The UK is seeing more and more teachers coming over from Australia and Canada because a lot of experts will tell you that there’s never been a better time do so.
There are many benefits to teaching in the UK, with many teachers who come from abroad choosing to stay for a lot longer than they initially expected. If you choose to teach in the UK, you will be constantly working with children and other teachers of a lot of different cultures and languages, making it an educational experience even for the teachers. And there’s also the appeal of teaching in London, which some would consider one of the best cities on Earth for its culture, iconic landmarks and array of the best bars and restaurants.
Once you’ve gained all of your qualifications and your cover letter and resume have been sent, all that’s left between you and the teaching job of your dreams is the dreaded interview. And as with every interview, preparation is key.
If you are considering working in the diverse and multi-cultural nation, here are some tips for you to nail the interview:
Display the skills they are looking for
There are traits that your interviewer will be looking for. Not only will they want you to demonstrate that you are an excellent teacher, but they will also be looking for a teacher who can articulate their beliefs. Your interviewer will have seen many candidates and will be able to spot an unprepared teacher almost straight away. You must be ready to confidently talk about every aspect of the profession, from your background to your philosophies.
It’s important to have the right body language and to project confidence – but be sure not to come across as cocky. Give your interviewer a warm smile and a firm handshake when you enter the room. Once you’ve been asked to take a seat, don’t slouch and place your hands in a comfortable position on the desk. A sense of humour will also help win the interviewer over, but make sure it’s clean and not too forced.
Have your portfolio in-hand with copies of your qualifications and resume. Although you probably won’t be asked for them and you will have already sent them with your application, it’ll show that you’re prepared. You can also use it as a tool to back up your answers.
The skills you will have to demonstrate are your social skills, ability to listen and articulate answers, classroom management skills, educational philosophies and commitment to teaching in the UK.
Have your answers ready
You’ll find in a lot of teaching interviews that the same generic questions will be asked every time, so it’s important you know which questions to look out for so that you can prepare your answers. This way, you’ll come across as knowledgeable and confident to your potential employer.
Almost always, the first question will be: “Tell us about yourself.” This is a standard question and one that you should be comfortable answering. Talk about how you first realised you wanted to be a teacher, your past experiences and why you want nothing more than to become a teacher in the UK. Keep your answer brief or the interviewer may lose interest.
You’ll also be asked about how you will discipline students. Express that you are firm, but will not yell excessively. Explain that you will follow the school’s discipline guidelines. It can also work in your favour if you tell the interviewer that you don’t foresee many behavioural problems, because your teaching style is engaging and interesting. And you can deal with those pupils who do overstep the line, without always sending the problematic student straight to the headmaster or headmistress’s office. It’s only severe problems that should require the intervention of your superior.
Your ability to communicate with parents will also be questioned, especially if you are applying for a job in a high school. It will work in your favour if you talk about the open-door policy you believe in, so that parents know that they can come to you with concerns at any time. You may also consider sending weekly or monthly newsletters to parents.
You should always project positivity and try to avoid any hesitation. Don’t say “I don’t know” to any of the questions. If you are not sure of the answer, use your knowledge and experience to answer it to the best of your ability.
At the end of the interview, you’ll be asked if you have any questions. Never turn down the chance to ask some questions. Prepare some before you arrive and ask as many as you want. This will show the interviewer that you’re keen and it can help you stand out from the other candidates.