You’ve successfully submitted your application and now you’ve received a letter offering you an interview at your chosen school. Now all you have to do to win your dream job is to impress the interview panel. Unfortunately, that’s the hard part.
You may be wondering what to expect at a teacher interview and how best to prepare for the day ahead. If you know what is likely to happen during the day, you can feel confident and be well equipped to handle whatever teacher interview questions or tasks the interview panel may throw at you.
What to Expect at a Teacher Interview
Scheduling of the day
Usually, the interview process will be scheduled to last for an entire school day, so be prepared to arrive early. Allow plenty of time to ensure that you won’t be late and arrive promptly, but not so early that you are sitting around awkwardly getting more nervous.
Your interview letter should explain the way the day will be scheduled, this normally varies depending on the school and the nature of the interview panel. Often there will be a tour of the school followed by a lesson observation. This may then be followed by some group activities or pupil interviews, with the panel interview coming last of all.
This may take place over the course of a morning, a full day, or even two days, sometimes several days apart. As you can see, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to what happens at a teacher interview. Read your letter thoroughly so you can be ready for whatever the experience throws at you.
Visiting the school
While taking part in a tour of the premises on the interview day, you need to have the correct demeanour and attitude. If you are touring as part of a group, don’t dominate the conversation, but don’t hover at the back either.
You need to be noticed, but for the right reasons. Appear interested and engaged, interact with the pupils, and ask pertinent but not intrusive questions to create the right impression.
The lesson observation part of your interview may take place in your own class at your own school if you are currently teaching, or may take place with a class or part class of the school that you are applying to. You may be required to teach a whole lesson, part of a lesson, or simply a group activity depending on the school.
If you are teaching your own class, you can prepare more thoroughly as you know what to expect and already have a rapport with the children. If you are teaching an unfamiliar class, plan your lesson well, with a detailed lesson plan available, and ensure that all resources are prepared and ready to go.
Beware of anything too ambitious – you need to draw a fine line between creative and practical. Remember that technology may let you down and you cannot guarantee the behaviour or ability levels of the group. Remember to differentiate appropriately, ensure your targets are clear, and keep the lesson active but controlled.
Resist the temptation to try something wildly ambitious, but also steer away from anything too safe and boring. If possible, use a proactive and engaging lesson that you have had success with in the past.
Group activities and discussions
If group work is part of your interview, you need to show your cooperation skills. Tread the fine line between being an active and eager group member without dominating the discussion. The objective of this part of the day is to assess your ability to be a team player.
This is your big chance to impress, and there could be any number of people in the room. Some head teachers prefer to interview candidates themselves on a 1:1 basis or with one other member of the leadership team, while other schools will bring in the entire board of governors. Your interview could be either of the above, or anywhere in between.
Be prepared, and try not to show that you are nervous, no matter how many people are interviewing you. This is your chance to show what you know, what you can do, and to showcase your experiences and skills, so make sure to prepare your answers thoroughly and do your research.
Although the format of the day will be different at every school and no two interviews will ever be the same, remember that every panel will be looking for a confident, capable and professional teacher who will be an asset to their school, so create the right impression.