If you’re a teacher who’s about to be interviewed for a new job by a school council or other group of students it can be daunting to prepare for. Below is a list of questions that school councils we’ve worked with have asked and some general advice.
- Questions the school council might ask you
- What the school council might be looking for
- General advice for interviews with a school council
Questions the school council might ask you
- What activities should we have in our school and why?
- How would you make our school better?
- What would you do if there was a pupil who is angry with his/her friend?
- How do you help children have fun?
- What would someone have to do to get sent home?
- What does bravery mean to you?
- Why do you like teaching?
- What did you enjoy most when you were at school?
- What’s the best lesson you ever taught?
- If you weren’t a teacher, what would you be doing?
- Who do you most admire?
- How would describe your teaching style?
- What’s your favourite subject (other than the one you teach)?
- What do you think about homework?
What the school council might be looking for
A teacher who:
- Is fair (particularly in terms of being even-handed)
- Runs a classroom in such a way that everyone can learn
- Is enthusiastic about her/his subject/teaching
- Likes young people
- Will challenge them
- Will challenge bullying
- Has a sense of humour
- Is a problem-solver
- Is an expert
- Is a professional
- Is caring
- Is ‘strict in a polite way’ (i.e. doesn’t scream and shout to create discipline)
- Is fun (i.e. likes to have fun and help others have fun)
- Can make learning fun
- Acts the same with pupils and teachers
General advice for interviews with a school council
- Talk to the students – If there’s an adult in the room (there should be) remember that she/he is just there to support the students, your interview is with the students, so direct your answers to them.
- Ask them questions – ‘How does your school council involve the whole school?’ ‘‘Does that happen in your school?’; ‘What do you think needs changing?’. This shows that you would listen to them if you came to the school. It’s also a great way for you to find out more about the school. You can even use their answers in your interview with the adult interview panel: ‘When I was talking to your school council, they said that …, which I would try to address by …’
- Use concrete examples – ‘In my current school …’; ‘When I was at school …, so now I …’
- Relax – Difficult in an interview, but you’re in front of young people all the time, right? The students might not be as understanding of your tension as adults, never having been in a job interview, but remember these students just offer a recommendation to the full interview panel, they don’t make the decision.
- Be yourself – The school council will be frustrated if they think you’re trying to spin them a line. They want to respect you and get on with you: none of you will be able to tell if that can happen if you’re not being yourself. If you do get on with them then great, if not, maybe it’s not the school you want to be at anyway.
- Be honest – This will be respected far more than you making something up on the spot.
- Take time to think – Just as in any interview, they’re looking for a considered answer, not a quick one. As students they appreciate time to think about their answers: if you show that you understand that and sympathise, they’ll warm to you.
Remember to check out the Smart School Council model. It will help you to think of some questions that you could ask the pupils on how to widen engagement to the whole school.