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PGCE Interview Scondary Science - career change

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by alicross, Jan 23, 2011.

  1. Hi all
    I have applied for a PGCE in secondary science specialising in chemistry and have my first interview in less than two weeks (eeeek!). Seconday teaching will be a career change for me (I am currently a fitness instructor) and I would greatly appreciate advice from anyone who also went into teaching as a career change.
    I haven't done chemistry since I was at school (a few years ago) and will be completing a subject knowledge enhancement year. Will interviewers take into account that my knowledge will not be up to scratch? - one aspect of the interview are some written science based questions and I am particuarly worried about this :|
    The other aspects of the interview include a short group task and an individual interview which includes a 5 minute presentation on a topic of science. I'm feeling fairly okay with these aspects (unless there are lots of indepth questions to do with my presentation).
    Does anybody have any advice/experience for the process? I work full time so every bit of spare time I have I am reading NC etc but if anybody has any ideas on specific areas often asked about it would really help me focus the reading!
    Thanks in advance! (I have read through a few 'interview' threads but have not yet found one from someone who was going into teaching from a previous career)
    Ali
     
  2. Hi all
    I have applied for a PGCE in secondary science specialising in chemistry and have my first interview in less than two weeks (eeeek!). Seconday teaching will be a career change for me (I am currently a fitness instructor) and I would greatly appreciate advice from anyone who also went into teaching as a career change.
    I haven't done chemistry since I was at school (a few years ago) and will be completing a subject knowledge enhancement year. Will interviewers take into account that my knowledge will not be up to scratch? - one aspect of the interview are some written science based questions and I am particuarly worried about this :|
    The other aspects of the interview include a short group task and an individual interview which includes a 5 minute presentation on a topic of science. I'm feeling fairly okay with these aspects (unless there are lots of indepth questions to do with my presentation).
    Does anybody have any advice/experience for the process? I work full time so every bit of spare time I have I am reading NC etc but if anybody has any ideas on specific areas often asked about it would really help me focus the reading!
    Thanks in advance! (I have read through a few 'interview' threads but have not yet found one from someone who was going into teaching from a previous career)
    Ali
     
  3. There is a PGCE forum for more support if you need it,
    My suggestion is that you certinly do not expose any of the infromation you have done to the potential training organisation.
    IF you hold a degree and tell them you are actively ensuring you are up to speed then thats fine but what you have stated would simply shout 'no'
    What is you degree in? Im not sure applying for a course you are not comfortable with is ideal. Whilst standards are falling there may end up being some sparky kids who you need to teach and if its not something you are ease with it may hinder your progession.
    You are likely to be asked about the current trends in education, why you want to get on the ourse and what you can bring. IF you are worried about the subject test in the subject you want to teach you MAY want to review your choices.
    I appreciate people not being happy with the English/Maths/IT tests as non specialists but there is some requirement for subjet knowledge.
     
  4. Hey Ali!
    i got an interview for chemistry too at moray house (9.15?). does the interview have to be on the topic of science? my letter was vague!
    cheers
    su
     
  5. Ali,
    I too decided to have a career change from working as a product development scientist for a few years to becoming a ks3/ks4 science teacher. I am 25 and have a degree in forensic science.
    On my PGCE interview my course leader was concerned about my physics knowledge as I hadn't done any since my own GCSEs. However I reassured him that whilst the PGCE is a demanding year I would do my best to bring my subject knowledge up to standard. I am half way through my NQT year and I am still refreshing my memory on things before I teach them - it is not possible to know everything! What I would say though that even though you are specialising in Chemistry it is likely (and will increase your job prospects) that you will have to teach all three main sciences at least to the end of key stage 3. This is where you will need to be up to scratch for basic knowledge - start reading about it though and it all floods back!
    I would say also that any good Uni will have regular subject knowledge audits throughout the year and will support you in consolidating that knowledge. The interview should be about you as a teacher also - are you organised, confident talking in front of people, do you go the extra mile, do you understand what is expected of you? All these key elements and your personality should be considered also.
    For your presentation make sure you try to anticipate any questions they might ask - even if it is a little further in depth than you had wanted to go. This just shows you are prepared and forward thinking - it also means unexpected questions won't phase you!
    My best bits of advice would be the following;
    If you haven't done any volunteering try to get some organised or say you are going to. It means you have experienced modern school life (it isn't anything like what I remember!) and still want to go ahead with it.
    Go prepared to the interview - have a small portfolio of the things you a have been reading, any notes made from revision guides/specs/curriculum/educational papers (don't forget the new white paper and new government changes!)
    In your presentation make it interactive - give your audience (it doesnt matter they are adults!) a small task or an unusual object to hold and relate it back to your topic, it shows you are thinking about who you are presenting to.
    For the written test - whizz through some revision guides and be honest about what you know and don't know, but also reassure them how much you will know given the time it takes to qualify.
    Use your experience in the world of work to show your maturity - no offence to those who study to be a teacher without working as anything first but it makes you a whole lot more confident going into new situations. You have probably already had the rubbish demanding boss, had to deal with the work bully etc and have come through it all knowing what to do next time!
    If you need any help, want me to look at you presentation or go through anything just give me a shout. You'll know if it is all for you, I did, and I love my job now! [​IMG]
    Good luck!
    Sam
     
  6. Hi Sam
    Thank you for your reply! It's really helpful. I'm actually down to do a subject knowledge enhancement year following which I do the PGCE course so having heard your experiences I'm feeling much better.
    The presentation advice is also very useful, what I ended up with was a presentation that lasted too long so I cut out quite a few of the concepts to leave me with two basic learning outcomes. It also means that all the extra information will come in very useful for questions. I have tried to make it as interactive as possible, however, this somewhat throws out my timing as it depends on how forthcoming the interviewers are.
    I have volunteering organised for when I finish my current contract and the tip about taking a folder of articls etc that I've read is an excellent idea (I was going to try and remember them). I think I will also put some key words on cards to remind me of topics to discuss if my mind goes blank.
    Thank you very much for all your advice! I hadn't heard of anyone who didn't go into teaching straight from University yet on the course information pages of Universities many say that they encourage those that are going into teaching as a career change to apply.
    Many thanks!
    Ali

     
  7. Hi Su
    My letter was very specific about the tobic being one of science which makes it simpler! Sorry I can't be of more help.
    Good luck!
    Ali
     
  8. Thank you for your reply betamale. I posted in 'secondary' as I was looking for teachers who had entered the profession as a career change rather than individuals going into teaching straight from University. I have been using the trainee teacher forums also.
    I do have a science based degree, however, the percentage of chemistry science content is not high enough to go straight into doing the PGCE so I will be doing an additional year to build on this.
    Thanks for your advice.
    Ali
     
  9. Hi
    How was the written test? When I did mine at the OU there were 4 questions but I only had chance to do 3 in the time given. Please tell me how you got on!
    yasmine
     

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