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Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by Goldilocks27, Apr 5, 2008.

  1. Well I'm not at Roehampton but I can help you as someone who failed their first PGCE interview and then got onto a course. Firstly I would say relax, the interviewer will be as interested in you and your personality as they are in your experience. A PGCE takes an awful lot out of you and requires a lot of resiliance. Universities want to know that they are giving their precious place to people who will survive the course.

    Then I would make sure that you know a little bit about theory, no one will expect you to be a 'teacher' but just get an idea by reading a summary of Every Child Matters/ Rose Review (newspaper articles are good for this). Also look at the standards site and get an idea of the current educational climate. I found it helped me to clarify my ideas by making SIMPLE notes.

    When you get there smile and try to talk to people. Don't be the one sitting in the corner. This will help you to relax and will make any 'surprise' presentations much easier by breaking the ice.

    When you get to the inteview have the attitude that it is as much about you checking out the course as it is about them checking you out. Just think that they will be the people supporting you in what is a really tough year. The university needs to be right for you. Think about some questions you might want to ask them which really show that you have thought about the course. You obviously really want to do it so let your enthusiasm shine through.

    Good luck x
  2. I agree with all the above. When I applied for my course, three years ago, the educational climate was gearing towards removing the Year 2 SATS as a regimented testing situation. I talked a lot about this with my interviewer, explaining what I thought should happen and how I felt seven year olds should be supported etc.

    I was told afterwards that I was recommended for a place because I demonstrated an awareness of the current climate and that I appeared to like children. It amazes me how much since, I've heard about people not getting places because they didn't mention anything about children in their interview or what they had to offer as a teacher, they just mentioned ECM, MFL etc. I know one teacher who didn't get an NQT post because they stated that during the interview she knew everything but didn't appear to actually have any liking or caring about working with the children.
  3. DA1


    Thank you both for your kind replies.

    I feel so sad after the first 2 interviews, but I'll keep going until I get there.

    I went into the last interview with as much knowledge as I thought I could possibly have and spouted off all the things I know, but it seems that it still wasn't enough. I really don't know what these people want - my feedback form says - "very commited to the profession" and "this lad has potential to be tapped into" but on the front of the form it just says "rejected" :(

    I have tried so hard and am now worrying about the interview in a fortnight because it seems that no-matter how hard I try, I fail anyway.
  4. Hiya,

    first and foremost don't get disheartened, you are obviously really passionate about teaching so let that shine through when you have your interview...

    as another poster said-talk about what you can offer as a teacher...your personal qualities-are you kind? patient? a good leader? creative? particularly enthusiastic about maths/science/PE etc? do you speak any foreign languages? and, of course, talk about why you want to teach chn.

    I'm currently on PGCE Primary at Roehampton but as I interrupted the course last year the specific interview questions are a bit hazy...

    However, I do remember the interviewer seemed just as interested in my personal qualities, interests and experience working with chn inside and outside of school, as my understanding of current educational issues.

    If it helps, a few key themes we've been focusing on this year include Afl-assessment for learning (and chn's talk as a valuable form of assessment), ECM, Phonics, cross-curricular approaches, creativity, issues of diversity and inclusion...but don't get bogged down by all the buzz words, they won't expect you to know it all-thats what their job will be when you get on the course-to teach you!

    I'm not sure if its the same this year but when i had my interview, the essay was not so much about the content (even though we were given an educational statement to write about) but on checking to see if we had good English/grammar etc.

    Best of luck!

  5. Hi

    I would talk less about what you know ie. eal, mfl. They will teach you this on the course. I didn't know anything about these things when I went for my interview. I think they are trying to find out if you are going into teaching for the correct reasons and they want to know you have the personality to make a fantastic teacher. They can teach you the rest. Talk about why you want to teach. Did you have a fantastic teacher that made you a life long learner? (If not you could always stretch the truth a litte) How did they make you feel? Why can you remember them? Talk about examples of good teaching that you have seen. Also talk about good classrooms. What would your ideal classroom look like? - Brightly coloured, full of displays of childrens work (to show them that their work is valued by you)reward and sanction systems, areas of responsibility (This weeks energy monitor is _____). How did you find school, if you didn't like it tell them why and how you would change this in your classroom. If you often found things hard and struggled in maths, how would you help children in the same boat (challenge and support). Talk about making learning fun and how much you want the children in your class to love coming to school. Talk about raising self-esteem, google 'circle time'. Also google P4c 'philosophy for children' this is becoming quite a hot topic, don't pretend you know everything about just say you are interested in using these techniques and why. Most of all - think about why you want to teach and get your passion for teaching across. Show them you are a hardworker and will put the graft in. This is what they are looking for - someone who really wants it but wont drop out when they realise how much work it is!

    Right, back to planning then. Let us know how you get on. Good luck! (oh and smile - they like that)
  6. DA1


    You have all been so kind - thank you so much for all your advice.

    I can't help thinking that you are all describing what I did :( The last interview feedback form said that my passion for the profession was evident, as was my extremely enthusiastic style. Not only did I explain at length why I wanted to teach (my reasons are that my family are teachers, I still keep in touch with a fantastic teacher who changed my life and how highly I regard the importance of teaching in society) but I also showed that I really wanted to get on to the course. I just really feel sad as I tried so hard and also learned all the buzz words so they couldnt possibly mark me down on anything - and they didn't! - My pre-interview essay was "interesting and addressed all relevant areas", my writing task was "short but to the point" and as well as all the good comments, my interview score was "good". Yet I was still rejected.

