Today, we’re going to delve into a topic that’s crucial for every teacher, whether you’re a seasoned professional or a fresh-faced graduate: acing the teacher interview. In fact it is so vital for our education system that the DfE are publishing guidance on it. We are in the midst of a teacher recruitment and retention crisis. That does not mean that schools will lower their expectations of applicants. You still have to present yourself as a professional.
Interviews can be nerve-wracking, but with the right preparation and mindset, you can present yourself with confidence and professionalism. Let’s explore some strategies that will help you shine in your next teacher interview.
8 Ways to Ensure You Are Prepared For Your Interview
1. Do Your Homework
Before you step foot in the interview room, it’s essential to research the school you’re applying to. Understand their ethos, values, and teaching methods. Familiarise yourself with their curriculum, extracurricular activities, and community involvement. Read the website and look at what terminology they repeat Resilience, Respect etc. If there is evidence of an initiative front and centre of their policies i.e Trauma informed make sure you know about it. This knowledge will not only help you tailor your responses but also show your genuine interest in the school.
2. Prepare for Common Interview Questions
While every interview is unique, there are common questions that often crop up in teacher interviews. These might include your teaching philosophy, how you handle classroom management, or how you differentiate instruction/use adaptive teaching for diverse learners. Prepare thoughtful responses to these questions, drawing on your experiences and demonstrating your knowledge of effective teaching strategies. We have a whole post on common interview questions and preparation.
3. Showcase Your Passion and Dedication
Teaching is more than a job; it’s a vocation. Your passion for education and dedication to your students should shine through in your interview. Discuss why you chose teaching as a career, what you love about it, and how you continually strive to improve your skills and knowledge.
4. Demonstrate Your Adaptability
In the ever-evolving world of education, adaptability is key. Be ready to discuss how you’ve adapted to changes in the past, whether it’s incorporating new technology into your lessons, adjusting to new curriculum standards, or modifying your approach for remote learning. Use common language of the education system i.e retrieval practice, cognitive load. I would suggest reviewing the latest research via the EEF
5. Discuss Your Collaborative Skills
Teaching isn’t a solo endeavour. It involves working with other teachers, administrators, parents, and the wider community. Highlight your ability to collaborate effectively, providing examples of successful team projects or parent-teacher initiatives you’ve been part of. If you are applying for a special school you will be asked about leading teams.
6. Present a Professional Image
First impressions matter. Dress professionally for your interview, arrive on time, and bring any necessary documents. Remember to provide eye contact, offer a handshake, and speak clearly and confidently. If there is an adaptation you need to make the recruitment process more inclusive for you just ask professionally and in good time.
7. Ask Insightful Questions
Remember, an interview is a two-way street. It’s not just about the school finding out if you’re a good fit for them, but also about you determining if the school is a good fit for you. Prepare some insightful questions about the school’s culture, expectations, and support for teachers. We have a whole post about appropriate questions to ask the panel.
8. Follow Up After the Interview
After the interview, send a thank you note expressing your appreciation for the opportunity. This not only shows your professionalism but also reinforces your interest in the position.
Good luck in your job search, let me know in the comments if these helped you.