Different roles offer different possibilities for career growth. People who strive for constant promotion and a new job every two years, with better salary and benefits each time, do not typically apply for teaching jobs. They study management or marketing or finance, and try their luck in multi-billion dollar corporations, starting with an entry level position and hoping to make it really big one day, leading a team of hundred people, or perhaps the entire company.

Things work differently in the world of teachers and education administrators, with limited career growth options. Sure enough, you can become a head of a department or even a school principal down the road. But each school needs just one principal and dozens of teachers, and this career path is rather an exception than a rule. In fact it is not uncommon to see someone teaching for thirty or forty years straight, sometimes at the same school. What should you say in an interview though?

Should you show ambition to grow and lead the entire school one day? Or should you perhaps focus on something else while responding to questions about your future? We will try to find out the answers in this article. And let me start directly with 7 sample answers to the question. Before we look at them, I just want to emphasize that the answers will work equally well for a typical alternative wording of this question “How do you picture yourself as a teacher of the future?“, as well as on an essay you sometimes have to write as a part of your job application or study program application. Let’s move to the answers :).



7 sample answers to “Where do you see yourself in five years from now?” interview question for teachers

  1. I see myself teaching here. But I won’t be the same teacher in five years from now. I will get better with each year of experience, perfect my teaching methods, and achieve better results with my students. Or at least that’s what I aspire to do, if you give me a chance to teach here. Because I believe that good teachers never stop learning and trying new things. Education evolves and children change, and we have to adapt to the changes. And I must say I am looking forward to the process.
  2. Five years from now? Well, I’d love to work as a head of foreign language department here. I know it is an ambitious goal, and I have to prove my teaching and organizational skills to have a chance to get the position. But five years is a long time, and I believe it is good to have a goal, one which motivates us to continue working on our skills and strengths, and become the best teachers we can eventually become. What’s more, I have some interesting ideas when it comes to teaching foreign language, and it would be great to have a chance to apply them in practice, and achieve better results with the students. Working as a head of department will allow me to apply these ideas to the educational process in the classes.
  3. Speaking honestly, I do not have any plans. I prefer to live in a present moment, and focus on a task at hand. Right now my goal is to get a teaching job here, and try my best in every lesson. One of the most important things I’ve learned in life is that when you take care of the present, the future will take care of itself. And that’s exactly my attitude to teaching and future goals. I will try my best, and let’s see what doors will open to me in five years from now.
  4. I honestly believe that we live unpredictable times, and it is foolish to make plans for five years ahead. The pandemic isn’t over yet, and it is unclear how the education will look like in the future, and the impact it will have on teachers. So I do not really see any clear picture of my career in five years from now. One thing is clear though: I want to teach, because that’s what I love to do and consider my personal mission. Whether I will teach here, or somewhere else, or even distantly, is something nobody can predict now, with the uncertainty we face. But I do not see it as something utterly negative. I accept things as they are, and hope for the best.
  5. I am quite ambitious and I hope to work as a school principal in five years from now. And why not? I’ve been teaching for twenty years already, I’ve been working on my education in the last seven years, and I believe to have the capacity to lead the entire school, and achieve great results. Of course, it isn’t an only option, and I won’t be discouraged if my career takes a different course. At the end of the day we do not control everything, and a fitting position may not be available. In any case, I want to continue trying my best and proving my capabilities. If I succeed to do so, interesting things may happen five years down the road.
  6. In five years from now I see myself on a maternity leave. Of course it is a long time ahead, and I do not even have a partner today. But like most women I dream of having children, and in five years from now I will be glad to have my first child. And then the second one and then hopefully I will return to teaching. Having said that, anything can happen in five years. I may have a child and I may not, and I may still be teaching Math and Chemistry. In any case, I hope to become a better teacher and a better person over the years, which is my primary goal.
  7. I see myself as a positive role model for many children at this school. And I hope to be an integral part of an amazing team you have in place, having good relationship with my colleagues, and helping them with whatever they may need. I see myself satisfied with my work, yet eager to keep improving and reinventing myself as a teacher. That’s where I see myself in five years from now, and I must tell you I love this vision, and will do whatever I can to attain it.

Special Tip: This isn’t the only tricky question you will face in your interview. Check out a great eBook, the Teacher Interview Guide, from Glen, one of the core authors on Interview Penguin. Brilliant sample answers to every possible teacher interview question will make your life easy on the big day…


Positive outlook on the future is pivotal

Regardless of whether you aim for promotion, or simply want to continue teaching and enjoying time with your students, regardless of whether you see yourself spearheading the entire school, or envision being on a maternity leave in five years as a future teacher, the key is to stay positive about the future.

Because the last thing schools want is to hire negative teachers who will only complain about everything and bring their negativity to both classroom and staff-room. Talk with enthusiasm about your future in teaching and what’s ahead. Because it is great to dream and a powerful vision can drive us forward even in the most difficult times.

Living in the present is another option

At the end of the day, everything happens in the present moment. Future is just an imagination, past a memory. When thinking about the future or the past, we also do it in the present… And unless you do a great job today, in this hour, this minute, this second, you will hardly achieve your lofty goals in five years from now.

Hence you can focus on the present in your answer, even though they are inquiring about the future. Check answer no. 3 on my list for inspiration. Trying your best in every classroom and taking care of the present, you do not have to be afraid of the future. Because law of action and reaction cannot be broken, and if you do a great job, you will be rewarded for it. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you will become a principal or earn more money. But you will get your reward, in one form or another…


Outline your proposed roadmap for teaching and research for the next five years

Before ending this article, I want to touch on this specific alternative of the question. It is quite common in some countries in teaching interviews in higher education, especially when you want to teach at a university. Working at a university, you will always do some research. Hence it is important to have some plan, to know what you want to dedicate yourself to. I suggest you to think about the principal subject of your research, and prepare an explanation on how it aligns with your teaching and career goals.

You can also talk about some innovation you want to bring to the classroom, or about some specific goals you want to achieve with your students, based on the results (and struggles) you’ve had during your teaching career so far. At the end of the day, you do not have to stick to this plan later on. Once you try get a job, however, you should have some plan on your mind. No doubt the last thing you want to do is to answer their questions with silence.

Ready to answer the questions about your teaching future? I hope so! do not forget to check also other tricky interview questions for teachers:

Matthew Chulaw
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