Teacher Interview Questions: Describe Your Classroom Management Style

Good old days when a title of a teacher gave you a natural authority in a classroom. Children paid attention to your words and behaved, understanding the crucial role education played in their life, having little distractions, and looking forward to learn something new every day. Fast forward to 21st century. The average attention span of a child has dropped drastically. Distractions such as smart phones and other gadgets are ever-present. Many children come from broken families, carrying deep wounds within, which reflects on their misbehavior in the classroom.

Taking all of this into consideration, scientists and scholars came with the term “Classroom Management“, which basically means the process of ensuring that classroom lessons run smoothly without disruptive behavior. And since almost every school faces issues with students’ discipline, you will often face this question in your teacher interview.

Let’s have a look at 7 sample answers, including some unconventional choices. Below the answers you will find additional hints. Read them to make sure you’ll avoid some mistakes people make while answering the question.


7 sample answers to “Describe Your Classroom Management Style” interview question

  1. In my opinion, the most important thing is to set clear rules of discipline with the students right from the start. Students, as well as their parents, should know what they are allowed to do in the classroom. They should also understand different levels of interventions and punishments, should they not oblige to the rules. As always, communication is the key. I try to explain the rules in a clear way to make sure that students understand them, and then I stick to them invariably. Of course, in some cases individual intervention is necessary, and we need to include school psychologist in the solution of the problem. I won’t hesitate to do so, because I know my limits, and I also believe that we cannot let one student to spoil the morale in the entire classroom. In such cases early intervention is extremely important.
  2. I would describe my classroom management style as oriented on encouragement of positive behavior. Instead of threatening students with various forms of punishment, I prefer to motivate them to behave with small rewards, such as less homework, or an ability to participate in an interesting extracurricular activity, should they behave well. In my opinion, it is also important to recognize positive behavior, and praise the students for it. At the end of the day, many students misbehave because they seek attention, so it is better to give them attention when they behave well. Having said that, I do not wear pink glasses, and know that at times my approach won’t yield the desired result. Some students will misbehave, and I am ready to proceed with intervention, following the rules you have in place at this school.
  3. In my opinion, students misbehave mostly because they do not enjoy the lessons. And we have to admit that teachers bear a part of guilt. My classroom management strategy is to make the lessons as motivating and interactive as possible, to engage the students, and to make sure that they enjoy the learning process. This is easier to do with some and tougher with others, but I have achieved great results with my strategy in my last job. To sum it up, instead of trying to find fault with the students, I try to improve my teaching, and in this way I indirectly improve the discipline in the classroom. When students feel engaged in the lesson, they won’t make problems. At least most of them won’t.
  4. This is my first job application, and logically I do not have any practical experience with classroom management. However, I understand that we will face issues with discipline, and that I will have to address them in the classroom, to make sure that the lesson runs smoothly, and at least children who want to progress with their learning can progress. In the beginning I hope to learn from the experience of older teachers, and benefit from my cooperation with school counselors, psychologists, and other professionals. I have no doubt that together we will achieve the desired level of discipline in each classroom.
  5. Before anything else, I focus on having a good connection with my students. I try to understand them, learn something about their family situation, and issues they face both at school and outside of it. Once you know your students, and care, you can apply individual approach to each issue of discipline. But it doesn’t mean to have various rules in place for various students. Not at all. But with some students positive encouragement may work better, with others a simple disciplinary measure, and some students will need an individual intervention of a psychologist, or a visit to the principal’s office. Hence I would characterize my classroom management style as having an individual approach to each problem, benefiting from knowing my students well.
  6. Anytime possible, I prefer proactive behavioral management. Everyone can criticize the children when they do something wrong. If we really want to win their hearts, however, and consequently also their obedience, the key is to recognize their good actions, their appropriate behavior. For some children it can be simply sitting quietly and working on the task for two minutes, without getting distracted. For others it can be trying hard to solve some Math exercise, without getting irritated. Whether they eventually solved it or not is secondary. We should praise them for their attitude. This sums up my approach to behavioral management in a classroom with special needs children. Please let me know if you’d like me to elaborate on something else here.
  7. It may surprise you but I haven’t yet faced any major issues with discipline in my classes. Applying innovative teaching methods such as learning by playing, and using a lot of interactive content in my teaching, I find it easy to make the students engaged. And once they are engaged in what’s going on in the classroom, they won’t make problems. Of course, I know that my approach won’t work in 100% of cases, and some students may act disruptively regardless of the quality of your teaching, and the effort you give. In such cases I am ready to follow the standard classroom management system, with universal instructions, small group intervention, and individual intervention.


Take responsibility for what’s going on in the classroom

Probably the most common mistakes job applicants make is blaming the children, and their families, for the lack of discipline during the lessons. And while it is certainly true that a children from a good family, an unspoiled child, will typically behave better, and respect you more as a teacher, whereas a child from a broken family whose parents do not care at all will make problems, I suggest you to focus on something else in your answer.

Focus on things you can impact. That is setting clear rules of discipline, making a good connection with your students and understanding each one well, and, first and foremost, making sure that they don’t misbehave simply because you teach poorly, and they are bored to death in your lessons. Accept the responsibility. Ensure the hiring committee that you will do your best to motivate your students with engaging lessons, and in this way indirectly improve the discipline in the classroom.

Know your limits and don’t hesitate to ask for help

Teacher is nether a counselor nor a psychologist. And though you may have your strengths, and try your best with students, you should know your limits. School districts employ psychologists for a reason, and you shouldn’t hesitate referring a child to their care, should he or she act disruptively on an ongoing basis, ignoring your efforts to remedy their behavior.

Ensure the members of the interviewing panel that you hope for a fruitful cooperation with other professionals at school. You know your limits, and try to stay humble regardless of your level of experience. Hence you won’t hesitate contacting the psychologist, special ed staff member, or even the principal, when struggling to address any situation in your classroom. That’s the attitude they are looking for in an excellent job applicant…

Ready to answer this question? I hope so! Do not forget to check sample answers to other teacher interview questions as well:

Matthew Chulaw
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