It's day trips, not date rape

5th March 2004 at 00:00
Advice for teachers in their early career

Interviews are very scary. Someone I know has spent 20 years in the same school, largely because of her abject fear of an interview. Nervousness is only to be expected, but you've probably never suffered as badly as this teacher: "I was so nervous that I misheard questions. Giving my views on date rapes instead of day trips was particularly embarrassing!"

Mind boggling, but the good news is the teacher got the very next job she went for. The head said that her nervousness was a plus point because it showed she really wanted the job.

You can prepare for an interview by thinking of answers to questions that are likely to come up. "The person who most appeals can usually give plenty of enthusiastic examples of work they have done with children," says one governor.

Most interviewers will ask about planning, managing some difficult behaviour, what you'd do to address a weakness in subject knowledge, dealing with parents, and ensuring equal opportunities in your class. Be ready to discuss these and any other hot topics, using examples from your experience to bring yourself to life.

Think about why they're asking the question and what sort of things they want to hear. One teacher was asked what her classroom was like: "I was in full flow about its architecture until I realised this must be a question about classroom organisation."

Consider questions before answering and don't be frightened of a few seconds' silence - it's better than gabbling a lot of nonsense. Make eye contact with whoever is asking you a question, and the rest of the panel.

If you're stumped on a question, ask them to repeat it. If they raise a weakness, turn it into a positive - give an example of how a disastrous teaching experience taught you valuable lessons in needing to be well-prepared but flexible, and so on. No one expects a new teacher to be perfect, but enthusiasm and willingness to learn makes up for a lot.

At the end of the interview you'll probably be asked if you have any questions, so be prepared. Something about the school's professional development for teachers is a good one if nothing else springs to mind.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now