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How to prepare for your teacher training interview

If you've applied for teacher training in the UK, you’ll probably be invited to an interview as the last stage of the application process. 

Teaching is a seriously demanding profession. The interview will reflect that fact – so preparation is key. Follow our advice for your teacher training interview to get you to the finish line.

Shaking hands at teaching interview

1. Tailor your preparation

Whether its school led or university led training you’re applying for, keep in mind that each and every institution is different.

Do your research on each and look out for subtle differences in their tone and ethos. Do you fit with that ethos? How can you get this across in interview?

2. Think of the qualities you’ll bring to teaching – but don’t second guess the questions

It’s natural to think about the questions you’re likely to be asked and begin to formulate answers. But we advise you don’t stick to this strategy too strictly, as you may not be asked a single question you're expecting.

Instead make a list of the qualities you’ll bring to teaching, the insights you’ve gained from your experience in schools, and try to think how these can be applied to a range of different questions.

3. Read around the education sector

Keep up-to-date with the latest in education news, the issues facing the sector, and what practices teachers are using today. TES and the Guardian Education are great resources for teachers.

When it comes to the actual interview, look for opportunities to communicate your knowledge of the sector – it will show that you have a genuine interest in the profession.

4. Convey passion for your subject

How are you going to inspire the next generation if you’re not passionate about your subject? That’s certainly what the interview panel will be asking if you fail to show you care about your subject.

Think about why you want to teach it, and why is it important.

5. Don’t forget about your other life experiences

Perhaps you’ve got experience managing people, working within a team, communicating across departments, or you’ve spent time with people from a range of backgrounds. It’s all relevant so if you see the opportunity to talk about experiences aside from teaching, then talk about them.

Just remember to make the link back to teaching explicit – how will that experience help you as a teacher? Teaching really is a moveable feast so your interview panel will be looking to admit all sorts of people with all sorts of skills.

6. Be prepared for more than just the formal interview

Your invitation to interview will detail exactly what else you can expect to be doing on the day. It’s fairly standard procedure these days for there to be more than just interview questions.

Group exercises designed to test your communication, teamwork, and perhaps even leadership skills are commonplace. You may be asked to prepare a short presentation where you’ll be assessed on your ability to engage an audience.

If the selection day is taking place in a school you’ll almost certainly be asked to complete an exercise with a group of children, whether that means teaching part of a lesson or otherwise. But don’t worry – the selection panel isn't expecting you to be a polished teacher already. It will be looking for thoughtful and thorough preparation as well some evidence of the ability to develop rapport with a group of children.

7. Get the basics right

And finally – get the basics right! Get a good night’s sleep, be punctual, dress smartly but comfortably, check your body language, and speak clearly. Good luck!