20 IDEA Public Schools Interview Questions and Answers

Prepare for the types of questions you are likely to be asked when interviewing for a position at IDEA Public Schools.

IDEA Public Schools is a growing network of tuition-free Pre-K-12 public schools serving more than 36,000 students in 61 schools across Texas. As a prospective employee, you can expect to be asked questions about your experience working with diverse populations, your approach to teaching and learning, and your ability to work in a fast-paced environment. To help you prepare for your interview, we’ve compiled a list of sample questions you may be asked, along with guidance on how to answer each one.

IDEA Public Schools Interview Process

The interview process at IDEA Public Schools can vary depending on the position you are applying for. However, most positions will require you to submit a video answering questions, followed by an in-person interview with 3 campus leaders. You may also be asked to create a mock lesson plan and present it to the campus leaders. Overall, the process is fairly smooth and efficient, and the interviewer(s) are typically very friendly and helpful.

1. What are your salary expectations?

The interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your salary requirements and expectations. This can help them determine if you are a good fit for the position based on their budget. To answer, consider researching what other teachers in the district make. You can also use your own experience to estimate how much you would expect to earn in this role.

Example: “I am looking for a teaching position that offers competitive pay. I have done my research and know that the average teacher salary at IDEA Public Schools is $50,000 per year. While I understand that every school has different needs, I believe that I could provide excellent value as an educator with this salary.”

2. You will be working in a very diverse environment, how do you think that will impact your teaching?

This question is a great way to see how the interviewer will assess your ability to work with students from different backgrounds. You can use this opportunity to show that you are comfortable working with diverse groups of people and have experience doing so.

Example: “I think it’s important for teachers to be able to relate to their students, no matter what background they come from. I’ve worked in schools where there were many different cultures represented, and I always made sure to learn about my students’ unique backgrounds. This helped me create lessons that would appeal to all types of learners.”

3. How would you deal with a student being disruptive in class?

This question can help interviewers understand how you would handle a challenging situation in the classroom. Describe your approach to handling disruptive students and how it helps maintain order in the classroom.

Example: “I have had experience with disruptive students, but I try to avoid this problem by creating an engaging learning environment for my students. If a student is disrupting class, I first ask them to stop their behavior and redirect them back to the lesson at hand. If they continue to be disruptive, I will remove them from the classroom until they are ready to return.”

4. Describe a time when you had to make a decision on the spot and there was no one around to ask for help.

This question is a great way to test your problem-solving skills and ability to think critically. It also allows the interviewer to see how you make decisions on your own, which can be important for an administrator role.

Example: “I was working as a teacher’s aide in my first year of teaching when I had to take over a class while the teacher went to get some supplies. The students were getting restless, so I decided to have them do a fun activity that would keep their attention until the teacher returned. They loved it, and we got through the rest of the lesson without any issues.”

5. Tell me about a time when you disagreed with a coworker and how you handled it.

This question can help an interviewer understand how you handle conflict and whether you’re able to resolve disagreements in a professional manner. When answering this question, it can be helpful to provide specific details about the disagreement and steps you took to resolve it.

Example: “In my previous role as a teacher’s aide, I disagreed with my coworker on how we should organize our classroom supplies. Rather than immediately voicing my opinion, I waited until after she had finished organizing the supplies before asking her if there was another way that would work better for us. She agreed to try my suggestion, and we both found that it worked well for our needs.”

6. Do you have any previous experience working with children with special needs?

The interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your experience working with students who have special needs. If you do not have any previous experience, you can explain what steps you would take to gain the skills and knowledge necessary to support these students.

Example: “I’ve never worked in a school that had a specific program for supporting children with special needs. However, I am open to learning more about how to help these students succeed. In my last position, I noticed one of my students was having trouble focusing during class. After talking with his parents, we discovered he has ADHD. We developed an action plan together so he could focus better in class.”

7. What can you tell us about IDEA Public Schools?

This question is a great way to show your research skills and knowledge of the organization. It’s also an opportunity for you to share what attracted you to this role in the first place.

Example: “I’ve heard so many good things about IDEA Public Schools, which is why I’m excited to be here today. I know that it’s a growing network of tuition-free Pre-K-12 public schools serving more than 36,000 students in 61 schools across Texas. The school district has been recognized as one of the best districts in the state by U.S. News & World Report. In addition, the district was named the No. 1 Best School District in Texas by

The fact that the district offers free education to all students regardless of their background or financial situation is truly inspiring. I am eager to learn more about the district and how I can contribute to its success.”

8. What do you know about our school’s goals and mission statement?

The interviewer may ask this question to see if you have researched the school and its goals. It is important to read through the job description, as well as the school’s website or other materials to learn about their mission statement and values.

Example: “I am familiar with your goal of providing a tuition-free education for all students in Texas. I also understand that you are committed to creating an inclusive environment where every student feels safe and supported. As someone who has worked in public schools for many years, I know how important it is to support teachers and staff members so they can provide quality care for each student.”

9. How would you handle having to teach outside of your comfort zone?

This question is a great way to assess your adaptability and flexibility as an educator. It’s important for teachers to be able to adjust their teaching styles to meet the needs of students, so it’s helpful to understand how they would respond to this challenge.

Example: “I’ve had to teach outside my comfort zone before, and I think that’s when you learn the most about yourself as a teacher. For example, in my first year of teaching, I was assigned to teach a group of third graders who were struggling with reading comprehension. At first, I felt overwhelmed by the task, but then I realized that if I could help these kids improve their reading skills, I could help all of my other students too.”

