36 Questions to Ask a Potential Substitute Teacher (With Example Answers)
During your interview to be a substitute teacher, the hiring manager will probably ask you specific questions to see how well you can work with students of all ages and how well you can think critically. You might find it helpful to practice your answers before your interview so you can give thoughtful answers that will impress the hiring manager. Depending on how detailed your answers are, the interviewer can decide if you’d be a good fit for certain grade levels and classrooms. This article gives you over 30 interview questions for a substitute teacher and some sample answers to help you prepare for your interview. 36 Questions to Ask a Potential Substitute Teacher
Many people in charge of hiring will ask you basic or general questions during an interview to find out more about you and your personality. Here are some common interview questions:
- Tell me about yourself.
- What do you do well?
- Where do you need to improve?
- What do you think your coworkers would say are your best qualities?
- Why do you want to take a teacher’s place?
- What is the best thing you’ve done in your life?
- Where do you want to be in five years?
- Tell me about yourself in five words.
- When you’re not at work, what do you like to do?
- How long do you have left?
Questions about work and history from the past
The interviewer might ask you some of the following questions to make sure you have the right experience and education to be a substitute teacher:
- Why do you want to teach?
- Which grade is your favorite to teach?
- Why did you pursue your degree?
- Which ones were your favorites?
- How would you describe a good substitute teacher?
- Tell me about what it’s like to be a teacher for you.
- As a substitute teacher, how do you do your job?
- What do you like most about being a substitute teacher?
- Tell me about the time you filled in for a teacher.
- What’s your favorite thing about school?
- How many college hours do you have?
The interviewer could ask you the following questions to see how well you deal with different classroom situations:
- If a student broke the rules, what would you do?
- How do you start your workday most of the time?
- How do you handle the lessons and homework from the teacher?
- Tell me about a time in class when you had to solve a problem.
- How can a substitute teacher keep the students interested?
- What do you do when a student is sick?
- Tell the teacher who will be there all year how you make reports.
- How can a substitute teacher keep up with new ways to teach?
- How do you teach a class you know little about?
- Explain what you do if you don’t know the answer to a student’s question right away.
Replace questions from the teacher with examples of how to answer them
Here are some sample answers to five questions about being a substitute teacher to help you get ready:
How do you handle a student who causes problems?
When a substitute teacher is there, some students find it hard to follow the rules or stay on task. This question gives you a chance to show that you can keep the class on track by being able to think critically and solve problems quickly. You can give a detailed answer about how you deal with problems by using the STAR method.
Example: “I know that to keep a good learning environment, it’s important to try to stop a student’s action or behavior as soon as possible. While I was teaching, one student kept trying to talk to other students. First, I told them to be quiet while I was teaching and that they could talk to their friends during a break that was coming up soon. After that, they kept talking, so I told them I would have to send them to the principal’s office if they didn’t stop.
The students did stop talking when they were told to, and they used the time to talk to their friends. I added a short note to my report for the regular teacher in case the student talked a lot in class.”
Tell me about a tough classroom you had to deal with.
Depending on the students, the materials, and how they learn, there could be a wide range of problems in the classroom. The person in charge of hiring wants to know that you can deal with different problems that you will probably face a lot. Try to think of a specific challenge and use the STAR interview method to give a detailed answer.
Example: “When the regular middle school history teacher had to leave because of an emergency, I filled in. The teacher didn’t have a detailed lesson plan, so I had just over an hour to make one that fit the curriculum.
First, I looked at the teacher’s old plans and notes to see what we had already talked about. Then I looked at the textbook to get an idea of what I could cover in the time I had. I went online to find more info to add to the outline. I was able to come up with enough material to keep the students interested all day, and I left detailed notes and an outline so the teacher could see exactly what I had done.”
Do you teach anything that makes you feel bad?
They could teach many different things in many different classrooms. The people who are interviewing you want to make sure you have the basic teaching skills you need to adapt to different classrooms and subjects. In your answer, you can talk about things you don’t know much about and how you’re trying to learn more and get better at them.
Example: “Right now, I don’t have much experience teaching calculus. I took calculus in high school, but I haven’t thought about it or used it since then. I signed up for an online calculus class that starts next month so I could go over the material again. I think that taking this extra class will help me review what I already know and make me a better teacher.”
How do you look at a teacher’s lesson plan and teach based on what you see?
As a substitute teacher, one of the most important things you have to do is make sure the students learn what they need to know to stay on track. The people who hire people want to know that you can understand different plans and teach useful lessons. Tell me how you usually figure out what your teacher’s lesson plan means and how you get ready for the day.
Example: “I always make sure I understand everything by reading the teacher’s plan at least twice. When I read it again, I write my own notes to help me get ready for the next day. I look for any special instructions, like if I need to help a student with medical needs or keep an eye on them, or if I need to focus on a certain task or goal. Then I make sure I have everything I need for the day, such as a TV or computer monitor.
When it’s my turn to teach a class, I try to follow the instructions as closely as possible so that the students learn what they need to know. When a student asks me a question, I try to answer it as best I can. I’ll do a quick search on the internet if I need more information. If I can’t think of a good answer, I’ll write it down so the teacher can answer it when they get back.”
How do you keep students engaged?
One of the hardest things for substitute teachers to do is to keep the kids interested and on task. It’s important to show the hiring manager that you want to keep students busy so they can learn the course material. Make a response that shows you care about your students’ growth and explains how your teaching style keeps different kinds of students interested.
Example: “I know that keeping students interested is one of the most important things for them to learn. Depending on the classroom and grade level, I have a few ways to get students up and moving. I usually have the kids in my elementary school class get up and do a small physical activity every 20 or 30 minutes to give them a break and let off some steam. To get my middle school students to talk, I try to start conversations with them. I usually talk to high schoolers like they are adults by being direct but not too formal, and they like it.”
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