Classroom Specific Questions
Often, interviewers like to ask questions about the specific daily schedule, lesson plans and communication styles you will be using in the classroom. Just as before, be as honest as possible and take this chance to show your creativity and professionalism.
"What would the daily schedule look like in your classroom?": The interviewer is probably not looking for the play-by-play of how you would organize your preschooler's day, but rather a brief overview of the types of activities you would provide the students. For example, "I believe that the preschool day should have a balance of indoor and outdoor, quiet and noisy, and small group, individual and large group activities. I would like to open the day with a large group activity to discuss the plan for the day and then move on to small group centers. I would plan for at least two outdoor playtimes each day, weather permitting, and close with another quiet large group activity before dismissal. I think it's most important to be flexible about schedules as a preschool teacher, though. If the children are engaged in an activity, I would have no problem continuing it and reworking the daily schedule to allow for these things."
"If the theme were farm animals, what kinds of activities would you plan for children?": Telling your interviewer the type of projects you would like to plan as well as your reason for choosing a particular project will more than likely impress her. For example, "I think it's important that preschoolers learn to work together, so I would plan a cooperative art project such as a farm mural. Each child could select a part of the farm to draw on the class mural such as a barn, a tractor or animals."
"How would you deal with a child who is biting or acting aggressively?": As the interview goes on, the director or principal may begin to ask more "What would you do if..." questions. The best way to prepare for these types of questions is to know not only how you would handle this situation, but to be able to give a developmentally appropriate reason for doing so. For example, "Children who bite or act aggressively are often lacking the language to tell others what they are feeling. After observing the child for a short time, I would attempt to stop the biting by shadowing the child, documenting the behaviors and the events that led up to them and trying to find the root cause of the biting or aggression."
"What would you do to promote parental involvement?": This is often a big question for preschool directors. They often have hundreds of parents to keep happy, and having teachers that are able to take the reins and plan parent luncheons, family days and other activities will help them tremendously. If you have any prior experience planning family days or parent activities, be sure to take this opportunity to toot your own horn! For example, "At my last job, I planned the school's annual Apple Fest. It was a Saturday afternoon affair for the whole family with games, prizes and food. It was a lot of work, but I enjoyed it because we were able to connect with a lot of the families in a way that isn't always possible during the school day."
"How would you deal with an irate parent?": You may be surprised to hear this question in an interview, but it is something a director or principal will be concerned about. Often, the director is unable to be involved in the day to day happenings of every classroom in the school and may be unaware of an irate parent situation. Answer honestly, and take this opportunity to show off your professionalism. For example, "I would ask the parent to speak privately, either by leaving the room or asking them to call me at the end of the day, as I wouldn't want the children to see me having a heated discussion with a parent. I would do my best to answer the parent's questions and explain any situation they may have an issue with. As a last resort, I would speak to the director or assistant director if I were having trouble communicating with the parent."