Friday, 9 March 2012

interview - by Theo

On Tuesday I went for my first interview, at a school I'd barely heard of before applying. To be honest I'd actually be holding out for a job at my placement school, but they still hadn't gotten around to advertising the post, so I thought I'd apply anyway, for the practice.

I headed up to the school, arriving nice and early, clutching a bag bulging with lesson plans and documents, plus my computer - I was hoping to have some spare time to do some planning for my Year 8s the next day. First impressions of the school were good - the building was attractive and modern and the students were smart. Appearance wise that is - ties actually being worn closer to the neck than the waist, a rarity where I am at the moment. I began to like the place. However, once I met the other candidates, all thoughts of me getting the job vanished: I was the only student - the others were already qualified - while one was working at the school in another role and a second was second-in-department up North and looking to move back to Bristol. In a rapidly expanding school needing a teacher who could hit the ground running, I figured I stood no chance. Still, it would be good practice and at least I'd get some feedback on my lesson.

I got to teach first. Year 9, top set, with a wide brief of teaching 'engaging and descriptive writing'. I also had to teach to OFSTED's 'good' standard ensuring all students progressed. Gulp! I'd decide we would use onomatopoeia to create either cacophony or euphony; I was pretty certain nobody else would have done anything similar with them recently. When I met the class I realised this was definitely true: what was I thinking! However, despite a class full of faces that screamed 'how is this relevant to me?', everyone did in fact, progressed. So at least I wasn't going home at break-time. Phew!

Next I had a tour from two charming Year 11 students who happily admitted that they found English dull and irrelevant, an impression I also got from the five student panellist who interviewed me after my tour. They quizzed me about how I might make lessons fun - I resisted responding with 'fun for whom?'

A marking task followed - grading two GCSE coursework pieces against the assessment criteria and leaving feedback on how to improve. The standard was pretty high: the students may not enjoy English, but they do ok! So all that was left was the big interview....

I had about an hour off, during which time I did actually manage to get some lesson planning done, before I was called in. I was lucky to be the first called through, and the 45 minutes whizzed by. I felt I'd done OK, though inevitably I immediately thought of the about 10 better answers I could have given as I drove home. I'd also wished I'd had something more impressive to say than "'Heartstone' by CJ Samson" when they asked what book I was reading. Still, at least they knew I was honest. Anyway, I was done by 2pm, a bonus as it meant I was back in time to take Rosie to the park: it was a beautiful sunny day.

They said they would call everyone, regardless of whether they had been successful or not, the following day - they had four more interviewees to see - so I was expecting a call. Right in the middle of Year 8 parents' evening.

I got it....


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