If you're attending a teaching interview, you can expect one of the most commonly asked questions to be “what are your weaknesses as a teacher?”
This can be difficult to answer if you aren't properly prepared. After all, nobody wants to admit to any teacher weaknesses in a job interview situation where you are trying to create the right impression and to convince the interviewer that you are the best candidate for the post.
The key is to turn a negative into a positive, so here are a few examples that you could tailor to suit your own situation.
What are Your Weaknesses as a Teacher Sample Answers
Sample Answer 1
“I Don't Like My Classroom to Get Untidy and Messy”
Having a tidy, well-organised classroom is actually a positive, but you can frame it as a teacher weakness by portraying it in the following way:
“I need my classroom to be tidy and clean at all times. However, this is challenging when pupils need to use resources that make a mess. Art classes, for example, can make me feel frustrated because I know that the space will get messy.
However, I've been working on ways to avoid that frustration. I'm now building extra clean-up time into my lesson plan and letting the students know ahead of time how they'll need to clean their area when they finish work.
This ensures that I don't have a huge mess to deal with at the end of the day, and it also helps to teach them vital organisational techniques that are sure to help them through their lives.”
Sample Answer 2
“I Can Lose Track of Time”
Time management is imperative for any teacher. However, again, you can frame this weakness as a positive by showing the steps you've taken to overcome your problems.
“When I'm delivering a lesson, I have a tendency to get too engrossed in the subject matter. I'm keen to explain everything thoroughly and answer all the children's questions. This can make me lose track of the time and over-run.
However, I know how critical good time management is in the classroom. That's why I've started putting a timer on the desk so I can set an alarm to sound five minutes before the lesson ends. This gives me enough time to finish wrapping up and collecting in books before I run out of time.”
Related: Why do you want to be a teacher?
Sample Answer 3
“I Have Limited Experience”
If you're a newly qualified teacher, you can make yourself stand out from the crowd by emphasising your enthusiasm and your willingness to learn and adapt to the ways of the school to which you're applying.
“I would say that my weakness as a teacher is that I don't have much teaching experience yet. However, I've always been passionate about my subject and it's important to me to impart my knowledge to my students so that they can love it too.
During my teaching practices, I've thoroughly embraced the classroom environment, and I'm keen to learn more and hone my skills at a supportive school like this, where I can learn from other highly skilled professionals and form a teaching style that perfectly suits this institution.”
Sample Answer 4
“I'm An Old-Style Teacher”
If you've been teaching for a long time, you might be concerned that, even though you have years of experience, your style of teaching may be thought of as “old school”. You can turn your extensive experience into a positive by saying something like this:
“Although some people think that I'm set in my ways, I think that my extensive experience in the classroom is actually an asset. I know from many years of practice what works and what doesn't when it comes to delivering a lesson plan and handling discipline.
That said, I'm keen to learn new skills. I stay up to date with the latest developments and research, and I embrace new ideas and strategies. I'm eager to implement the most recent best practice in my classroom with a flexible and forward-thinking approach.”
Related: Why should we hire you as a teacher?
Now you have some ideas that you can tailor to suit yourself when you need to answer the question “what are your weaknesses as a teacher?”
It's important to find a way to turn your weaknesses into positives so you can impress the interview panel and make them realise that you're aware of your own limitations and are taking steps to address them.
It's vital, though, not to sound rehearsed. Think ahead about what you're going to say, but don't recite it word-for-word.
You want the interviewers to see that you can think on your feet and that you have an in-depth knowledge of your own abilities – not that you have a great memory and have planned ahead and learned your answer in advance!