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10 English Teacher Interview Questions

October 1, 2011
WriterTalk Media
No two teacher interviews are alike. Teacher job candidates must be highly cognizant of their subject matter and the position they are applying for. By practicing the top questions an English teacher will be asked, those seeking English and English as a Second Language (ESL) jobs will impress principals with their thorough experience and awareness on issues regarding literacy, English learning, and overall student success in the subject matter.

I’ve listed the main questions a job candidate may be asked during an interview for an English teaching position. I will briefly explain key ideas to keep in mind when creating responses to these questions. It is ultimately up to the job candidate to wow the principal by adding your personal touch with stories and examples of work in your portfolio.

Top 10 English Teacher Interview Questions

(1.)Tell us why you want this English teaching position?

(2.)How do you promote literacy in your classroom?

(3.)How do you encourage students to read in your classroom?

(4.)Give an example of a writing lesson you would do with your students.

(5.)How would you help build your student’s vocabulary skills in your lessons?

(6.)Describe a literacy project in your classroom.

(7.)How would you help your special education students with reading?

(8.)How would you assist your English learners with reading?

(9.) How will you increase your students’ reading scores?

(10.) How would you incorporate technology in your reading class?

How to Answer these English Interview Questions:

Tell us why you want this English teaching position?

Now is the time to relate your personal teaching experience with the principal’s vision of the ideal candidate. Always ask at the beginning of the interview for the ideal candidate. This is not just a teaching position; be specific in your answers as to why you chose English. The principal wants to see that you are absolutely the best person for the English teaching position. This is also a good opportunity to include information about your additional certifications in case you are highly knowledgeable in another topic. I’ve known teachers to go into an interview for a science position and come out with a history position.

How do you promote literacy in your classroom?

Some schools have awful literacy rates. Many children cannot pass the state standardized test every year. Principals are doing what they can to increase their literacy scores and student academic achievement. As an English teacher, you play a vital role to the literary development of the entire school.

The rest of the schools’ teachers are responsible for assisting in literacy development, but more often than not, many teachers do not provide such reading activities on a daily basis to their students.

How do you encourage students to read in your classroom?

Provide key elements and strategies to promote a positive literacy environment. I create a “mini-library” in my classroom with lots of inexpensive books I have bought at yard sales or discount bookstores.

Take time out every week or every day if you can to read. Students to choose any book they want as long as they summarize or draw a picture, depending on their ages, of what they read after the allotted time is over.

Give an example of a writing lesson you would do with your students.

Principals want to know that you are promoting literacy through writing. Give examples from your own portfolio or research several fun, engaging activities online that principals will respect.

One engaging activity is point of view. Students can write from the point of view of a person, object, or animal. This is a really fun activity because students can use the objects or animals they like the most. For example, a student could write from the point of view of their cell phone and how they feel aren’t feeling the love because their buttons are being pushed every day.

Include a lesson plan in your portfolio related to a writing activity when answering this question.

How would you help build your student’s vocabulary skills in your lessons?

Students do not love looking in a dictionary. That is not how vocabulary skills are learned. Yes, dictionaries are extremely helpful, but they are not exactly engaging for students.

Quick Excellent strategies include:

Drawings of maps where words are defined with pictures

Vocabulary games

Vocabulary and pictures written on the walls

Flashcards

Describe a literacy project in your classroom.

Literary projects could be book reports, speeches, or even website creation. If you pick a medium that helps students with improving their English with speaking, reading, writing, and listening, you’ve struck gold with the principal.

How would you help your special education students with reading?

As the regular ed teacher for a special education student, it is your duty to apply the student’s modifications to your classroom and literacy instruction. If the student’s accommodation requires additional time to complete assignments, then you should give them more time when answering questions, test taking, and projects.

Remind the principal that you want to serve as an advocate for the needs of all of your students, especially your special education learners.

How would you assist your English learners with reading?

Most English learners will be placed in an ESL class with an ESL certified teacher. However, students who are monitored ESL are those who have placed out of ESL, but may still need additional English support as they make the transition to a regular English class.

Explain typical ESL modifications to lessons. Add pictures to assignments, clarify, speak slower, and ask the student to repeat in their own words. Mention the best practices such as these for your ESL students.

How will you increase your students’ reading scores?

You will need to access and probably test students every week or every two weeks in order to see mastery in reading areas. The student expects students to obtain skills before they take the test and that student’s teachers are responsible for providing this practice and mastery.

Explain that you will follow the state mandated expectations for students and teachers which you can find on your state board of education website. The school may also have a written plan for how they want to attack the test.

How would you incorporate technology in your reading class?

The Internet is simply full of amazing content for learners. Incorporating technology includes teaching students how to be safe on the Internet, how to research, and how to access images and articles related to your stories and daily lessons.

There is a plethora of websites with content on education alone. The world is truly at the teacher’s finger tips. Prepare for these top 10 English teacher interview questions and impress the principal with your knowledge of your future students, best literacy practices, and how your students can increase their academic success.

Rachel Duhon is an educator and writer specializing in teaching and helping others find their dream teaching job. She is the author of The 75 Ultimate Teacher Interview Questions and Answers Revealed and provides a free mini-course at her website, http://www.tipsforteacherinterview.com, Teacher eBook, where she provides information and motivation for teachers and those looking for teaching jobs.
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