Here are some sample interview answers – you will need to put your personal twist on them but this is how I would answer…
What would you say is your best quality as a teacher?
For me, my enthusiasm is my best quality as a teacher. This enthusiasm inspires and motivates the children to be the best they can be. They are interested and on task and they want to learn because they know that I am interested and want them to achieve and make good progress. I make excellent resources that are interesting and relevant to the children and I also love to get involved in extra- curricular activities. This year I was involved in the setting up of the school basketball team and a choir for sixth class pupils.
How would you deal with a child who is off task?
I would walk towards them – showing that I am aware that he/she is not working as they should. I would try to re-engage the child by asking them a question or for their opinion on something. If this continued – I would speak to the child privately and explain that I had noticed they were not on task – it could be that the work is too easy or too difficult for them or another issues outside of the classroom.
How would you handle an irate parent who arrived at your door?
I would calmly explain that I have to look after the class now and ask the parent to make an appointment or to come back after school. (This would give me the time to organise myself and give the parent my attention and time.)
How important is planning and preparation?
Planning and preparation are vital parts of being a good teacher. Without planning, the school day would have no structure and children would make little progress during the year.
Teachers need to keep on top of their planning to ensure that all children in their class make good progress and achieve their potential. We also need to ensure we are prepared for lessons with engaging resources and presentations. This will also contribute to excellent classroom management as children will not be off task waiting for the teacher to organise resources or groups or equipment.
What qualities would you like in a principal?
I would like to work with a principal who is approachable, knowledgeable and ‘with it’. I think it’s vital for a principal to be approachable as there will be questions, or concerns that need to be addressed throughout the year. It is also important to be knowledgeable that he/she has good experience and can offer helpful advice and solutions on a range of different issues that may arise. Finally a principal needs to be ‘with it’ – what I mean by this is that the principal is aware of what is going on in the school, both in terms of staff relations and pupil issues. A with it principal recognises when staff members need support and a with it leader means a happy environment for all.
How would you quieten a noisy class?
I would use a non-verbal signal for example a hand in the air – and wait for the children to copy me.
What would your classroom look like on the first day of school?
The children would be engaged in ‘getting to know you’ activities, discussing and making a class contract for the year and a ‘find the object’ hunt around the classroom. Procedures for the school year would also be set up – high expectations are set from day 1 so children know what is expected of them and behave accordingly during the year. (How do we walk to the hall? What do we do if teacher is talking to an adult? What do we do if another person is talking? How do we layout our maths copy? What do I do if I need to go to the bathroom etc). The display boards would have bright coloured backing paper, borders and have subject titles. Everything would have a place so that children know where they belong and how they are stored.
How would you support a child with ASD in the mainstream classroom?
First, I would get to know the child, I would meet their parents (as they know their child best) and I would speak to the child’s teacher and resource teacher from previous years.
In the classroom, I would use a visual timetable and give the child plenty of notice if anything was going to change (e.g. if a visitor was coming, school assembly etc.)
I would set up a quiet/safe zone for the child – where they could go if they felt overwhelmed. This area would have resources that would help the child to calm down and relax e.g. a stress ball, copybook to write down feelings/thoughts, worry box, earphones etc.
Teaching can be a stressful job. What do you do to ensure you look after yourself?
I really enjoy meeting up with friends, going for long walks on the beach and for coffee. I love travelling and use the holidays to visit different attractions in Ireland and abroad. Talking to others and forgetting about teaching and school for a while is a great way to relax.