Here are some hints and tips on using the interactive interview tool.
- Why exactly do you want to be a teacher?
You should be excited by the prospect of working with young people and show a strong desire to help young people to learn about and understand a subject/range of subjects. You should be enthusiastic about your subject/s. This will need to be conveyed in your answer.
- What qualities do you think make a good teacher?
Young people respond to humour and warmth positively and it's especially important to be able to communicate clearly – by explaining ideas or concepts in steps, perhaps with illustration or analogy. Often this requires imagination and enthusiasm in equal measure to detailed knowledge of your subject. There are many other qualities which teachers will need – resilience, patience to name just two.
- Do you have any skills, experience or interests that you think relate to being a teacher?
There are many 'transferable skills' which will serve you well as a teacher, particularly the ability to plan and organise your work well, and a confident presentation style. What's most important is for you to have some experience of working with young people and recent experience of life in a state-maintained school. You can contact the Teaching Line on 0800 085 0962 for help and advice about visiting schools in your area.
- What do you think are the main differences between education today and in your own school days?
The school curriculum has probably evolved since you were at school, even if you left relatively recently, and more vocational subjects have been introduced into the curriculum. Schools also employ more technology in a greater range of subjects than it's likely you were used to. Behaviour is unlikely, however, to be a bigger problem than in the past: yes, there are some poorly behaved children and there are always a small number of reported incidents in school. Remember though that classroom management is an important part in teacher training. You will be well equipped to deal with almost any situation that might arise.
- How much of your degree do you think is relevant to the subject you want to teach?
It's worth checking the school curriculum online to see what you will be expected to teach, whatever your degree subject or professional background since the teacher training course provider will want to explore with you the depth of your subject knowledge. Some will expect you to have an easily identifiable degree subject whereas others will be more concerned about how they and you can develop that knowledge.
If your knowledge needs significant development, we fund subject knowledge booster courses and longer subject enhancement and extension courses to help you develop a greater knowledge and understanding of your subject.
If you are unsure, contact some teacher training providers where you might like to train and ask how your knowledge and experience fits with schools' expectations for teachers.
- Have you ever been in a situation when you've had to make a difficult topic interesting and accessible?
The challenge for teachers of all subjects is to make them interesting and accessible to young people. You shouldn't assume that any topic is too dull or difficult. There are many resources, especially online, available to teachers to help them develop ideas and plans for lessons in a way that is interesting to young people. Some practice in presenting difficult subjects, for example to young people on work experience, or experience of teamwork, perhaps through working with young people in a voluntary situation, will be useful to you.
- What are your opinions about current educational issues?
A focus on attainment – especially in numeracy and literacy – and of developing skills and knowledge is the core of the role for all school staff. Schools draw on the skills and knowledge of many staff, not just teachers, to help young people develop and learn. If you're unfamiliar with issues in education and would like to find out more about everything from league tables, school trips, uniforms and discipline, have a look at the education press (many newspapers produce education supplements one day a week) and on the internet.
- What do you think about the school curriculum?
Most teachers find the framework that the school curriculum provides is of great assistance in planning lessons and learning plans. The curriculum does not plan out your work for you, however, and you'll need to invest a lot of time and effort into developing schemes of work that will suit the people you'll be teaching: this is a fantastic opportunity to employ your imagination and creativity to make lessons useful and interesting for children of different abilities.
- How do you ensure that you respect and include people of all backgrounds as you go about your daily life?
All people, irrespective of their background, have a right to be treated with respect and you'll need to work with your colleagues and with parents to ensure that you are aware of the particular needs of your classes. Many schools have a very diverse pupil population which provides a great opportunity to learn more about other people's cultures and beliefs. Find out about schools' equal opportunities policies to see examples of the ways in which they outwardly demonstrate that they are committed to respecting individual differences.
- Do you have any other skills or interests that you think a school might be interested in?
Schools draw on a wide range of skills and interests from their staff, whether you are a champion of girls' football, have a particular interest in debating or fancy converting some of your enthusiasm for DIY into a set for the next school play. Teachers are not obliged to involve themselves in out of class activities but many teachers find non-teaching activities to be a hugely enjoyable part of their role.