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Pointless interview questions - pgce

(30 Posts)
mb123786 Mon 17-Feb-20 15:43:49

So ive applied for a pgce and had an interview at a school. i taught a 20 minute lesson and then had a face to face formal interview with three judges including one of them being the head of english. my lesson went perfectly well and was highly praised. bare in mind the head of english didnt observe my lesson. she only came in for the face to face. each interviewer took their turns to ask questions. when it came to the head of english, i found that she asked really stupid questions personally.

just a quick message - i didnt get the job but there are some things which i thought were very unfair and wanted to find out whether these are normal questions to expect at a teaching interview

I applied for the pgce secondary english role. one of her questions were what do you know about the national curriculum? which i was slightly thrown off by however i answered with what i thought was correct

she mentioned this in the feedback and had said that if someone doesnt know the national curriculum how will they teach english. i personally thought the whole point of a pgce is to help you train to become a teacher. if i already knew everything about the training programme i wouldnt have applied for it in the first place

another question which i found really silly was when she asked name one good thing you like about english and one bad thing about english. the good thing was easy to mention however the bad had threw me off completely. i didnt understand why you would ask someone what they dont like about english if clearly ive applied to teach it, i must surely have a passion for it. i feel as if the question were to be worded better as in 'what are you weaknesses as person etc' that would be more sensible.

I felt as if she was out to get me through the whole interview process. she stared right into my soul and was constantly yawning. after having the interview i spoke to a few of my friends who are currently already on the pgce programme

they told me to stay away from the school and in particular the woman as she has declined many people and does the same thing every time she interviews someone

if any teachers could give me some advice would highly appreciate

OP’s posts: |
FATEdestiny Mon 17-Feb-20 15:53:37

Perfectly reasonable questions. They would also not have been off-the-cuff questions but would have been agreed, along with who asked which question, beforehand. Answers from all interviewees can then be compared.

If you want to be a teacher then having some knowledge of the national curriculum is certainly a reasonable assumption. In English this will be the subject areas covered, books and texts and so on.

Training doesn't teach you the national curriculum. It's a publically avaliable document. Read it!

And identifying positive and negative aspects of your subject is also a normal question. If you can't see negatives then you'll be no good at self-evaluating your teaching - loads doesn't go they way you want it to and the ability to recognise negatives is an essential skill in teaching.

AppleKatie Mon 17-Feb-20 15:56:08

If I’m honest, based on your post I would be worried about your ability to teach English.

That said, yes there are horrible Hods and bad interviewers out there. There is no point dwelling.

FATEdestiny Mon 17-Feb-20 15:57:22

National Curriculum for English:

Happy reading!

redcarbluecar Mon 17-Feb-20 16:00:21

It seems reasonable to me that you would be asked about the National Curriculum on a secondary teaching interview. It's not a training programme; just something you'd probably have researched if you were interested in becoming an English teacher. Assuming your post is serious ("she stared right into my soul" - ??), the best advice would be for you to take the feedback on board and prepare accordingly for your next interview.

nachthexe Mon 17-Feb-20 16:10:44

I think both are reasonable I’m afraid. The national curriculum one is fairly straightforward- how do you possibly know you want to teach it when you haven’t glanced at it? The ‘bad’ thing is also pretty straightforward. It’s not a question about how you feel about English. It’s more about how you will understand, connect with, and work with students who DO feel negativity about the subject. How will you bring them round to recognizing the value? Can you recognize that there are kids who hate English? What do they hate?
You can use the personal twist to explain - I hate that people say it’s irrelevant, it’s just stories, the curtains are just blue, the author didn’t mean anything’ or use the question to discuss a particular style of writing that you have found hard to access (likewise that your students might find hard to access). For example - I find Middle English tricky but much more accessible when I read it aloud - I adore Shakespeare but sometimes hearing it is better than reading it - acrostic poetry is banal but it’s a good way to get students to think carefully about - I hate ecriture feminine as I don’t believe writing is gendered, but I appreciate the historical context - I don’t like books written without punctuation or in dialect because I am so used to colonial constraints - blah blah blah.
So. Many. Things. that could have proved that you have thought deeper about this than ‘I like English. So I will teach English.’

Interviews are about proving way more than you like something.

HalfTermHalfTerm Mon 17-Feb-20 16:18:51

The National Curriculum question is perfectly reasonable, you are advised to have an understanding of it prior to interview. The question about what you like and dislike about English is also reasonable, it’s a little bit like asking you for one of your strengths and one of your weaknesses? I do agree with you that it’s quite rude to yawn repeatedly during a conversation (especially with a stranger) and not apologise though.

pinyinchahua Mon 17-Feb-20 16:19:04

Fairly reasonable questions - I’d be worried about your level of preparation. Sounds like you need someone to do interview prep and to work on your resilience. You won’t survive long in education if you’re so easily knocked.

Flagg Mon 17-Feb-20 16:20:51

You want to teach....^English^?

