How to Answer the Most Important Teacher Interview Question

As someone who has sat on countless teacher interview committees I can honestly say that I am still surprised at how many potential teachers get the “classroom management” question wrong.

The truth is…how you answer the “classroom management” question can be the difference between getting that perfect teaching job or not.

Without a doubt, at some point in your teacher interview you will be asked some type of classroom management question. Such as, “How do you handle classroom management issues?”

This is an extremely important question.

However, like I said, this is where many potential teachers fail the interview.

Here are some tips…

First of all, make sure you clearly express that classroom management is not about rewards and punishments, but rather it is about keeping your students actively involved in all of your lessons…that you are a proactive teacher as opposed to a reactive teacher.

Make sure to explain to your potential employer that the best “classroom management plan” is a strong “instructional plan”. In other words, you do not rely on elaborate systems of rewards and punishments to address classroom management issues, but instead you find it much more effective to be proactive.

Next, at this point in your answer, it is very effective to explain the major reasons “why” classroom management issues occur and “how” you plan on addressing those classroom management issues.

Just to give you an idea, I might say something like this…

“Classroom management issues arise for 2 main reasons: 1) boredom; 2) confusion. Addressing both of these issues starts from the second the students enter the classroom. By keeping students actively involved throughout the lesson the students will not get bored.”

Of course, it is imperative that you specifically explain how you are going to do this. You must show your interviewers that you are not all theory, but that you actually apply what you say to the classroom. Therefore, your answer must be as specific as possible with actual examples from actual lessons.

For example, I would explain how I use teaching strategies such as the “all-write” and the “pair & share” to increase class participation from 10% to 100%.

And, I would also “walk” my potential employer through an actual lesson that exemplified how to pull-off a cooperative learning activity, such as a “cooperative jigsaw”, without any classroom management problems.

All of these activities keep students actively involved and therefore reduce boredom and therefore limit the opportunity for classroom management issues to arise in the first place.

However, that only addresses the “boredom” issue. The other major reason classroom management issues arise has to do with “student confusion”. Therefore, make sure to explain how important it is for teachers to anticipate and clear up any possible confusion about what the students are to do.

Let your interviewer know that you plan to clearly post your daily agenda and objectives to limit student confusion AND that you will certainly discuss both at the beginning of every lesson. (Remember, these things should not be a surprise to your students.) Also, explain how you “check-for-understanding” throughout the lesson by simply having students repeat back your directions.

By letting your interviewers know that you understand why classroom management issues arise and how to address these issues BEFORE problems arise you will definitely ace the most important question in the teacher interview.

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