Each of us has some values, ambitions, fears and worries. These things determine to a huge extend our career choice, though we should realize that the ambitions and fears are also determined by something–our upbringing, role models, things we experienced in our childhood. You can talk about all these things when the hiring committee inquires why you want to become a teacher, or when they ask you a similar question, for example “What attracts you to teaching?“, or “Why did you choose teaching as a profession?” But what do they really want to hear from you?

First and foremost, they want to hear some enthusiasm in your voice. They want to feel that, regardless of the reasons why you opted for a teaching career, you are enthusiastic about your future, your teaching mission at their school. And they also want to hear a strong enough reason, something profound, since the strong motivation will help you get over difficult days in the classroom. And such days will undoubtedly come…

Let’s have a look at 7 sample answers to the question. The list contains some standard choices, but also a couple of strange and unconventional answers. Try to pick one that resonates with your values, and clearly explain the reasons why you want to be a teacher, and teach for many years to come.


7 sample answers to “Why do you want to be a teacher?” interview question

  1. I chose teaching as a professions because I love the impact one can have on individual children, especially here at elementary level. Of course it’s a great responsibility, but at the same time I cannot imagine devoting my life to something else, especially since I love being around children–which is likely the second reason why I want to be a teacher. In my view, teaching is more a mission than a job really, especially in the uncertain times we live nowadays. I cannot wait to start working as a teacher.
  2. I want to become a teacher because I believe to have the right skills, abilities, and attitude to become a good teacher. And I enjoy teaching, talking to children, listening to them, trying to understand their emotional world, and be a good role model for them. At the end of the day, we should do a job in which we see some meaningful purpose. I know that I could earn twice as much working in some big corporation analyzing some data or sitting at a computer programming another mobile application, the billionth on the app store…. But I just don’t see a point in such type of work. Teaching is a completely different story.
  3. I just want to share my vast knowledge of history and geography with the students. I’ve been doing research in these field for years, publishing papers, going to conferences. At this stage of my professional career, however, I feel that I should hand the ball to the younger generation. It is time to share my knowledge with them, and perhaps have them better understand certain phenomenons of the modern day. History is the best teacher in this case, if you can look at it without prejudice. The proposition of helping them to see these things is highly motivating to me.
  4. To be honest with you, my ultimate goal is to become a school principal, or even to establish a small private elementary school. But I am still young and inexperienced, and need to learn a lot from seasoned professionals. And I cannot see a better place than your school, which has an excellent reputation and renowned leadership. That’s why I want to work as a teacher here.
  5. My goal to pay back a big favor attracts me to teaching as a profession. When I was young I struggled to find my place in life. I was a sort of an outsider, always attracted to strange ways, spending times with other outcasts. Had my episode with drugs, skipping school, and everything. But one teacher saved me from a path that would eventually lead me to a lie on the street. They showed huge confidence in my abilities, and they treated me as an equal. Certain things they said to me, and their trust, motivated me to change my ways completely. I became an excellent student, managed to quit drugs and  lousy lifestyle, and eventually graduated from the university. Nothing of it would have happened, however, had I not met that one teacher… Now it is my time to help other struggling youngsters find their way. Or at least try my best to do so.
  6. To be honest, I am very concerned about the situation in the world. The inequality of people, the widening gap between the rich and poor, the conflicts we have all around. And I do not believe that some Messiah from heaven will come and save us. We people are responsible, and education is the most powerful weapon we have in our hands–if used correctly. I want to help educate children, especially in rural areas. Help them develop the right values, the sense of self-worth, and of course an ability to think critically and question the religious and political leaders. In this way I can play my small role in helping to make the world a better place. Maybe it is just a drop in the ocean. But even the biggest ocean consists of nothing but water drops…
  7. Teaching is a calling I’ve been following from a young age. I am not sure if I can explain it clearly, why teaching, why not social work, or healthcare. But sometimes you just hear this voice in your head, this calling in your soul, and you know that something is the right thing to do, or the right goal to follow. That’s how I have always felt about teaching, that’s the reason why I chose my school, and ultimately the reason why I sit in this interview with you right now.


Conclusion, other tough questions for your teaching job interview

Teaching is a mission, a calling. Sometimes a pleasure, and sometimes a cross you carry on your shoulders. As long as you know why you do it, however, why you are a teacher and not a manager, engineer, or doctor, you will always get over the difficult period, or over some bad words you may hear in the classroom, or even from fellow staff members.

Ensure the hiring committee that you have your reasons, that they are deeply rooted in your heart, and you won’t quit the profession after first few months. And remember that stories are the best interview answers. Narrating a story of a teacher helping you in your young age, doing something that eventually changed the course of your life, is a great idea. If you have such story, share it with your interviewers.

And if you want to simplify your interview preparation, check out my new eBook the Teacher Interview Guide, for brilliant answers to all 40 teacher interview questions (+ more). Thank you!


Other interview questions that may interest you:

Glen Hughins
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