How to Talk About Your Strengths and Weaknesses as a Teacher in an Interview
People often ask you what your strengths and weaknesses are during a job interview. During a job interview to become a teacher, you might be asked to talk about your teaching strengths and weaknesses. Having a few well-thought-out answers ready for your interview can help you stand out as the best candidate.
This article gives you examples of how to answer questions about your strengths and weaknesses in a teacher interview.
Why companies want to know your strengths and weaknesses
When people know their strengths and weaknesses, they are more likely to build on their strengths and use their weaknesses. When people know their weaknesses, they are more likely to work on them. Teachers need to know their strengths more than anyone else. If a teacher knows what they are good at and what they need to work on, they may be able to help their students do the same.
Think about your job as a teacher. This will help you figure out what your strengths are. Think about what you liked the most about being a teacher. Look over your performance reviews and make a list of the things you think you do well. Also, ask a good friend, family member, or coworker to help you improve them.
Some employers will want to know what you aren’t good at. Bringing up one or two problems shows that you know where you need to get better. It’s important for teachers to figure out what they do poorly and how to fix it. You can answer this question by talking about a weakness you have and what you did to make up for it.
How to answer interview questions with the STAR method
STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. The STAR interview response technique is a way to show that you have the qualities needed for the job you are applying for by using stories and anecdotes from your own life.
During an interview for a teaching job, your interviewer may ask you questions about how you behaved in the past so they can see how you handled certain situations. “What do you take the most pride in?” Behavioral interview questions like “Tell me about a time you made a mistake” or “Tell me about something you’re good at” are ways to find out about your strengths and weaknesses.
The first question can show a strength, like creativity or empathy, and the second question can show how you overcame a weakness and learned from a mistake. Try to answer interview questions using the STAR method by telling a story about a time you showed strength or overcame a weakness.
How to answer the question “What is your greatest strength?” at a teacher interview.
You can tell an interviewer about your strengths by naming one and then telling a short story or giving an example to show how you used it to teach well. The answers to these questions might help you prepare for your interview:
Collaboration is one of the strengths of a teacher.
“I have a lot of energy and work well with others. Everyone on my team was new to our school when I started teaching fifth grade two years ago. I suggested that we choose a theme and base each morning’s decorating and team-building activities on it. This would help bring the group together. We chose Greek stories. Not only did we have the best attendance record in the last six years and have fewer discipline problems, but all seven teachers asked to stay on the same team the next year.”
An example of the second strength of a teacher:
“Parents of my students often tell me that their children feel cared for and loved in my classroom. I grew up in a poor family, so I am always looking for signs that a child might be hungry, tired, or in need. When I first started teaching, I remembered a sixth-grader who was always rude and mean. I kept him after school every week for an hour, but instead of giving him detention, I had him help me clean the classroom and get ready for the next day’s lessons. I could tell he wanted to do nothing but talk. Last year, he asked me to his graduation from high school and thanked me for helping him.
Example of a teacher’s third strength:
“I believe in getting things done, and I’m happy that my class has always done better on tests than the school and state averages. At the start of the school year, I tell parents what they can expect from their children’s homework, and I keep them updated throughout the year on how their children are doing. I have posters on the wall that tell parents how I handle discipline and ask them to sign them to show that they’ve read it. No one has ever asked about it.”
Skills with technology are an example of teacher strength number 4.
“I’ve always loved technology, and I’m the first person to download a new app or tell my coworkers which tech tools and gadgets work best in the classroom and which are a waste of time. In fact, I just started a small newsletter for teachers where I review software, apps, and programs for teaching. Just because people talk about me, I have more than 500 readers. I tell my students to use technology, and I’ve seen that when they can use their own tools, they’re more interested.
Example 5: A teacher’s strength is being creative.
“I took minors in creative writing, teaching, and art when I was in college. So I think I’m in a better position to decorate my fourth-grade classroom and come up with fun activities for my students to do with their hands. I once taught math with puppet shows. For the puppet show they had written, my students measured and built a stage and set. Every semester, I have a “gallery night” where parents can see the creative work their kids have done.
Several examples of mistakes
In an interview for a teaching job, be honest about the weaknesses you choose to talk about, and try to explain how you’ve changed your work because of them. Here are some ways to talk about a weakness that show you’re trying to get better:
One weakness of a teacher is not being able to use technology.
“I didn’t know much about computers and didn’t feel comfortable doing much more than checking my email. I knew my students were missing out on tech-enhanced learning, so I signed up for classes at my local library to learn how to make basic digital presentations and home movies, which I have already started using in the classroom. I want to keep my skills current by taking at least two technology classes a year.
The second teacher weakness is a fear of speaking in public.
“I became a teacher because I love kids, but it’s always been hard for me to talk in front of a big group of adults. This wasn’t a problem when I taught elementary school, but now that I’m teaching high school, I knew I had to do something about it. I joined a local group that helps people get better at public speaking about five months ago. Slowly, I built up the courage and confidence to talk in front of big groups. I want to keep going every month for as long as I can.”
The third teacher weakness is that they plan too much.
“As a teacher, I’ve always made sure to carefully plan each lesson ahead of time. My students know exactly what they have to do for homework, quizzes, and tests every day of each nine-week grading period. But it was hard for me to deal with things that didn’t go as planned, like fire drills, snow days, and other things that cut into my teaching time. I’m learning to be less set in my ways and more open to change with the help of self-help books and my coworkers.
What should you think about as pros and cons?
The list of strengths below might help you figure out what yours are and plan a good answer for an interview:
- Technical skills
- Show pity or kindness.
Think about these flaws as you plan what to say about them to the interviewer:
- not understanding how to use tech (such as a specific software)
- Using habits to get by
- Not knowing how to do something, like calculus or inorganic chemistry (as long as it is not one for which you are interviewing)
- Too little or too much spontaneity.
- The fear of talking in front of people
- Not enough play and too much work