How to Nail that Teaching Interview
Updated: Mar 28, 2021
So you’ve managed to land an interview for your dream teaching role? Firstly, congratulations! Let’s get you prepared and feeling ready to nail it!
A teaching interview can be overwhelming if you don’t know what to expect. That’s why we recommend to research, plan, prepare, and rehearse. If you know what questions they are going to ask, then you know how to answer them and what answer they are looking for.
Check out the Centre or School website, if possible, ask if you can have a tour of the school. Who are they and what do they pride themselves on? How are they different from the school next door? Do they have any programmes or initiatives that interest you and that you could contribute to? Do you have any teacher friends you can speak to, to ask for any intel on the school?
Research the interview panel. Who is the Principal, Assistant Principal, Team Leader? What qualities do they like or represent? You can find this kind of information out on LinkedIn pages, from chatting to other teachers, through reading “A Principal’s Message” on their website.
Be prepared to answer the tough questions. The school is going to ask you questions not only around your curriculum knowledge and how you apply this to your lessons. They will also ask questions around behaviour management, how you build and maintain relationships with students, how you incorporate Te Reo Maori and the use of technology in your lessons. They may even ask you to run an example lesson for them so be ready to showcase your skills. Depending on the Centre or School you are interviewing with, culture, whanau and social issues may also be discussed. The key here is to take time to think through the question, establish what they are looking for in your answer, and then remember to clearly and concisely answer the questions, and remember to use examples where you can!
Have you got an interview outfit ready? Have you dusted off and updated your teaching portfolio? Remember to plan your journey to the school. Arriving 10 minutes early is considered on time. Anything earlier than this comes across as rude and you certainly cannot arrive late. Remember to arrive with enough time to cool down, take a few deep breaths and politely introduce yourself to the receptionist. Remember, you don’t know who the person is at reception and they could have a say over whether you are successfully hired or not.
Practice makes perfect. Rehearse your answers to your friends. Even better, find a fellow teacher who you can do a practice interview with. They will be able to point out any information you forgot to mention in your answer and can offer any guidance of anything else to add. The more you say your answers out loud, the more confident you will be in the actual interview. Remember to space your words and remember to pause and breathe.
Although interviews can be nerve-wracking, remember that they're trying to get the best out of you and aren't trying to catch you out. Smile, be friendly and make eye contact.