Acing the New York City Department of Education Teacher Interview: 7 Key Questions and How to Answer Them

Getting ready to interview for a new teaching job? You’re probably excited but also nervous. The best way to overcome those nerves is to prepare in advance. Take a look at this list of the most common teacher interview questions and answers. Practice your responses, and you’ll feel much more confident when you walk through that door.

Check out the questions and tips for answering below. Also, fill out the form on this page to get a free list of questions you can print out to help you get ready for your next interview.

Remember, though, that interviews are a two-way street. Impressing your interviewers is important, of course. But so is finding out if this school is a place where you’ll truly thrive. That’s why, along with the most common teacher interview questions and answers, we’ve also included five questions you might want to ask if you get the chance. Make your interview time count for everyone involved!.

Getting hired as a teacher by the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) is extremely competitive With over 11 million students and 1,800 schools, the NYCDOE is the largest public school district in the United States. To stand out from the crowd and land your dream teaching job, you need to thoroughly prepare for the NYCDOE teacher interview.

In this article, we’ll discuss the most common teacher interview questions asked by NYCDOE hiring managers and principals We’ll provide sample answers as well as tips on how to craft your own winning responses Master these 7 key questions and you’ll impress interviewers with your skills, experience, and passion for teaching NYC students.

Why Did You Become a Teacher?

This question aims to understand your motivations for entering the teaching profession NYCDOE wants teachers who are truly passionate about educating and inspiring students

When answering, emphasize your desire to make a difference in the lives of children. Share any positive experiences that sparked your interest in teaching such as great teachers you had or mentoring experiences. Explain why you’re drawn specifically to teaching the grade levels and/or subject matter that interest you. Convey your enthusiasm for working with diverse student populations.

Here’s a sample response:

“Being a teacher means I want to help my students do their best and make a difference in their lives.” When I was in high school, I had a great English teacher who brought books to life by doing creative things like putting on full-length productions of Shakespeare plays. She instilled in me a passion for books and learning. I want to do the same for my students and show them how amazing school can be. I’m really looking forward to the chance to teach high school English in NYC schools with a lot of different kinds of students and inspire them. “.

How Do You Evaluate Your Own Teaching Performance?

NYCDOE schools emphasize teacher development and continuous improvement. This question gauges your ability to self-reflect to enhance your teaching abilities.

In your response, demonstrate you regularly self-evaluate using methods like:

  • Observing and evaluating your own classroom teaching on video
  • Reviewing student feedback surveys and assignments for areas of weakness
  • Setting yearly professional development goals and assessing progress
  • Collaborating with other teachers to get input on strengths, areas for growth, and strategies for improvement

Emphasize your commitment to being a reflective, life-long learner dedicated to honing your teaching craft. Outline the steps you take when you notice an aspect of your teaching that needs work. Share examples of feedback you’ve used to improve such as modifying lesson plans based on student confusion over a concept.

Here’s a sample response:

“I evaluate myself as an educator by reviewing video footage of my teaching, observing master teachers, analyzing student achievement data, and reflecting on my instructional practices. If I notice an area for improvement, such as issues with classroom management or lesson pacing, I’ll research strategies to strengthen my skills in that area. I’ll also collaborate with my mentor teacher to get an outside perspective and feedback. By continuously self-evaluating and setting goals to tackle my weaknesses, I refine my teaching abilities each year. As a lifelong learner, I’m excited by the professional development opportunities NYC schools offer to help me grow as an educator.”

What Are Three Words To Describe You As a Teacher?

With this behavioral question, the interviewer wants to get a sense of your teaching style and personality. Pick three adjectives that highlight your strengths and abilities as an educator. Consider words like:

  • Innovative
  • Adaptable
  • Engaging
  • Motivating
  • Creative
  • Empathetic
  • Patient
  • Enthusiastic
  • Culturally responsive

Back up these descriptors with specific examples. For instance, if you choose “Innovative,” describe how you use technology in groundbreaking ways to create immersive lesson plans. Share a story about a time you came up with an imaginative new system to streamline attendance taking.

Here’s an example response:

“The three words I’d use to describe myself as a teacher are innovative, engaging, and empathetic. I’m always coming up with imaginative ways to use technology in my instruction to create a truly immersive classroom. I also design hands-on projects that get students actively involved and excited about learning. Finally, I build strong connections with students by listening to their needs and struggles. For instance, I had a student missing class frequently. Through empathetic listening, I learned she was dealing with a family issue and could adjust my attendance policy to accommodate her situation.”

