Be well prepared for your interview, do your homework beforehand and have a good understanding of the school teaching philosophy and value system.
Think about your interview answers to both common interview questions and teacher-specific questions. Have some insightful questions ready to ask during your interview.
3 Key Preschool Teacher Interview Questions About Your Motivation for the Job
- Why did you choose to become a preschool teacher?
A preschool teacher is a demanding job requiring specific dedication and motivation.
- a natural passion for encouraging and helping young children to reach their potential
- a genuine enjoyment of being surrounded by children
- a strong feeling of reward resulting from the successes of the children in your care
- a desire to respond to and empathize with the struggles and challenges the children may face
- What do you like most about the preschool teaching job?
“The highlight of my teaching day is when I see the excitement of the children when they learn something new, when they are able to do something for the first time. It is very fulfilling how responsive young children are to learning, to see their enthusiasm for different and fresh activities.”
“I enjoy getting to know each child as a unique individual, finding out what makes them tick and then using this knowledge to help them grow, to maximize their strengths and to build their confidence and competence. I find it so rewarding to be an integral part of their development.”
- What do you like least?
It is important to be prepared for preschool interview questions like this.
“Children this age can so easily become distracted and I have found this a challenge. I have become less frustrated with this aspect as I have gained more experience and found effective ways to encourage concentration and focus such as involving the children more in the activity, asking them questions and seeking suggestions from them.”
7 Preschool Teacher Interview Questions About Your Skills
Expect these typical preschool teacher interview questions that explore your skills, strengths and experience.
- What are the key responsibilities of a preschool teacher?
“Preschool education is not just about teaching letters and numbers but also about instilling values and characteristics such as a love of learning, curiosity, discipline, teamwork, independence, communication and socialization skills.”
- What do you consider your strengths as a preschool teacher?
Possible strengths include;
- the ability to observe each child keenly and objectively in order to best meet each individual needs
- planning and organizational skills to ensure the day is a productive as possible
- strong communication skills to build positive relationships with each child
- energy and creativity
- high levels of patience and a good sense of humor!
- Describe your approach to classroom management.
Possible answers to this type of preschool teacher interview question include:
“Managing a class full of preschoolers is challenging, I have to gain their respect and ensure appropriate behavior without intimidating them. A successful approach is to control the classroom while keeping things educational, enjoyable and encouraging.
I achieve this through excellent organization of both learning activities and the learning environment. The classroom is a supportive and structured environment where children learn while having fun.”
- How do you encourage children to work in groups?
Group work is essential for learning cooperation and collaboration. How do you incorporate group work into your activities? Discuss a couple of projects you instigated such as a hands-on art activity that involved the preschoolers working together in groups.
- What do you consider to be the role of parents in preschool?
As a preschool teacher you need to be able to balance the needs of the parents and children.
You want parental buy-in. Discuss how you communicate with and involve the parents including newsletters, notes home, progress reports, organizing family days and parent activities.
- Tell me about a typical daily schedule in your classroom.
Provide a brief overview of the types of activities you engage the preschoolers in, rather than a minute-to-minute account of your day. Give reasons for your choice of schedule.
“I like to mix it up between indoor and outdoor activity, big and small group and individual activities, free play and structured activities, and hands-on and listening activities . This keeps the children engaged and provides opportunities for both learning and fun. I start with a large group activity and then move on to ..”
Emphasize your ability to be flexible and to adapt your schedule to meet changing needs and demands.
- Please summarize your preschool teaching philosophy.
This is a personal question that you need to think about in-depth before your job interview. Possible examples include:
“I strongly believe it is important for preschoolers to be in an environment that is both consistent and secure. A nurturing and supportive school environment makes the child feel safe and instills confidence. I believe learning and development are optimized when a child is secure and comfortable.”
“I believe that a mixture of structured activities and free and creative play allow for optimal learning and fun. Each child is a unique individual and should be allowed to learn at his or her own pace. Activities should be centered on establishing self-esteem and confidence”
Be Ready to Answer these 3 Behavioral Preschool Teacher Interview Questions
You can expect some preschool teacher interview questions that explore those behaviors or competencies required for successful job performance.
- How have you handled a recent behavioral or discipline problem in the classroom?
This is about how you handle discipline problems in the classroom.
Discuss how you:
- speak to the children involved
- explore the reason for the bad behaviour
- show them the difference between right and wrong
- guide and help the children towards appropriate behaviour
- Detail the types of discipline you use. Support why you use these methods.
“I prefer to use time out with preschool children. It gives the child time to cool off and reflect on what he or she has done. After a couple of minutes of being removed from the group I discuss the misbehavior with the child and provide guidance for selecting the right response or behavior the next time”
This is an opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge of child development :
“Children who behave aggressively at this age are often unable to verbalize their feelings because they lack the language skills.”
- Give me an example of when you had to recently deal with a concerned or angry parent.
Parental involvement can be negative as well as positive. It is important to be able to manage this.
Appropriate methods include:
- speaking privately to the parent away from the children
- listening closely to the parent’s concerns
- asking the right questions
- ensuring you understand the situation before you explain or discuss possible solutions
- showing genuine concern and empathy
- remaining calm and professional
- Describe how you created a happy learning environment for the children in your previous job?
This preschool teacher interview question is to evaluate how well you manage your classroom. Effective organization is the cornerstone to this.
Describe how you have created a welcoming, structured and supportive learning environment. Focus on:
- the physical environment such as labeled desks
- the classroom library, storage etc
- your daily schedule including the type of activities you organize
- the behavioral aspect including your classroom rules and consequences
Preschool teacher interview tips
- Use your communication skills to ensure your enthusiasm and passion is evident.
- Preschool teacher interview questions will include standard interview questions.
- Take along a well organized teacher portfolio to show off your work.
- prepare a list of good questions to ask in your preschool teacher interview
What should I wear to my preschool teacher interview?
It is always a good idea to wear interview clothes that are a step up from those you would wear in the classroom. Each district may have different interview dress codes so keep it professional but approachable.
For a preschool teacher, smart slacks or skirt teamed with a blouse and blazer are always a safe bet. You can add some personal flair in the form of a bright scarf or purse.