20 Urban Teachers Interview Questions and Answers

Prepare for the types of questions you are likely to be asked when interviewing for a position at Urban Teachers.

Urban Teachers is a nonprofit organization that recruits, trains, and supports teachers for high-need urban schools. Our mission is to provide an excellent education for every child, regardless of zip code.

We are looking for individuals who are passionate about making a difference in the lives of children and are committed to social justice. If you are interested in becoming an Urban Teacher, please read on for more information about our interview process.

Urban Teachers Interview Process

The interview process at Urban Teachers is extensive, but well organized and definitely worth it if you are interested in working with this organization. It consists of a phone interview, group interview, and final individual interview. The phone interview is primarily to ensure that you are dedicated to the program and have a passion for teaching. The group interview is designed to assess your ability to work with other people and to see how you would handle teaching a lesson to a group of students. The final individual interview is more focused on your experience working with children and your ability to handle different situations that might come up as a teacher.

1. What is your teaching philosophy?

Interviewers may ask this question to learn more about your teaching style and how you plan lessons. You can answer this question by describing the methods you use in the classroom, including any specific techniques or strategies that help students learn.

Example: “I believe that every student is unique, so I try to create a learning environment where each child feels comfortable asking questions and expressing their ideas. In my last position, I noticed that many of my students had trouble with reading comprehension, so I started using different activities and games to teach them how to understand what they read. This helped my students develop better reading skills, which improved their overall performance in class.”

2. Tell me about a time you had to deal with a difficult parent or student, how did you handle it?

Interviewers may ask this question to see how you handle conflict. They want to know that you can remain calm and professional when faced with a challenging situation. In your answer, try to focus on the steps you took to resolve the issue or diffuse the conflict.

Example: “I once had a student who was very disruptive in class. The student would often talk out of turn, throw things and make fun of other students. I spoke with the student’s parents about the behavior, and they were aware of it but hadn’t been able to find an effective solution. We decided together that we would use positive reinforcement to help the student learn appropriate behaviors. After implementing these strategies, the student’s behavior improved significantly.”

3. How would you work with students who are struggling academically?

Teachers in urban schools often work with students who are struggling academically. The interviewer wants to know how you would help these students succeed and improve their grades. Use examples from your experience helping students overcome challenges and achieve academic success.

Example: “I have worked with many students who were behind on their schoolwork or needed extra support. I always make sure to give them the attention they need, whether that’s one-on-one tutoring or small group instruction. I also encourage parents to get involved by communicating regularly about their child’s progress. In my last position, I had a student who was falling behind in math. I met with his parents and developed a plan for him to catch up. He ended up passing the class at the end of the year.”

4. What do you think is the most important lesson for children to learn in school?

This question is a great way for the interviewer to get an idea of your educational philosophy. It’s important to show that you value education and understand what students need to learn in order to succeed later in life.

Example: “I believe that one of the most important lessons children should learn in school is how to be kind to others. I think it’s so important for kids to learn empathy at a young age, because this can help them develop into empathetic adults who are willing to help those in need. In my last classroom, we had a special day where we talked about kindness and practiced being kind to each other. We even made cards for our substitute teacher.”

5. How would you approach differentiating instruction in your classroom?

Teachers must be able to differentiate instruction for their students. This question helps the interviewer understand your approach to this important teaching skill. Use examples from your past experience in differentiating instruction and how it helped you meet the needs of all your students.

Example: “I believe that every student is unique, so I use a variety of strategies to help them learn at their own pace. For example, when teaching math concepts, I will often provide multiple ways to solve problems. Some students may need more time to practice certain skills before they can complete an assignment on their own. In my last position, I also used technology to support differentiated learning. My students could access online resources to reinforce what we were learning in class.”

6. Describe a time when you saw an opportunity for growth and took action on it.

This question is a great way to show your potential employer that you are willing to learn and grow as an educator. It also shows them that you have the ability to take initiative when necessary. When answering this question, it can be helpful to describe a time in which you took action on something that helped you improve or develop a skill.

