Thursday, 31 January 2013

Primary Teaching Interview

Yesterday I had an interview for the School Direct Scheme. As I am already trained in FE, I applied for the salaried version. I applied for the scheme through the University of Northamptonshire, but the lead school is in Leicester.

On the day the interview had three parts.

1) A 5 minute lesson to the rest of the group aimed at a year 3 class which comes from a topic linked to either English, maths or science.
2) A 5 minute justification of the lesson and explaining how you would teach the topic in a school
3) A one-to-one interview with a teacher from the course, and a member of staff from the lead school.

I taught a 5 minute lesson looking at English. From researching English for year 3 pupils, I found they base a lot of their learning around stories. I decided to read a couple of pages from a book, and have the group to act out the story as I read. Not only is this a good idea for Year 3, it also gave me the opportunity to make adults look silly. Always a bonus!

I was a bit worried because everyone else brought session plans and how things linked to their scheme of work. Although this was great, and showed commitment, I explained that I wanted to keep it simple. I think they respected this, rather than me throwing pieces of paper at them. I don't think it was actually that necessary to bring all those items. However, I guess if you haven't got teaching experience, it would show that you understood what was expected.

I then explained how I would teach English through stories, choose a book based on the interests of my class, and also work in literacy skills. I also explained that I would use a range of techniques- videos, images, books, video cameras and comics to encourage children to explore story writing. I talked about how important I felt English was as a subject.

In the one-to-one interview I was asked about why I wanted to be a teacher and what I knew about educational issues. I talked about issues that affected my students, but also a few primary issues too.

The feedback: I haven't heard from them, but the teacher for the course was very honest with me in the one-to-one interview. He said I clearly have a lot of great experience, that I am hardworking and driven and that I he thought my presentation and mini-lesson were very good.  The only thing he was worried about was that I have a 2:2 from University. This is something I don't think affects my teaching, and is so frustrating as I was 1 mark from a 2:1 and appeal the decision at the time. However, they refused to remark my work.

However, there is still hope. He said if there are exceptional candidates, there is a possibility of joining the scheme with a 2:2. He said I would get onto the non-salaried scheme but I said I wasn't prepared to do that and that I had worked hard to gain experience and couldn't pay for it off my own back. I think he also respected this.

So anyway, I was told I will get through to the second round, but it seems if I don't, it's purely down to my degree mark. It is upsetting as a 2:1 or 2:2 does not affect an ability to teach, and he seemed equally frustrated by this. If I do get through, and I am excellent in the second interview, they may well decide to take me on. I'll just have to work hard and do my best!

Anyway, if I don't get onto the course, although I will be disappointed as I would love to teach primary, there are other teaching positions I can think of doing. I'd love to teach Special Needs students next year, and if I gained a position doing that, I would be still be happy. We will just have to see what my future holds!

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