It’s highly likely that you’ll be nervous when attending an interview for a teaching job that you really want, but knowing how to prepare for a teacher interview will ensure you are fully prepared and ready for any and everything the interview panel can throw at you.
Taking the time to prepare yourself can make the difference between being offered your dream role or going back to the job search. With that in mind, here are a few tips to consider when preparing for a teacher interview:
If you don’t have confidence in yourself, how is anyone on the interview panel going to have confidence in your teaching skills? Look at the situation objectively. You are a qualified teacher, with positive experiences in the classroom. You have already encountered a host of challenges in your teaching practice and have faced and defeated them all.
You know that you’re a good teacher, so now all you have to do is convince the interviewer of your abilities. One of the best ways to do this is to maintain a calm approach when being questioned. Don’t rush your words, think before speaking and don’t giggle or fidget.
Familiarise yourself with the vocabulary
One thing that may be worrying you about your interview is all the jargon associated with the teaching profession. Things change very quickly in the world of education, and new concepts, styles and methods are constantly being brought in.
If you are an NQT, are returning to the profession after a career break, or moving into a different key stage or school environment, you will need to take the time to familiarise yourself with the current vocabulary in your educational field so that you can be completely confident when being questioned.
Do your research
Part of acing your interview is to know as much as possible about the school you are applying to, as well as the field of education you want to enter. Read the school’s OFSTED report, check out the school’s website and find out as much as you can about the way the school operates.
Look into the local community around the school, the background of the pupils and their catchment area, and find out about any challenges the school might be facing. Being forewarned is forearmed. You can use your research cleverly in your interview when asking your own questions, and it will help to strengthen your responses.
Prepare for questioning
One of the best ways of preparing for a teacher interview is to read through some common teacher interview questions and prepare a few of your own customized answers. Although nobody can guarantee exactly what you may be asked, you can be sure that certain topics will come up repeatedly. Having stock responses ready will put you in a strong position when being questioned.
Make a portfolio
You shouldn’t be afraid to prepare a portfolio of your achievements. The interview panel may not want to see it, but others will be impressed by your work, so having one to hand is never a waste of time. You can include samples of student work, examples of lesson plans, and anything you have drawn up relating to whole school development.
There is no need to wait for the interviewer to ask about your portfolio, use the opportunity to produce examples from your portfolio when talking about your experiences – this will show just successful you have been as a teacher so far.
Sell your strengths
Before your interview, make a list of your skills and strengths. You are almost certainly going to be asked about what makes you an outstanding teacher, so prepare for this by thinking of everything you have to offer and everything that makes you stand out from the crowd. Think about how you can frame any weaknesses in a positive light if you’re asked “what are your weaknesses as a teacher?“.
Prepare for a lesson observation
Many schools today will ask you to teach a lesson while the interviewer observes your style and technique. Prepare thoroughly for this, with a full lesson plan linking back to the curriculum. Draw a careful balance between ambitious delivery and playing it safe.
A boring lesson will do you no favours, but trying to be too creative could backfire. If possible, repeat a lesson that you have already had success with, and ensure that all your resources are prepared and ready to go.
Of course your skills and experience in the classroom are very important when it comes to impressing the interview panel, but a lot of weight will also be given to your personality and attitude.
Showing your flexibility, adaptability and eagerness during your interview will give a very good impression, while showing that you have a passion for education, and in particular education at this specific establishment, is vital to demonstrating that you are the right person to choose for the job.