Example: “When I first started teaching, I was nervous about speaking in front of large groups of students. However, I knew that if I wanted to be an effective teacher, I would need to overcome my fear. So, I signed up for public speaking classes at night school. After taking these classes for several weeks, I felt much more confident in my public speaking abilities. Now, I am able to speak confidently in front of any group of students.”

7. Give us an example of a time where you were able to use technology to enhance a lesson.

Technology is a major part of the classroom, and it’s important to show that you know how to use it. When answering this question, try to give an example of when you used technology in your teaching and what kind of results you got from it.

Example: “I once had a student who was struggling with math concepts. I decided to create a math game for them using PowerPoint so they could practice their skills while having fun. The student ended up loving the game and practiced on his own time as well. He eventually mastered all of the math concepts he was struggling with.”

8. Why do you want to teach at a low-income urban school?

This question is a great way for the interviewer to learn more about your passion and dedication to teaching. It’s also an opportunity for you to share how you plan to make a positive impact on students’ lives.

Example: “I want to teach at a low-income urban school because I believe that every child deserves a quality education, regardless of their socioeconomic status. I know that many children in these schools are facing challenges outside of the classroom, so I’m committed to creating a safe environment where they can thrive. I am passionate about helping students overcome obstacles and achieve success.”

9. What do you think makes a good teacher?

This question is a great way for the interviewer to get an idea of your teaching philosophy. It’s important to be honest in your answer, and it can also be helpful to include specific examples from your own experience as a teacher.

Example: “A good teacher is someone who is passionate about their subject matter and cares deeply about their students. I think that teachers should always strive to make learning fun and interesting for their students, while still maintaining high expectations. A good teacher understands that every student learns differently, so they are willing to try different methods until they find one that works best.”

10. Do you have any experience working with English language learners?

If you’re applying for a teaching position in an urban school district, it’s likely that the majority of your students will be English language learners. Interviewers ask this question to make sure you have experience working with these students and can effectively teach them. In your answer, share what strategies you used to help ELLs succeed in your classroom.

Example: “I’ve worked with many ELLs throughout my career as a teacher. I find that using visuals is one of the best ways to help ELLs understand new concepts. For example, when teaching fractions, I would draw pictures on the board to show how different fractions relate to each other. This helped my ELLs better understand the concept and apply it to their work.”

11. What are some ways that you can help a child become more engaged in their learning?

Teachers who work in urban schools often have to find creative ways to keep students engaged and interested in their lessons. This question can help the interviewer determine how you plan your lessons and what strategies you use to make learning fun for students. In your answer, try to list a few techniques that you’ve used in the past or are familiar with.

Example: “I think it’s important to find out what each student is most passionate about and incorporate that into their learning. For example, I had a student who was really interested in dinosaurs, so we spent an entire week on prehistoric creatures. Another student loved art, so we did several projects throughout the year where they could express themselves creatively.”

12. How would you manage behavior issues in your classroom?

Teachers in urban schools often have to manage behavior issues. This question helps the interviewer assess your strategies for managing these situations and how you would handle them if they occurred at their school. Use examples from your experience that show you can use effective techniques to help students stay focused on learning.

Example: “I find that positive reinforcement is one of the best ways to keep my classroom calm and productive. When I notice a student doing something right, I make sure to acknowledge it so they know they’re making progress. If there are any behaviors that need improvement, I try to give specific instructions or suggestions for what they could do differently next time. For example, if a student is talking out of turn, I might ask them to raise their hand before speaking. This way, they learn appropriate behavior while also getting the attention they want.”

13. Are you comfortable using data to drive your decisions as a teacher?

The interviewer may ask this question to gauge your comfort level with using data in the classroom. This is a skill that many teachers need, and it’s important for them to know you have experience doing so. If you don’t have any prior experience, you can explain how you would use data to drive decisions if you were hired.

