17 Secondary School Teacher Interview Questions and Answers

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

A secondary school teacher is responsible for teaching academic subjects to students in grades 9-12. In some cases, teachers may also be responsible for teaching a specialized subject, such as art, music, or physical education.

Before you can start teaching, you will need to go through a job interview process. During the interview, you will be asked a variety of questions about your education, teaching experience, and teaching style. You will also be asked questions about your ability to manage a classroom and motivate students.

To help you prepare for your interview, we have compiled a list of common secondary school teacher interview questions and answers.

Are you certified to teach the subject(s) you plan to teach at our school?

The interviewer wants to know if you have the necessary certifications for teaching at their school. If you are not certified, explain what steps you plan to take to get your certification and when you expect to receive it.

Example: “I am currently working on my certification in math education. I started the process last year and should be finished by next fall. I also have a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from State University, so I can teach most of the math courses offered here.”

What are some of the most important skills you feel a secondary school teacher should possess?

This question is an opportunity to show the interviewer that you possess the skills necessary for success in this role. When answering, it can be helpful to list a few of your strongest skills and how they help you succeed as a teacher.

Example: “I believe one of the most important skills a secondary school teacher should have is patience. It’s often challenging to teach students who are at different levels of understanding, so I feel it’s important to be patient with them when they’re learning new concepts. Another skill I think is essential is organization. In my experience, being organized helps me stay on track during lessons and ensures I’m prepared for each class period.”

How would you handle a situation where a student was consistently disrupting your class?

Interviewers want to know how you handle challenging situations with students. They also want to see if you have any strategies for handling disruptive behavior in the classroom. In your answer, explain what steps you would take to address the situation and encourage positive student behavior.

Example: “If a student was disrupting my class, I would first ask them to stop their disruptive behavior. If they continued, I would call on another teacher or administrator to help me remove the student from the classroom. Once we removed the student, I would speak with them privately about why their behavior is unacceptable and how it affects other students. I would give them an opportunity to apologize to the class and make amends.”

What is your philosophy on discipline?

Discipline is an important part of teaching. It’s the teacher’s responsibility to ensure students are learning and behaving appropriately in class. A school wants to know that you have a plan for maintaining order in your classroom. When answering this question, explain what methods you use to keep students focused on their work and respectful of one another.

Example: “I believe that discipline should be positive. I try to make my classroom a place where students want to come because they enjoy being there. If they’re having fun, then they’ll behave better. I also think it’s important to give them consequences when they misbehave so they learn from their mistakes. For example, if a student talks out of turn, I will ask them to write down why they shouldn’t talk during class. This way, they can reflect on their actions and hopefully avoid repeating them.”

Provide an example of a time when you had to help a student who was struggling and help them overcome their difficulties.

This question can help the interviewer gain insight into your teaching methods and how you interact with students. Use examples from your experience that highlight your ability to work with students who are struggling, as well as your skills in helping them overcome their challenges.

Example: “In my first year of teaching, I had a student who was having difficulty learning basic math concepts. After meeting with his parents, we determined he wasn’t retaining information because he didn’t understand the material. We decided to change his curriculum to something more appropriate for him, which helped him learn the basics before moving on to more advanced topics. He eventually mastered the fundamentals and moved on to more challenging courses.”

If a student asked you for advice about a personal problem, what would be your response?

This question can help interviewers understand how you would handle a sensitive situation. When answering, it can be helpful to mention that you would treat the student as an individual and provide them with advice that is specific to their needs.

Example: “If a student asked me for advice about a personal problem, I would first make sure they know that I am here to support them. Then, I would ask them what they have tried so far to solve the issue. After hearing their response, I would offer my own advice on how they could overcome this challenge. I believe that every person has the ability to overcome obstacles in life, and I would want to encourage the student by letting them know that I believe in them.”

What would you do if you felt like you were losing control of your class?

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

Example: “If I felt like I was losing control of my class, I would first ask for a brief break from the lesson plan so that I could regroup with my thoughts. Then, I would call an emergency meeting with each student individually to discuss their behavior. If it was a larger issue, such as a group of students not following directions, I would hold a whole-class discussion about appropriate behavior. I would also consider whether there were any underlying issues causing the disruption.”

How well do you handle stress?

Secondary school teachers often have a lot of responsibilities, which can lead to stress. Employers ask this question to make sure you are able to manage your stress and continue to be effective in the classroom. In your answer, explain how you handle stressful situations. Share some strategies that help you stay calm and focused on your work.

Example: “I find that I am most productive when I take breaks throughout the day. For example, I try to get up from my desk every hour or so to walk around the room for a few minutes. This helps me clear my mind and gives me time to reflect on what I’ve accomplished during the lesson. Another thing I do is write down all of my tasks for the day before starting them. This way, I know exactly what I need to accomplish by the end of the day.”

Do you have any creative ways of making your lessons more engaging?

