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Dear Tom - 2 questions

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by anon1021, Mar 17, 2012.

  1. Hi,
    I'm quite a strict teacher and have very high standards in terms of behaviour but I'm wondering how to present this in interviews. If you have your own class, you can do the 'heads down' and 'sanctions' stuff but obviously in an interview situation the kids know you're not coming back so it's a lot harder to implement the expectations.
    So I guess my question is - how do I implement my expectations in an interview?
    Also, I recently taught a lesson in someone else's class. The class teacher told me that this particular class take better to male teachers. Is that because their current teacher is male? They really tried to push the boundaries with me - I was quite surprised!
  2. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    Hi Padawan
    2 excellent questions. I'll take them in turn:
    1. For interview lessons, you're absolutely right- you can't rely on the conventions that having a relationship with them, familiarity etc would normally convey. But you do have one advantage over a long term teacher- surprise. Most kids, even rowdy ones, will be fairly biddable for a short while, until they size you up. If you;re lucky, and speak with confidence, and give them something engaging and challenging to do, then you can get away with a lot of classes. Of course, because it's an observation lesson, you should have the benefit of one or two experienced teachers in the room. This often helps; sometimes it doesn't, but you can mention that they're there if you want to remind kids that you are not alone.
    But while teaching can't always be singing and jazz hands, for an observation lesson, it reflects badly on you if you can't provide interesting, well planned resources. If they're punchy, pacey and interesting, you'll have a head start with a new class. Note that this doesn't sustain, and even very well planned lessons can be dashed against the cliffs of their indifference if they want to rebel after the Honeymoon period. But by then, you've gone!
    Finally, set up as many structural cues about what kind of person you are as soon as possible, as clearly as possible; be there early, be prepared, greet them firmly as they come in; don;t be too chummy, but don;t be a hard ass either; look them in the eye when you speak to them, and don;t look or sound nervous. Keep speech slower than normal, speak low, speak a little more loudly than conversational level; have the activity ready for them to do; insist on normal seating plans, and ask for this prior to the interview.
    2. They push the boundaries with you because you're new. Don't be a victim to the expectations of this other teacher; kids will respond to a man as well as a woman if the teacher sets the behavioural standards and cues appropriately. Your gender is neither an excuse nor a justification for good/ bad behaviour in the room- unless you let it, and it destroys your confidence. You are a teacher and an adult, and you have the right to run the room. If you're new, they will test you, man or woman. Your gender isn't a factor in your teaching, and if the kids- or staff- try to make it so, you need to put them right by setting clear, fair and loving boundaries with strict consequences.
    Good luck :)
    Read more from Tom here on his blog, or follow him.
  3. Thanks Tom - Very good advice!
  4. excellent advice, as always from Tom.

    ; I would also add that in *any* lesson, but especially an interview lesson, make an effort to use names. It is obviosuly harder when it is a 30 minute interview lesson, but 2 minutes putting names on stickers at the beginning is an investment you will not regret in a lesson. As someone who observes more interview lessons currently than teaches them (despite a recent one of my own), I like to see candidates who make an effort to use student names.

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