Are you absolutely sure?

BobbinThreadbare123 Mon 17-Feb-20 16:20:54

"bare in mind"?
Are you sure you're cut out to teach English?

Spam88 Mon 17-Feb-20 16:25:40

Both seem like reasonable questions to me! The worst thing about your subject is a great one actually, lots of opportunity to talk about ways of overcoming difficulties in teaching particular aspects of the subject.

Dmt80 Mon 17-Feb-20 16:38:25

How on earth do you expect to stand in front of a class of students if you don't know about the national curriculum? Yes, your knowledge of it may not be as sound as it would be after one year of a PGCE but it is expected you would have a working knowledge of it and read the appropriate documents available prior to interview.

PurpleDaisies Mon 17-Feb-20 16:44:16

Maybe your lack of knowledge of the National curriculum was what led to you having nothing to say about what you didn’t like about English as a subject?

You’re coming across as incredibly arrogant here, and your standard of English is not what I would expect from a future English teacher.

Pieceofpurplesky Mon 17-Feb-20 16:44:46

You really should have a sound knowledge of the national curriculum if you are applying for teaching. The good and bad thing is pretty standard - my answer would be 'making SPAG fun'

Faffandahalf Mon 17-Feb-20 16:51:23

I know we’re not supposed to be troll hunting but come on. This can’t be real.
However if I’m pretending that it is: I’m an English teacher and I’ve interviewed people for positions. We ask all sorts of questions.
In the days of yore when I went for a PGCE I did read up on the curriculum etc. Isn’t that sort of the point? You want to be an English Teacher. Wouldn’t you look up what you will actually be learning to teach?
Anyway we all make mistakes on online forums. I know I do but it’s ‘Bear’ not ‘Bare’

cabbageking Mon 17-Feb-20 17:03:47

Perhaps you are more suited to Maths?

BigFatLiar Mon 17-Feb-20 17:24:57

Definitely not an English teacher but they seem decent questions. I'd have been a bit stuck with something I don't like about English, (language or literature?)
I know I do but it’s ‘Bear’ not ‘Bare’ Here is one - words that sound the same but mean something different, or even words with multiple meanings (rose - a colour, a flower, past tense of rise). The lack of formal grammar (or a grammar thats not exactly consistent) - this is also something I like about English. What about literature, we study Shakespeare pulling his plays apart when really he wrote plays to entertain and make money. The paying public went to be entertained, eat their pie, drink their beer and have good time. Same with the novels and poems we pick apart, they were written to amuse.
There's lots good and bad about English.

I suspect she just wanted you to have an opinion and be able to express it.

Faffandahalf Mon 17-Feb-20 18:19:50

Completely off topic but bigfatliar literature, we study Shakespeare pulling his plays apart when really he wrote plays to entertain and make money. The paying public went to be entertained, eat their pie, drink their beer and have good time. Same with the novels and poems we pick apart, they were written to amuse.

English teaching these days is a pretty soul crushing endeavour. The new GCSE specs means we literally dissect every line of Macbeth because a question may be on the bloody porter (like it was last year) who is the most insignificant character and someone Shakespeare probably thought about for all of 5 minutes. ‘Bit of comic relief...ooh and some hell imagery and foreshadowing’ Bobs your uncle, playwriting 101 for Shakespeare.

Dull as dishwater teaching for the kids. 🤷🏽‍♀️

noblegiraffe Mon 17-Feb-20 18:26:04

Is it normal these days to be interviewed for a PGCE by a school and have to teach a lesson as part of it?

If you’re capable of teaching a lesson to actual kids, I’d have thought you’d have some opinions on the curriculum.

PurpleDaisies Mon 17-Feb-20 18:27:07

Is it normal these days to be interviewed for a PGCE by a school and have to teach a lesson as part of it?

All the local Scitt providers do this round here.

noblegiraffe Mon 17-Feb-20 18:28:57

I can’t get my head around this SCITT that’s a PGCE. In my head PGCEs are Uni based and you’re interviewed by the uni.

AppleKatie Mon 17-Feb-20 18:33:09

foreshadowing 😂😂

I teach GCSE <not English> ALL of my year 11 pupils are obsessed with shoehorning the word foreshadowing into every essay. The English curriculum is obsessed with it!

Walkthedinosauuuuur Mon 17-Feb-20 18:47:06

They're probably trying to weed out the ones doing it for the bursary wink

BigFatLiar Mon 17-Feb-20 19:20:06

Dull as dishwater teaching for the kids. 🤷🏽‍♀️

Sad state of affairs when we should be encouraging the young to read and enjoy books/plays/poetry. Fire their imagination with words rather than iPads & phones.

MetallicPaints Mon 17-Feb-20 19:36:17

Capital letters. Full stops. Important I. Apostrophes. Sorry I'm a TA in Year 2 and your post really annoyed me. I am resisting the urge to write on the IPad with my marking pen. grin

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