What Classroom Management Structure Would You Use?

Help for answering interview questions about how you'll manage your class

Teenage students learning in classroom
Getty Images/Caiaimage/Chris Ryan

When you are applying for a teaching position, a typical job interview question is "What type of classroom management structure would you implement if you were hired?" If you have teaching experience, this question should be easy to answer, since you implement classroom management every day you teach. If you’re looking for your first teaching job, then you need to do some research, starting with the school and district you are interviewing with.

Learn the School's Policies and Procedures

Become familiar with the school district's philosophies on classroom management and discipline. While teachers often have the freedom to develop their own personal classroom management style, most districts have clearly specified consequences to student misbehavior. A good response to the interview question will demonstrate your knowledge of the school’s or district’s disciplinary procedures and how you plan to incorporate them into your own classroom management style.

If you were unable to find out much about the school’s disciplinary policy beforehand, ask your interviewer how the administration supports teachers if a student gets out of hand. This will also give you a clue if the school’s support system will work with your classroom management style.

Define Your Personal Philosophy

The interviewer will want to hear your personal philosophy or strategy for classroom management.

Most leading education organizations recommend some combination of assertiveness and flexibility, allowing students some freedoms while also establishing boundaries. Your strategy on classroom management might include using encouraging positive classroom behaviors, emphasizing equitable interactions with students, being aware of high-needs students, engaging in appropriate levels of cooperative behavior and establishing clear learning goals.

Share Specific Examples

The best way to illustrate your classroom management style is to describe specific examples from your past experience. Even if this interview  is for your first teaching position, you likely have experience as a student teacher, and you should draw on that for examples. It’s okay to say you plan to follow your mentor teacher’s approach.

Sample answers might include redirecting the student, involving students by agreeing on a set of classroom rules together as a class, having students sign a learning contract that they help create at the beginning of the year, listening to a student in a one-on-one meeting, mediating issues between students, and involving parents in the disciplinary process.

When you give personal examples of your method, be sure to describe how it worked well for you. Here’s one example:

  • In my first grade classroom, I implemented a system where the students were each given a clip on a chart. At each infraction, the students would move their clip along a progression of colors. The disciplines ranged from a warning, losing half of recess and losing all recess to a call home or a visit to the principal's office. I made very few phone calls!

More About Teaching Jobs