Teaching Interview Preparation Guide
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Teaching Interview Questions and Answers will make you a good at TEACHING, INSTRUCTING and MAKING PRESENTATIONS, but they also need to have good LISTENING skills to understand the problems a pupil may be having. Any thing they need to be able to analyze e.g. the reasons why a potentially bright student is not making progress, to have good WRITING skills, and be able to PLAN the next terms work you will learn here in teaching interview questions and answers segment.

28 Teaching Questions and Answers:

1 :: Why do you want to teach?

This is the fundamental question! They will be looking for evidence that teaching is your first choice career and not something you are going for because you couldn't get in to what you really wanted to do.

Teaching is a tough job and the PGCE also demands resilience and determination, so the selectors are looking for evidence of strong motivation which will keep you going when things get tough. Remember that there may be several applicants per place and they will take the best all-round candidates.

Your answer should stress that you are aware of the demands on teachers - perhaps giving examples from the time you spent in school as an observer, but give evidence of the things in teaching that you would find satisfying - e.g. when you helped out at a youth club and you were able to bring out a particularly reticent adolescent. Try to give your answers from the heart - show some enthusiasm!
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2 :: Why are you applying to this particular teaching course?

The interviewers will be looking to see that you appreciate the strengths of different courses and have made an informed decision. For example, Birmingham schools will have substantial ethnic minority populations, so courses there may be looking for an understanding of multi-cultural issues and how this would effect your teaching of your subject. Read the prospectus carefully before your interview.

If you know the area well mention how this could benefit you by allowing you to settle in quickly on the course

If the institution has a good reputation then feel free to give this as a reason. Beware focusing on the quality of the institution more than the qualities you yourself will be bringing. Use any opportunity you get to demonstrate your own strengths. As the question is "Why are you applying..?" you could answer that you feel this particular institution will give you the best opportunity to develop your strengths and qualities.
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3 :: What were the qualities of a teacher you admired?

Talk honestly about a teacher you liked at school or perhaps one at university, or during your period of observation in the classroom - try to analyze what qualities made them successful. They will be looking for evidence of enthusiasm for teaching in your reply.

Qualities could include using a variety of different teaching methods, being able to hold the attention of the class, ability to enthuse, energy, resilience, empathy, subject knowledge and making children think rather than being told. Here they will not be looking for a specific answer.

A government recruitment campaign for teaching was very much along these lines. In it celebrities described what they liked most about their favorite teacher. The single attribute of caring for their pupils is one that is often missed in these circumstances. In order to teach effectively it is vital that a teacher enjoys the company of young people and wants to make a positive contribution to their well-being.
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4 :: What would you find difficult about teaching?

Teaching is a tough job and selectors won't choose you if you tell them how wonderful you would find teaching with no appreciation of the negatives. Teachers complain about bureaucracy and paperwork, badly behaved pupils, Government interference and lack of resources.

You need show that you are aware of these issues - the best way is to talk to teachers about them, but still have a positive, if pragmatic, view of the teaching profession. Talking about a current classroom where you have spent some time will add weight to your arguments.

Give an example of a difficulty. This could be the idea that new initiatives introduced by government appear to undermine or conflict with the previous initiatives. This is a common complaint among teachers. Show in your answer that while you might find it difficult you would nonetheless do your best to continue with the best interests of the children in mind. In other words you will get over the difficulties whatever they may be.
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5 :: What have you got to offer as a teacher?

Some of the main qualities required are:

A professional approach - make sure that you dress very smartly for your interview.

Good handwriting and spelling - especially for primary - make sure that you have a pen with you as you may be given a written test.

Clarity of speech

Openness to new ideas

Ability to take criticism

Listening and sensitivity to others.

You need to be able to put across your strong points during the interview - if you can't do this effectively your selectors may be entitled to reason that you wouldn't be able to put your ideas across effectively in the classroom.
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6 :: What experience do you have in schools?

For primary teacher training, school experience is crucial. You may be asked to describe the school and asked to comment on what interested or surprised you.

You should make sure that you have spent a few days helping out in a school before your interview. For secondary teaching courses this experience is not so essential, partly because the competition for places is less great, and partly because such experience is more difficult to arrange.

You should approach schools several months before you would like to spend time with them as they may have to take up references. Of course, the easiest school to get a placement may be your old school. Experience can either be for a number of consecutive days or perhaps for one morning or afternoon per week over a number of weeks.

If you haven't spent time in a school try to emphasize anything else you have done with children or in a teaching role such as youth clubs, playschemes, Sunday school helper, drama activities, Scout or Guide leader.
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7 :: What is the relevance of your degree to the National Curriculum?

You need to show how your degree course relates to the National Curriculum. This is relatively easy if you have done a relevant degree, but if you are applying for primary with a non-National Curriculum degree in psychology, for example, you need in this case to carefully relate the elements in your psychology degree to the elements in the primary curriculum.

Similar questions might ask you what you think you would be teaching in your specialist area, or about areas of your subject in which you feel weak.

You must concentrate on the positive. You should be prepared to dissect your degree up into the appropriate component parts and show evidence of particularly English, Maths and Science if you are applying to Primary teacher training or your chosen subject area if Secondary.
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8 :: How would you make your subject interesting to a class of uninterested low ability pupils?

Selectors will be looking for someone who shows ideas and creativity, trying to interact and stimulate, rather than just talking at the class. This is a chance for you to show your enthusiasm for teaching.

They won't expect your ideas to be polished, but you could mention games, wall charts, projects and case studies, role playing, splitting up into small groups - whatever might be appropriate for your subject. You could also talk about the transition from a literary to a screen-based culture for many young people and how you would react to this. You may have been able to glean ideas from the time you spent helping in a school or from discussions with teachers.

Your answer could include how you would canvass advice from your colleagues on what to do in these circumstances. Perhaps they have taught the particular class in question and can make some suggestions.

A similar question you could be asked is about the resources you could use to teach your subject.
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9 :: Would you be able to manage/discipline a group of 35 pupils?

This is a crucial ability and of course a successful teacher will be able to manage groups of pupils by the carrot, only needing to resort to the (metaphorical!) "stick" as a last resort.

Good organizational skills, self confidence, a robust personality - able to take criticism, maturity, presence, a sense of self confidence and a sense of humor are the qualities that will help you to manage a class without too much conflict.

Give some examples, if you can, of related situations you have experienced. Have you been involved in any other types of group work that could be described as similar? How do you know you will be able to manage/discipline unless you have already tried it? What kind of presence you have and how loud your voice is could be important.
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10 :: Can you cope with a very intensive course?

The PGCE is an intensive course - burning the midnight oil preparing for your next days teaching practice. Selectors will want to know that you are aware of this and have the commitment and stamina to cope.

Perhaps you have already undergone such a demanding course. If so you should describe it now and in detail. If you have had experience of working and studying at the same time then you should certainly bring that up. Part of the intensity is the act of juggling the study elements of the course with the practical elements during teaching practice.

If you have previous experience of work, or perhaps a hobby or interest, in which a lot of preparation was demanded this would also be relevant. Any teacher will tell you that a successful day's teaching results from the hard graft put into preparing it the day or week before. And the bottom line is that if you can cope with the intensity of the teacher training course you are very likely to be able to cope with the demands of teaching proper.
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