Posts Tagged ‘Unemployment’

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

California Superintendant Declines Salary

August 30, 2011

Fresno School Superintendent Larry Powell is a reminder of what education should be about – selflessness and dedication.

I recall a survey conducted back in the US in 1998/99 that found that teachers spent an average of $448 of their own money on instructional materials and school supplies:

The survey conducted last summer by the National School Supply and Equipment Association — a trade group representing the school supply industry — found that teachers pay for 77 percent of the school supplies needed in their classrooms. The rest comes from the school, parent-teacher groups and other school funds.

Teacher expenditure would be even higher nowadays.  But when it comes to selflessness nothing can top the outstanding act of generosity and conviction by Larry Powell:

Fresno School Superintendent Larry Powell has agreed to give up $800,000 in salary that he would have earned over three years. Until his term expires in 2015, Powell will run 325 schools and 35 school districts with 195,000 students, all for less than what a starting California teacher earns.

“How much do we need to keep accumulating?” asks Powell, 63. “There’s no reason for me to keep stockpiling money.”

Powell’s generosity is more than just a gesture in a region with some of the nation’s highest rates of unemployment. As he prepares for retirement, he wants to ensure that his pet projects survive California budget cuts. And the man who started his career as a high school civics teacher, who has made anti-bullying his mission, hopes that his act of generosity will help restore faith in the government he once taught students to respect.

“A part of me has chafed at what they did in Bell,” Powell said, recalling the corrupt Southern California city officials who secretly boosted their salaries by hundreds of thousands of dollars. “It’s hard to believe that someone in the public trust would do that to the public. My wife and I asked ourselves, ‘What can we do that might restore confidence in government?’ “

Powell’s answer? Ask his board to allow him to return $288,241 in salary and benefits for the next 3 1/2 years of his term. He technically retired, then agreed to be hired back to work for $31,000 a year — $10,000 less than a first-year teacher — and with no benefits.

The media is riddled with terrible stories of teachers abusing their position and acting without integrity, it is so good to see a more positive story doing the rounds.

Thank you Mr. Powell for putting your convictions before your purse and your students before anything else.


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