Outstanding interview lesson: sample questions and tips

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 13 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.

Whether you're an experienced or newly qualified teacher, you may require to conduct an interview lesson as part of your job interview to demonstrate your teaching skills. Interviewers may ask questions about how you conduct classes and handle various classroom situations to assess your capabilities. Understanding the qualities managers look for during the interview lesson can help you prepare and perform well. In this article, we provide six potential interview lesson questions with sample answers and outline interview tips to help you impress hiring managers and possibly secure a teaching position.

Interview tips to help you conduct an outstanding interview lesson

Here are a few interview tips to help you conduct an outstanding interview lesson:

Ask for essential information

Ask the school for essential information, such as the lesson length, the attending students' educational level, and the type of content it requires you to teach. Find out if a teaching assistant is planning to join you, so you can ask them for information about the students and request their support during the lesson. This information can help you prepare a lesson plan showcasing your skills and impressing observers.

Understand what the observers assess

Understanding what the observers assess during the interview lesson allows you to focus on demonstrating these abilities. Observers assess a few concepts during the interview lesson, including your interaction and engagement with students, subject knowledge, classroom management, creativity and adaptability. Think of ways you can showcase these skills and practise with a trusted adviser and ask for their feedback on how you can improve these skills before the interview.

Prepare backup solutions

If you plan on using computers and accessing the internet during the interview lesson, prepare a backup solution in case of any technical difficulties. This shows hiring managers that you can adapt to common classroom occurrences and continue the lesson plan with minimal interruption. Incorporate innovative solutions to show your creative skills.

Related: 10 examples of online teaching software (with benefits)

Develop a lesson plan

Develop a lesson plan that's appropriate for the student's educational level. Research the national curriculum for the subject observers requested you to teach and customise your lesson plan to meet its requirements. During the lesson, ensure to introduce yourself with enthusiasm and explain the goals of the lesson plan. If you plan on giving the students an assessment, incorporate differentiated instructions in your teaching process.

6 interview questions with sample answers

While performing an interview lesson, you may answer questions from hiring managers. They want to see that you can prepare for different classroom scenarios and have a wealth of backup solutions for common problems as this shows that you can think ahead and adapt to situations. Here are examples of interview questions alongside sample answers:

1. Besides lecturing, which teaching methods do you use?

Interviewers may ask you this question to assess your adaptability and imaginative skills. It allows you to show you can find alternative ways to educate students, adapt to situations where lecturing isn't compelling enough and have innovative capabilities to find enjoyable ways for students to learn. Explain your thought process behind identifying and implementing these alternative teaching methods.

Example: 'I enjoy arranging class trips to locations where students can visually observe and experience specific ideas. For instance, I once organised a class trip to an art museum to show them the different types of art to encourage them to explore their creative capabilities. I also incorporate games into lesson plans to encourage students to pay attention, such as the charades game.

In charades, one student gets a word describing a scientific concept or mathematical formula. They then attempt to describe it without saying the word and score a point for their team after a member guesses the correct answer. I've noticed that these games foster teamwork and trust amongst the students.'

2. Describe your teaching style

Hiring managers may ask about your teaching style to evaluate technical teaching skills. These include your ability to design and implement a syllabus incorporating all the subject content appropriate for the student's educational levels and your methods of teaching students of all learning capabilities. This question also allows you to demonstrate your organisation skills and how you apply them to create lesson plans. Consider using an example of how you taught a particular subject and designed lesson plans for the subject.

Example: 'I prefer to teach by creating a general syllabus at the beginning of the academic year, similar to the national syllabus in the student's key stages. Following this, I make lesson plans for each section on the syllabus by reviewing textbooks and selecting example questions to teach my students how to answer them correctly. I then set similar questions as homework assignments, encouraging parents not to help them answer the questions to assess each student's understanding. This helps me modify my teaching methods based on how many students had trouble answering the questions correctly.'

Related: Interview question: 'what is your teaching philosophy?'

3. How do you discipline students?

This question tests your communication skills by analysing how you communicate with students if they misbehave in the classroom. Hiring managers may also want to assess your leadership skills by learning how you maintain order amongst students. Explain your disciplining process and emphasise your ability to remain patient and calm in the situation, which are qualities hiring managers may want to see in a job candidate.

Example: 'Every teacher experiences an unruly or disobedient student in the classroom, so it's important to develop protocols for handling the situation. In my experience, asking the student to explain their reasoning behind their actions allows them to understand why what they did was wrong. Occasionally, I ask the student to react from my point of view as a teacher so they can understand my response.

I try to maintain a calm voice throughout the conversation with the student. If they become too unruly or impolite, I escort them to the principal's office, where we discuss disciplining measures based on the seriousness of the student's actions.'

Related: How to get teaching experience (plus benefits of doing so)

4. Explain how you encourage participation in the classroom

Hiring managers may ask you this question to evaluate your motivation skills by understanding how you make students excited to learn. This question allows you to demonstrate creative skills by showing that you can think innovatively to encourage students to participate actively during lessons. Explain the importance of motivating students to learn and describe how you get them to contribute answers during classes.

Example: 'I recognise that it's important for students to participate actively during classes to increase their confidence and learn content more effectively. In my classroom, I usually advocate for freedom of expression by telling students that their thoughts and opinions matter and that even suggesting incorrect answers is essential to the learning process. I also ask students for their ideas on how to conduct lessons. Whenever I apply a student's idea during a class, it motivates them to remain active throughout the lesson.'

Related: Teaching skills: definition and examples

5. Are you familiar with differentiated instruction?

Differentiated instruction is a teaching style that involves customising lesson plans for students based on their interests and strengths. Hiring managers may ask you if you understand this teaching method to gauge if you can apply it in the classroom. When answering this question, explain your understanding of this teaching method and highlight its benefits during teaching to show that you understand its importance.

Example: 'Yes, I am. Differentiated instruction involves customising how you teach specific concepts to different students based on their strengths. I usually apply this teaching method by dividing the students into smaller groups and giving each group varying tasks. I then switch some students to other groups and encourage them to teach each other.

The areas I focus on when differentiating instructions include the content, each student's learning process, projects the students can work on to show their knowledge and the learning environment that produces the best results. The benefits of differentiated instruction include incorporating different learning styles that allow all students to understand the content and developing their communication skills through teaching one another.'

Related: 15 best teaching strategies to support student learning

6. Would you describe yourself as empathetic?

Hiring managers may ask you this question because they consider empathy an essential teaching skill. Outline why you think it's essential for a teacher to show empathy towards students and parents in school settings. Explain how empathy contributes to teachers performing their jobs effectively and outline its positive impact on students.

Example: 'I consider myself an empathetic person who considers my students' emotions in my decision-making. During my childhood, I faced challenges in school and wished teachers would empathise with me and help improve my schooling experience. I believe that teachers have a role in improving a student's confidence. This involves understanding the student's stronger and weaker subjects and encouraging them to believe they're capable of achieving their dreams regardless of their grades or home situations.'

Related: 'What do you like most about your job?' Tips and answers

Explore more articles