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Dear Theo: I have poor A level results

Discussion in 'Jobseekers' started by anon2406, Jan 6, 2012.

  1. It has now
    come to the time when I should start applying for jobs. I've seen quite a
    few out there that I'd really like to apply for but have been put off
    as they request an 'Excellent academic background' or 'Bio or Chem grade
    A or B at A Level'. I have neither of them.

    I did OK at GCSE but
    at A level (7 years ago), I really didn't care much and was more
    interested in VERY important teenager stuff! I even changed colleges
    between my As and A level and left with two E's in Chem and Bio at A
    level, C in Sociology and then a B in As Psychology.

    I managed to
    get into Uni as I had enough UCAS points to do a Forensic degree
    (awarded 2:1) and after that went on to work as a Forensic Scientist for
    2.5 years.

    I'm really worried that the A Level grades are going
    to work against me as Science teaching roles are so competitive now.
    Will they? How do I approach this? I was thinking of leaving them out of
    my application but it will probably cause more embarrasement if they
    then ask for them at the interview stage.

    Has anyone else ever been through a similar situation?
  2. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    You have two choices here.
    1) You can leave them out - but they will then think that there's something fishy going on.
    2) You can be totally upfront over it.
    You could include a short paragraph in your letter something like this:
    Getting a good 2:1 degree in a scientific discipline reflects both my passion and my ability for Science much more than do my A-level results. Moving college at the end of my AS year, and letting teenage distractions have priority over my studies, meant that I severely under-achieved at A2. This does, however, give me an understanding of how Sixth-Formers can sometimes prioritise their lives, and enables me to give better guidance to students and tutees. My subsequent successful career in Forensic Science, with very positive annual performance management outcomes, is proof that my somewhat wild years are well behind me, and I am looking forward to inspiring students with my own passion for all things scientific.
    Normal CAUTION applies: DON'T copy my bits word for word, and ALWAYS make sure that what you say is the truth - I am just making up examples here to give you an idea.
    And make sure that you follow all the advice for getting a job - which I recently put here:
    Dear Theo I need help!
    Best wishes.
    TheoGriff. Member of the TES Careers Advice Service.
    I do Application and Interview one-to-ones, and also contribute to the Job Application Seminars. We look at application letters, executive summaries and interviews, with practical exercises that people really appreciate.
  3. catherine_ann

    catherine_ann Occasional commenter

    Well, I am a science teacher in my second year of teaching and I have just started at a new school. I was appointed from a very strong field of 78 applicants one of which was the head's daughter and guess what - I have grade D's in Biology and Chemistry. I have had 19 interviews in all honesty in two years, but my A level grades did not stop me from getting interviews. I was completely honest and put them on my application - what's the point in hiding them? It is a very competitive field out there. Go for it and you will find your dream job. I know I have (Second time round.)
  4. Guys, thanks so much for the advice.
    You have most def boosted
    my confidence. I was considering packing it all in as I was convinced I
    wouldn't get a job after the PGCE because of my grades. I'll add
    everything they ask for on my application and just make sure everything
    else about me reads 'amazing' and hope for the best. I just hope it
    works and if not well there's no point dwelling on it now is there, I'll
    just move onwards and upwards.
  5. Moony

    Moony Lead commenter

    The highest grade I got in my original alevels was a C, my others were D, E and N, I did an AS level in my PGCE and got an A though. I put them all down on job apps for teaching and I have a 3rd class honours degree (yes, i'm one of those teachers ;) ). I've only ever been asked about about my grades once (a-levels only) and given the fact I did them without support for my dyslexia I didn't do too shabbily.
    What counts now will be your PGCE and your teaching experience. I'm on supply, doing long term, and I was talking with my HoD at the xmas do about some stuff and he said I was a good teacher, so grades arn't always the be all and end all. Bend it to your advantage that you'd be able to spot the kids that were coasting and use that to try and get them going ;)
  6. There's nothing wrong with being 'one of those teachers' I must be one of them too with my **** A-Levels but we still got in which means we must have shown some potential right?!

    My specialist subject is Chemistry but I would rather only teach up to GCSE level to be honest so I think I'll be looking for an 11-16 school. Not only will I not have to worry about my A-Levels holding me back but I'll be able to teach up to the level I prefer (I can honestly say I wouldn't be happy with the amount of pressure involved in teaching A-Level) as I find GCSE more fun and interesting.
  7. Moony

    Moony Lead commenter

    My'one of those teachers'quip was in relation to people that whinge about teachers having third class honours degrees. Yes subject knowledge is important but being able to communicate the understanding to the kids is vital. The issue i've always had to is that i know the stuff, but getting that out on paper for essays and exams is difficult, the flip side of that is that I've got this dog with a bone style determination to get things done.

    And besides, whilst my grades arn't so shiney so to speak they've got me so far. I've got my undergrad, i was able to get on a PGCE, i've sinced use that to get on a subject based masters degree. Thats on pause at the moment (need to save for the rest of my fees) but i've passed the first year of it and it happens to be at a uni with a very good reputation. So clearly I must be doing something right ;)
  8. les25paul

    les25paul Star commenter

    Why? Surely an Upper Second Science degree and then two and a half years working as a Scientist speak more about your ability in Science then an "iffy" A-Level grade obtained as a result of teenage distractions.
    I believe (but then I am heavily biased) that prior experience working in the Science industry is a valuable asset when it comes to teaching Science.
  9. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Well, how about that! Well done you!
    And well done you another twice!
    Good gracious no!
    Just keep on being an outstanding teacher, that's much more important!
    Best wishes
    Meet Theo on line on the TES JobSeekers Forum, every week in print in the TES magazine, or in person at one of the TES Careers Advice Service seminars or individual consultations
    I shall be doing the Moving into SLT seminar on 19 Jan. See you there!

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