We’ve all been faced with those nerve-wracking “Tell us a time when you…” questions in a job interview.
Your prospective employer is considering every detail in order to weigh your suitability as a teacher at their institution.
In a stressful interview situation, there is huge pressure to instantly present an answer that is both impressive and appropriate, while demonstrating your skills and experiences.
Always prepare several detailed examples of your teaching work experience to share with the interviewer. Focus on preparing answers to behavioral interview questions, which we go into more detail below.
Common scenarios an interviewer may ask about include times you felt challenged, were faced with bad behavior, and a work situation in which you helped struggling students overcome their problems in a difficult subject area.
By following the STAR Method interview technique, you’ll make sure you cover all the key areas the interviewer is interested in, without losing the focus of the question.
What is the STAR Method?
Briefly explain the context – the situation you found yourself in – including any challenging aspects.
Sample answer: “In my current role, teaching a class of 26 grade 4 students, I began teaching more complex division skills and fractions. Most of the class picked up the new concepts quickly and were keen to progress; however, two students just could not grasp it and were losing interest.”
What was your role or responsibility in this situation?
– For example: “I had to find a way to re-engage these students in the topic and give them the right guidance to get them working out fractions accurately and independently, without slowing down the rest of the class.”
Describe what action you took and why. Detail what methods you implemented and whether your aim was to achieve a goal or problem solve.
– For example: “For the next math class, I prepared a fun activity to be completed in groups. While the class was engaged in the task, I had time to spend some one-on-one time with the struggling students, helping them work on a simpler version of the activity. I was able to explain the process again, from scratch, in a way they would understand. One child was still finding it a little challenging, so I sent some guidance notes along with his homework.”
An explanation of what happened.
– For example: “After some one-on-one focus and follow up practice in later lessons, both students are now consistently completing advanced division and fraction assignments with confidence.”
When discussing your past achievements, always try to quantify. Give numerical figures and results where possible, making your anecdotes more credible and interesting.
STAR interview method tips
One last point to remember is that each stage of your examples should be kept as concise and relevant as possible. Hiring managers have limited time and are keen to see how you maintain attention – if you can keep them interested, then you’re probably pretty great in front of a class, too. It’s also a demonstration of how well you understand and respond appropriately to what is asked of you.