If Hired, What Can You Bring to Our School?

School administrators want to know how you can contribute to their unique school community if hired. Research the school website and news articles to learn about their values, programs, challenges, and goals. Then tailor your response to highlight how your skills and experience make you a great fit.

For example, perhaps the school is focused on increasing parental involvement. You could discuss your successful strategies for partnering with families through events and communication systems you’ve built. If the school prioritizes STEM education, share your background running tech-focused science clubs or teaching coding.

Here’s a sample response:

“I’m excited by the strong arts programs here and know I can contribute my expertise to help further enrich the curriculum. In my current position, I expanded the band program from 50 to 100 students by recruiting at community events. I also have experience securing grants for new art supplies and equipment. I’m passionate about integrating more arts into core subjects to inspire students through hands-on creativity. I’d love to work collaboratively with the faculty here to bring more live music, performances, and visual arts into our classrooms.”

Describe a Time When You Had To Adjust Your Working Style to Complete a Project

Teachers need adaptability to meet the changing needs of their students and school. This question tests how you’ve adjusted your methods to achieve success. Pick an example that highlights skills like flexibility, collaboration, and creative problem-solving.

For instance, perhaps you shifted your solo teaching style and co-taught a lesson with a colleague to help struggling students. Or maybe you utilized a more structured approach for a class with behavior issues after your student-led discussion method wasn’t effective. Share the positive results of adapting your working style.

Here’s a sample response:

“When I was teaching 8th grade English, I noticed some students lacking engagement during our class novel study. To complete the project successfully and boost participation, I adjusted my independent reading approach. I partnered up strong and reluctant readers to read together and summarize the chapters. I also set up literature circles where groups took turns leading the discussion on each chapter. Facilitating more peer collaboration led to a marked improvement in students’ interest and comprehension. This experience taught me the importance of continually revamping my methods to fit learners’ needs and maximize their success.”

What Do You Know About Our School?

This question allows you to demonstrate your interest and knowledge about the specific school you’re applying to. Thoroughly research the school website, social media, and any press mentions. Be ready to discuss:

  • Mission statement and values
  • Curriculum models, special programs, and extracurricular activities
  • Demographics such as student backgrounds, cultures, socioeconomic status
  • Recent news and achievements
  • Their unique culture and vibe

Share why their philosophy and offerings excite you as an educator. This well-researched response proves your enthusiasm for the position.

Here’s a sample response:

“After reviewing your website and social media, I’m impressed by the strong community and culture of diversity here. I especially like the peer mentoring program that builds relationships between students across grades. Your STEM focus also interests me given my background teaching coding and robotics. I know you offer advanced math and tech courses as well as innovative electives like digital photography and 3D printing. Your mission statement centered on nurturing students’ passions resonates with me. I’d love to join this school community and contribute my skills as both a mentor and STEM educator.”

With preparation using these sample answers and tips, you’ll master the teacher interview. Showcase your dedication to NYC students and love of learning, and you’ll be one step closer to scoring your dream teaching position. The NYCDOE aims to hire the best and brightest educators to shape future generations. By highlighting your strengths, you’ll prove you’re the perfect fit for molding their diverse 21st century students.

new york city department of education teacher interview questions

Describe your classroom management structure.

If you’re a veteran teacher, discuss how you handled your classroom in the past. Give specific examples of things that worked the best and why. If you’re new, talk about what you learned as a student teacher and how you’ll plan to run your first class. No matter how long you’ve been teaching, learn about how the school district handles behavior problems and how to run a classroom. Mention how you’ll incorporate their philosophy and stay true to your own. If you’re unable to find out much about the school’s policies beforehand, ask the interviewer to explain.

What are some of the challenges you expect the teacher in this position to face?

Green points out this can get you information that might not have already been shared. You could find out that parents are too involved or not involved at all, that resources are very limited, or that teachers here often work 60-hour weeks. This could start a conversation about how you’ve dealt with similar problems before, or it could just give you something to think about as you look at the job.

Say This in Your Teacher Interview | Kathleen Jasper


Why do you want to teach in New York City?

The city is filled with rich culture, diversity, and of course some great teachers! Teaching in NYC comes with many benefits that make it a great place to work. Whether you’re looking to start your teaching career or continue your career as a teacher, there are many benefits that make a teaching job in NYC worth it.

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