Interview Tips for Teachers

Interview Questions, Hints & Tips for New Teachers

Why do you want to be a teacher?

Interviewers want to see that you are excited by the prospect of working with young people and to see that you have a strong desire to them learn and understand a subject/s. They will want to see genuine enthusiasm about your subject/s – so make sure this comes across in your answer!

What makes a good teacher?

Think about the fact that young people respond well to humour and kindness positively. Communication is also key - it's very important to have the ability to communicate clearly – you should be able to explain any ideas or concepts in steps, maybe through illustrations or using an analogy. To demonstrate this to the interviewer you will need to show that you possess imagination and enthusiasm as well as having an in-depth knowledge of your subject. Other qualities that they will be looking for include a willingness to help students achieve, resilience, patience, pride in student’s accomplishments, dedication for excellence, true compassion for students, and a passion for life!

What skills, experience or interests do you possess that relate to being a teacher?

What 'transferable skills' do you have which would serve you well as a teacher? Key skills you have are likely to be able plan and organise your work well, and also to have a confident presentation style. It is important that you can demonstrate some experience of working and interacting with young people.

Do you think education today has changed since your own school days?

Whatever your age, it is probable that the National Curriculum has changes since you were at school. A good example is that more vocational subjects have been introduced. Technology is also involved in a much broader range of subjects than you were probably used to. Behaviour is something that people usually think about in this area – although it is arguably not a larger problem than it was in the past. There are some badly behaved children, but there are usually only a small number of reported incidents in school. Classroom management however is an important part of the role of a teacher – teacher training should equip you to deal with most situations that may arise.

Can you make a difficult topic interesting and accessible?

Teachers of all subjects are challenged to make them both interesting and accessible to young people. Don’t assume that any topic is too dull or too difficult. There are now loads of resources, especially on the internet, available to teachers to help develop ideas and lesson plans in interesting and innovative ways – that connect with young people. It would be useful to gain practice in presenting difficult subjects.

What are your opinions about current educational issues?

Make sure that you are up to date with current educational issues. Examples include knowledge of league tables, school trips, uniforms, discipline, changes in curriculum, and changes in examinations etc. Read the education press (education supplements in newspapers) and read articles on the internet (the bbc website for example).

What are your views on the National Curriculum?

Many teachers find that the National Curriculum framework provides them with a great deal of assistance, when it comes to planning lessons and learning plans. It does not however plan your work for you, and you'll need to spend a lot of time and effort developing schemes of work that will suit your students. In an interview situation you have a great opportunity to show your creativity, by demonstrating how you would make lessons interesting for children in different settings with varied abilities.

What other skills or interests do you possess that a school might be interested in?

Teaching aside, schools utilise a wide range of skills and interests possessed by their staff. Do you have sporting skills, or another talent? Could you coach a sports team, plan assemblies, organise school trips, support musicians or use your DIY skills? Teachers are not obliged to take part in out-of-class activities but many teachers find non-teaching activities to be a really enjoyable addition to their role.