Dear John: I'm a gibbering wreck at interviews. How can I calm my nerves?


I would be most grateful if you could offer me some advice on controlling nerves at interviews.  I am very confident in the classroom and truly believe I can excel as a teacher. However, I am a gibbering wreck when it comes to interviews.  I have my 3rd interview next Wednesday and am determined not to lose out because of nerves this time.  It really is a problem for me and I wondered if you would kindly offer me some tips. 

Thanks very much.


Everyone is nervous before an important event such as an interview. However, if it is so overpowering that it is wrecking you chances, it is time to take action. You need to feel good about yourself and remember that the first question is usually a soft one. If you have the confidence to teach a class of children then you should be able to face an interview panel. Treat it as a question and answer session. It may be that your non-verbal communication is signalling insecurity to the panel and they are responding to this. Start acting as a teacher as you enter the interview room, make eye contact, walk tall and smile a lot. Also try some practice questions with a friend who can help. You did after all make it through the interview to train to become a teacher.

Good luck.


John Howson worked as a secondary school teacher in London for seven years before moving into teacher training and consultancy, including a brief period as a chief government advisor. John is now a recruitment analyst, visiting professor of education at Oxford Brookes University and hosts our Career Clinic where you can post questions to him.