Here are some top tips from three PGCE Secondary student teachers who have managed to secure teaching posts recently:
- Don’t try to teach too much content in your interview lesson. The purpose of the lesson is to check that 1) you know your stuff, 2) you can be engaging the classroom and 3) you understand how to structure a lesson.
- If you get a chance, have a wander around the school and/or chat to staff. Find out about the school/department’s approach to teaching and organisation in general. Who is responsible for what? You can tell a lot about a school’s priorities by how its staff are organised.
- One question I didn’t prepare an answer for was: Aside from your classroom work, what else can you bring to the school. I should have because my answer was a lot of waffle!
- Try to learn at least a few names during your interview lesson.
- They will ask you to reflect on your lesson. I was veryblunt and didn’t try to sugar coat the parts of my lesson that could be improved. They seemed to appreciate this.
- Try to enjoy it and be yourself! Smile, be enthusiastic and be yourself! There is no point pretending to be someone you are not! Therefore teach the lesson to your style as that will make you feel more comfortable. It is all about being natural.
- Engage with the pupils and staff at all times… even if on a school tour or in the canteen etc… I had a tour with other interviewees by two pupils whose opinions of us were sought afterwards.
- Don’t be put off by other candidates. Everyone has their own positives to bring to the role.
- Know the school’s areas for improvement from their last Estyn/OFSTED report….particularly for your subject! How can you contribute to those areas for improvement?
- If they ask if you have any other interviews, be honest but express that their school is the one for you!
- Talk to the staff at your placement about the school you are applying to. Teachers often know a lot more about other schools and their staff than you’d expect. I even managed to glean some hints and tips about the interview set up and questions from a teacher who knew someone who had just been interviewed there days before!
Many thanks to Angus Ferraro (PGCE Physics), Catherine Brookes (PGCE Chemistry) and Jamie Thomas (PGCE English). Congratulations on your new posts and thanks so much for sharing these tips!