17 High School English Teacher Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from a high school English teacher, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

The high school English teacher is responsible for teaching students how to read and write with comprehension and fluency. They must also be able to help students understand and analyze literature. In order to become a high school English teacher, you must have a bachelor’s degree and a state-issued teaching certificate.

If you’re interested in becoming a high school English teacher, you will likely be asked a series of interview questions about your teaching experience, your teaching philosophy, and your ability to engage students in learning. In this guide, you will find sample questions and answers that will help you prepare for your interview.

Are you familiar with the state’s English curriculum?

The interviewer may ask this question to see if you are familiar with the state’s curriculum and how it compares to your own. If you have taught in a different state, explain what similarities or differences there were between the two curriculums.

Example: “I am very familiar with the state’s English curriculum because I used it when teaching in California. The curriculum is similar to that of my home state, but there are some key differences. For example, in California, we had to teach students about Shakespearean language, whereas in my home state, we only focused on modern-day language. However, both states required us to teach grammar and spelling.”

What are some of your favorite books to teach and why?

Interviewers may ask this question to see if you have a passion for literature and reading. They want to know that you enjoy teaching students about books, authors and literary elements. In your answer, try to include the name of a book or author you like and why you chose it. You can also mention any specific lessons you’ve created around these texts.

Example: “I love teaching my students about classic literature because I think it’s important for them to learn about the classics. One of my favorite books to teach is The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. This novel has so many great themes and characters that I find myself using it in multiple classes throughout the year. For example, I use it as inspiration for creative writing assignments and compare it to other modern novels.”

How do you help students who struggle with reading?

Reading is an essential skill for students to develop. Employers may ask this question to learn more about your strategies for helping struggling readers and how you can help them improve their reading skills. In your answer, share a specific strategy that helped one of your students with reading. Explain what the student did to improve his or her reading skills and how it benefited him or her in school.

Example: “I once had a student who struggled with reading comprehension. He would read each word individually but didn’t understand the meaning of the sentence as a whole. I taught him how to use context clues to figure out the meaning of unfamiliar words. For example, if he saw the word ‘dog,’ he knew that it was probably something furry because most dogs are furry. This strategy helped him begin to understand the meaning of sentences even when he didn’t know all the words.”

What is your favorite part about teaching high school English?

This question can help the interviewer get to know you as a person and your teaching style. High school English teachers often have different approaches, so it’s important for an interviewer to understand what makes you unique. When answering this question, try to focus on specific aspects of high school English that you enjoy rather than general statements about teaching.

Example: “My favorite part about teaching high school English is watching my students grow in their writing skills throughout the year. I love seeing them develop from basic writers into more advanced writers who are able to convey complex ideas through their writing. It’s rewarding to see how much they’ve grown by the end of the year.”

Provide an example of a time when you had to discipline a student and explain how it was resolved.

Discipline is an important part of teaching, and employers may ask this question to learn more about your experience with it. When answering this question, you can describe a specific situation where you had to discipline a student and how you resolved the issue.

Example: “In my first year as a teacher, I had a student who was constantly disrupting class by talking out of turn. At first, I tried to ignore his behavior, but after several warnings, he still wasn’t following classroom rules. After speaking with him privately, I learned that he was having trouble understanding the material. We worked together to create a study plan so he could understand the material better.”

If a student came to you with a question about a book you were currently reading, how would you respond?

This question can help an interviewer determine how you interact with students and whether you are able to effectively manage a classroom. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention specific strategies you use to encourage student engagement in the classroom.

Example: “If a student came to me with a question about a book we were reading, I would first ask them what they didn’t understand about the text. Then, I would explain the concept or idea that was confusing to them using different methods of teaching, such as analogies or examples from other texts. This helps ensure that all students have access to the same information and can fully understand the material.”

What would you do if a student was openly disrespectful to you or a classmate while you were teaching?

This question can give the interviewer insight into how you handle challenging situations in the classroom. Your answer should show that you are willing to take action when students misbehave and that you understand the consequences of their actions.

Example: “I would first ask the student to repeat what they said so I could make sure I understood them correctly. If it was clear that they were being disrespectful, I would call a brief recess or time-out so I could speak with them privately about their behavior. Depending on the severity of their disrespect, I may send them to the principal’s office for further discipline.”

How well do you handle stress while teaching?

High school students can be challenging to teach, and the interviewer may want to know how you handle stress. High school teachers often have a lot of responsibilities, so it’s important that they’re able to manage their time well and stay organized. When answering this question, try to explain your methods for staying calm in stressful situations.

Example: “I find that I’m most productive when I keep my schedule organized. I use an online planner to write down all of my assignments and due dates. This helps me stay on top of everything I need to do each day, which is especially helpful during busy weeks. I also make sure to take regular breaks throughout the day to help myself relax.”

Do you have any experience creating lesson plans from scratch?

