Professional Learning

How to Answer Interview Questions On Classroom Management Style

Interviewing for a new teaching position can be stressful. Whether you’re a veteran teacher with years of experience or fresh out of college, it’s always good to thoroughly prepare for an upcoming interview so you know what to expect.

One of the best things you can do to get a leg up on your competition is to practice your answers to the most common interview questions. The most popular ones are about your classroom management style. For example, how do you handle different classroom scenarios? What are your systems for rewards and consequences? How does your educational philosophy reveal itself in your classroom management style?

Let’s look at classroom management strategies that can help you ace that interview.

6 Best Practices in Classroom Management

It’s always a good idea to brush up on some tried-and-true teaching methods. Classrooms that are successfully managed share many common qualities that can hone your teaching craft. Better yet, mentioning a few of these best practices in your interview can show that you know your way around a classroom.

1. Keep students engaged

If students are engaged in their learning, they’ll be more likely to stay on task. Whenever possible, get students moving during a lesson. Students are more likely to focus if they’re physically involved in the learning process.

Use a variety of teaching methods. When you mix things up in the classroom, your students are more likely to find a learning method that works for them. Adding options that involve art, technology, partner work, writing, music, and more can give students choice in the learning process and increase their focus.

2. Create open communication with caregivers

Inform parents and caregivers about your expectations at the start of the school year. When problems arise, let them know immediately. But also keep them in the loop on any notable improvements you notice. When parents and caregivers are aware of what’s going on in your classroom and how their children are performing, they can help support positive changes.

3. Ensure students feel respected

Create an environment where students feel respected by you and their peers. In turn, your students will show more respect for others. To this end, teachers often let students have some say in how the classroom runs. Students and teachers work together to come up with a class contract that all students (and parents and caregivers) will sign. By letting students have a say in how the classroom functions, you ensure that students feel valued and respected.

4. Be consistent

Successful classroom management depends on consistency — students expect that teachers will follow through on what they say in terms of rewards and consequences for behavior. If a student misbehaves, the teacher needs to apply any previously determined consequences. A student can be rewarded when they do well.

5. Be flexible

Teachers have to be consistent, but they must also realize that we’re all human.

In some situations, you can make exceptions to the classroom rules. For example, if a student had to spend the night at the hospital for a medical emergency, it’s obviously acceptable (and expected) to extend deadlines for their homework.

Being flexible in these circumstances can show students that you genuinely care about them and aren’t just a stern face in a classroom — you’re human and can sympathize with the problems they’re facing.

6. Strategically arrange classroom

How your classroom is set up can have a big impact on the success of your management strategies. Think carefully about where each student will sit and how you want to arrange desks. Deciding when it’s appropriate for students to choose their own groups or partners can give students some choice and responsibility. Assigning seats strategically can often help manage some undesired classroom behaviors, such as excessive talking among friends.

4 Tips to Prepare for the Interview

In addition to brushing up on your responses to common classroom management questions, it also helps to prepare for the job interview in other ways. Here are a few helpful hints to get you ready for the big day.

1. Know your teaching philosophy

Your teaching philosophy is definitely going to be addressed in an interview. It’s crucial that you are able to clearly state how you teach and why you teach the way you do. It’s also important to be able to offer examples of how you can see this philosophy come to life in your classroom. Be prepared to link your classroom management style to your teaching philosophy.

2. Research the school

This one goes without saying, but be sure to research the prospective school. Do they have a special mission that you could talk about when the opportunity to do so presents itself? Do they have a PBIS (positive behavioral interventions and supports) program in place already that you could discuss? Once you have some information about their methods, you can mention how your classroom management style align with their school-wide efforts.

3. Prepare a portfolio

Bring plenty of work samples to show what you’ve accomplished in your classroom in the past. Pictures, newsletters, student work, and unit plans can all be good artifacts to demonstrate your teaching, communication, and organization skills.

4. Be ready for general questions

In addition to questions about your classroom management methods and your teaching philosophy, there are some more general questions that are commonly asked in the interview process. Be ready to answer questions such as:

  • Why do you want to be a teacher?
  • Why do you want to teach at this particular school?
  • What other training or continuing education opportunities have you completed?
  • What are some ways in which you’ve worked well with others?
  • What are your technology skills?

By preparing for common questions like these ahead of time, you can be less stressed and more confident during the interview.

You’ll do fine!

Interviewing for a teaching job can be a daunting task, but it’s less stressful with some thoughtful preparation. Your classroom management methodology is going to be discussed, as is your teaching philosophy. Rehearsing your responses to these questions can give you an advantage in your quest to find the teaching position you’ve always wanted.

This article was adapted from a blog post initially developed by the education technology company Classcraft, which was acquired by HMH in 2023. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of HMH.

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