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Choosing what to study

How to prepare for your teacher training interview

If you've applied for teacher training, you’ll probably be invited to an interview. Follow our advice on how to prepare successfully.

Two people talking in an interview

Tailor your preparation

Whether it’s school-led or university-led training you’re applying for, keep in mind that each institution is different.

Do your research and look out for subtle differences in tone and mindset. Do you fit that mindset? How can you get this across in the interview?

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 don’t stick to this strategy too strictly as you may not be asked anything you're expecting.

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

Read about the education sector

Stay up to date with the latest in education news, the issues facing the sector and what practices teachers are using today. Tes and 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’ll show you have a genuine interest in the profession.

Show passion for your subject

How are you going to inspire the next generation if you’re not passionate about your subject?

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

Don’t forget about your other life experiences

Perhaps you’ve managed others professionally, worked within a team, communicated across departments or 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 to teaching clear – how will those experiences help you as a teacher? Your interview panel will be interested in people with all sorts of skills.

Be prepared for more than just the formal interview

Your interview invitation will state what else to expect on the day. Sometimes there’ll be other activities as well as interview questions. Group exercises are common. These are designed to test your communication, teamwork and perhaps even leadership skills. 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 probably be asked to complete an exercise with a group of children. This could mean teaching part of a lesson. But don’t worry – the selection panel isn't expecting you to already be a polished teacher. It’ll be looking for thoughtful and thorough preparation as well as evidence of developing a rapport with children.

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!

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