Learning the drill for teaching interviews

Your Career, Your Choices. A weekly column for job-seekers By Liam Horan, Sli Nua Careers

Q: I’m a primary school teacher, fresh out of college, and getting by with subbing days here and there. I have done two interviews, and though I felt I did well in both, I was unsuccessful on both occasions. Are there any general tips for teachers? And should I speak Irish at any stage in the interview? (Mary, email )

A: Competition for teaching jobs is intense, so it is possible you did a wonderful interview, showcasing your talents and attributes. It could just be that somebody else did a better interview, or had more experience than you. All you can do in an interview is your best, and trust that one day soon an interview you do will lead to the position you are seeking.

We tell our primary school teaching clients that it is crucial to link everything you do to the ‘bottom line’ – namely to help young people gain a better education and to create a classroom and school environment where they can express themselves safely and securely.

So if you’re telling the interviewer that you’re a good team player, go the extra mile and add that “teachers must function as part of a team – only through the entire staff pulling together can we successfully carry out our job of helping young people to learn.”

If you are outlining how you’d like to get involved in training the school cross-country team, talk about how “sport contributes to a happy environment, allows young people to tap into talents they possess, and generally assists in creating the kind of atmosphere that is appropriate for learning and personal development.”

Ultimately, that’s what the Principal and Board of Management are looking for: it is important to see the whole process from their side of the interview table. We have a Key Issues form that elaborates on that, and helps you to prepare for the interview by looking at the job from the perspective of the interviewer. To get it, email [email protected] with ‘Key Issues form’ in the subject line.

Should you speak Irish? Why not? Part of your role will be to teach Irish, so what better way of showing your proficiency than by actually rolling out a cupla focal. I wouldn’t do it for too long, in case somebody on the panel hasn’t got much Irish. Prolonged use of the cupla focal might alienate them.

The value of stretching the mind

Q: Two weeks ago, a contributor wrote openly about the journey he has gone on since closing the family business. His story mirrored mine.

We have a great third-level college in my town. I have used it to take three different courses in the last few years. Some people undergo daily round trips of 80 miles to attend.

Yet, I constantly hear about half-empty courses. Night-classes in schools all around the county struggle for lack of numbers. I can’t understand it. My advice is that if you have time on your hands, use it wisely by undergoing training and education courses.

They will keep your mind active, alert you to new ideas, and allow you meet motivated and interesting people. It really annoys me that so many courses are under-subscribed. (Tony, email ).

A: Hear, hear, Tony.

Email your questions to [email protected]. Sli Nua Careers have an online service that allows you to create a superb CV from the comfort of your own desk or home. For more details, visit www.slinuacareers.com/cv

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