“What is your philosophy about how to teach?”
When you apply for a teaching job, you might be asked what your teaching philosophy is. This is a question that potential employers may ask you to see if your teaching style and methods are similar to those of the school. If you think about this question before you’re asked it, you can feel ready and answer with confidence.
This article gives ideas for things to talk about, as well as tips and sample answers.
How do you teach something?
Your teaching philosophy is made up of your ideas, morals, and rules about how to teach. People have probably taught, learned, observed, and done research on it, so it’s likely that it has changed over time. A teaching philosophy is a summary of how you approach teaching and how you deal with common classroom situations.
If you aren’t sure what your teaching philosophy is, you might want to ask yourself:
- What teachers have made an impression on me?
- How can I help a worker or student who is having problems?
- How do I tell someone I appreciate their kindness? How can I tell someone to stop being bad?
- How do I set rules for myself?
- How have I been the best teacher I can be?
- What do my students and coworkers say about me?
Writing down your answers to these questions can help you find patterns and figure out what your teaching philosophy is.
Why do employers want to know, “How do you teach?”
When an employer asks this, they want to know how you’ll do your job as a teacher. Your answer should include how you teach, what you think about how people learn, and at least one example of how you use your skills and abilities in a classroom or training setting.
Employers want to make sure that your methods align with their organization’s goals and values, whether you’re being interviewed by a school or by a company looking for someone to train other professionals.
Employers ask this question to find out what kind of person you are and if you have the skills and knowledge to do the job. When an interviewer asks you about your teaching philosophy, they are trying to figure out how you will deal with students or trainees, how you will handle teaching problems, and how you will make sure each student or trainee does well.
Answers to questions about teaching philosophy
Here are some ways to share your statement of teaching philosophy:
If you want to get a job as a leader,
If you’re looking for a job where you’ll have to train new employees or teach current employees about new tools or processes, you can use the tips below. This is best for jobs outside of school, like in companies.
“As a teacher, I think it’s important to make every class as interactive as possible. I think it’s easier to remember what you learn when it’s fun. People compete with each other in things like role-playing and quiz games. As the director of customer service, it’s my job to show new customer service reps how to do their jobs. When I first started working in customer service, I saw that new people made a lot of mistakes and forgot a lot of what they learned in their first few weeks. I didn’t change the lesson plan. Instead, I changed the way it was taught.
Now, I pick two trainees at random to act as a customer and an agent in front of the rest of the class. At the end of each session, I also give a pop quiz, and the trainee who gets the most questions right gets a small prize. We’ve cut down on mistakes and helped people remember what they’ve learned by making the experience more like a game.”
If you want to work at a school or college,
You can also use this method to apply for a job as an experienced teacher in a primary school, secondary school, college, or university. In this case, you should talk about a teaching success that really stood out.
Example: “My goal as a teacher is to teach students how to learn on their own. Even when students are interested in a lesson, I find that they often forget important details because they haven’t learned how to review material on their own. I think that teaching middle school students how to study on their own will better prepare them for the work they will have to do in high school and college.
As a seventh-grade history teacher, I often test my students on what they learned the day before. This is to make sure they remember the information. Since last year, I’ve given students 10 minutes of quiet study time at the beginning of every class to go over what they learned the day before. Since then, students have done better on pop quizzes by more than 50%.
When you look for your first teaching job,
Lastly, if you’re a teacher looking for your first job, you can also use what you’ve learned above. Instead of giving examples from your job, you could talk about how different ways of teaching have changed your philosophy.
“My goal as a teacher is to help people understand what I’m teaching. If a student can’t relate to the material, it can be hard for them to understand what it means. As a teacher of literature, my goal is to help students feel empathy for characters, places, and ideas, especially if they are different from what they have experienced in their own lives.
When I was in school, I remembered stories better when my teachers pointed out how they were alike. As a student teacher, I like to find connections between old stories, like those by Shakespeare, and things that are happening now. For example, I’ve found that comparing things that happen in the plays to things that happen in popular culture helps students not only understand the stories but also come to their own conclusions.
Employers will probably ask about your teaching philosophy when you apply for a job that involves teaching or training. Also, you should be ready to talk more about the stories you tell. If you plan your answer ahead of time, you can be sure to talk about relevant skills, give the right example, and make a good impression that will last.
How to answer the question, “What is your teaching style?”
Here are some things to consider:
Make it quick.
Try to say things as plainly as you can. Start by writing down what you think teaching should do, then list the ways you do it, and then tell a story to show how you do it.
Talk about what’s going on now.
When you talk about your beliefs and skills, say “I think a teacher should…” or “I use strategies that…” instead of “I learned it’s best to…” or “I helped students achieve…” This gives your ideas a more lively sound.
Avoid unnecessary jargon
Instead of using technical terms to explain your teaching philosophy, use everyday language that is easy to understand. This will help the interviewer understand what you said and see what you’re good at. It also helps them figure out how your answer applies to their business, which is especially helpful if you are switching industries.
Use concrete examples
When you talk about your teaching philosophy, it’s important to both “show” and “tell.” Show the person who is interviewing you how you teach by using specific examples from your past. Talk about how you used your techniques and what good things happened because of them.
This is a common interview question, especially in the education field, so you should have this answer ready and practice it before the interview.
Employers want to know how much you care about teaching, so make sure your answer shows how enthusiastic you are.
Common mistakes to avoid
There are a few things you shouldn’t do when answering a question about your teaching philosophy.
- Learn to remember your answer. Even though you should study, you shouldn’t try to remember your answer word for word. During the interview, this can make you seem like a robot or not like yourself.
- looking too proud or confident. In your answer, you should be confident, but you should also be humble. If you seem too proud to potential employers, they may worry about how you’d act as an employee.
- The talk was too long. Keep your answer short. Two minutes is the most you should take. If your answer takes longer than two minutes, the interviewer might lose interest.