If you fulfil all the criteria for a post and your application is well received you will be invited for an interview for the position of teacher. Within this article I will provide you with some tips on how to perform to the best of your ability at the interview along with a number of sample teacher interview questions.
Interviews will usually be conducted by a school’s head teacher, often in conjunction with another staff member such as the head of department for the post you are applying for. You may also be asked to prepare and teach a trial lesson as part of your interview — if you are not asked to do this it is a good idea to volunteer!
Planning and teaching a trial lesson
When planning a trial lesson as part of the interview process, you should gather as much information in advance with regard to the age group you will be teaching, the area of the curriculum the trial lesson is to cover and what the pupils have already been taught I will be taught, the school’s favoured teaching style, the resources available to you, the number of children in the class, their ability levels and whether there are any gifted children or children with special learning needs. You should produce a detailed written plan for the lesson setting out your key learning objectives, and submit this prior to the day.
The trial lesson is your chance to prove your abilities as a teacher. The observer will be looking at:
Your classroom management skills.
Your teaching methods — how you interact with and motivate the class as a whole and individual pupils to facilitate the learning process.
Your use of resources — whether the lesson was interesting and innovative in content and approach.
Your knowledge of the topic you are teaching and your ability to communicate it to the class appropriately.
How you deal with questions from children.
Your enthusiasm — whether you have created a fun learning environment.
It is important to remember that an interview is a two-way process — it is not just about a school deciding whether to employ you, but also for you to decide whether you want to work at that particular school. Preparation and practice are the key elements to successful interview technique.
Interview questions with insider tips from teachers and interviewers
Many schools will use an Interview Questions & Assessment/Evidence Form when conducting interviews, which may vary in structure between different schools, Local Education Authorities etc. Below is an example of the layout and main sections of such a form where applicants are graded on a scale of 1 to 5:
Examples of introductory/personal questions
Q Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and why you decided to become a teacher?
Q What made you apply for this teaching post /to work in this school?
Q Why are you leaving your current job?
Q How would you describe yourself as a teacher — what special qualities do you bring to the profession?
Q How do you feel about marking books for the next forty years?
Insider tip: Try to avoid vague answers to these questions, for example when asked about why you decided to become a teacher talk about one of your own teachers from your childhood, how they inspired you, a particularly memorable lesson they taught. Capture the interest of the interviewer(s) early on.
Examples of teaching experience / practice questions
Q Tell us about your previous teaching experience and how it is relevant to this role.
Q Please describe the major achievements of your teaching career over the past 2 years and also areas of your teaching practice you would like to improve.
Q What is your philosophy on education?
Q What do you think of the government’s current policy towards state / independent sector education?
Q Do you hold any key responsibilities at your current school?
Q Tell us about your best lesson and your worst lesson.
Q Tell us about your teaching style.
Q What are some of the problems that teachers encounter today?
Insider tip: Be prepared for questions on the current educational system — when interviewers ask this type of question they are looking at your knowledge of topical events within the teaching profession Why not talk about a recent article you have read in an educational journal?
Questions on the school environment
Q What do you know about this school?
Q How do you see your role within a group of staff?
Q How do you integrate your class within the wider school environment?
Q How do you respond to criticism from senior teaching staff within the school?
Q How would you cope with working with someone you do not like?
Q What are your views on school discipline?
Q What do you think is the best way to deal with a bullying problem within the school?
Insider tip: Do your research. If you are asked a question about discipline or any other aspect of the school environment you are hoping to join, and you respond in a way that is contrary to the school’s policy, your chances of getting the job will be reduced.
Questions about the classroom environment
Q How do you manage your classroom in terms of behaviour and organisation?
Q Describe a typical day / lesson ¡n your classroom.
Q What teaching techniques do you use to motivate pupils?
Q How do you assess pupils’ learning and give them feedback as to their progress?
Q How do you handle students of different ability levels within your classroom to ensure all are challenged?
Q How would you use a teaching assistant in your classroom?
Q What do you think of homework?
Q How would you deal with an accident in your classroom?
Insider tip: When asked about teaching techniques you should demonstrate a variety of experiences.
Q Why did you decide to teach this particular subject?
Q What skills and qualities should a (Mathematics, Biology etc) teacher possess?
Q How would you deal with a student who seemed completely disinterested in your subject?
Q What is your experience / What are your views of the national curriculum requirements for teaching your subject at secondary level?
Q What areas of the national curriculum for (French, English etc) interest you?
Q Would you feel confident teaching pupils in the 16-18 bracket?
Q Describe some of the issues facing English/Mathematics/French/Other subject teachers today?
Q How would you use technology to aid you in the teaching of your subject?
Q What subsidiary subjects could you teach besides your main subject?
Questions relating to the community / parents
Q What do you feel is the role of the teacher within the community?
Q Do you think it is important to build relationships with other schools?
Q Do you think the PTA is important?
Q How will you interact with the parents of the pupils you teach and involve them in their child’s education?
Q How would you handle a personal attack from a parent?
Insider tip: You will often be asked situational questions relating to dealing with parents. Your answers should always be diplomatic, informative and reassuring to the parent.