Every study on the subject conducted in the last twenty years proved the crucial role of early childhood education. Whether we speak about traditional or emotional intelligence, an ability to form healthy relationships and face challenges life presents, or even an ability to think creatively and come up with new ideas, nothing impacts these things more than our early childhood, what we see and experience, both in the family and outside of it. The point I try to make here is that kindergarten teaching is an important job, and people doing it deserve both better salaries and more recognition in our society. Back to the interviews though.
You will typically face between five and ten questions, mostly related to your motivation, skills, idea of the job, and your approach to various situations that may occur in the kindergarten, such as issues with discipline, conflict between children, conflict with the parent, etc. Your goal is to show enthusiasms for your work, and a positive attitude when it comes to facing challenges. Let’s have a look at some of the questions.
Why do you want to work as a kindergarten teacher?
You can focus on the meaningful purpose you see in the job. Say that you understand the crucial role early education plays in the life of every single person. It motivates you to have such an impact, and you hope to be a good role model for the children, and help them develop their skills and abilities, preparing them for their first year at the elementary.
You can also say that the job is a great match for your skills and personality. Children enjoy your company and you thrive while working with them. What’s more, you are patient, responsible, yet playful and creative, and believe to have what it takes to make their time with you an unforgettable experience. Everything considered, you believe the job is a great match for your, and cannot wait to start teaching.
Why do you want to work in our kindergarten? Why not some other place?
As you can likely imagine, referring to the salary offer or employee benefits won’t be a good idea. You have several other options though. One of them is focusing on their teaching methods, especially if they follow some distinctive concept of education, such as Montessori or Waldorf. In such a case, it is important to read something about the concept in advance–how it differs to other concepts, principal advantages it has, and so on, because they may ask you to elaborate on your answer.
If they do not follow any special concepts in their education, you can praise them for something else. Perhaps they have a great reputation in the neighborhood, you know people whose children visited the kindergarten and they said just the best thing about the place, or you like the location (a quiet place, close to the nature), or the playgrounds and equipment they have in place for the children stand out.
Last option is focusing either on the location of the kindergarten, or the job itself (instead of the educational institution). Let me explain. Maybe you haven’t found any other job openings for kindergarten teachers in the area, and since you do not want to spend ninety minutes commuting to work every day, they were your only option. What’s more, you know that regardless of reputation each kindergarten faces some challenges. You will find better and worse teachers everywhere, as well as children, and the place of work isn’t that important to you…
How do you imagine your time with the children in our kindergarten?
This again depends on the educational concept they follow. But kindergarten is a preparation for the first year at the elementary, and you should give some importance to counting, singing, and playing games that indirectly prepare the children for the subjects they will study at the elementary school–reading, writing, Math, etc.
In any case, you should talk about engaging and interactive teaching. You want to make sure that children enjoy their time, that they always have something to do, and develop a variety of skills and abilities. You imagine working on all sorts of creative tasks with them–drawing, painting, singing, and so on. Games and sports that promote movement and help them build relationship to the nature should also resonate in your answer, especially with the pandemic of child obesity we face nowadays.
A parent of one of the children complaints about something which is untrue. How will you react?
Regardless of how hard you try, and how well you teach, from time to time someone will complain. And you should be OK with that, because such confrontations simply belong to the job. Ensure the hiring manager that you won’t burst out emotionally or start some lengthy argument with the parent, regardless of their accusations and complaints.
You will stay calm, and explain, without emotions, what exactly happened, and while perhaps they or their child misinterpreted the situation. The conflict may go on and you may eventually need to leave this for the director of the kindergarten to handle, but that’s the most you can do really. You can also elaborate on your answer, saying that such an incident won’t have an impact on the quality of your work, or your relationship to the child in question. You will continue trying your best, regardless of the conflict with the parent.
What do you consider your strengths and weaknesses when we talk about kindergarten teaching?
As a rule of a thumb, you should admit having some weakness. They aren’t looking for perfect employees, because they know such people do not exist. They are looking for people who are aware of both their strengths and weaknesses, and always strive to improve on their teaching skills.
If this is your first job application in teaching, you can point out lack of experience as your major weakness. Of course, you went to school and did what you could to prepare for your teaching job–including reading books, learning different teaching methods, and so on. But one cannot simulate the real environment of the kindergarten, and the challenges you will face while working with the children.
Speaking about strengths, you will do well with obvious choices, such as patience, empathy, emotional intelligence, communication skills, and so on. Another alternative is a more holistic approach, talking about your attitude to teaching, enthusiasm, passion for this type of work, and so on. In any case, they should get an impression that you are confident, and have no doubts that children will thrive with you…
Other questions you may face in your kindergarten teacher interview
- You notice that two children from your group do not talk to each other. What will you do?
- Do you have any experience working with children with special needs? Have you found it challenging?
- Imagine that you return to the classroom after visiting the loo, and one child is missing. How will you react?
- In your opinion, it is important to include parents in the education of their children?
- What do you consider the most difficult aspect of this job?
- Where do you see yourself in five years time?
- If we hire you as our new kindergarten teacher, what goals will you set for yourself for the first year in the job?
Interview for a job of a kindergarten teacher belongs to easy interviews. It isn’t hard to tell what they will inquire about, and you can prepare for their questions in advance. What’s more, since the salary for kindergarten teachers isn’t adequate, and many such teachers have second jobs, just to be able to pay their bills, you typically won’t compete with many other candidates for the job. It makes your situation even easier.
To sum it up, in nine out of ten cases, as long as you show right attitude to work and a strong motivation to make a positive difference in the life of the children you teach, and do not remain silent when facing their questions, they will give you a chance. I hope you will succeed, and wish you good luck!
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