Posts Tagged ‘employment’

The Most Common Questions Teachers Are Asked at Job Interviews

January 29, 2014

job interview

I stumbled on a brilliant article in the Guardian where Head Teachers share the questions they regularly ask at job interviews and the rationale behind their questions.

I hope this article comes in handy next time you interview for a new teaching position:

If I walked into your classroom during an outstanding lesson, what would I see and hear?

“I’d like to hear about: animated discussions, students clearly making progress as evidenced in oral and written contributions. High quality visual displays of students’ work showing progress. High levels of engagement. Behaviour that supports learning.”

Helen Anthony, head teacher, Fortismere school

“After hearing a candidate’s response I try to get them to talk about their experiences in the classroom. I try to get a sense of the impact that they have had on pupils’ achievement.”

Tim Browse, head teacher, Hillcrest primary school

• Why do we teach x in schools?

“This question really throws people. If it is maths or English they sometimes look back at you as if you are mad. They assume it is obvious – a very dangerous assumption – and then completely fail to justify the subject’s existence.

“Whatever the subject, I expect to hear things like: to improve skills and independent learning; to encourage team work; to gain a qualification; for enjoyment (very important, rarely mentioned); to enhance other subjects; to develop literacy, numeracy and ICT skills; to improve career prospects; self discipline; memory development; to encourage life-long learning in that subject. The list goes on…”

John Kendall, head teacher, Risca community comprehensive school

• Can you tell me about a successful behaviour management strategy you have used in the past that helped engage a pupil or group of pupils?

“This allows candidates to give a theoretical answer – one that anyone who swotted up could give you – balanced with a personal reflection that shows how effective they are.”

Tim Browse, head teacher, Hillcrest primary school

• If you overheard some colleagues talking about you, what would they say?

“This is one of my favourite questions (it’s based on a question my National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) coach used to ask me) because it gets candidates to think about their contribution to the school organisation and their team spirit. If I’m interviewing for a senior leader I would follow this up with: what would you want them to say about you in three years time? This way I can get a sense of where they want to develop as leaders.”

Tim Browse, head teacher, Hillcrest primary school

• Why do you want to work in special education?

“We’re looking to see that the person genuinely recognises that we’re in the business of education as opposed to simply caring for the children (surprisingly, some applicants don’t really see it that way).”

Sean O’Sullivan, head teacher, Frank Wise school

• Why do you want to work in this school?

“We want to see clear indications that candidates have done background work about our school and can talk about why the way we work appeals to them. We’d always want candidates to have visited the school so they should be able to flesh this out with specific examples of what they thought based on their visit.”

Sean O’Sullivan, head teacher, Frank Wise school

• A question that is specific to the candidate’s letter of application

“A candidate may have made a grand statement in their letter, but not gone into details about ‘how’ or the impact it had.”

Tim Browse, head teacher, Hillcrest primary school

• What are the key qualities and skills that students look for in teachers?

“Liking young people. Fairness. Consistency. Sense of humour. Passion for their subject. Good at explaining new concepts/ideas. Able to make the topic or subject relevant. Able to make everyone feel comfortable and confident about contributing.”

Helen Anthony, head teacher, Fortismere school

• Evaluate your lesson

“Teaching a one-off lesson in an unfamiliar school with students you have never met before is a difficult task, but a useful one for candidates and those making the appointment. The evaluation of the lesson by the candidate is crucial. I need to see someone who can be self-critical but who also recognises when things go well. Someone who makes suggestions as to how the lesson may have gone better, what they would do differently with hindsight. I like to hear them talk of the individual student’s progress in the lesson, and how they would follow it up. Remembering pupils’ names is always impressive. I’d rather see an ambitious lesson that goes a bit awry than a safe boring one.”

John Kendall, head teacher, Risca community comprehensive school

• If we decided not to appoint you, what would we be missing out on?

“This is great as it enables candidates to sell themselves and really tell us what they are about.”

Brett Dye, head teacher, Parc Eglos school

Click on the link to read The Profession You Choose When You Don’t Want to Get Fired

Click on the link to read The School They Dub the “Worst Primary School in the World”

Click on the link to read Education New Year’s Resolutions 2014

Click on the link to read Eight Fundamentals that Every Student Deserves

Click on the link to read 21 Reasons to Become a Teacher

Encouraging a Nation of Cheats

December 11, 2011

I am very much opposed to cheating in every form. Teachers are entrusted with the responsibility of imparting the lessons of integrity and honesty. It is absolutely vital that they are practising what they preach.

is right when she argues that the current narrow, test dominated view of education is bringing about dishonest behaviour. This further encourages students to continue the trend of dishonesty. This also prevents students from developing skills in persistence and motivation:

This week, the heads of the four main examination boards and officials from Ofqual, the exam regulator, are in for a testing time. They will be required to explain to MPs why some of their profession have indulged in behaviour that prompted Michael Gove, the education secretary, to call the examination system “discredited”.

The revelations of the past week have only reinforced a profound unease on the part of many that while we may be educating our children, are they actually learning anything useful (except, perhaps, that cheating definitely does not come cheap)? Useful, that is, not just for their future employment prospects, but also to equip them to become rounded human beings who desist from giving up the first time they taste failure or hit a hump on the bumpy road to maturity ?

As Mick Waters, a former director of the government’s exam regulator says: “We need to strip back to the bone and decide what education is for. There are children who learn paragraphs all day, every day, in year 11, just so they can write them one day in June.”

Sadly, stagnant teaching methods anchored in the 19th century are not in the dock this week. Instead, MPs want to learn more about examiners’ “tip offs” to teachers on which questions might or might not figure in exams; the perennial issue of dumbing down of standards and grade inflation and the extent to which the pressure of league tables on headmasters is causing them to bend the rules in ways that Mr Chips could never have envisioned.

Qualifications matter, but our neglect of other facets of learning makes us look moribund for a modern society. Better than obsessing about teaching to the test, why aren’t we probing what stokes motivation? Ask any teacher and he or she will tell you a dozen stories of bright pupils who can’t or won’t stick at it; stymied by their own lack of grit. Given that we have thousands of disengaged young people mouldering in school, why are we not more curious about the positive deviants? Those boys and girls, some with low IQs, and against all the odds, who power ahead of their brighter peers for the simple reason that they refuse to give up?

Why aren’t we telling teenagers, captive in the classroom, an alternative story? Why isn’t there a stronger challenge to a child’s belief that they have been labelled “thick” – by implication, at an early age by a well-intentioned graduate teacher, often from a distinctly different background? And to make them realise that judgment may be far from true and certainly shouldn’t mould a lifetime’s choices?

The rest of her article is well worth reading. She has nailed a major issue which our dysfunctional system has to take more seriously. After all, a system that revolves around a test can be exploited.

A system that revolves around quality education outcomes, engaging lessons, a focus on questions, inquiry and everyday, real life experiences can not be exploited so readily.

 


%d bloggers like this: