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Can you BELIEVE this idea that DCs should be on teacher interview panels? Seen in the w/e papers!

(31 Posts)
miljee Tue 25-Mar-08 10:10:20

Sorry, can't link! The headline was something like 'Letting the lunatics run the asylum'...But the gist is the Education minister thinks that children as young as 8 should be sitting on panels to interview prospective teachers. WHAT? Now, I have no problem with school councils with pupil involvement, I have no problem with the DCs views on appropriate discipline being taken into account when a school sets its policy (though I gather DCs are MUCH harsher!), but where are the DCs qualifications for assessing a teacher's competence to teach? Til I can be shown those, I will expect the governors and the head teacher to select who teaches MY DCs, thanks!

I should add that I'm opposed to 'parent led education' and 'patient led NHS', too!

Umlellala Tue 25-Mar-08 10:14:07

Been happening in secondary schools for years here

SueW Tue 25-Mar-08 10:16:11

My DD (now Y6) has previously been involved in showing prospective teachers round her school. Sometimes she has commented that they didn't listen to anything she said!

I asked her if she had commented on this to the head/deputy head but she said no. Hope they were just as ignorant towards the adults who were involved in recruitment.

terramum Tue 25-Mar-08 10:16:14

IMO children are the perfect people to judge if a teacher is suitable or not. Surely how they interact with children is a rather essential part of their job hmm

FAQ Tue 25-Mar-08 10:17:17

This happened at my school when they were looking for a new Director of Music (and given that it was a specialist music school you're talking about someone who runs the school along with the "head").

Christie Tue 25-Mar-08 10:34:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

miljee Tue 25-Mar-08 10:47:52

Do you not think that there is a risk of further blurring that teacher/pupil boundary? Of undermining the teacher's authority? Now, of course, the article (possibly in the Telegraph?) picked an example of a teacher disciplining a boy who was promptly told 'Don't you forget who employed you, Miss'!!! I mean! I gather prospective teachers may be asked to take a class whilst being watched by a senior teacher, and that the DCs might be asked for some feedback- no problem with that! But on THE Interview panel??

And as for 'linking in with their Careers work'- is an official, formal interview the time or place to find out whether a DC has the aptitude to be a Human Resources manager or NOT? Shouldn't that happen in classroom role play? I wouldn't want my job progression dictated in that way! (PS I'm not a teacher!).

Good and efficient job interviewing isn't easy. It's a skill. It's why the big companies go through agencies to headhunt people, to get to the core of whether that person REALLY has what it takes. It's not childs play.

FAQ Tue 25-Mar-08 10:53:12

Not at all miljee - at our school the students DID have a big say in who was picked (for the director of music post - all other teachers I think were selected by an adult only panel - but not sure we had an exceptionally low staff turnover) , but discipline and respect for the teachers was excellent throughout the entire school.

sonta Tue 25-Mar-08 11:35:15

It has happened at the secondary school where I work for a few years now. You'd be amazed at the good judgements the kids have made.

Reallytired Tue 25-Mar-08 11:44:33

Student panels have been a common part of many schools interview processes for many years.

It is not as bad as it sounds as generally the candidiate does have a proper interview with senior management. A teacher would also have to teach a lesson.

All the student panels tests is whether a teacher can relate to kids. It rules out people who can't stand kids. Anyway only nice kids are picked to be on the panel. A senior teacher is in the room and its him or her who is REALLY doing the assessing.

If you look at the daft aptitude tests and team exercises that big graduate employers use you realise that getting pupils to intereview prospective teachers is really quite sensible.

littlerach Tue 25-Mar-08 11:47:18

Our local secondary school doe sthis for certain positions.

There was also talk of students observing and evaluating lessons.

terramum Tue 25-Mar-08 12:34:15

miljee I honestly don't think that teachers, like any other adult, should automatically be seen as authority figures. Children aren't robots you can order about. They are people who can be reasoned with and who, if shown respect, will show respect in return. The idea that children should do everything they are told just because 'the teacher' said so is a very dangerous one & I for one do not want my children growing up with that idea.

I like the idea of prospective teachers being observed taking a class, but I think seeing how a teacher interacts with children on a one-2-one basis is important as well. If someone were unhappy at a child being present at the interview what does that say about their attitude to children in general?

...and why shouldn't children learn about how an interview works by taking part in a real one? Practical experience is always better than simply being taught about something. The earlier they have experience of these life skills the better imo...and it's not just about learning to be an interviewer, they will also gain an insight into being an interviewee which will mean they are less fazed by interviews themselves when they have to attend them when they are older.

miljee Tue 25-Mar-08 14:57:03

Glad my DCs aren't in your schools! Sorry!

