My experience of interviews will hopefully provide you with some ease and reassurance about what seems a scary task, with the help of iCan Teach UK.
So here we are, my first podcast recorded and now writing my second blog for iCan Teach UK– who would have thought! You may be currently in the process of thinking about your next move, career-wise. Especially at this time of year, job adverts are coming out and for many, the decisions you make in the next few months could potentially change your life forever – yes I know, sounds dramatic! So I thought what better than to talk about than my experience of interviews and to hopefully provide you with some ease and reassurance about what seems a scary task, in fact, is not with the help of iCan Teach UK.
Once I had made contact with Matt from iCan Teach UK, he was very prompt at helping me find schools that suited my needs. We finally narrowed it down to two schools, both of which were in Kent in England. Matt ensured that once my CV was up to date and looking professional, it was sent to the selected schools. For me, this process of getting an interview happened quite quickly and it was not long before I was flying over for my interviews, both of which were on the same day. As Matt organised this all it allowed me lots of time to plan my lessons and interview preparation. Both schools sent me information on the class and lesson I would be teaching.
Do not be scared to respond asking if there are any SEN needs, the ability of the group, the layout of the room you will be teaching in or the number of students – this will help you plan a great lesson!
On the day of the interviews, I ensured I was dressed appropriately, black dress, blazer and flat shoes. The last thing I wanted was to have sore feet or worry about falling! Ha-ha!
When I entered both schools, I instantly was able to get a feel of the school atmosphere.
Look at how staff interact with one another, I feel this is always a good indicator of the school ethos.
In both interviews, I met the principal, had a tour of the school and met the head of the department. In the first school the principal used my CV to base his questions on, I felt he wanted to know more about my character. The second school did not ask me any questions as he said he had already decided he wanted me to work with him based upon the lesson I taught, this took me by surprise! However, be sure to be prepared for any questions they may throw your way – every school will have a slightly different approach.
Planning a great interview lesson!
Produce a lesson plan for members of staff who are observing you. On this, identify scaffolding and differentiation.
Avoid death by PowerPoint – use as a guide, do not fill with lots of information that is difficult for students to read.
Interactive learning is key! – Get the students involved from the beginning; put the learning on them. ‘Each one teach one’ is always a great starter task.
Start with a quick icebreaker – two truths and a lie is always good!
Try to avoid being static at the front of the room, move around the classroom.
If you can, try and speak
Typical topics of questions to prepare for:
Cultural diversity in the classroom.
Supporting students with SEN needs.
Child protection and safeguarding scenarios.
Inclusive classroom strategies.
Motivating students within your subject.
How to scaffold students within their learning.
What questions should I ask them?
I think it is important to note that yes, you want to showcase yourself and show how you are a suitable candidate for the job but it is important that you ask any questions, or concerns you have. Of course, leave out the work hours and teacher workload – this might not be the right time to bring that up ha-ha!
However, if you have something to ask, do not be afraid to ask. For example in my recent interview, I asked about staff morale. I also think it is a great opportunity for you to ask about staff wellbeing and supporting staff. Some other topics you may want to ask about:
Do teachers have their own teaching rooms?
What is the school ethos?
Do you have an active PTA?
Is there positive staff morale?
How is the interaction between the school and the parents?
How do you approach student discipline?
How do you measure teacher success?
Side note– I do not feel it is necessary to ask a question at the end of an interview. Read the room, if it feels natural, go for it, if not, do not force it.
I hope this has put your mind at ease and provided you with areas of interviews you did not know even existed. Disclaimer, I am no expert and this is only my opinion, and I am sure I will experience many more interviews in my teaching career. If you have any questions with what I have spoken about please get in touch @thelifeofteaching_