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Teaching and education
Typical teaching interview questions

Typical teaching interview questions

Find out what you are likely to be asked at your interview for your first graduate teaching job, whether in a primary or secondary school.
Interviewers will be keen to know how you will relate to parents.

When you are interviewed for a teaching job you should expect to be asked questions on specific topics around teaching your subject or age range, current issues in education, and your approaches to tasks such as behaviour management, assessment and overcoming challenges.

Interviewers will be keen to know how well you could work with other teachers and how you will relate to parents. Supporting your answers with examples will strengthen their impact.

Introductory questions at teaching interviews

  • Have you enjoyed your visit to the school?
  • Why have you applied for this post?

Questions about yourself

  • Tell us about yourself and what inspires you.
  • What personal interests do you have that could be of value to the school?
  • What unique qualities can you bring to the school?
  • How do you know when you have had a good day?
  • How do you handle stress?

Explain your choice of school or local authority

  • What makes a successful school?
  • How would you support the ethos of this school?
  • How could you integrate the community into your teaching?

Handling professional issues in the classroom

  • What are your particular strengths and weaknesses as a teacher?
  • Describe the worst or best lesson you have given. What would you do differently? Say why it was successful or unsuccessful.
  • How do you judge the achievement of pupils in your subject?
  • If we visited your classroom in October, what could we expect to see?
  • What is the role of target setting?
  • How would you ensure that you respond effectively to the differing needs and abilities of pupils?
  • How would you foster equal opportunities in the classroom/school?
  • How would you accommodate children who have English as an additional language?
  • How would you raise a child's self-esteem and aspirations?
  • How far do children in your classroom direct their own learning?
  • What are your views on the value of homework?
  • Which is more important, teaching or learning, and why?

Behaviour management

  • What are your views about discipline?
  • How much noise and moving around the classroom would you permit?
  • How would you cope with a child constantly interrupting the lesson?
  • How would you deal with bullying?
  • What would you do if your strategies for behaviour management were not succeeding?

Primary interviews

  • How would you evaluate the effectiveness of the literacy strategy?
  • What is the place of topic work in school and what is your experience of it?
  • Which reading/mathematics schemes have you used?
  • What are your views on the balance between creativity and basic skills?
  • How might you use ICT in your teaching?
  • How would you ensure the continued improvement of numeracy standards in your class?
  • How would you structure literacy lessons to ensure equal access for all pupils?

Secondary interviews

  • Why do we teach (your subject) in schools?
  • How would you motivate year 9 pupils who have lost interest in the subject?
  • What would you say to a student considering taking your subject at A-level?
  • What are your views on cross-curricular teaching?
  • What are your views on streaming/sets/mixed-ability teaching?
  • How would you address the underachievement of boys/girls in your subject area?
  • Have you had any experience of vocational education?
  • What bearing do you think future developments (in your subject) will have on your teaching?
  • How would you teach (an area relevant to your subject) to a year 8 mixed-ability group?

Pastoral care

  • What is the role of a form tutor and what relevant experience have you had?
  • How would you seek to promote the moral, social and cultural development of the pupils?
  • To which aspects of personal and social education could you make a contribution?
  • How would you get to know your tutor group/class?

Your approach to working with parents and other adults

  • What is your experience with parents in school? How could this be developed?
  • How would you deal with a hostile or aggressive parent?
  • How would you seek to work cooperatively with your colleagues?
  • What support would you expect from staff as a newly qualified teacher (NQT)?
  • How would you seek to work with adults other than teachers in your classroom?
  • Give an example of when you have worked effectively within a team?

Your career development

  • How will you develop yourself as a professional teacher?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?

Answering questions: interview performance tips

  • Panels are interested in how you answer as well as what you say.
  • Answers should be sufficiently detailed to show how you stand out from other applicants and should include examples wherever possible.
  • Taking time to think before giving a well-constructed answer is fine.
  • Remember to ask for clarification if the question is unclear.
  • When you are offered a job, most schools will expect a prompt response. Some may even ask at the interview if you will accept the post if it is offered.
Written by Sabrina Altariva, University of Northampton
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