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Ive passed the Open Uni Campus interview but need help with Secondary School Interview!

Discussion in 'Science' started by atif_2k2, Apr 20, 2009.

  1. Hello,
    I had an interview with Open Uni for Secondary Science PGCE, ive passed the interview and now they want me to attend an interview in a secondary school, could anybody please tell me whether these interviews are formal/informal and how the day is set out..

    I would really appreciate even the slightest of advice..
    P.S. The interview is for secondary PGCE in chemistry.
    Best Wishes

    Mohammed Atif Ali
  2. Well done so far. I've not heard of this type of interview at a school, but it makes sense. I would treat it as a formal interview, always. There is nothing informal in teaching! Follow all the advice about interviews for PGCE on these forums. And Good Luck
  3. Mohammed, I appologise if I have misspelt your name, I have tried at least half a dozen clicks to get me back to your thread but no such luck with my old laptop.
    I have studied a PGCE with the open university and I only had to attend an interview at Milton Keynes. I got lost around the confounded grid systems of Milton Keynes and arrived in a flood of tears completely ready to give in to stress!!!!!
    I cannot advise you about the interview but I can give an insight about what studying the PGCE with the OU really means.
    If you are studying part time, ignore the words part time. You will be all consumed with the work.
    I studied in the first year of the presentation of the PGCE. At the end of the PGCE I along with 5 of my colleges had accumulated 20 lever arch folders of work each. I kid you not. Unfortunately at the time (but much appreciated after) my tutor was in another area of life an ofsted inspector. She did not separate from being an ofsted inspector to being my tutor.
    During my module study of the text books, I had to prove that I answered every single question set in the text books. I kid you not, every single question. My tutor actually came to one of my placement schools and went through all my text book questions. I had to complete every missing one. The stress was insurmountable. At the end of the course we had to show evidence of every single piece of work that we did. I had to submit KS3 sats papers to prove subject knowledge. At the beginning we had to show subject knowledge GCSE level for all 3 science subjects even though we may have specialised in one subject. This thankfully was changed early on.
    Every single thing we thought we knew had to be submitted in evidence. Every single lesson plan, even ones where we were not observed.
    One example of a lesson plan recommended by the OU was 1500 word long. My lesson plans were scrutinised and torn apart. Lesson objectives not matching up with learning outcome. I used to spend about 4 hours working on the perfect lesson plan so that my tutor would pass my learning objectives and outcomes. My nightmare continued
    Others were more fortunate, a friends tutor used to meet her in the pub, have a lovely chat and just about pass anything.
    In the end after completing assessment tasks that included no less than 20 essays, I failed on one final task that asked you to complete a report for a year 10 (unfortunately I based my report on the lines of the school I was currently working at, a system that had been working fine for 20 years). After all I had been through, at the end of the day, my year 10 report failed to be included in the final grade. The Ou said my report was rubbish.
    The OU said I failed the PCGE and GTS and that because this one assessment task out the 7 more set for final assessment was not good enough. Not only did I fail the PCGE but they said even though I passed all that was required for gaining GTS, I could not pass through them because of this essay. No PGCE, no GTS.
    At this point I gave up.
    But for my good friend Lindsay pointing out how I couldn't possible let a small failure count after all I had been through, I sat down and reproduced that final year 10 report. It passed.
    You are a brave guy Mohammid, take care and good luck.

  4. I wouldn't let this person put you off as I think from the details I've had the PGCE has changed a lot from those days. I am having the Campus interview this Friday. In my application pack there was information about the school interview. It is a formal interview, and even if the school knows you they are supposed to be looking for certain criteria.
    Actually from the information given I can understand why some schools do not wish to be partner schools as a lot of the training burden is on the shoulders of the school co-ordinator.
    If you do not have this information I would phone the ITE support centre (01908 652564). Good luck!
  5. Thank you to all of you for your support/comments/criticism on the PGCE course with the Open University.
    Im very sorry to hear about your stress with the Pgce newlife, I think you have given me insight about the course. Im very happy to hear that you passed your year 10 report at the end :)
    I know its going to be stressful but I think if I study whilst others sleep, plan whilst others play, work whilst others loaf I shall pass the PGCE with flying colours.
    Good luck with your interview with the Open Uni!
    Thanks once again,
    wish you all the best,
    Mohammed Atif Ali
  6. Hi Mohammed,
    I'm currently doing my level 2 placement through the OU (also secondary chemistry). My school interview was quite informal, but I was prepared as though it was a formal one.
    I think it very much depends on the school. My interview consisted of being shown around the department, (it struck me how friendly everyone was) & being introduced to some of the staff. & then I was put into a lesson to interact with the students (it was an ICT one, so it was a case of trying to help those who looked stuck, or weren't doing any work). (The class teacher was there - it was just to see that I could interact within the class), & then a discussion with the school co-ordinator and mentor, why did I want to teach, what experience I had, how did I handle stress.
    I agree with newlife that it isn't really part-time, although I have mates on the course who managed to work whilst studying. I've also never really had much to do with the school co-ordinator except the interview. There are 6 assignments per level, one is updating your subject knowledge (which you can use evidence from your lessons for), another is saying which of the teaching standards you found most difficult and how you'd work towards improving yourself.
    I would say it's quite easy to feel isolated on the OU course, it's not like there are other students around you, although there are web forums, & day-schools 3 times a year. Definitely go to the day schools - it really helps to meet the other students & share experiences & contact details. My mentor likes the OU course though, she says it's a much gentler introduction to teaching that the traditional uni ones. Where abouts in the country are you? It can be difficult to get placement schools. Email me if you have any other questions.
  7. Oh dear! How incredibly naive.
    How well you do or otherwise very much depends on the individual circumstances and you will not know what hand you get dealt until you get there. This isn't another fluffy university course. PGCE is very cutthroat and never mind the "I know its going to be stressful but I think if I study whilst others
    sleep, plan whilst others play, work whilst others loaf I shall pass
    the PGCE with flying colours."
    You'll be doing that anway just to basically survive the course never mind pass with flyiing colours bit.
    How well you do doesn't necessarily depend on how much work you put in or not either. You will be at the mercy of your placement schools and they will make it as easy or as hard as they like as you see fit.
    One person on the course might be given a very easy ride when it comes to their timetable and a relaxed attitude to lesson plans whilst another might have the maximum allowed timetable thrust onto them from day one and have to have every lesson plan in a week in advance. It varies, so don't offhand dismiss somebody else's experience whilst you think that you will do much better with "a bit of hard work" I also don't think you have a concept of the amount of work you will have to put in either. You are in for a shock.
  8. The same goes for you too. The PGCE is very cut throat and you will be at the mercy of whoever is your tutor/mentor in a school. PGCE is not a fluffy University course. It is a very serious business and they can make it as hard for you or as easy for you as they like - and some like to make it very hard for PGCE students. Don't assume anything about a PGCE when you haven't even had an interview yet!
    Some schools like getting PGCE students in because you are a source of income to them. Also they can use you as a cheap form of labour to teach an almost full timetable under the pretext of training you. Conversely, a school might take it's teacher training seriously, you won't know until you get there, so don't knock another poster's experience until you have had first hand experience yourself.
    It's very naive to dismiss others' experience of PGCE.

