What will they ask me? and what do I say? The following are standard questions asked, possible response framework and my contribution as a secondary teacher for 6 years.
Applying for a BEd, BA, PGDE or PGCE course, then receiving an invitation to an interview to qualify as a teacher is the last stage before being offered a place. Getting onto a teaching course has become more difficult with places being filled quickly.
PGCE interview questions
One to one interviews also form an important part of the day for people that wish to become a school teacher. Interviewing will take up at least half a day and will follow a certain format that a university follows, depending on the key stage you are applying. Do your homework before the day!
For each key stage PGCE from early years, primary, secondary and post compulsory Think about:
• Relevant work experience, especially with a school or children • Personal qualities and characteristics as a teacher
• Why teaching is for you • What you offer the teaching profession in relation to skills and qualities • What makes a good teacher
Make sure you can include the most important responses for what traits a good teacher has: Good: Listener, Writer, Analyser, Presenter, Planner, Communicator, knowledgeable
I can also follow instructions, guidelines, empathy, charisma, understanding, considerate, helpful, confident, explain a concept, resourceful, think on my feet, implement change quickly, take constructive criticism (keep calm under pressure)……. Integrate some of these in your response. Do not say anything that you can not back up.
Personalise each answer to individual questions with past experience, current event, knowledge…….
Nursery, primary, secondary and post compulsory PGCE courses and school based training follow certain formats, depending on the training provider. Part of the interview day could involve tests in mathematics, English, IT and science depending on the age level you wish to teach. You could also be asked to write an essay that tests spelling, grammar, hand writing, timing, response and other.
Interviewers are looking to see what type of person you are, how you respond, mannerisms, interaction with others, cope under time constraints and pressure. Could you have what is takes to become a teacher?
My own initial teacher training PGCE interview process (Year 2000) involved a group question and answer session and a 30-minute informal talk. This then followed onto an individual face to face interview with 7-8 questions about me, personal statement and what I could offer the teaching profession.
General questions for teacher training
- Why do you wish to become a teacher, How do you know you want to teach? Leave this to you!
- Why choose to teach this age group? (Example Secondary PGCE) Get on with older children, experience, certain skills and subject knowledge.
- What do you understand/your opinion of what is a good teacher?
- How could you improve classroom and school experiences for children? Fun interactive lessons, using a variety of teaching aids, extra curricular activities.
- PGCE courses demand full attention for 11 months study and training, that will also involve travel. Can you set aside the time for a demanding schedule?
- How would you make your subject interesting ensuring an effective learning experience? Variety in class questions, exercises, use of everyday experience, implement training I will receive.
- Do you envisage any conflict with your personal or social life with the requirements of a professional person, such as a teacher? Issues could be model career, band member using certain lyrics, leisure activities.
- What will be the most challenging for you as a teacher? Behaviour.
- How would you react with disruptive pupils in your class? First: Follow school guidelines and rules set.
- What knowledge, skills and abilities do you have to offer that will help you to become a successful teacher? Subject knowledge, degree in the subject, calm under pressure, problem solver, analytical and others.
- What personal qualities as a person can you offer to the children and a school?
- What experience do you have working with children? Tell me about one challenging situation and how you solved the issue, if any.
- How would you respond when a child comes to you with a personal issue from outside school? Think child protection, depression, maybe a family member or pet has died. Follow school policy. Listen to what they have to say, answer or solve issue, or pass on to appropriate school management person.
- How do you deal with anger, disappointment, stress and frustration personally?
- How is your qualifications, specially the degree you have relate to the subject area you wish to teach? Specify relevant subjects to what you would teach. How they match, state specialist in the subject area.
- Issues in education arise from time to time. Name 2. What is your opinion? National curriculum. (Look at before interview) testing in schools, budget constraints, teacher shortage.
- How would you feel teaching a mixed ability class? This is more of a challenge as you may have gifted children and of course identify and teach less academically able pupils at the same time.
- Equal opportunities are very important in schools. How would you ensure your classroom provides every pupil with an equal chance to learn to the best of their ability? Give time, work space, consideration, involvement in class, participation, question and answering equally between pupils.
- What is a teaching assistant, and what is your view on their role in a classroom?
- What would you do if in a pupil refuses to take part in an activity?
- Our course is very popular, why should we choose you and not another candidate?
- How would you tackle explaining a challenging concept?
So many questions that could be asked at each age level.
Work in progress here. Much more to follow.
Day of your interview
Interviews will most certainly involve
Role play (Possibly)
Open questions & answers in a group format
Deliver a presentation with a topic provided in advance
One to one interview or a panel
There is a sequence of events that should be followed for any interview, although the information is not exhaustive:
– Confirm attendance
– Arrive at least 15 minutes before time
– Take your prepared notes and other documents required
– Travelling 500 miles plus as I did, think about spending the night before in the area
Conduct research on the subject and key stage area ready for the PGCE interview questions the interviewer is going to ask.
Try and be yourself, dress appropriately in a professional manner, take time and think about the response you provide to questions. The interview is not easy and not everyone will successfully pass the selection stage for teacher training.
This video has many of the components, ideas, tips you should focus on. Notice how PC and formal the situation is. An insight in what to expect when you go into a school and become a teacher.