This question can help interviewers understand how you plan your lessons and what types of resources you use to create them. Use examples from previous experience to explain the steps you take when creating a lesson plan, including any tools or software you’ve used in the past.

Example: “In my last position as an English teacher, I had to create all of my lesson plans from scratch each week. However, I found that using Google Docs was very helpful for organizing my thoughts and ideas into a cohesive unit. I would start by brainstorming different topics I could teach about the book we were reading. Then, I would organize those topics into units based on the time period we were studying.”

When planning a lesson, how do you decide which texts to use?

Interviewers may ask this question to learn more about your teaching style and how you choose materials for your students. When answering, it can be helpful to mention a specific example of a lesson plan that included multiple texts or resources.

Example: “When planning lessons, I first consider what the objectives are for the day. Then, I look at which texts we’re covering in class and decide if there’s anything else I want my students to read before our discussion. For instance, last year when we were studying Shakespeare, I asked them to read one of his sonnets beforehand so they could understand some of the language used in his plays. This helped them better understand the material as well.”

We want our students to be able to think critically about the texts they read. How would you help a student develop their critical thinking skills?

This question can help an interviewer understand how you plan to develop your students’ critical thinking skills and evaluate the texts they read. Use examples from past experiences where you helped a student learn to think critically about what they were reading or other subjects they studied in school.

Example: “I believe that developing a student’s ability to think critically is one of the most important things I can do as their teacher. In my last position, I had a student who was struggling with understanding the themes of the books he was reading. We spent some time talking about different literary elements like plot, setting and character development. Then, we looked at his favorite book together and talked about how it used these elements to create its story.”

Describe your teaching style.

Employers ask this question to learn more about your teaching style and how it aligns with their school’s philosophy. When answering, think about what you believe is most important for students to learn in high school English classes. Explain why these skills are important and how you help students develop them.

Example: “I believe that the most important thing I can teach my students is how to communicate effectively through writing. In my last position, I started a blog where students could post articles they wrote on various topics. This helped me assess their communication skills and gave them an opportunity to practice editing and proofreading their work. I also hold weekly grammar lessons where we discuss common mistakes students make when writing assignments.”

What makes you qualified for this position?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your background and qualifications. They want to know what makes you the best candidate for their open position. Before your interview, make a list of all your relevant experience and education. Think about which skills helped you succeed in previous positions.

Example: “I have been teaching English for five years now. I started out as an intern at my high school where I taught freshman English. After that, I got a job at another high school where I taught AP English. Throughout these experiences, I learned how to adapt my lessons to different learning styles. I also gained valuable experience with technology integration into the classroom.”

Which teaching methods do you prefer to use?

Interviewers may ask this question to learn more about your teaching style and how you plan lessons. They want to know if you are a hands-on teacher, use technology or prefer group work. When answering this question, describe the methods you have used in the past that were successful and give examples of what you would do differently.

Example: “I find that students learn best when I am able to explain concepts clearly and thoroughly. In my last position, I started each class with a short lecture on the day’s lesson. Then, I gave students time to complete an assignment while I answered any questions they had. This helped me ensure that everyone understood the material before moving on.”

What do you think is the most important thing for high school students to learn about literature?

This question can help interviewers understand your teaching philosophy and how you approach literature in the classroom. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention a specific literary work or author that has influenced you as a teacher.

Example: “I think one of the most important things high school students should learn about literature is that there are many different ways to interpret a text. In my last position, I had a student who was struggling with understanding Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet.’ He thought he understood the play but couldn’t answer any questions on his test. After talking through some of the themes in the play, he realized that he hadn’t fully grasped the meaning of the story. By discussing multiple interpretations of the text, we were able to find an interpretation that made sense for him.”

How often do you update your lesson plans?

High school teachers often have to update their lesson plans as students learn new material and develop skills. This question helps the interviewer understand how you plan your lessons, which is an important part of being a high school English teacher. Use examples from past experiences in which you’ve had to create or revise lesson plans on short notice.

Example: “I usually start my year with detailed lesson plans for each class period. However, I find that as the year progresses, I need to make adjustments based on student progress and feedback from parents and administrators. In one previous position, I was able to adjust my lesson plans every two weeks to accommodate changes in the curriculum. These frequent updates helped me keep my students engaged while also ensuring they were learning the necessary information.”

There is a new book that all of your students are excited to read. How would you incorporate it into your lessons?

This question is a great way to show your knowledge of current literature and how you can use it in the classroom. When answering this question, make sure to mention the title of the book and why students are excited about reading it. You can also include some ways that you would incorporate the book into your curriculum.

Example: “I recently read The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon, which was highly recommended by my friend who teaches at another school. I think it’s important for students to have access to books that they’re excited about reading, so I would definitely add it to our curriculum. I would start with having them write an essay on what they thought of the book after reading the first chapter. Then, we could discuss their thoughts as a class.”


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