Part 2: Common Teacher Interview Questions

The job fair in Bangkok was my second job fair experience. The first one I attended for international schools was in Cambridge, Massachusetts four years ago. After going through many rounds of interviews over Skype and in person, I’ve compiled a list of some of the good ones. I think the best way to prepare for an interview for a teaching job is to spend some time reflecting on what you are truly passionate about as an educator. Make sure to have a few examples in your head of lessons and projects that were successful.

 Interview Questions:

What are 3 words that your students would use to describe you? (I got asked this question over and over again!)

What are 3 words your administrators would use to describe you?

What are 3 words your parents (of students) would use to describe you?

What are 3 words your close friends would use to describe you?

How do you use technology in your classroom?

Describe a typical lesson in your classroom. (Going through the step by step overview)

Describe a successful lesson and how you knew it went well.

Why did you want to be a teacher?

What are you strengths/weaknesses as a teacher?

What would your colleagues/administrators say about you?

How do you differentiate your lessons for all the learners in your classroom?

How do you communicate with parents?

What is a difficult situation you faced and how did you deal with it?

If you met your students 20 years from now, what would you want them to remember about you?

Why do you want to teach at __________ (school)?

What do you want to teach__________(grade level) students? What do you like about them?

Why do you want to live in __________ (country)?

What kinds of things do you like to do outside of school?

What kind of extracurriculars would you be interested in being part of?

Describe a difficult student you had and how you handled it.

What are the talents/expertise you can bring to your team?

How do you use assessment in your classroom? Describe how you used the information you gained from an assessment in your instruction.

Why are you leaving your current school?

What did you like the most about your current school?

What was the most difficult thing about your current school?

How do you address the needs of English language learners?

How do you integrate other subjects into your units?

How would you implement the school’s core values into your classroom?

How do you approach classroom discipline?

What are your thoughts on collaboration with other staff?

What is your favorite essential question (UBD model)?

Is there anything else you feel that you want me to know about you, that we haven’t had a chance to talk about. (I think this is a really good question. Sometimes at the end of the interview, you feel like there are things about yourself you haven’t been able to share yet.)

Here are some other good sources for sample teacher interview questions.

100 Teacher Interview Questions

K6 Elementary Interview Questions

Teacher Vision Frequently Asked Interview Questions

Some of the major themes that many schools touched upon were: classroom management, communication with parents, assessment, differentiation, technology, and daily lesson execution. Also, I did prepare a portfolio with sample unit plans, letters of reference, and professional development certificates for the job fair. However, I didn’t end up using it or showing it at any of the interviews! Even though it can be costly to go to one of these job fairs, I would highly recommend it if you are open to going to other countries! 🙂

I’m curious to hear how you got your current teaching job! Fill out the simple survey below.

Part 1: Reflections from the Bangkok Job Fair

This has been a post I’ve been wanting to do for a while, since attending the Search Associates Job Fair in Bangkok, this past January. There were a few important things I learned from this intense, stressful, but rewarding experience.

Tips for a Job Fair

1. Network- I didn’t realize how much a good place to network it is at a job fair. You are there meeting many different head of schools, directors, principals, and other administrators. Be friendly, make conversations with people in the elevator, and be professional! I realized that the administrators network in the international school scene is not as big as I thought. Many administrators move around schools and countries. You never know, but the administrator you interviewed with might be at the next school you want to work at years down. Definitely attend the social at the end of the conference. I don’t like going to these things, but it’s a good time to mingle and meet a lot of people.

2. Be open- Interview with schools that are not necessarily your top choices. You never know! I never wanted to come to Korea, but now I am here and in my fourth year.

3. Research- Really research the school you are interviewing for. Even if you are not that interested, it makes a difference. Have questions you want to ask about the school. It’s always better to make a good impression and get an offer to turn down.

4. Be confident- During the interview, of course you will be nervous, but do the best to seem confident of yourself. Even if you make a mistake or you don’t answer a question well, don’t linger. Just move on! I know many times, I wished I hadn’t said something, but I kept going.

5. Attend presentations- For the schools that you are really interested in, make an effort to go to their presentation. I remember for one school, my friend and I went and sat in the first row. During my interview with them, the administrator mentioned how she liked that we came and sat in the front row during the presentation.

6. Show Gratitude- Make sure to bring a whole bunch of thank you cards. Make an effort to write thank you cards and respond to all the schools that get in contact with you.

 Stay tuned for Part 2 on the different type of interview questions asked at the job fair!

Here are some photos from beautiful Bangkok, Thailand!

How do you become an international school teacher?

When I first decided to leave the public school system in NYC and try this international teaching thing, I had no idea what I was going into. I didn’t know anyone else that had been an international school teacher. I just ended up researching international schools and stumbled upon two organizations that help place teachers in international schools. Now, I’m in my 4 years of teaching abroad, and plan on doing it for at least 2 more years.

How do you find an international school teaching job?

1. Sign up with an international school recruiting company.

I would highly recommend Search Associates or International Schools Service (ISS). A lot of the accredited and reputable international schools uses either or both of these companies. Both companies have multiple job fairs throughout the year in the US, Asia, Australia, and Europe that teachers can go to. Also, they have extensive online database that they put your profile in that many international schools look at to recruit. There is a fee when you sign up, but it is worth it. I would recommend Search Associates, because I’ve used that and had good success with finding jobs. Also, you will need confidential administrator recommendations and also parent recommendations for teaching positions.

If you’re interested in only Christian schools, there is Network of International Christian Schools.

2. Contact the international school directly.

If you have a particular country and/or school in mind, you can always contact them directly.  If you go their website, you can often find contact information for employment. Many of them may ask you to submit a cover letter and resume to the school directly. Some schools even have a separate online application. Do your research!

A lot of the more competitive schools do recommend you go to a job fair that is sponsored by either Search or ISS, however it’s not required. They like to meet candidates in person for an interview. Remember, that the hiring time line for international schools is a lot earlier than schools in America. Many schools know what openings they will have by December/January. So you should start contacting schools as early as November if you are really interested.

3. Be open! 

If it is your first time trying to find a job internationally, you need to be open. If you don’t have the international school experience, you will be at a slight disadvantage with another candidate with the same experience and international school experience. If you are set on one country and/or  particular school, your choices will obviously be very limited.

Be open to different schools and countries. Think about what are your priorities and the opportunities available at the school and country. Part of the joys of teaching internationally is getting to experience a different culture, country and school. Don’t limit yourself!

If you have any other questions about teaching internationally and finding a good school, please leave a comment! We will definitely be writing more follow up posts about  this topic.

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*UPDATE*

As we have continued to receive many questions concerning more details about how to become an international school teacher, we decided to write a FAQ post for you. Please refer to this post, FAQs About Becoming an International School Teacher, and see if we have already answered your question!