13 Substitute Teacher Interview Questions and Answers

Updated on: October 18, 2021

Interviews are essential occasions in our lives and need to be taken seriously. They test us on many levels; our knowledge in specific areas and our abilities to handle the work.

A substitute teacher interview can be the first step in helping you reach a stage where you can eventually work. Preparation to answer tricky questions is crucial if you want to be successful in obtaining employment.

Moreover, you will need to appear confident that you can handle the demands put on you in a substitute teaching role.

Related: Substitute Teacher Resume

Here are some interview questions (and appropriate answers) that you can skim through before you appear for a substitute teacher interview:

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13 Common Questions and Answers for Substitute Teacher Interview

1. Describe a typical day in the life of a substitute teacher?

A substitute teacher reports to the office on time, collects materials and lesson plans needed for the day. They take assigned classes, update progress records, and return the material at an off time.

2. What are your biggest strengths as a substitute teacher?

I believe compassion, problem-solving, and adaptability are the greatest strengths that aid me in this role.

3. What are the different learning styles and how do you cater to all types of learners?

The three main learning styles include kinesthetic, auditory, and visual. I incorporate various instructional strategies in each lesson I deliver to cater to all three types of learners.

4. Do you believe that the job of a substitute teacher is harder than that of a lead teacher? Explain how.

Substitute teachers have more responsibilities as compared to the lead teachers – at least on an individual level. Since lead teachers have already been through the rigmarole of getting to know and connect with their students, it is easy for them to handle day-to-day activities.

Substitute teachers are usually rotated in different classes and do not have the benefit of getting to know the students, which can lead to negative responses from them.

5. How do you handle negative responses from students?

While I do not believe in being too strict, I am very firm with students. My no-nonsense attitude is evident from the time I enter a classroom, and students pick up the vibes.

What is more important than attitude on the substitute teacher’s part is preparation for imparting lessons. If you get right down to business, students do not get a chance to react negatively.

6. What is your stance on including a substitute module in a lesson plan?

I believe that including instructions for a substitute or assistant teacher within a lesson plan is an excellent idea. In the event of a lead teacher’s absence, a substitute or assistant teacher can pick up from where a lead teacher has left, and neither students nor teachers will fall back on progress.

7. Have you ever been in a situation where a student’s question stumped you? How did you respond?

One of the downsides of working as a substitute teacher is the inability to know all subjects thoroughly. I was asked a particularly tricky algebra question by a 5th grader which I had no idea how to solve. I was initially quite taken aback but managed to handle the situation by commending the student on a question and telling her that I will get back to her with an answer after class.

8. Do you have any experience of teaching a class with mainstreamed special needs students? How did you get along?

I have been taking classes with mainstreamed special needs students. Being an educationist, I am aware of various mainstreaming strategies and also possess practical classroom management skills. My lessons in mainstream classrooms have always gotten along well.

9. What is an IEP? Do you have experience in building one?

IEP stands for Individualized Education Plan. I have had the experience of developing and implementing a few during one on one tutoring. IEPs are very useful and enable focusing on weak areas of the student.

10. Explain a challenging situation you faced and how you managed it?

Once I had to substitute in a geometry class and was given the lesson plan. I prepared the lesson one day before and checked with the office for the availability of geometrical aids.

When I went in the next morning to collect the required material I learned that there was only one set and another teacher was using it. However, I handled the situation by using an alternative teaching approach, and the lesson went well.

11. What do you enjoy most about substitute teaching?

The fact that one is required to teach a different subject, different level, and a chance to apply diverse teaching strategies each day is what inspires me. I look forward to each new day as a new challenge. At the end of each day, I have not only taught but also learned something new.

12. Which subjects and grades are you comfortable substituting for?

I am K-12 trained and am comfortable in teaching any subject at any level from elementary till high school. I am very well versed in teaching English, math, geography, history, and science.

13. Are you comfortable in performing additional day duties while substituting for someone?

Definitely, as a substitute teacher, I have always performed all duties assigned to the full-time teacher in his or her absence, including morning, break, and off-time tasks.