Updated 18 December 2019
A career in teaching is both challenging and rewarding. A teacher has the critical role of educating, so interviews can be challenging.
When attending an interview for a teaching role, you will need to demonstrate that you have the correct competencies and skills to perform well as a teacher.
This handy guide will help you prepare.
Each school or region has its own process for conducting teacher interviews. They will all be looking for candidates with competencies that include:
As it is a profession in high demand, and one that requires high levels of responsibility, teacher interview questions can be quite rigorous and will require thorough preparation.
Before your teaching interview, you should:
Once the interview is confirmed, find out as much information as you can about the interview setting, who will interview you and what to expect from the day.
A teaching interview is usually in the form of a selection day, which can include some or all of the following:
You need to be ready with your material for a sample lesson if this is an expectation of the interview.
Ensure you have been given all the information you need to prepare fully, including what equipment will be available on the day.
Some interview formats you might encounter include:
Here are 10 key interview questions you might be asked at your interview and tips for success:
No matter what area of teaching you want to enter, you should expect this common interview question. This question is asked for several reasons:
An ideal answer will have a response that incorporates who you are as a person and why you want to be a part of this particular school.
You should show your passion as a teacher and your dedication to the growth and development of your students.
You should also share how this would tie in with the school’s philosophy and education standards.
The interviewer is assessing:
Sometimes, a lesson that worked well in one class may not be suitable for another. A good teacher needs to show their ability to think on their feet and change how they approach a lesson, so that it works for different groups of students.
A good answer would:
If you are asked this question in an interview, you must show your knowledge of recent government or media stories related to education.
You may be asked to give your opinion on certain topics, or assess their impact on teaching and learning.
Therefore, you must stay informed about education news. A search online for ‘Teaching in the UK’ or ‘Education in the UK’ will show you some of the latest news in the field.
The intent behind this question is to assess the competencies you think a high-quality teacher should have, and ascertain if you feel you have those strengths.
You need to provide clear examples of your strengths as they relate to the position and the school. These include:
Safeguarding is a critical concept in any school. Most teacher interview questions would include at least one question on this topic, which may sometimes include a hypothetical situation.
A good answer would display your knowledge about safeguarding and the process you would use to handle any potential safeguarding issues. You should convey that you would be sensitive and supportive of the student but would always follow protocol and reporting procedures.
You might also be asked what you shouldn’t do if a safeguarding issue arose.
If you have experienced a situation in a safeguarding area previously, you can share this as long as details are anonymous.
You need to show that you understand that all students are different and that there might be underlying issues for why they behave as they do.
Here is an example of how this question might be answered:
This is another question that assesses how you fit the school’s teaching philosophy and what you consider to be a high level of teaching.
You should demonstrate your lesson planning techniques and skills.
You might be asked this as a situational question:
“If I walked into your classroom and you were delivering an outstanding lesson, what would this look like?”
Demonstrate how you access and use different resources to find inspiration and content for your lesson ideas. Show you use these to create a lesson plan that meets the learning requirements of the students.
A good answer will reference multiple sources, such as the education standards for the age group of potential students, national curriculum, online support and other educational publications.
You can also draw on examples from successful teaching in your past.
You want to show your ability to stay informed about education trends, and a willingness to grow and change as a teacher.
You may be asked to demonstrate these skills during a demonstration lesson, so your answer should be something you can deliver.
A key aspect of teaching is to ensure that you are meeting national standards. You must keep clear records of what your students are learning.
You need to show that you understand the importance of lesson objectives and demonstrate how you would assess if your students have achieved these at the end of each lesson or unit.
Show how you would use a range of assessments, both formal and informal, that provide measurable results. Ideal answers would also add how you use feedback from these results to improve future lessons.
Behaviour management is essential to being a teacher. The school you are applying to may have policies on classroom behaviour available online, including how teachers are expected to handle a disruptive situation.
Be sure to have researched this before your interview.
In your answer, you need to show that you can handle a classroom capably. You could also share some of the following:
If you have a previous example you can share, then this is an ideal opportunity to do so.
Make sure that the strategies and techniques you use tie in well with the school’s teaching philosophy and behaviour policy.
Using technology in the classroom is another highly topical area. Many schools use technology, but there are still some that don’t or use it minimally.
You will need to know the school’s policy on technology and how it connects with the national curriculum and, perhaps, offer new ideas.
A good answer would show your knowledge of up-to-date methods of integrating technology use into your teaching. You should link to how this works with the school’s policy on technology and what they are currently doing.
You may need to know and convey the age-appropriate technology skills you need to teach students and how they can learn to use it safely and correctly. Use examples of programs you have used in the past.
These top 10 teaching interview questions should help you prepare fully for your upcoming interview. Some other common questions you might be asked may relate to:
Before attending your interview, you should think of some questions to ask the school. This is your opportunity to interview them to see if the school is the right fit for you.
Questions you ask need to show that you are both informed about the school and interested in being a part of the school.
They should be questions where answers are not easily accessible online. Avoid asking about term dates, school policies, academic events, data on the number of students, etc.
You should also avoid questions about vacation days or salary, unless the interviewing panel brings it up.
Questions you can ask at a teacher interview include:
Teaching is a job where you will be responsible for the education and wellbeing of your students.
Interviewers are not only looking for someone who is well versed in their teaching knowledge. They also want someone who will engage, understand and develop their students to grow and succeed.
They are looking for a future team member, someone who embodies their teaching philosophy.
When attending your interview, be positive and engaging, maintain eye contact, smile and ask questions. Show that you are genuinely passionate about teaching.
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