DANCESwithaMuffinTop Tue 25-Mar-08 15:07:45

Terramum - "Children aren't robots you can order about. They are people who can be reasoned with and who, if shown respect, will show respect in return" - so true, they are also people who can scream and cry if they don't get what they want, DO NOT understand that it is inappropriate to talk/shout/sing at you whilst you are on the phone. They are CHILDREN.
I've been observed teaching at an interview, it's nerve wracking but fine! I agree though that the lines are getting even more blurred as to who is in charge. Teachers aren't all great but children need to know they are in a position of authority and that position deserves respect.

cory Tue 25-Mar-08 15:25:36

Hate to say it, Miljee, but it's your job to teach your children to be respectful of other people. If you've taught them properly, then sitting on the odd committee is not going to suddenly turn them into disrespectful little monsters. If they're that easily undermined, I'd be wondering what message they are getting about teachers from home. hmm

If my dd came home speaking disrespectfully of her teacher, I wouldn't waste time blaming the school system- I would deal with it there and then!

miljee Tue 25-Mar-08 16:01:08

Sitting on 'the odd committee' is rather different than interviewing one's potential teachers, isn't it? I have already stated that I believe in DCs on school councils and having a say in a school's disciplinary policy. A bit of a different league, I would have thought.

And does that mean that I, as a parent, have the right to interview the children who are going to then interview MY child's potential teacher to ensure that the appropriate respect has been learned at THEIR parents' knee? Will they come with references?

Furthermore, I quote: 'I....don't think that teachers, like any other adult, should automatically be seen as authority figures'. I do. Teachers aren't 'any other adult'. They are important and influential figures in our DCs lives and need to be in charge. I expect my DCs to respect their teachers, and I believe they continue to be worthy of that respect until I should hear different. My DCs need to know who's in charge and they want to feel that all the other DCs in their class must respect their teacher's authority. I'm not sure that would be achieved if any DC had seen that teacher in a potentially stressful and vulnerable position in a formal interview. Should we set up a Kids Desk in the staffroom as well?

As for 'the real thing' being the perfect learning scenario, should we be chucking lighted brands into their classrooms instead of calling a fire drill? OK, I'm being facetious here but I am inclined to think large numbers of our DCs would do better to learn how to be at the receiving end of an interview before conducting one! I mean, the question about putting petrol instead of diesel in the vehicle- What was the interviewer (read 'child') hoping to learn about the candidate in this instance? What did it reveal about how the teacher approaches drumlin formation? How witty under pressure they can be? You should never ask an interview question without ascertaining how you would grade the answer. Or perhaps we modern parents think everything in life should be a learning, learning, learning exercise for our DCs. At anyone's expense.

Sorry, but I don't want my DCs teachers selected in this way.

Twiglett Tue 25-Mar-08 16:02:58

this is already happening

we were advised by LEA liaison that it was good practice to allow students in a primary school to 'interview' the prospective new headteacher

and that they had been interviewed by children

wheresthehamster Tue 25-Mar-08 16:08:59

It's a bit odd. It's like patients interviewing a new doctor for the local practice or prisoners interviewing a new prison warden grin

harpsichordcarrier Tue 25-Mar-08 16:11:16

I think there is a bit of overreaction here tbh.
the pupil will have a role to play in the interview but they won't have the deciding vote will they?

I don't think it is a bad idea.
I think it would be very very useful to see how teachers interact with children and how they deal with children's questions.
and tbh I think the headline "letting the lunatics take over the asylum" is appalling in so many ways.....
since when are children "lunatics"???

Blandmum Tue 25-Mar-08 16:15:41

I don't think that it is much of an issue, since the kids are not going to have the deciding vote, but their views will inform the decision of the adults.

So if they have valid reasons for choosing X over Y, that would be taken into account. If they said that they wanted X because he had a nice tie, the adults would probably ignore it!

I've had kids assess lessons before now. most of them are quite sensible, honest and make reasonable comments

LeaveThatEggAloneNaughtyNigel Tue 25-Mar-08 16:16:32

Our school council has been involved in teacher interviews for years. children aged between 7 and 11 - selected to represent their classes. It's always been very successful - the children take it very seriously and decide on their own questions to ask the candidates seem to appreciate the children and the break in seriousness. Obviously thats not the whole interview - but they feed back their ideas to the interview panel (governors, head etc.)
it is very interesting how perceptive they can be and often get their reasons for liking or not liking a candidate spot on.
The most popular question which always catches them out is 'tell us your favourite joke'.
I'm all for our children having a say in who teaches them.

Blandmum Tue 25-Mar-08 16:17:26

and FWIW i do think I should have respect from the kids, I know I'm worth it, as the ads say!

Blandmum Tue 25-Mar-08 16:18:34

I think that teaching a lesson as part of the interview process is a very good idea

Christie Tue 25-Mar-08 16:45:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

pukka Tue 25-Mar-08 16:49:08

about a decade ago i gavea job interview in which i had to teach a 20 min class. the children werenot the decision makers. the panel simply want to see how the prospective teacher interacts with pupils
perfectly normal imo

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