  9. Hi, Sorry to barge in on this topic but I thought you might have some advice as you have already done this bit!!
    I have my OU interview for the secondary science PGCE in just over a week and am not panicking about it. Have you got any advice for the interview in general or any more information on what it was like and what it involved? I have the info they give you but its very brief.
    Also any advice on the 5 minute presentation you have to give - I left mine until now as i wanted it to be current and fresh but now im panicking about it, i cant work out if its supposed to just be something interesting to talk about or if its supposed to be more like a lesson?
  10. Oh ... and don't let Cedric Hollow grind you down. I have now done 2 years teaching after an OU PGCE (and >25 years inso-called "real" jobs). There is no doubt that a PGCE is hard work and a lot depends on the demands of the tutor - and especially your ability to identifyand distinguish importance and urgency. I have never worked as hard as I have over the last4 years ... but my experience is very different to Cedric's. I don't believe I am naive ... just privileged to be learning so much in a profession that is important and rewarding.
  11. Ssn77

    Ssn77 New commenter

    I have been told by a tutor on the OU PGCE science course that a lot of students drop out, primarily those who think they can do it part-time and combine it with work/family life.

    I agree with the earlier poster, do not get taken in by the ads - teaching does not consist of taking 5 or 6 well behaved smiling children for a fun practical lesson. As a PGCE student, you may well spend most of your teaching time with the lower sets, because many schools do not want to let you loose on higher sets and jeopardize exam results. You are typically expected to be in school by 8.15 (certainly 8.30), will not leave before 3, and then have an enormous amount of paperwork. Although you have a half timetable, you will probably put in more hours than the teachers. It is rarely possible to do teaching practice part time, schools want you in 5 days a week, certainly for the later stages.

    Some people are lucky and get lovely mentors and schools, and lenient university tutors. Others have an extremely stressful year. Many people find that teaching is easier than an NQT year which is easier than a PGCE year.
  12. lunarita

    lunarita Lead commenter


    I didn't study with the OU but in the light of what has already been said, will simply say to you what I say to anyone who asks about the PGCE.

    It was the worst year of my life. I cried lots of tears and after a few months I was ready to quit but I stuck it out and I'm glad I did.
    Teaching can be hard at times but it's very rewarding and I have no regrets. Just be prepared for some horrible dark times during the PGCE year when you doubt whether you've made the right choice.
    If you CAN stick it out, do so. Only when you're teaching for real will you be able to judge if it's for you or not.

    Best of luck to you.
  13. leftieM

    leftieM New commenter

    I found the OU PGCE rigorous and thorough. I did it because at the time my children were very young and I wanted to be able to study in my own time, so every night and every Sunday, as well as most mornings were taken up with OU work. It took 2 years. Learning to teach is very tough and it is true that teachers will not appreciate your academic qualifications and non-teaching experience. Neither, most likely, will the pupils (parents like PhDs and A-level pupils are interested in relevant work experience). However, you will be adored when it comes to looking for work!
    Good luck. I'm glad I'm through it all. If I'd known then what I know now about doing the PGCE I'd run screaming. That said, I absolutely love teaching and I'm glad I muddled through it.
    As for the school interview - the school has already agreed to take you on principle so it shouldn't be too awful. Wear a suit or formal clothes and be prepared to justify whey you want to be a teacher.
  14. Hi all,
    Just a quick message to say I have just completed and passed my PGCE with the OU and found out today that I have a job.
    I started the course whilst working part time and then got pregnant soo I finished the course with a baby (now toddler) It was incredibly hard work because you have to be self-motivated and I had to work every time my little girl was asleep but it is possible and if anyone wants to know any more about my experience then Im happy to share either on here or by email.

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