Any Food Tech Teachers out there?(8 Posts)
Hi, 4 years ago I trained as a science teacher. Before this I spent about 20 years working in the food industry following a nutrition and food science degree. I also ran my own business in food safety and nutrition training. I was recommended by a head of D&T to do a science pgce rather than a food tech one as they said it would give me more options.
Fast forward to now and I've got an iv for a food tech teacher this week. I would absolutely love the job and to be back in the world of food! What advice could you give me to help me really stand out at interview?
I trained and worked as a science teacher for around five years. My previous career was as a biomedical scientist so science teaching was a good fit. I had a break from teaching for around seven years whilst my children were little and returned, hugely inspired by the Jamie Oliver phenomenon (gonna teach the world to eat healthily) as well as, if I'm honest, the desire to teach a lower profile subject, one that gives less academic students as much of a chance to succeed in, as a part time (0.6 pte) food teacher. I took a short course to 'convert' me to a food teacher and off I went! It wasn't what I thought it would be at all. Food technology, as a subject, left me cold, and I quickly changed the GCSE course the students took to Catering (now discontinued, as is Food Technology). Even catering wasn't a good match for the type of student who typically chooses a less vocational subject (no requirement to take a DT subject where I was), as there was still a lot of emphasis on research and analysis. I encountered huge resistance to recipes that involved vegetables ('no one eats them at our house so I'm not cooking it') and the students would vote on their feet and simply not bring in their ingredients if they didn't like the look of the recipe. Lesson length was also a nightmare - getting ready to cook (equipment thin on the ground, and dirty stuff put away by the last class meaning washing up needed to be done before cooking), then cooking and washing up in an hour was a nightmare. Me frantically trying to find 100g of flour for Johnny who's forgotten his, finding someone else a clean bowl, checking that Sophie has rubbed in her flour properly, watching out for Jay chucking flour or soap suds or overfilling the washing up sink, or putting away dirty equipment. Finding someone else a box to take their food home in. Complaints from parents that their kid's pizza wasn't round/ didn't get a level 6 and all the while feeling a little looked down on by colleagues / the public for only being a food teacher. Bloody nightmare. My achievement was a huge increase in GCSE pass rate while I was there (40% to 80% odd). I left after 3.5 years and still work as a teacher but not in a school setting and am so much happier.
I'm sure your eyes are more widely open than mine were, OP, and I know you didn't ask for the above, but be sure it's what you really want.
I am and have interviewed many people for a job in this subject.
Usually I would err against someone without a Food related degree but as you have a lot of experience and now the new GCSE has a large Science basis it matters less.
I would first of all say that it is very usual to have to be able to offer another DT discipline as staff need to be flexible. I would try and find out if this is the case so you can be prepared if asked. Most Food teachers teach KS3 Textiles as well.
You need to be aware of all the recent changes to the Food range of qualifications and the new various grades/awards given. Unfortunately as they are still new it's still tricky. If the school is offering AQA Food prep and nut for example I would expect someone to be able to answer questions of pat about the spec and assessments.
KS3 I would want to know that you are aware of the limitations on curriculum and lesson time as well as finance and how you can deliver a course to meet all needs including pupil premium and students with additional needs in a dangerous environment.
I often find that those who have never taught Food to a class use the fact they can cook at home as an answer. It is definitely not in any way alike. Have you taught Food before?
Is there a subject leader or will you be responsible for planning?
What lesson have you got to teach on interview.
Ask away and I'll help if I can.
Keep in ind that a lot of schools are reducing the time for tech, arts etc. and it has been reduced in many schools in to a rotation of art, tech, drama and music.
Forgot to say that in the right school with supportive SLT and a technician then Food is a wonderful and rewarding subject to teach.
Downsides can be parental and SLT perception though I have only had good experience of this.
Keep in mind that it is also incredibly tough. Sweaty, on your feet all the time, lose breaks and lunchtime to tidy up and take things out of the oven as lessons are short. Always shopping for ingredients even if students provide them. Yes there is a lower marking load but it is physically exhausting.
Wouldn't change what I do though
Thank you for your replies!
The job is 0.7 fte (which I'm happy with) and to start with I'll mainly be teaching KS3. All the SOW's are already in place,
teletone my iv is to a year 8 class on the topic of what influences food choices today. I am fairly happy with what I have planned for my lesson, it's the interview itself that I'm not looking forward to. Would you mind telling me what you'd see as a good reply for meeting pupil premium needs with this subject?
I've had a good look through the GCSE spec which is the new AQA one and I am reasonably comfortable with the content.
I would expect a candidate to demonstrate a knowledge of what PP is awarded for in general and then how to support them in Food.
Supplying ingredients only after speaking with parents as some parents don't want to accept help from the PP pot for this.
How to make sure the student isn't identified by classmates as PP ingredients child.
Show how all recipes especially at KS3 are designed to be affordable for all and not just for PP purposes. My daughters school send home expensive lists of ingredients for Y7&8. We design family budget friendly recipes that are tasty and foolproof.
Recording of PP money for all PP students and impact in your subject is imperative so that the PP manager can account for every penny.
Hope it goes well.
There are also vocational specs available, for example the NCFE Vcert Level 2 is on the 2019 performance tables which has 25% external assessment that can be sat twice
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