I didn't submit my application until the very last minute, and I mean that quite literally! It was less than one hour to the submission deadline when I finally hit 'submit'. I was 100% certain this was what I wanted to do (I hadn't repeated my Irish Leaving Cert just for fun!), but submitting my application made it suddenly very real. Plus I was very much putting off having to think about the interview that would follow...
I had psyched myself out reading every single thing I could find online about the interview. What questions do they ask? What level of Irish do they expect? Are they nice? What happens if I completely loose the ability to speak?
As you can probably deduce, the ground didn't swallow me up and I made it through it successfully!
So here is every bit of information and preparation tips that I used / wish I'd known at the time for my Hibernia College interview:
My interview questions
My interview preparation
Good luck with it, and if you've any questions just get in touch!
p.s Here's what I posted in a forum after my interview, a reminder that it's never gone as badly as you think!
How much notice did you get of your interview date?
I got a phone call two weeks in advance of my interview date.
How long did you spend preparing for the interview?
Around two weeks. This was stressful, so don't necessarily advise!
What did you wear?
Dress with blazer and tights. You don't need to be formal, but it is an interview and impressions are very important.
What was the interview day like?
I went up in the lift and then checked in at the reception desk. I had a few minutes of sitting in the waiting area, looking over notes, before one of my interviewers came out to call me. Immediately he was very friendly and it helped put me at ease. When I finished, I rang my mum in the lift and told her it was a disaster!
How did the interview work?
I had two male interviewers, both very friendly. They asked me which language interview I'd like to do first, I chose Irish. One lead the Irish interview, the other led the English interview. They very rarely interjected when it wasn't the interview they were leading. The whole thing lasted around 30mins.
How long did it take to find out the outcome of the interview?
I interviewed on a Thursday morning and got an email on Monday afternoon.
What was the Irish interview like?
I actually face-palmed myself after making a silly error. So I wrote myself notes immediately after the interview, thinking I'd have to re-interview...here's what I wrote about Irish!
"Don’t panic. They guide you a lot & are looking for you to do well. Questions were simple. Keep talking until they cut across you, it feels like a box ticking exercise so they will jump from topic to topic more than the flowing conversation in the LC. They will not expand on topics you bring up. Answer question, move on to the next one."
What was the English interview like?
Here's what I wrote immediately afterwards:
"A lot of questions, friendly though & occasionally the two interviewers shared a joke. Again they move on very quickly and are very much reading pre-prepared questions rather than engaging too much in conversation."
My Interview Questions
How did you get here?
Tell us about your area, what sort of things are there?
Discuss your education. Talk about primary school, secondary school, college
What was your degree in?
What is your job? What do you do at work every day?
Teacher that inspired you.
Traits of good teacher.
Why do you want to be a teacher?
What would you do if you had a lot of money?
Disadvantages in technology for young people.
What are you doing after interview / what will you do?
Education experience to date.
Work history to date & a few questions off this eg An example of dealing with difficult customer.
Describe the main difficulties in the classroom.
Describe yourself 5 adjectives.
'Teaching is about professionalism' - discuss.
Challenges of working in a team.
Why did you choose your degree?
Describe an inspirational teacher.
What are important qualities in a leader?
What are you weaknesses?
How do you manage your time?
Are you musical?
My Interview Preparation
I compiled this from every online post I could find, so it should be pretty comprehensive!
The English part in particular is overkill, when you compare it to what I was actually asked. But it's useful to have asked yourselves these questions so that your thoughts are gathered. They don't expect you to have an in depth knowledge of teaching methodologies - that's why you're applying to do the masters!
Some of the Irish headings are there because I knew them anyway from the Leaving Cert, again I don't think they're unlikely to get into politics, health service issues etc.
The welcome (name, address, age etc)
My hobbies (sport, music, reading)
Social media / technology
College / my undergrad
Irish (Repeating the Leaving Cert)
The weekend (what I did / will do)
What I'd do if I won the lotto etc.
My journey to teaching
My career / work experience
Time you took initiative
Preparation for programme
Awareness of profession
How classroom has changed since I was in school
Types of methodologies (Active learning, group work etc)
Is assessment important?
Importance of homework
Difficulties / challenges in classroom
Importance of structure / routine in classroom
Classroom management strategies (consistency, lead through example, children help establish rules)
What would my classroom look like
Important resources in classroom
How to introduce new topic
How to motivate under-performers or early finishers
Dealing with parents / fellow staff
Traits of good teacher
ICT (advantages / disadvantages)
How to build rapport with children
My ability to plan and organise work
Ability to reflect and evaluate work
Communication skills / leadership qualities
Examples of being musical, creative, interested in physical education
Wishing you the very best of luck! And once you get offered your place, be sure to come back and check out what to do before starting the PME!