Interview questions and answers to help those making a transition into teaching. Entering the education sector will require you to communicate your transferable skills in an interview.
Maybe you are looking to enter teaching from the corporate world, healthcare, or another business area? A successful transition from your current career to your new one as an educator will require proper preparation for the interview process.
Part of preparing is to practice answering potential interview questions for any teaching position, including primary, elementary, middle, high school, and post-secondary.
Did You Make an Informed Decision?
Make sure you want to switch to education for the right reasons. If you doubt pursuing this new career in teaching, give yourself some time to think it through. Do not be too hasty.
The worst thing you can do is jump into something unprepared. Take the time to do some soul searching and research to make the best possible choice.
Assuming you’ve already examined teaching as your next career move, you will need to be prepared for your upcoming teaching interviews!
Below are several sample teacher job interview questions along with potential answers to help you get ideas about how to answer these tricky interview questions.
So, let’s get started!
Here are sample questions you could be asked in a job interview if you are making a career change to teaching.
Practice Interview Questions Before Interviewing
Why did you decide to become a teacher?
“I want to pass my knowledge on to others and help students cultivate a true passion for learning. I believe education is an enriching career that enables individuals to give back to the community. By instructing students that come from all areas of our community, I can help them develop the skills and characteristics needed to become productive, fulfilled, and contributing members of society.”
Are you confident that this is the right career path for you?
“I have no doubt in my mind teaching is the career path I wish to follow. I had several teachers throughout my academic experience that totally amazed me. They brought learning to life and inspired me to further my education. I have spent several years in a fabulous job, but it felt like something was missing. I wanted to find a career that was not only challenging but made a positive difference in the lives of others. In my past role, I had the opportunity to instruct and mentor colleagues. I was successful at it and wished to pursue that endeavor full time.”
Why did you leave your last job/career?
“Though I was content in my past job, I knew I could be doing more with my life. It’s not that I disliked my position, responsibilities, or colleagues. I determined it was time to move on. My patience, communication skills, and ability to reach others made me feel that education would be the perfect fit. I am eager to start shaping the minds of our youth and set them on the path toward success.”
What do you want to do with your life?
“Teaching. I want to be an educator, as I do not simply see this as a job or title. I see teaching others as a way of life. Educating others has been a passion of mine for a very long time, and I wish to pursue this dream. I want to start off teaching middle school students, and if a coaching position opened up, I would take that as well. Regardless of the grade level or subject/sport, I desire to educate others.”
Why is education important?
“Education is the cornerstone for success. It helps individuals develop new skills and eliminate prejudices. Learning opens doors to new possibilities, allowing students to reach their goals and achieve their dreams. It is what helps society change and advance for the better. Education is the basis for growth and development – as an individual, and as a whole community.”
Do you have any direct experience instructing others?
“In my last job, I trained two new staff members. I worked with them on a one-on-one basis, walking them through company policy and procedures. We then advanced to learning and mastering specific skills and processes. At the end of their three-month probation, I administered a series of assessments and graded them.
“I have served as an assistant coach for the boy’s basketball team for the past four years. I develop and implement drills, conditioning exercises, and plays, and work with the group on an individual basis, as well as a whole.”
Describe your experience as a student teacher?
“My experience as a student-teacher can be described as informative and eye-opening. I knew there was a lot to being an educator. Watching a classroom teacher firsthand showed me how much more I needed to learn. I discovered new methods for effectively managing the classroom, encouraging active participation, and promoting appropriate socialization. I had the chance to design and present a thematic unit on weather.
“The weather unit incorporated simple class instruction, followed by small group projects that were presented to the class, and finally a brief essay on what the students learned. Though I was a tad nervous going in as a student teacher, I have come out of the experience with a great deal of confidence and enthusiasm for teaching my own class.”
What unique skills do you bring to the table as a career changer?
“During my time as a human resources specialist, I have developed numerous skills that will be essential for leading a classroom. These include communication and interpersonal skills. I can get along with all personality types, as well as individuals from all walks of life.
“I am highly organized and manage my time well. These are essential traits for implementing lesson plans and keeping students on schedule. I excel in conflict resolution and peer mediation to help me cultivate a well-disciplined and cooperative classroom.
“Finally, I know what it takes, academically and socially, to qualify for and succeed in a variety of positions. I will be able to use this information to shape my students accordingly and prepare them for the working world.”
PRO TIP: Uncovering and communicating the transferable skills you can bring to teaching is paramount to land a teaching job offer.
Have you ever had to discipline another person before?
“Yes. When acting as office manager, it came to my attention that one of my employees neglected his duties, opting to surf the Internet and chat with friends. I called him into my office and expressed that he was paid to work, and for no other reason.
“I explained to him the importance of his role in the company and why he was key to our success. Then, I mentioned that he would be monitored more closely, and a further review would be conducted if necessary. He understood what he did was wrong and quickly blossomed into a model employee. I will use these same tactics in the classroom, pointing out what is incorrect behavior, and explaining what should be done instead and why.”
Do you have much experience with planning and implementation?
“In my past position, I oversaw designing and administering employee handbooks covering a variety of topics. These topics included policy and procedures, rights and benefits, and training opportunities. The comprehensive manuals broke down concepts into simple forms with a gradual progression toward more complex topics. The employees found the booklets to be informative and easy to understand.”
Are there additional interview topics or questions you would like help with? Our interview coaching service could be the solution. Find out more about this one-on-one, individualized service here.