Schools Direct interview - teaching activity - help!

(51 Posts)

I have an interview for a primary schools direct (salaried) place next week. The first day is all observations etc, but the 2nd day we're asked to teach a 20 min session on "any area of the curriculum" to year 4's.

Aargh! I know the school, but haven't taught before. Where do I start? Any areas to aim for/avoid? As I know what the school is working on this term, should I go with that or avoid completely?

Thanks in advance, I'm starting to feel a bit headless chicken already...

EvilTwins Mon 03-Feb-14 17:46:01

Sorry to be harsh, but why are you applying for this if you have no idea what to do one week before the interview, and have to ask on an internet forum?

HamletsSister Mon 03-Feb-14 17:47:12

What are your strengths? Music? Drama? Sport? Maths?

rollonthesummer Mon 03-Feb-14 17:50:05

I agree with Evil Twins-this is rather scary. Is this a teaching course, I have never heard of schools direct; is it like Teach First?

Is this the new wave of Outstanding graduates that will become super teachers that will show all us work shy has-beens how it's done?

Best they do their own planning, really. If they're so good.

Schools Direct is the new GTP, about to enter its third year of existence. You spend 4 days a week in the classroom (not in charge of a class, but sort of as a TA at first and then gradually with increased teaching responsibilities) and then 1 day a week in college.

I'm normally pretty clued up, and regularly work with children on both 1:1 and running training sessions (student voice/children's enterprise type things), so I'm not really sure why this is worrying me - but I think that because the school know me well already, I feel under extra pressure to produce something fabulous.

I was just asking on here as it's not really suitable that I ask people who I already know at the school. And as I haven't started teaching yet, asking for a bit of advice about a plan isn't so terrible, I thought...

Hamlet, my strengths are english/art/drama/history, I know the children studied the plague last term and are doing collections this term (that's me outed), so also not sure if I should be going with that or doing something totally different. Other candidates who don't know the school may not know what they're learning about, so not sure if that would be a bit of a bad move?

rollonthesummer Mon 03-Feb-14 18:02:05

Surely you shouldn't be planning and teaching, if you haven't been shown how to plan and teach yet?

SweepTheHalls England Mon 03-Feb-14 18:02:50

Stop being so mean you lot! Schools direct is more like SCITT, however year 4 planning I have no idea smile

HamletsSister Mon 03-Feb-14 18:04:14

A drama lesson is always going to look more exciting and dynamic than a sitting at the desk lesson. Perhaps some role play?

I'm assuming that as it's 20 minutes and 10 children they think we can't do too much damage?!

I know that there will be some things I need to def include like having a clear learning objective, making sure there's differentiation etc.
I thought that about drama looking interesting, but wondered if it might be seen as a cop out as I'm not trying to get them to write anything down?!

EvilTwins Mon 03-Feb-14 18:12:35

Don't do drama unless you are a specialist. It's much harder to control. Speaking as a drama teacher.

An ex student of mine, who often babysits for me, has a Teach First interview next week. She's sent me her plan to have a look over. Surely you should have some idea of what you want to do.

I got the email an hour ago that said there was a teaching session - until then I thought it was all interviews (with staff and children) and a presentation, so although I have no doubt I'll come up with something, I was just looking for a few pointers around stuff to aim for/avoid, and whether it should be something that is in line with what the school is already doing.

MothratheMighty Mon 03-Feb-14 18:25:05

Ask on the TES forums too.

BrandNewIggi Mon 03-Feb-14 19:15:04

I don't think what you teach will matter as much as how you do it. So, focus on structure, and rapport/interaction with the pupils. Start with something that relates to them - questioning etc - rather than by saying what you're going to do. Teach them something very short, and then ask them to do something with it - answer a question, or draw a picture, or act it out. You won't have time to get them to do it for the class though (20 mins is a tiny amount of time.) Praise them.
(Obviously your theme needs to something relevant to the curriculum which presumably you can access online).

SaltaKatten Mon 03-Feb-14 23:10:05

Try to show progress (tricky in such a short time, but maybe have a chat with their teacher in advance). Use your starter to show that they can't do something, teach it, practise, then show in your plenary that they can now do it.

