Teacher Interview Questions: What is your teaching philosophy?

Each teacher has their own way of teaching and of reacting to various situations in a classroom, including the difficult ones. Following the same goal–helping students to develop their full potential, different teachers use different means of getting their message over, and motivating the students. And what is your teaching philosophy? Do you even have one? And if you do, can you explain it in a meaningful way in a job interview? If you cannot, I will show you how to do that.

Let’s start with a brief definition of philosophy from Oxford dictionary: “Philosophy is a theory or attitude that acts as a guiding principle for behavior.” In this case, your behavior in a classroom. Hence in an interview you should explain your theory, and attitude to teaching, which guides you in the lessons, and help you decide about the right course of action when you face the unknown, or do not know what to do in any given moment.

Do not be afraid though. You do not have to come up with anything groundbreaking. Nor do the interviewers expect to be blown away by some scientific or philosophical terminology. On the contrary, your main goal is to explain, in an easy to understand way, how you approach teaching and what matters to you the most.

Let’s have a look at 7 sample answers to the question, including some unconventional teaching philosophies. I hope at least one of them will resonate with you, and with the message you try to convey on your way to a new teaching employment agreement.


7 sample answers to “What is your teaching philosophy” interview question

  1. I would summarize it to one sentence: Try my best in each and single lesson. At the end of the day, everything depends on our attitude. If I have this attitude, I will prepare well for the lessons, I will always choose the most fitting teaching method, and I will do my best to make the lessons engaging for the students–which helps a lot with their motivation, which eventually helps with their results. Though simple, my teaching philosophy allows me to achieve great results with my students.
  2. My teaching philosophy consists in having an individual approach to each and every learner. Working as a special education teacher, I understand better than anyone else the differences between students with various special needs. The same teaching method may do miracles for one student and absolutely nothing for another. That’s why I always try to approach each student individually, understanding their goals, abilities, and limitations, and adjusting my teaching accordingly.
  3. My philosophy is to always connect the lessons with the real world. Looking for application in the real world, or at least for a fitting parallel, children find it easier to imagine and understand the lesson. What’s more, they motivation improves once they see that what we are talking about isn’t just a theory, and that they can actually benefit from it in their life.
  4. I would characterize my teaching philosophy with three words: engagement, communication, empowerment. In my lessons students never just sit and write down what I am saying. On the contrary. We talk, we learn from each other, and everyone has an opportunity to contribute to the lesson. Of course, some students talk more and others less. And in some cases it is extremely hard to make a student engaged. But this is something I accept as a teacher, because in each class you will have the best and the worst students, people who simply won’t cooperate.
  5. My teaching philosophy is strongly goals oriented. With each and every student I try to set an ultimate goal, as well as milestones we will reach along the way. Once we have the milestones, I can map the way and plan the lessons. And once the student know what they want to achieve, and why, it is so much easier to progress with them. I plan to stick to the same philosophy at your school.
  6. This is my very first job application, and I am just trying to formulate my teaching philosophy. I definitely hope to help each child develop their full potential, but I need some time to understand what works great and what does not, and how I need to approach each lesson in order to achieve my goals. I can assure you about one thing though: I am motivated and eager to learn, and cannot wait to start teaching.
  7. My teaching philosophy is expecting the unexpected, and adapting to changes. Of course, it is great to have everything prepared upfront, knowing exactly what you want to say and do in a lesson. But I’ve learned by experience that more often than not it doesn’t work. We have some delays, children lose discipline, or didn’t find the lesson interesting enough to pay attention. In such a case I always try to adapt, make the lesson more interactive, or do something else to win their attention back. Adaptation is the key, and I do my best to be ready for all challenges we may face in the classroom.

Speak with enthusiasm and focus on the children

Teachers are in school for the children, and not contrariwise. You should relate to it while explaining your teaching philosophy. Ensure the members of the interviewing panel that you do your best for the children, and your primary goal is to help them achieve their educational goals. It should be clearly reflected on your teaching philosophy.

What’s more, try to talk with some enthusiasm. You consider teaching your personal mission, you see meaningful purpose in this job, and are thrilled to have an opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of your students. And your teaching philosophy–which you are glad to share with the school principal (and with other interviewers), will help you make it happen…

Ready to answer this one? I hope so! Do not forget to check also 7 sample answers to other tricky teacher interview questions:

Matthew Chulaw
Latest posts by Matthew Chulaw (see all)