5 interview questions every teacher should be prepared for

lisawhelan

Being interviewed for a new teaching position is an intimidating prospect for everyone, whether you’re an established teacher with senior leadership experience or an NQT looking for your first full-time teaching position.

While nerves are to be expected, feeling as prepared as possible can help you put some of your anxieties to rest. Our expert education consultants have a whopping 300+ years of experience in the education sector between them, so we’ve gathered some of the most asked teacher interview questions from them for you and some bonus tips on how to answer them like a pro.

1. Why do you want to be a teacher?/Why did you get into teaching?

This is the most common interview question, and one that is usually asked very early on in the interview as it sets the starting point for the kind of teacher you will be. Provide good examples of your time at school or any experiences that inspired you to get into teaching, and demonstrate that teaching is not a “plan B” career for you.

2. Why do you want to work in our school?

This is a question that is asked of almost every teacher. The interviewer wants you to demonstrate that you have researched the school, so make sure you have read up on the school’s achievements and successes. Rather than repeating these successes back to them, relate it to why this makes it an appealing place for you to work at.

Consider what else makes the school stand out, and how you would fit in there. This question isn’t simply an opportunity to compliment the school, but a time to explain to your interviewer how you, personally, will fit in with the school’s culture.

3. Can you give an example of a time you have struggled in the classroom?

Remember, no school leader wants to catch you out, they’re asking difficult questions to get a sense of how you approach difficult situations and whether you can learn from them. Be prepared that this question will lead to follow up questions, such as “what did you try to resolve the problem?” and “what would you have done differently?”, so be prepared with insights to show that you demonstrate growth and self-reflection as a teacher.

4. Can you tell me about a behaviour management strategy you employ in the classroom?

Having an arsenal of behaviour management techniques that you can employ when needed is a key component of successful teaching. The interviewer – most likely a school leader – doesn’t want to hire someone who can’t manage their students, so go into detail about your preferred methods. 

This is a good time to refer to the school’s behaviour policy and tailor your answers to it. For example, if a school champions mutually respectful relationships between pupils and teachers, make sure you highlight how you manage pupils’ behaviour in a respectful way.

5. Why do you want to work in SEND?

This is a question asked of teachers working in SEND roles in mainstream schools as well as teaching staff in SEND schools. The interviewer is not just looking for compassion and understanding of the needs of your pupils, but acknowledgement from you that the role requires you firstly to educate the students with special needs in addition to caring for them.

No matter how profound the disabilities your pupils live with are, the interviewer wants to see that you understand the need for educational progress in every pupil. You can talk about the rewards of seeing a pupil learn something new, or reaching a realistic target.

Questions specific to your application

Additionally, be prepared to answer specific questions based on experiences and qualifications you have mentioned in your CV and application letter. You’ll want to flesh out your achievements and personal skills with positive anecdotes about times you’ve used them to be a better teacher. If you’re a new teacher, you can talk about how you plan to use your skills and achievements once you’re in the classroom.

Once you’re prepared for questions like the ones above, you’ll feel calmer and confident when going into your interview and have a better chance at success. If you’re feeling ready to get interviewing, take a look at our current vacancies, or register with us so we can help you get your next teaching role. Our education consultants will give you complete interview preparation before sending you into a school, so you can feel your most prepared.

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