Thank you all. Y4 is the only age group we're not observing on the first day, so I think we have to go in 'blind' as it were...

I was thinking (now that I've had time to think!) of maybe doing something around contrasting adjectives, and looking at a couple of really old tomes vs some new picture books, getting the children to describe them and then write a paragraph as if they're one of the books... tenuous link to their term's theme (collections) and get's the key skills in as it's English... could I do this without being massively naff? I was thinking then that differentiation could include the length of what they write/the words they use, having some "aim high" words up etc...

Phineyj Tue 04-Feb-14 20:14:52

If your literacy is strong, do something that showcases that, as it's an Ofsted priority.

I think people are being a bit odd here - why would you know exactly what to plan and teach when you are not yet on a training course? I was given a specific topic for my demo lesson.

Littlefish Tue 04-Feb-14 20:18:31

I'm sorry, but I don't think your idea of "old tomes -vs- new books" will grab the children, plus writing as though they are one of the books is a bit strange if I'm honest.

rollonthesummer Tue 04-Feb-14 20:26:58

I think you will lose them completely with that idea, sorry.

SaltaKatten Tue 04-Feb-14 21:39:19

Try to find something more exciting to describe, your higher attainers could do the contrasting description, core, write a description of one of the objects
Be careful to not just differentiate in terms of outcome.

alongwayfromharrogate Tue 04-Feb-14 21:43:50

It's a bit depressing to read some not-very-supportive replies here. Nothing to be gained by being unpleasant.

School Direct is the scheme that has replaced GTP. They are now recruiting for the 3rd annual intake. If she had said she had an interview for PGCE would people have been so sneery?

OP - I teach Year 4 and I agree you will lose them with the idea you suggest, sorry.

Keep it tight and simple. Base it around a short text that you can share with them. Alternatively, give them some sort of visual or auditory stimulus (check out this site for free sound effects) and do some sort of shared descriptive writing - then ask them to attempt their own descriptive sentences on whiteboards. For more able children, ask them to think about varied ways to open their sentences as well as the adjectives.

Above all, they're looking for aptitude, imagination, rapport with children, plus some evidence that you've researched something about what the Y4 objectives would be.

Good luck!

rollonthesummer Tue 04-Feb-14 22:20:47

Sorry, it wasn't really the OP's fault. I'm just fed up of hearing that teaching is going to be sorted out by superb hot shot 'high quality graduates'. When these same high quality graduates come asking for ideas for teaching a 20 minute lesson from us old has-beens who need shaking up, I feel somewhat gloomy.

Apologies, OP. Good luck with the career...

Hulababy Tue 04-Feb-14 22:28:50

I'd try and get them doing stuff rather than writing stuff in such a short timescale.

Do you have some lesson plan templates that you could use?
Does the school use any specific planning tools at all, such as TASC wheels, etc you could implement?

Thank you all for your replies.

Just to confirm - I have huge respect for the teaching profession, and am entirely entering this to learn. (and teach, obviously, but the children...). the School Direct (s) route you have to have been in an actual job for at least 3 years to apply, so it's definitely not aimed at new graduates. I really appreciate the time you have taken to reply to me, as planning a lesson is something I've never done before!

Lesson plans - I know the school scrapped weekly plans as they found them an unnecessary strain on staff, and instead do daily short plans and a (half)term overview. The more experienced staff are encouraged to plan however suits them best, but I'm not sure on the templates recommended for trainees/NQT's - I will try and find out though!

Comments taken on board about the 'writing as a book' being weird - I did it before with the story museum, where you wrote a story/poem about being a random 'found' object, but I guess it is rather random!

Comments also taken on board about the books etc not being the most engaging. Perhaps if I looked at some interesting objects instead, and will also check out the sound thing (thank you!) although we're teaching in a hall with 3 other mini lessons going on at the same time, so will need to make sure it's easy to hear!

Dwinhofficoffi Wed 05-Feb-14 17:34:00

An interesting object sounds better than first idea but how would you introduce it?
Will it keep the children engaged?
I don't fully understand your lesson idea sorry.
I am an LSA in a school (currently doing my degree).

Dwinhofficoffi Wed 05-Feb-14 17:37:39

As in I fount it hard to follow.

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