Interviewers may ask this question to see if you have any unique teaching methods that help students learn. They want to know how you can make your lessons more interesting and engaging for students, so they might look for answers that include specific examples of how you do this in the classroom.

Example: “I find that one way I can keep my lessons exciting is by using technology. For example, when I taught a history lesson on World War II, I used an app where students could take a quiz about what they learned. This helped them remember information better because it was interactive and fun. Another time, I had students create their own podcast about a historical event. They were able to practice public speaking while also learning about the topic.”

When planning your lessons, how do you take into account the diverse learning needs and abilities of your students?

The interviewer may ask this question to assess your ability to plan engaging lessons that meet the needs of all students in a classroom. Use examples from past experiences where you planned lessons that were inclusive and beneficial for all types of learners.

Example: “I always make sure my lesson plans are flexible enough so I can adjust them based on student input or questions. In my last role, I had a student who was struggling with a concept but didn’t want to raise their hand because they felt embarrassed. After asking them if everything was okay, they told me about their confusion and we worked together to create an alternative way for them to demonstrate their understanding of the material.”

We want our teachers to be able to work collaboratively with other teachers. How would you handle collaborating with another teacher on lesson planning or other school activities?

Secondary school teachers often work together to plan lessons or activities for their students. The interviewer wants to know how you would handle working with other teachers and whether you have any experience doing so. If you do, describe your process for collaborating with others.

Example: “I find that I learn a lot from my colleagues when we collaborate on lesson plans or projects. When I worked at my previous school, I was part of a team of five teachers who planned monthly field trips for our classes. We each had different strengths and interests, which helped us create unique experiences for the kids. I enjoy collaborating with other teachers because it allows me to learn new things and develop my own skills.”

Describe your teaching style.

Interviewers ask this question to learn more about your teaching style and how it aligns with their school’s philosophy. When answering, describe the methods you use in the classroom and explain why they work for you.

Example: “I believe that every student learns differently, so I try to create a learning environment where students can find what works best for them. For example, some students learn better by listening to me speak while others prefer to read or write notes. To accommodate everyone, I give my students choice when possible. For instance, I let them choose which assignments they want to complete each week.”

What makes you stand out from other candidates?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications and how you can contribute to their school. When answering, it’s important to highlight a skill or experience that makes you unique from other candidates. You may also want to mention something that relates to the job description.

Example: “I have been teaching for five years now, but I am still passionate about my career. In fact, I recently completed a certification program in technology integration because I wanted to be able to use new tools in the classroom. This shows that I’m always looking for ways to improve myself as an educator and help students succeed.”

Which teaching methods do you prefer to avoid?

Interviewers may ask this question to learn more about your teaching style and preferences. They want to know if you prefer hands-on learning, group projects or other methods that are common in the classroom. When answering this question, try to be as specific as possible. Explain why you avoid certain methods and what you would do instead.

Example: “I find it difficult to teach with a projector screen because I can’t see students’ faces. This makes it hard for me to gauge their reactions and determine whether they understand the material. Instead of using a projector screen, I use an interactive whiteboard so I can write on it and still see my students’ reactions. I also like to have small group discussions where I can get to know each student better.”

What do you think is the most important thing for secondary school students to learn during their time in school?

This question can help interviewers understand your philosophy on education and how you plan to teach students. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention a specific skill or concept that you feel is important for students to learn in school.

Example: “I believe the most important thing for secondary school students to learn is how to think critically about the world around them. This means learning how to analyze information and make decisions based on their own thoughts rather than what they are told by others. I also think it’s important for students to develop an appreciation for different cultures and points of view.”

How often do you make adjustments to your lesson plans?

Interviewers may ask this question to learn more about your teaching style and how you adapt to changes in the classroom. When answering, it can be helpful to mention a specific time when you had to make an adjustment to your lesson plans and what steps you took to ensure students still learned the same material while also addressing any concerns or questions they might have.

Example: “I find that my lesson plans are most effective when I’m able to teach them as planned. However, there have been times when I’ve needed to adjust my lesson plans due to unexpected events or circumstances. In these cases, I try to keep the main points of the lesson the same while making adjustments to accommodate for the change. For example, if I need to cancel class one day, I’ll usually record a video explaining the lesson so students can watch it later.”

There is a new law or social issue that students need to learn about. How would you incorporate this into your lessons?

The interviewer may ask this question to see how you would adapt your teaching style to incorporate new information into the curriculum. Use examples from past experience of how you’ve integrated new laws or social issues into your lessons and helped students understand them.

Example: “In my last school, we had a student who was undocumented. The student’s parents were afraid that their child might be deported because of President Trump’s immigration policies. I worked with the guidance counselor to create lesson plans on citizenship and civil rights so that the student could learn about these topics in an age-appropriate way. This allowed me to help the student feel safe while also educating other students about important current events.”


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