If you have had a successful application and been invited in for an interview congratulations!
Firstly, make sure you confirm your attendance as soon as possible, this will show your enthusiasm for the role and communicates efficiency.
If the interview invitation letter doesn't give you much information you need to find out from the school:
- The school's interview process
- What you will be required to bring
- Who you will be meeting with
This will determine what the interview process is looking for, but generally they will want to identify the following
- Your experiences at your teacher training placements
- What you could contribute to their school
- How you communicate with different people: pupils, colleagues, parents, govenors etc
- Your ability to motivate
- What classroom management skills you have
- Your subject knowledge and understanding
- Your philosophies on education and teaching
- What your strengths are both in and out of the classroom
School Interview Styles
- Panel Interviews
This type of interview will have a number of senior people from the governing body and the senior leadership team. Interviews are normally around an hour or more. In these sorts of interviews first impressions count so concentrate on the way you dress, speak, conduct yourself, body language and facial expressions. Don't forget a firm handshake with all members of the interview panel. Do not under-sell yourself and at the same time don't set expectations so high. It is common for newly qualified teachers to discuss how great their classroom controle skills are or how interactive their lessons are and then when the NQT is observed the expectations are so high they are often not met. Don't forget as an NQT you still have a lot to learn.
- Informal interview
Sometimes the first round of interviews, most common when going through a supply teaching agency, are what we call "informal chats". The critical success factor to these are first impressions, the school will be looking to quickly judge whether you are the sort of person that will fit in to the school and department. Normally this takes place with a senior member of staff like a head of year, head of department, HR or Business Manager etc. These informal meetings normally include a tour of the school and a discussion during this tour. Make sure that you ask as many questions as you can and show interest. They will be looking to see how you react to situations and interact with pupils and other members of staff.
- School Trial Day
Schools love trial days and rightly so. These are all about whether your actions live up to your words. You will be asked to teach a class on a given topic, sometimes with prior warning and sometimes they will give you the topic on the day to see how you cope under pressure. For advanced lessons you need to make sure you find out what facilities and resources will be disposable to you. Quite often you will be asked to assess the quality of your lesson afterwards so be prepared to evaluate yourself. Don't forget if you have a bad lesson don't make it out to be something its not. There is nothing wrong with recognising your weaknesses and evaluating ways of improving them. Likewise don't heavily critise yourself as it may show a lack of confidence, its about getting the right balance.
Some schools will ask the pupils their opinion on the lesson and many schools are involving pupils in the interviewing process.
Overall, they will be looking to assess:
- Classroom control and behaviour management
- Subject knowledge
- Ability to differentiate lesson and engage all pupils
- Creativity and inspirational delivery
- Your interaction and communication with the pupils and other staff in the lesson.
What ever interview techniques the school takes don't be fased by it. You know your stuff its just about communicating your personality and teaching style to the school. Don't forget you are interviewing the school as much as they are interviewing you!