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How to Prepare for Observation Lessons and Teacher Interview Questions

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Congratulations! Your application was successful, and the school has invited you to either an interview or a trial day. This is great news as it shows that the senior leadership team at the school think you could be the perfect fit for their school. And you are, right? You’re great! The next step is proving this on the day… There will be a lot of questions running through your mind, ‘what teacher interview questions might you get asked?’, or ‘what are good questions to ask in an interview?’ Read on to find out how to prepare for a teacher interview or trial day…

Note: Our training and development team offer fantastic 1:1 teacher interview questions and advice to anyone interviewing for roles in education. You will also be provided with role-specific guides and a chance to run through practice interview questions over the phone before your interview.

All you need to do is register and apply for a role through Prospero teaching and we’ll get in touch!

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How to prepare for a teacher interview lesson observation

As part of your interview process, you may be asked to plan and teach a lesson. You will have been informed in advance of this if this is the case. Via your consultant, the school will have sent you a brief indicating which subjects they would like to see taught. Information about the class may be included in this brief (how many students there are, if any have a specific learning need, etc.).

Below are a few pointers on how best to prepare for a school teacher interview lesson observation:

Check the details

Read the interview confirmation email you will have received from your recruitment consultant. The information included here should state which lesson subject the school would like to see you teach (Literacy, Maths, Phonics, P.E.).

Decide on a topic to teach

Within the subject, decide on an area of the curriculum to teach. For example, for Maths – place value, Literacy – writing descriptively, P.E. – Throwing and Catching etc. Think about what you want the children to know at the end of the lesson and the steps that they will need to take to get there. This will become your Learning Objective and Success Criteria.

 

For example:

Learning Objective:

  • I can write a descriptive paragraph

Success Criteria:

  • I can use adjective phrases
  • I can include powerful verbs
  • I can include supporting details

 

Plan your lesson timings

Observed lessons can be quite short, especially at primary level (20 – 40 minutes). Here, the challenge is demonstrating learning progress within the time constraints. To do this, look at the National Curriculum to ensure that your lesson covers objectives for the year group in question. You could also do a google search for ‘age-related expectations‘ for your year group and subject. This is important to ensure that you are pitching at the right level if you are being observed teaching a year group you are less experienced with.

Decide on your lesson activities

Think about the activities that the children will complete during the lesson and the ways that these activities can be differentiated so that all children can access the learning and make good progress. Consider different learning styles that children in this class may have i.e. visual, kinaesthetic, audio, sensory etc. when planning these activities.

Finalise your lesson plan or lesson slides

Write your lesson plan or lesson PowerPoint. Many schools these days don’t request to see a lesson plan (although check this with your consultant!) However, at the very least you’ll want to make sure your lesson slides are clear and easy to follow. Don’t rush this with the idea that you can ‘wing’ it on the day!

Plan for differentiation

You should think about how you would use adult support in the classroom, the questions you will ask to check children’s understanding, and the ways in which you will ensure all ability groups progress in their learning.

It is a good idea to ‘walk the lesson through’ as much as possible in advance so that you are confident with your lesson and clear about how you will deliver it.

Think about which group you would like to work with (lower, middle, higher). Remember that even though you are working with one particular group, you must also keep an eye on other groups to ensure they are making progress with their learning.

Maximise engagement with a lesson ‘hook’

Consider how you will introduce your lesson in order to maximise the children’s engagement. Is there a learning ‘hook’ that you could use to help? E.g. a book, a puppet, a game or a letter from a famous author.

Assess progress throughout the lesson

Think about how you will assess children’s learning at the Plenary stage of the lesson. This may be at the end or throughout via a mini-quiz or a quick show of thumbs for a true/false statement. These ‘assessment for learning’ techniques should give you a quick overview of who in the room has grasped the learning objective.

 

What teacher interview questions are likely to be asked?

Generally, we believe school leaders will be interested in four key areas. These include:

  • What teaching skills will you bring which will benefit the school?
  • What in your experience makes you suitable for this role?
  • What motivates you to teach at this school in particular?
  • How strong is your understanding of safeguarding young people?

They can ask you numerous questions, but most will focus on these four areas to find out more about you. Therefore, preparing answers, success stories that highlight your qualities across these questions is an excellent starting point for interview preparation.

Ultimately, the best way to prepare for teacher interviews is through practice or by speaking with another experienced interviewer. At Prospero, our training and development team offer fantastic 1:1 teacher interview questions and advice to anyone interviewing for roles in education. You will also be provided with role-specific guides and a chance to run through practice interview questions over the phone before your interview.

Importantly, if you have an observed lesson as part of the interview it is very likely they will want to talk to you about how it went. What learning did you see? Which groups in the room met the LO, and who would benefit from extra support in future lessons? Where would you take their learning across a sequence of lessons?

All you need to do is register and apply for a role through Prospero teaching and we’ll get in touch!

 

How long after an interview should you hear back?

This will vary from school to school, and will depend on the start dates for the role. Your consultant will be your first port of call for any news – they will be in regular contact with the school and will speak to you about any offers made. However, a decision will normally be made within a few days.

Thank you for reading our advice on impressing during teacher interview questions or on a trial day.

Remember that when working with Prospero Teaching, you have access to our Training & Development Team (all qualified teachers with experience as interviewers) for any advice needed.  If you would like feedback on your lesson plan, please feel free to send it to us via your consultant. They will always be in touch before the interview to go over a few details and answer any questions.

Check out our current vacancies if you’re looking for primary supply teacher jobs or intervention teacher jobs.

If you’d like to have a chat with a friendly consultant, then register your interest and we’ll be in touch!

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