How to prepare for a teacher interview

We are at the part of the year where jobs for the new academic year are advertised. Whether you're leaving a position at your current school or just completing your PGCE, I've got some advice on what can seem a very daunting experience. So congratulations - you're through to the interview stage! That's already a huge accomplishment and your application must have shown you have the potential to fit in their school. You want to be prepared for an interview as that will help with the nerves. So here are some ideas on what may be included in your teacher interview. GOOD LUCK!


Lesson Observation

Often between 20 minutes and an hour-long, lesson observations are a great way to see how you teach. It's all about how you interact and engage with the class, how you deploy a TA, how relevant the activity is. Some schools will clarify whether they want a maths, English, SPAG lesson. Others may give you a theme for your lesson that you can interpret (the environment, space, water, Africa, etc). If this is the case, make sure your lesson hits a part of the curriculum for that age group.

Start your lesson by introducing yourself to the class and how you would like to get their attention (clapping, raising a hand, etc). This helps set those behaviour expectations straight away. Be wary of how much teacher input you are doing. If it's a 20-minute lesson, you won't have long so include lots of partner work and discussions (think, pair, share). Don't worry about including a starter, main activity, and plenary. This isn't achievable in 20 minutes. Have a set outcome for the end of the lesson and then you can explain how you know children got there (if not, what would you do differently?). Being a reflective teaching practitioner shows you're willing to continue learning and improving.

Questions to ask prior to lesson observation:

  • How many children are in the class?
  • Are there any special needs to consider?
  • Can the pupils have individual whiteboards and pens?
  • Will there be a TA in the lesson?
  • Which interactive whiteboard software do you use? (Useful in case you want to create an ActivInspire flipchart so it's compatible)
It's becoming more popular for a hiring school to come to your current class and watch you teach. I think this makes a lot of sense because you know your class and can whip out and fabulous lesson without the pressure of not knowing the class and what they have already covered.

Potential Extra Tasks

  • Mark a piece of writing (usually with the aid of their marking policy)
  • Assess three pieces and grade if they are EX, GD or WT (Often for positions in year 2 and 6)
  • Write a paragraph about how you could utilise different areas of the school
  • School council interview
  • A presentation about yourself for SLT/Governors - Include a portfolio of work and displays to stand out!

The Interview

Have a think about these potential interview questions so that when you prop up, you have a semi-prepared answer. You may be interviewed by 2 of 3 people, it might be 6! By being prepared, it won't matter how many people are asking you questions. Just remember, they want you to succeed and do your best!

Safeguarding question Often posed as a hypothetical question. The answer is always to tell the safeguarding lead immediately and if they are unavailable, go to the deputy lead. If the question is about a child wanting to tell you a secret, you need to make it clear that you cannot promise to keep a secret.

Describe yourself in three words - yes this still happens.

What are your strengths and weaknesses in teaching? 

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

What are your hobbies/ passions outside of teaching?

Do you have any special skills or interests that you can bring to the school?

How could you contribute to the wider school life? Any after-school clubs you could run? Interested in being a part of the PTA? Can you play the piano/guitar in assembly/church?

Hypothetical Situation Questions - A parent complains about... What would you do? A child tells you they are being bullied... What do you do?  If you are an NQT or early-career teacher, you can say you would get advice from your mentor or SLT. Mentioning you would follow the school's policy on safeguarding, bullying, etc, is also a plus!

DO YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS? Even if they don't ask you this at the end, it's good to ask a question to show your interest (unless it's already been answered).

  • Ask about career progression 
  • CPD
  • Mention your aspirations. Maybe you have a keen interest in mathematics and you would be interested in shadowing the subject lead. 

BLOG POST: 5 THINGS TO DO ON A PRE-INTERVIEW SCHOOL VISIT

Check out my TES shop for great lesson plans, ActivInspire flip charts, and worksheets.

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