What are the best ways to prepare for teaching interviews?

What are the best ways to prepare for teaching interviews

Truth bomb! Your job application and interview are less about you and more about the problem that you’re trying to help a principal to solve. Their problem is that they have a teaching role that they are trying to fill, and they need to find the best person for that role. 

With that in mind, what are the things that you can do to better prepare for teaching interviews in Ireland?

Reflect on what principals want

My key piece of study for 2020, was asking a wide variety of primary and second level principals what they actually want in teachers in their school. *These points are a shortened version from my freebie for teachers. Get the full version here. Their answers included:

  • Top necessary skills: teamwork, communication, emotional intelligence, flexibility, leadership potential, enthusiasm

  • Knowledge of the subject area

  • Passion for teaching and willingness to develop their practice

  • A personality that is warm, open and engaging

  • A volunteering spirit

  • Tailor your form to each particular school – Take the time to look up the name of the school principal, the website, WSE Reports, research the school community, elaborate on any skills you have that the school may be lacking in 

  • The form is filled in properly (attention to detail)

  • A variety of information is outlined

  • Good examples are used to demonstrate competencies

  • A high level of literacy; grammar, punctuation (shows that the candidate put effort into completing the form)

  • A desire to continue with CPD and experience undertaking extra responsibilities

  • Experience in dealing with multi-grade classes

  • No gaps in your CV

  • A local address 

  • Evidence of willingness to engage in extra-curricular activities

  • Qualifications.

If, in your job applications, you’re not outlining what they want to see… you’re not going to get a call to interview. Similarly, if you’re not outlining in an interview what they want to hear… you’re not going to get the job. It’s as simple as that. By putting yourself in their shoes, reflect on if you had an important job to be done (and you wanted it to be completed to a top-class standard), what qualities and experience would YOU be looking for? Then, it’s your job to show them that you are prepared, and aware that this is what you can do for them. 

Improve your interview technique

Preparing answers for your interview questions is great, but there is more to preparing for interviews than that. Focusing on improving your communication skills, by including the most important information in a concise, interesting way, is essential also. Improving your positive self-talk is important too for building your confidence. Learn and utilise the STAR technique. Plan your interview outfit; what do you want the clothes you choose to say about you?

Gather your teaching stories

People love stories, and telling stories is a great way to showcase your experience and convince the panel that you can entertain both them and a class. 

 Here are some experiences you should be able to draw on in an interview situation. Keep your interview answer to 5-7 sentences max. Otherwise, you risk losing the interest of the interviewer. 

  • A time you used your greatest strength 

  • A great lesson that you taught (and why it was so successful) 

  • How you overcame a weakness 

  • A time you used assessment very effectively 

  • A challenging class and how you used classroom management strategies effectively 

  • A tricky situation with a parent

  • A tricky situation with a colleague 

  • How you are using the New Primary Language Curriculum to great effect 

  • A time when you went above and beyond for your school 

  • A time when you worked well in a team 

  • How you followed the school ethos effectively with a class 

  • How you ensured the safe return to school of your pupils post Covid-19 

  • A time when you taught remotely 

  • A time when you used key information in your classroom as a result of undertaking CPD 

  • How you catered for the needs of all pupils in your classroom

  • A situation where you had fun with other staff members 

  • A time you had fun with your pupils 

  • A time when you planned effectively 

  • An instance where you resolved a conflict between two pupils.

As you can see, there are many ways to improve your performance and improve your teaching interviews. Begin with changing your mind-set about how it’s possible to prepare in different ways, taking action on these points will mean that you get better results, feel more confident in how you performed, and get closer to your dream teaching job. 

If you are looking to apply for Assistant Principal, Deputy Principal and Principal roles in education grab a copy of ‘50 key questions to ask yourself before you prepare your job application’ here.

Let us know in the comments, which is your favourite tip to prepare for teaching interviews?



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