Congratulations. You have worked hard, worked long and are now a qualified teacher. Trouble is you now have your first interview and the daunting prospect of facing a panel including the head, deputy and governor.
Here are my top five tips for being prepared;
1) Know you weaknesses: every interview always asks you to discuss your weaknesses. Make sure you have something in mind that you can secretly turn into a strength e.g. “I am quite a perfectionist!” or “I am very passionate about my work and get frustrated when others don’t share that enthusiasm”. Another great strategy is to mention a weakness that you are already working to improve, e.g. “I find it hard to manage other staff and delegate which is why I have been studying an online course in people management” Harvard online courses are often free and offer some useful courses that you can study to extend your skill base.
2) Visualise your classroom: a classic question is to ask you what your classroom will look like. Do your research; know the weakness and areas of development for the school you are applying. For instance, at an interview for a school with a record of poor language and communication in pupils the first thing I mentioned in my interview was having a ‘conversation station’, somewhere children could sit and chat. Don’t forget to mention not just the learning space you have created, but how you and the children are interacting within it!
3) Read up on Safeguarding: if you don’t get a question on this during the interview I would actually raise it yourself at the end. This is such an important issue for all schools and they should be asking you about it. An example question might be how you would respond to an imagined scenario: remember report concerns directly to safeguarding manager, write down in child’s own words ASAP, don’t ask leading questions and don’t promise to keep anything a secret.
4) Think about why you want to be teacher: if you have gone to all the effort of training then I know you’re not in it for the money, but think ahead to how you can articulate this one, “erm, because I like kids and stuff” won’t impress!
5) Remember both ends of the spectrum: you are more than likely to be asked about inclusion and how you foster an inclusive environment. Think about inclusion of children and their parents and don’t forget Gifted and Talented! Teachers often talk about Special Needs children or current watchword PPG (children on Free School Meals) but forget about the other groups such as Gifted and Talented, or even inclusion of children with allergies. Inclusion means EVERYONE!