Preparing for interviews can be very daunting – here are some sample answers to help you to get started. As I’ve mentioned before, there is no such thing as a perfect answer as this differs from school to school depending on the needs of the school. I think it’s important to write your own answers with examples from your own teaching career so that the answers don’t sound learned off or rehearsed, however I know how difficult it can be to know what to say so these sample answers will just offer some tips to get you started.
What new initiatives would you bring?
This question is very personal and depends on your skills. With every interview have 5 things that make you unique/ that you can offer to a school. Talk about one of these areas. These areas might include curricular areas or an extra curricular area that is new to the school or one that you will help to develop further. Take a look at the school’s website to find out more about the areas that they are passionate about.
How would you make a child with ASD who is new to the school this year feel less anxious?
Meet the parents and the child – talk about strategies that have worked to support the child with new situations; these might include a visual timetable, a tour around the school with a parent and teacher/SNA. Allow the child and his/her parents to come to the school before/after school time so the child can become familiar with their surroundings before the hustle and bustle of the school day. Ensure that the child has someone to play with at yard time – set up a buddy system if appropriate.
What would you do with a child who has problems socialising?
Observe the child, set up a buddy system to support the child, talk to the child – some children may seem like they have problems socialising but really they just like to take some quiet time/ time on their own when they
How would you deal with a child who isn’t behaving appropriately?
- Observe the child. Keep a record of the child’s behaviour – when is it happening? what subject? has something happened in the classroom prior to the behaviour? what is the child doing? Can you find a pattern in the behaviour?
- Walk towards the child who is not behaving appropriately. Give a visual reminder (without interrupting the flow of the lesson).
- If the behaviour persists, speak to the child privately about the behaviour and discuss strategies that can help the child to behave appropriately.
- Speak to the parents if the behaviour continues.
- Speak to other staff members who work with the child or previous teachers.
Your experience of team teaching
Did you work with a partner for TP in college? While on TP – did you work with the class teacher? Were you involved with station teaching? Have you provided in class support as a learning support/resource teacher?
What is your biggest weakness
This can be a tricky question as you don’t want to ‘look bad’ in front of a potential new school. However, we all have weaknesses. Choose a weakness and talk about how you have tried to overcome this area that you are/ have struggled with.
What is the biggest mistake you’ve made in your teaching career?
Whether you are a newly qualified teacher, or have been teaching for 20 years, we will all make some mistakes in the next school year. Think about a mistake that you have made either on teaching practice or in your career so far – talk abut the mistake; what happened? what did you learn from it?
How would you promote Irish?
In the classroom; Make Irish fun and relevant to the children by using their interests as the basis for the Irish lesson. Use drama and games to make the lessons enjoyable. Make it a challenge to speak Irish for the duration of the full lesson – get the children on board with this target.Teach another subject area e.g. P.E. through Irish. Make the Irish lessons as active as possible.
In the school; Frása na Seachtaine – which is shared weekly on the intercom. Teachers speaking as Gaeilge in the corridors so that the children see Irish as a living language. Weekly rólimirt with a new phrase to learn for each class to practice if they meet the principal/ vice principal. Extra curricular Gaeilge Group – children can do different activities as Gaeilge e.g. cookery/art/p.e.
In the wider community; provide after school classes for parents/ members of the community to learn Irish. This would help to promote Irish in a positive way and parents would be able to provide support to their children with homework too. Add a Gaeilge section to the school website with a phrase of the week.
Do you have any questions?
There is no obligation to ask a question at the end of an interview. If something comes up during the interview then you are more than welcome to ask about it.
Usually I try to have one or two questions ready about the school -e.g. I noticed from your website that the school has a strong sporting tradition. Is there a basketball team? (This gives you an opportunity to show that you took time to look at the school website and also to share how you can contribute to the school)
Hope these sample answers give you a good starting point for your interview preparation!