31st March 2020
Teacher Training Programme: Interview Preparation
Preparing for an interview for initial teacher training can be tricky, the balance between showing you are confident and proving that you are self-reflective and ready to learn/take on feedback is really important.
You won’t be expected to know everything about teaching, but you should be able to demonstrate familiarity with some aspects of teaching & learning as well as being able to adequately display a genuine desire to help children learn.
Below is a series of questions to consider and some other tips to help you prepare for your interview – please make sure you don’t use this as an exhaustive list or over-prepare answers, just use these as a guide to help you think along the right lines.
Experience & motivations
- Why do you want to become a teacher?
- Why are you interested in our school?
- What relevant experience do you have and what have you gained from this?
- What other experience do you have to draw upon for your career as a teacher?
- Tell me about your experience as a student at school and how you would use that to develop your own teaching skills.
- If you could list three areas of teaching and learning that you would like immediate professional development for, what would they be and why?
- Don’t give a generic answer on why you want to teach like “I enjoy working with children” – delve deeper into WHY you want to become a teacher. Consider both the academic and social development of your pupils. Also, consider any previous experience of working with children no matter the setting and the impact that your work had.
- Take the time to look through the school’s website paying particular attention to their vision and values and see how you can align your own with these. In terms of an Ofsted report, do take time to have a look at the most recent but do also remember to take into account that this is just a snapshot of the school and may be somewhat out of date.
- Considering your existing experience, how is it relevant to teaching? Have you worked with children or children younger than yourself at any point even while you were a student? What transferable skills do you possess that will be useful to you as a teacher.
- Consider that you have the ability to choose any professional development course to help you commence your teaching career, what areas are most lacking or could you use more strategies for?
- Think about the important characteristics of a good teacher and how you can relate answers to this. Of these, which do you see as particular strengths?
- Adapt your answers for the school you are interviewing with – not just their Ofsted report, look into their values, newsletters, progress and exam results.
Expectations of Teaching/Teacher Training
- What challenges do teachers and schools face?
- How do you plan to adjust to teacher training?
- What have you done to prepare for initial teacher training? Have you done any wider reading around the profession?
- Which aspect of teaching are you most looking forward to learning about?
- Which areas of teaching do you feel you are your immediate areas of development and how do you plan on improving?
- Even when discussing the challenges and difficulties of teaching, try to keep it fairly positive where possible. Think how you will create a learning environment in which all students will feel comfortable to try, share their ideas and most importantly be confident to make mistakes
- Don’t just talk about funding & budget cuts, think about other things especially in the digital age we live in
- Make sure you talk about any research you have done into the expectations of trainee teachers in general as well as being aware of the structure of our course
- Why is that aspect of teaching so interesting or important for you to learn about? How will learning about it impact your teaching positively?
- When discussing areas of development, make sure you make it clear that you are already working on ways to improve
Your Subject (Secondary)/Phase (Primary)
- Why should pupils learn your subject?
- What strategies do you think you could use to motivate disengaged pupils to take an interest in your subject?
- What aspect of your subject are you most looking forward to teaching and why?
- Do you feel as though you’re up to date with the current curriculum/syllabus for your subject?
- Do you follow educational news and updates to observe and learn about any changes to your subject that could impact your teaching?
- Think about why some students may perceive your subject to be ‘boring’ or ‘unimportant’ and what you can do to counteract these perceptions. Identify the benefits of learning your subject
- Consider ways to make your lessons engaging through different activities, videos, analogies and real-life context. Are you able to provide a wide range of learning experiences within your subject area? Where might you find these or at least ideas to help you develop them?
- Have you read through the curriculum, exam board and/or exam board specification for your chosen subject/key stage?
- What is a teacher’s responsibility in keeping children safe?
- Tell us how you dealt with a safeguarding issue in school.
- What would you do if a child disclosed a personal issue?
- Have you read the ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ document?
- Read and understand very clearly, the ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ document. If as you read you have any questions, write these down and arrange a time to speak to a member of our Partnership and Development team.
- Look at the school’s safeguarding policy prior to the interview
- See the bottom of this document for more website links to do some research on safeguarding children
- Which are the most effective methods of managing behaviour? Have you been in a situation to implement these in a learning environment?
- How would you deal with a student who is consistently off-task?
- What do you believe will be your biggest challenge in dealing with off-task behaviour? What can you do to prepare for this?
- What can you do in preparing for your lessons that might minimise the chance of disruption? (This will hopefully help them link behaviour management to engaging lessons and the need for teachers to make the learning interesting.)
- When asked about managing behaviour, think beyond simple disciplinary measures (although do consider this as well) – a lot of behaviour management can be preventative rather than reactive
- Look at the school’s behavioural/disciplinary policy and make sure it’s evident that you have done this in your interview
- Have you read widely around behaviour management strategies? If so, have you found any that you think you might try implementing in your own classroom?
- Have you read any material around lessons that prevent poor behaviour?
An insight into the career progression, experiences and rewards of your career as a teacher – click here.
Keep up to date with educational news – click here.
A beginners guide to safeguarding in schools – click here.
UCAS guidance on preparing for initial teacher training interviews – click here.