Are you gearing up for a primary teacher job interview? It’s normal to feel nervous by the prospect of being put on the spot, but we’re here to help. In this article, we have curated the top 10 questions that are commonly asked during primary teacher interviews, so you can plan and prepare.
Whether you are a fresh ECT/NQT graduate or an experienced educator looking for a new opportunity, nailing your interview is crucial to landing your dream job in the primary education sector. Read on to discover what commonly asked questions may be asked so you boost your confidence and impress your interviewers!
Why should I prepare for questions?
Interviewers will be looking for key signs that you are knowledgeable and skilled and can follow the Teachers’ Standards set out by the government. Having well-thought-out answers that cover key teaching topics will show that not only you are skilled in a teaching job interview, but show your organisational and professional skills too.
First impressions count, so arrive with your notes and portfolio of work well organised, and make sure you look professional too. Check this video out to understand more about first impressions in a school.
Topics for questions in a primary teaching interview include:
- Teaching methods and strategies
- Classroom management and discipline
- Lesson planning and curriculum development
- Assessment and evaluation techniques
Teaching methods and strategies
The first (and most obvious) type of questions to prep for are about your teaching methods and strategies, ensuring you can support young minds and follow the national curriculum. This is where your portfolio will come in handy, as you can evidence the points you make with what you learnt during your ECT/NQT placements, or what you have done in previous primary teacher roles.
1. Can you describe the teaching methods and strategies you commonly use in the classroom?
This first question will help the interviewer establish what type of teacher you are and your teaching styles, and this is where you can impress them with your knowledge of lesson structures! Discuss tactics such as scaffolding and guided practice and be sure to use PEE (point, evidence, explain) to structure your answers.
2. How do you engage students in active learning?
A good teacher will be able to teach the curriculum; a great teacher will have students engaged and even excited to take part in learning. Ensure you discuss any classroom games or activities and engaging lesson plans, using your portfolio to back up your points.
Classroom management and discipline
One of the key responsibilities of a primary teacher is to maintain a positive and respectful classroom environment. Effective classroom management and discipline strategies play a vital role in creating an environment conducive to learning and growth. Here are some questions that may crop up regarding classroom management and discipline:
3. How do you establish a positive and respectful classroom environment?
A strong foundation of mutual respect is crucial for a successful classroom environment. Interviewers will be looking for candidates who prioritise building positive relationships with their students and who foster a sense of belonging. Here, you should demonstrate the ability to set clear expectations, establish consistent routines, and enforce fair consequences when needed.
4. How do you handle behavioural issues and promote discipline among students?
Behavioural issues can arise in any classroom, and a teacher must know how to address them effectively. Here, you should be able to discuss your strategies for praising positive behaviour and resolving conflicts or harmful behaviour if necessary. If you can, evidence implementing behaviour management plans, offering incentives for good behaviour, and using positive reinforcement techniques.
5. Can you share an example of a challenging classroom management situation you faced and how you resolved it?
This question provides insight into your problem-solving skills and ability to handle difficult situations. Interviewers will be looking for specific examples; this is when you show how you analysed the situation, identified the root cause of the challenge, and implemented an effective solution. You should be able to show what you learned from the challenging experience.
Lesson planning and curriculum development
Lesson planning and curriculum development play a crucial role in a primary teacher's progress. Teachers need to ensure that their lessons align with curriculum goals and cater to the diverse needs of their students. In this section, we will explore some important questions related to lesson planning and curriculum development that you may encounter in a primary teacher interview.
6. How do you plan and organise your lessons to meet curriculum goals?
Skilful lesson planning is essential to ensure that students receive a well-rounded education. A great primary teacher will explain how they analyse curriculum objectives and use them to create engaging and effective lesson plans. You should discuss utilising various resources from textbooks to online videos to align their lessons with curriculum goals. Again, your portfolio will be your secret weapon, bring some lesson plans with you that you are proud of, or that really stand out in the best way.
7. How do you differentiate instruction to accommodate diverse learners?
Recognising and addressing the diverse learning needs of students is crucial for a primary teacher. In this question, you should explain how you modify your lessons to ensure all students can access the content. This may include using visual aids, providing additional support for struggling learners, and challenging advanced students with enrichment activities. Emphasise the importance of creating an inclusive environment, and as always… bring evidence!
8. Can you provide an example of how you incorporate cross-curricular themes into your lesson plans?
Integrating cross-curricular themes into lesson plans helps students make meaningful connections between different subjects. Here, you can give an example of how you have incorporated topics such as sustainability or cultural diversity into lessons. You should highlight how this approach enhances students' understanding and fosters a holistic approach to learning.
Assessment and evaluation techniques
To ensure effective teaching and student growth, primary teachers must be skilled in assessing and evaluating their students' learning progress. By utilising various assessment techniques and analysing the resulting data, teachers can tailor their teaching strategies and interventions to meet the specific needs of their students.
9. How do you assess students' learning and progress?
Assessing students' learning and progress is a crucial aspect of the teaching process. As a primary teacher, you should employ a variety of assessment methods to gain a comprehensive understanding of students' knowledge and skills. Some methods include:
- Observations during class activities and discussions.
- Formative assessments, such as quizzes, exit tickets, and short assignments, to monitor ongoing progress.
- Summative assessments, such as tests and projects, to evaluate the overall learning outcomes.
- Portfolios, where students can showcase their work and reflect on their own progress.
If you have evidence of any of these, fantastic! Bring this with you to back up your points.
10. How do you use assessment data to inform your teaching strategies and interventions?
The data obtained from assessments is vital in guiding teaching strategies and interventions. Here, the interviewer will be looking for examples of when you used data to address specific needs and then differentiated your teaching to suit. For example, if a significant number of students struggle with a concept, you would have adapted your lesson plans to provide additional support and practice tricky topics. Conversely, if students demonstrate mastery in a certain area, you will have adjusted your plan to offer more challenging activities to further enhance their learning.
These questions and topics are commonly seen in primary teacher interviews; however, this isn’t an exhaustive list. If you’re looking to brush up on your teaching CPD ahead of an interview, check out our free CPD YouTube channel My-Progression.