So after applying to three places on UCAS; Doncaster University Centre (University of Hull), Hull College (University of Huddersfield), and Sheffield Hallam University, I have been sent invitations for interviews for all of them which I am over the moon about.
All of these providers have asked for very different preparation prior to the interview, which is what I mentioned in the check-list. Here’s what was expected of me at each interview if anyone is curious about the different things providers might ask for:
Doncaster University Centre:
– 10 minute presentation entitled ‘My specialist subject – why is it important in the Lifelong Learning sector?’
– Academic writing task to be completed before interview date; Had an extract to read and three questions to answer about how to manage challenging behaviour and engage students.
Sheffield Hallam University:
– A literacy and numeracy task (based on the QTS Key Skills Tests)
– Had to prepare a 5 minute microteach
-A one to one interview
– A group presentation about the course
– An informal chat/one to one interview
– Had to take with me a piece of recent academic writing with feedback
As you can see all of these are very different, and a mixture of formal and informal. I guess it completely depends on the institute you are applying for. I suggest however just planning for every eventuality, as it is better to be over prepared than under prepared. I know the thought of interviews can be rather daunting, but at the end of the day the interviewees are not there to catch you out, they want to appoint you! Like I said in my check-list post, there is a teaching crisis after all, and if you make a good impression, show you’re committed and ready then I’m sure you will ace the interview with flying colours.
Interview Content Help
Most providers (although mine have proved to be an exception) will ask for a one to one interview with you as this is one of the best ways they can get to know you as a person and understand your commitment to the profession and want to know a bit more about you. Unfortunately there is no cut and dry generic interview format, but the key to being successful and to make yourself stand out from the crowd is to be prepared. Most interviews will take place over a full day, however some will be as little as a few hours.
Here are some of the topic areas I think you may be asked questions about at your interview:
1. Your reasons for wanting to teach
– The obvious question; why do you want to be a teacher?/How do you know the profession is for you?
– What qualities make you a successful teacher?
– Why are you interested in teaching your specialist subject/key stage/age range?; If you have experience at various age ranges here would be a great opportunity to talk about which you preferred and why.
– You may be asked why you chose that particular training provider, be prepared to give reasons, maybe their NSS score, student satisfaction or various awards won by them? Try to avoid saying things like “because you’re the closest place to where I live” and definitely don’t say I dont know!
2. Your school experience
– Even though you will have probably mentioned your experience within your personal statement and on UCAS you may be expected to discuss this in detail at your interview.
– You’ll probably be asked what experience you have; what you learnt from your experience and if you don’t have that much classroom experience you can draw upon transferable skills here which you may have gained from previous employment
– You may also be asked to provide examples of when you observed a good and a bad lesson and to explain what made it good/bad. Here you can highlight teaching methods, materials used, use of technology or anything that you think impacted the lesson for the better.
– You may also be asked to explain a time when you helped a student, and whether or not you thought it was effective. This is a great way for the provider to see your teaching skills but also your ability to self evaluate.
3. Your degree/other qualifications
– How relevant is your degree/other qualification to the curriculum you want to teach?
– You may be asked why you chose this particular subject; so it’s a great opportunity to highlight your passion and interest in it.
– Interviews also might be interested in knowing how you’ll make your subject interesting and engaging to students, perhaps more so for non-vocational qualifications.
4. Education in general
-You will more than likely be asked to discuss a current educational issue in detail and your opinion on it. So be sure to make sure you know what is going on in education in general as well as in the sector you want to teach; primary, secondary, further education etc.
5. General questions
You may be asked general interview questions which can be applied to teaching, such as;
– Provide an example of when you have had to deal with a challenging situation
– Provide an example of when you have worked in a team
– Provide an example of when you have used your initiative
and so on…
Even though I have covered some of the main topic areas here, it would be useful to do some extra research before your interview to make sure you are as prepared as you can be. To help you the department for education (Dfe) and UCAS provide information and guidance on their websites to help you with your interviews, as do many forums and other sites. Here’s a few that might help you to prepare:
UCAS also provide the following tips for your interview; 1. Dress smartly; you don’t need to go in a tux or ball gown or anything but show you are taking the interview seriously and wear smart trousers/skirt and a shirt/blouse. 2. Get there early; allow plenty of time for travelling and parking or getting to where you need to be, and also have the contact details handy of who you are going to see in case you are delayed for any reason. 3. Have good body language; make a positive impression, don’t fold your arms or slouch. 4. Be prepared and expect the unexpected; surprises might well be upon you at your interview. And finally 5. Ask questions! Don’t ever say you don’t have any, so go prepared with questions, it’ll make you look interested and shows your enthusiasm.
Good luck in your interviews! And I’ll let you all know how I get on in mine in a few weeks time. Wish me luck.