Someone in a history teacher job works mainly in secondary schools, teaching pupils in Years 7 up to Year 13 (Upper Sixth form level). A history teacher may also be hired in independent schools where the teaching of history begins earlier.
The ideal candidate for a job as a history teacher combines a love of the subject with a love for teaching: as with all teaching, passion, drive, enthusiasm, flexibility and commitment are essential tools, combined with good literacy, organisational and communication skills.
History teacher interview questions.
There are many questions that could be asked at a job interview and you should be prepared to be quizzed on the latest trends in education and what their approach is to the foundation strategy - Thinking Skills - so it's a good idea to read up current news in education. Wait to be asked to sit down and remember to relax, even if the panel is made up of eight or nine people.
Avoid blurting out anything to avoid a silent pause; silence simply proves that the interviewee is considering what to say before answering, and isn't necessarily a bad thing. Take the time to provide clear, well-thought answers, make eye contact and avoid being negative or rambling.
Here are some questions you could be asked:
- Why do you want to teach history?
- Describe a successful lesson you have taught. What made it successful?
- How would you get your class interested in history?
- What do you imagine your history classroom would look like?
- Can you provide an example of a good lesson using IT to teach history?
- How would you bring history alive for students?
- A student is struggling to understand source materials that are pivotal to grasping the important elements of the period being studied. How would you help them to connect the documents with the period and see the sources in question as an important part of the wider historical context of the time?
General interview questions.
- What are your career goals as a history teacher?
- What do you know about the school?
- Why do you think you are the right person for this job?
- What do you consider to be your strengths/weaknesses?
- Are you prepared to take part in after-school activities?
An interview generally ends with the panel asking the candidate if he or she has any questions for them. It is advisable to save questions about pay, days of work and other commitments one might have until that point when the school makes its decision on who to hire; instead, use the opportunity to thank them for the opportunity to interview and to explain how you feel you could make a difference to the school, remembering to shake their hands.
How to be a good history teacher.
A good history teacher should be able to make the subject come alive, sticking to the national curriculum and the lesson plan but packaging it in such a way that the past is brought up-to-date with anything from CSI-style detective work to role-playing activities. An up-to-date understanding of new technologies and trends in history is thus important.
All history teacher candidates should remember that these days, the teaching of history is as much about the methodology of how history is collected and how students react to primary and secondary source materials, as it is about facts and figures.