Example: “I am very comfortable using data to make decisions as a teacher. In my last position, I used data to help me understand which students needed more support and what areas they struggled with most. I also used data to determine when students needed extra attention or practice on certain skills. I find that using data to inform my teaching strategies helps me create an effective learning environment for all of my students.”

14. Explain your understanding of standards based grading.

Standards based grading is a common practice in urban schools. It’s important to show the interviewer that you understand how standards based grading works and can use it effectively in your classroom.

Example: “Standards based grading is an effective way for teachers to evaluate their students’ progress on specific skills or concepts. I believe that standards based grading allows me to provide more individualized feedback to my students, which helps them learn more effectively. In my last position, I used standards based grading to help my students improve their reading comprehension and writing skills.”

15. Can you tell me about a time when you worked effectively under pressure?

Teachers often have to work under pressure, especially when they’re teaching students who are learning English as a second language. This question is your opportunity to show the interviewer that you can handle stress and still be effective in the classroom.

Example: “I once had a student who was having trouble with his math homework. He didn’t understand how to do it, so I helped him through the problem step by step. When he left, I realized that I hadn’t given him any extra practice problems to help him learn the concept. So, I went back into the hallway and found him. I explained the concept again and gave him some additional practice problems to complete.”

16. Urban Teachers focuses on preparing teachers to be successful in high needs schools. What does this mean to you?

This question is an opportunity to show the interviewer that you understand what it means to be a successful teacher in urban schools. Use your answer to explain how you would apply this knowledge and experience to help students succeed.

Example: “I think it’s important for teachers to have a strong understanding of what it means to teach in high needs schools. I’ve worked with many colleagues who were new to teaching, so I know firsthand how helpful it can be to learn from those who are more experienced. In my last position, I was able to mentor several new teachers, helping them develop their skills and confidence as they prepared to enter the classroom.”

17. What do you think is the best way to prepare new teachers to be successful?

This question is a great way to show your leadership skills and how you can help others succeed. When answering this question, it’s important to highlight the steps you take to ensure new teachers are prepared for their first day of school.

Example: “I think one of the best ways to prepare new teachers is through professional development. I make sure that all my colleagues have access to our online learning portal where they can find resources and lesson plans. In addition, we hold monthly in-person trainings where we discuss different teaching methods and strategies. These trainings allow us to collaborate with each other and learn from each other’s experiences.”

18. What skills do you think are necessary to be a great teacher?

This question is a great way to show the interviewer that you have experience as an urban teacher and can apply your skills in this role. When answering, it’s important to highlight specific skills you possess that make you a good teacher.

Example: “I think one of the most important skills for a teacher is patience. I’ve worked with many students who are struggling in school or at home, so having patience when they’re frustrated or upset is essential. Another skill I think is necessary is being able to relate to students. I try to be someone my students feel comfortable talking to about their problems, which helps them learn more effectively.”

19. How would you build relationships with families from diverse backgrounds?

Teachers often need to build strong relationships with students and their families. This question helps the interviewer assess your ability to work with diverse populations. Use examples from your experience that show you can communicate effectively with parents, guardians or other family members.

Example: “I have worked in a school district where many of my students come from low-income households. I make it a point to get to know each student’s family by sending home monthly newsletters about upcoming events and classroom activities. In addition, I hold regular parent-teacher conferences twice a year so that families can ask questions and learn more about how they can support their child at home. These strategies help me establish positive relationships with all of my students’ families.”

20. What was your favorite class growing up and why?

This question is a great way to learn more about your potential future students. Teachers who ask this question are looking for someone who can relate to their students and make learning fun. When answering, try to pick something that you enjoyed but also helped you develop important skills.

Example: “My favorite class growing up was art class. I loved the creativity of it all, and I still have some of my paintings hanging in my home. It’s always been one of my passions, so teaching art would be a dream come true. I think I could help kids find their creative sides while developing valuable life skills.”


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