10. A teacher wants to leave at 3:00 due to personal reasons, what would you do?

This question is designed to assess your ability to manage a teacher’s schedule and ensure that students are not left without a teacher.

Example: “I would first ask the teacher if they could stay until 3:30, as I know it can be difficult to find substitute teachers at such short notice. If they cannot, I would call in another teacher from their class to cover for them until the end of the day.”

11. If hired, what role do you see yourself playing in the classroom?

This question is an opportunity to show the interviewer that you have a clear understanding of what your role as a teacher should be. It’s important to emphasize your commitment to helping students learn and develop, while also showing how you plan to do so.

Example: “I see myself as more than just a teacher in the classroom. I want to help my students grow into confident individuals who are prepared for life after graduation. To do this, I believe it’s essential to provide them with a safe learning environment where they can feel comfortable asking questions and expressing themselves. I also think it’s important to encourage collaboration among students and foster relationships between teachers and their students.”

12. There may be times where you need to stay late or come in early. Is this something you would be able to do?

This question is a great way to determine if the school has any expectations for your schedule. It’s important to be honest about your availability and discuss how you would handle these situations.

Example: “I am happy to work late or come in early, however I do have two children at home that I need to pick up from daycare by 5 p.m. If this were to ever happen, I would make sure my coworkers knew ahead of time so they could cover me until I was able to return.”

13. Why did you decide to become a teacher?

This question is a great way to show your passion for teaching and the impact you hope to have on students. When answering this question, it can be helpful to share an experience that inspired you to become a teacher or how you became interested in education as a career.

Example: “Ever since I was young, I’ve always loved learning new things. My parents were both teachers, so they encouraged me to pursue a career in education. In college, I took several education classes and realized that teaching was something I could do well and enjoy. I love seeing my students learn and grow throughout the year.”

14. How would you plan a lesson if you only knew the topic 5 minutes before class started?

This question is a great way to test your ability to think on your feet and plan for the unexpected. It also shows how you would handle an emergency situation in the classroom.

Example: “I would first ask my students what they already know about the topic, then I would explain the new information as simply as possible. If there was time left over, I would allow them to practice applying their knowledge to real-world situations.”

15. How would you prepare lessons for a subject you are unfamiliar with?

Interviewers may ask this question to assess your ability to learn new things and adapt to different situations. Use examples from previous experience to show that you are willing to take on challenges and develop the skills needed to succeed in a new role.

Example: “When I was teaching at an elementary school, I had a student who struggled with reading comprehension. The student’s parents were concerned about their child’s progress, so they requested a meeting with me. During our conversation, we discovered that the student was struggling because he or she didn’t understand basic math concepts. We developed a plan where I would meet with the student for extra help after school once a week. After two weeks of tutoring, the student showed significant improvement.”

16. What is your favorite part about teaching?

This question is an opportunity to show the interviewer your passion for teaching. When answering this question, it can be helpful to talk about a specific experience you’ve had in the classroom that made you enjoy teaching more than anything else.

Example: “My favorite part of teaching is when I see my students learn something new and apply it to their lives. For example, last year one of my students was having trouble with multiplication. He would get frustrated and give up on his work before he could finish it. After working through some strategies with him, he started to understand how multiplication worked and began using it to solve problems in other areas of his life. Seeing him overcome that challenge was so rewarding.”

17. Some teachers don’t like grading homework, how would you handle that responsibility?

Interviewers want to know how you handle tedious tasks like grading homework. They also want to see if you have a system for grading that’s efficient and effective.

Example: “I understand why some teachers don’t enjoy grading homework, but I think it’s an important part of the learning process. When I grade homework, I make sure to give students plenty of time to complete their assignments so they can show me what they know. I use a color-coded system to help me quickly identify which assignments need more attention or are ready to be turned in.”

18. How do you motivate students who aren’t interested in learning?

This question can give the interviewer insight into how you handle challenges in the classroom. Describe a time when you motivated students who were disengaged or uninterested in learning and what strategies you used to help them succeed.

Example: “I once had a student who was very disruptive in class, but I knew he could do better if he applied himself. So, I pulled him aside after school one day and asked him why he wasn’t doing his work. He told me that he didn’t see the point of it because he would never use any of this information later in life. We talked about how important education is for our future and how much fun we could have learning new things together. After that conversation, he started turning in all of his assignments on time.”

19. What is your philosophy on education?

This question is an opportunity to show your interviewer that you have a strong belief in the importance of education and how it can change lives. You should use this question as an opportunity to share what you’ve learned about effective teaching methods, but also why you chose to become a teacher in the first place.

Example: “Education is one of the most important things we can do for our children. I believe that every child deserves access to a quality education regardless of their background or financial situation. As a teacher, my goal is to provide students with the tools they need to succeed in life. I am passionate about helping students develop the skills they need to be successful learners.”

20. What do you do if you lose control of your class?

This question can help interviewers understand how you handle challenging situations. In your answer, try to explain what steps you take to regain control of the classroom and ensure students are learning.

Example: “I have never lost control of my class, but if I ever did, I would first ask for a volunteer to come up front to assist me with an activity or discussion. This helps give me time to regroup and collect myself before returning to the lesson plan. If this doesn’t work, I would call in another teacher to help me manage the situation.”


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