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discrimination at job interview?

(9 Posts)
eholness1234 Thu 04-Dec-14 14:45:55

Two days ago I went through an agency to an interview at an independent school. The agency told me nothing about the post apart from age groups, subjects and where the school is.

I turned up at the interview, was told it was a school for Brethren children and female teachers can't wear trousers, makeup or jewellery. (I had a skirt on but was wearing makeup)

The head told me a bit about the school and we spoke for a little while before she showed me round the school. I was being polite, asking questions, complimenting the school etc.

Turns out the teacher who was leaving was a friend of mine from my PGCE so we had a chat about the school. At break I sat in the staffroom and talked to some of the teachers. After lunch, I went into the class where the teacher (my friend) was doing speaking assessments so I was asked to sit in with the rest of the class while they prepared for their speaking test. Some of the girls asked for help with their French speaking test, I helped as appropriate and for one thing I said, "shall we ask your teacher to make sure it's the right thing". Another pupil asked if I was fluent in French. I said no.

My degree is in German but I have experience teaching to GCSE. I have had feedback during my teaching practice that my French is good, a lot better than they were expecting and I was doing well.

After this class I went back to the headteacher's office to collect my things. She asked if I wanted to stay for a bit longer to teach a class (I was told not to prepare a lesson) so I said I'd rather come another time but I just need to know in advance so I can make arrangements for childcare. She just sat at her desk and said 'ok bye', didn't shake my hand or anything.

I left and an hour later I had a phone call from the agency to say, sorry they didn't want you because your French isn't good enough.

Normally, that wouldn't bother me. I've had similar feedback at an interview where I had a conversation with a native French speaker. This time, I didn't teach, I didn't speak to anybody in French so I can't understand how they can reject me and claim that was the reason when I didn't even teach!

They obviously haven't judged me based on my ability to do the job because I didn't show them! I'm so mad!

The whole thing was a farce, I was basically brought in as a babysitter while they did their speaking exams and I feel like I want to bring up my feelings with the headteacher but I don't know what I should do.

I feel like I've been treated wrongly and quite possibly (indirectly) discriminated against. (I told her I had children and needed to sort childcare, I'm out of practice with my French because I haven't been working because I have a 5 month old child)

SunnyBaudelaire Thu 04-Dec-14 14:48:46

to be honest you probably had a lucky escape. I do not think you could claim discrimination on those grounds. If I were you I would try to move on and forget it - you will soon get a job.

flowery Thu 04-Dec-14 16:15:18

What makes you think they were discriminating against you?

SunnyBaudelaire Thu 04-Dec-14 16:17:07

possibly as soon as you mentioned childcare, you were discriminated against but there's not a cat's chance in hell of proving it.

HermioneWeasley Thu 04-Dec-14 19:15:09

I am confused - what subject is the job to teach?

Hereward1332 Fri 05-Dec-14 11:50:13

If you told your prospective employer that you weren't suitably proficient in the language they wanted you to teach, isn't that a more likely reason you weren't offered the job? To be honest, it doesn't sound like discrimination, just that you didn't have the requisite subject knowledge.

cogitosum Fri 05-Dec-14 12:39:27

I don't think op was meant to be teaching French.

LaurieFairyCake Fri 05-Dec-14 12:43:57

It's not discrimination, it's just arseholiness - I agree they got you in to babysit.

If your french is good enough to teach to Gcse it's good enough.

More likely it's because you were wearing make up? That's your agencies fault for not preparing you.

Sandthorn Sat 06-Dec-14 12:10:07

Ugh. That school sounds ghastly, and whatever she thinks her justification, the head sounds fucking bad-mannered. I also think your agency could have done more to prepare you for the interview, but I think you have to learn some lessons here...

1. If you're applying for any job, you need to do your homework about the company (or school) you're applying to. What are their values? What are their strengths? You need to persuade them that you're going to fit in with their team, support the things they're proud of etc. You also need to decide whether you can reconcile your values with theirs. For me, a school that teaches girls that women don't wear trousers would be a giant, honking no! You might think that you just want a job, and you don't much care who pays you, but that's not what employers want to hear, by words or actions. For schools, multiply that principle by fifty. From the moment you start filling in an application, or get invited to interview, you should get on the school's website, read their ofsted reports, and find out what makes them tick.

2. Teaching interviews almost always involve an observed lesson. If you don't hear what it's going to be (age, ability, subject, exact topic), get in touch and ask. At the very, very least, prepare a folder of lesson plans to demonstrate the range of subjects and age groups you are qualified to teach. Take it with you to show the panel if they ask. If you design them so they're aligned to, but slightly tangential to typical curricula, you can show up and teach them to a class without fear that they've done the same lesson the week before (been there!)

3. If you're likely to be expected to teach French as well as German, you need to brush up on both, before the interview. You might not have to speak it like it's your first language, but you need to show yourself to be competent and confident in it. If you need to appear slightly more confident than you really feel, so be it: you're doing a sales pitch here.

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