutoring a maths student who didn't like maths, how would you try to get them interested in the subject?

Finally, your employer might ask how you'd approach dealing with a student who doesn't enjoy maths. This is to find out how you motivate and encourage students, especially ones who are less interested. They might also want to see how positive you are or how good you are at persuading others. When answering this question, show how you motivate others, even if maths isn't their favourite subject.

Example answer: ‘If I were tutoring a student who didn't like maths, I'd try to interest them through using real-world scenarios. Another technique would be to figure out their personal interests and try to incorporate these into my lessons and during my office hours with them. I'd try to help them understand how a certain maths problem would translate into a practical example, so they could understand its relevance in daily life. This might help them understand why they're learning maths and why it's important.'

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