    I really don't know where to go from here. In the first interview I went for total and utter enthusiasm - this failed as I didn't have the knowledge. Fair enough, I learned more terms and theories and told the second interviewer all about what I knew whilst remaining enthusiastic AND showing my 'extra' portfolio which I'd made that wasn't even required.

    What do these people want :(

    After the first interview, I felt sad but I knew I needed to improve. After the second interview, I had absolutely no idea what else I could do to pass. So I'm a bit stumped as to what to do for Wednesday week - all I can think of is add to my portfolio.

    Thanks for all your help /\
  7. It sounds really like it is nothing to do with you at all and that maybe it has something to do with the numbers? Could it just be that it came down to you and somebody else but this other person did a better writing task or something and therefore got the place over you.
  8. Often there will be something that won't be said on the interview feedback form and it seems to be that is the case.

    Try and get a phone chat ASAP with the person who interviewed you. Handle this carefully and you may get some useful insights. Just write down everything he/she says and don't get in to a debate. Use that to improve the next interview.

    Primary is extremely competitive so it could be you didn't tick some box they wanted, whatever it was, and that may not apply at the next training institution.

    How much experience do you have?
  9. Do you work with children at the moment? If not this could be the advantage that the others had. If you don't are you able to talk about how what you do now would be relevant to teaching. If you don't get in this time, get a job working with children and apply again next year. Don't give up!
  10. mantilla

    mantilla New commenter

    I'm currently at Roehampton and had my interview in March last year. They didn't spring any surprise presentation on me - there was a writing task (200 words - in which they are checking whether you have good English) and then interview. They didn't really look at my portfolio at all or ask me about current issues in education. It was more of a chat about why I wanted to teach, what I had been doing since uni (as I was a mature entrant at 26) and my experience in school so far. One of the questions was to tell them about a good piece of learning seen in school, and it was good to be able to show some children's work from my portfolio to back up my answer.

    I can't say that it will be the same this year of course and I have heard that it depends on who you have for the interview, but just stay calm and focused, be well prepared and fingers crossed you will be fine.

    Do remember though that when I was interviewed last March that was the last day of interviews for the primary PGCE and so I was lucky to get in - you are probably on one of the last interview days too so (as someone said on a previous post) they may only have a certain number of spaces left to fill. Keep trying and you'll get there!
  11. DA1


    Thank you all for your comments. I currently work in field sales but am negotiating with my employer so that I can work from home a few days per week. This will enable me to volunteer at a school at least one day per week. Will that help at interview?

    My biggest problem is that I have no idea how I can do any better at interview although I agree with the person who said that perhaps they had a direct choice between me and someone else. That leads me to think that if I keep trying, I may get in somewhere. I suppose it's like a driving test - different examiners look for different things. This theory gives me hope.

    So I have a few key terms - my main ones are: MFL, EAL, ECM etc - do you guys think that's enough theory?

    Then I can talk about current issues : perhaps the LEA/headteacher power struggle?

    Then of course my personal reasons for wanting to teach.

    Is that enough?

    How big does the portfolio need to be Mantilla?
  12. mantilla

    mantilla New commenter

    Regular volunteering will definitely help I think - that's what I did for 6 months before my PGCE started. Otherwise the only thing I did to prepare was read the TES and go through a list of interview questions that was posted on here (I think in the resource bank, can't remember clearly).

    For my portfolio I bought an A4 folder with 20 slip in pages, giving me 40 sides in all. I had sections on each bit of school experience I had done, examples of children's work, a couple of accounts of lessons I had observed, some planning from the school I was helping in, notes on behaviour management strategies I had observed in school, photos of displays from school and a couple of sides about interests outside teaching.
  13. DA1


    I PROMISE, if I get in the drinks are on me to all those who have helped me in this thread I appreciate it more than you can every know! Mantilla I really owe you
  14. Speaking as an interviewer, lack of recent, relevant experience would be a reason to reject you, ezpecially if there were a lot of people at the interview who had a lot of experience. If you have limited experience, you are going to need to talk it up. Try to relate every question to practical, hands on experience with children, even if not in the classroom.
  15. DA1


    I have the minimum required experience. And if they weren't interested in me because of that, then they shouldn't have invited me for an interview and they shouldn't have a minimum requirement.

    I also have lots of previous experience which I can relate to the PGCE and teaching in a primary school (such as teaching in a secondary school for instance). I suppose if I can relate my experience to the questions I'm being asked and if I can talk about other experience that holds mein good stead then perhaps I will be more likely to get in? These are 2 things which I haven't really done yet in all fairness so I will need to try this on Wednesday.

    I am losing sleep over this as it is surely my last chance this year (and what with trying last summer as well, this could well be the 2nd year I fail). I am waking up worrying about not getting in!

    I know I can do the course and I know I will pass. Just need a chance :(
  16. Hi DA1
    I agree with everything that has been said, but would add a couple of things...

    I think the two things you need to stress above all else is: why you love being around children, and why you want to teach - these are fundamental.

    The only other advice I could add is to not let this eat away at you - it has to be like water off a duck's back. By all means learn from any rejections, but don't be down trodden by them. Always remember that selection at interview is as much a function of the competition as the individual - all you can really do is try your best to increase the odds in your favour.

    Showing you are making an effort to gain more experience with kids is worth as much as classroom time under your belt (within reason) so if they see you taking unpaid leave or your own holidays to gain experience, it really shows willing...

    Good luck.
  17. DA1


    Fantastic advice Jez - thank you, I can see you are going to be a great teacher just by reading your teachings!

    Just finishing off my portfolio now. I have about 16 sides front and back (so 32).

    I have 3 letters of approval, my dissertation, my university teaching module folder (although secondary) and my portfolio. I have added an essay on teaching PE, lesson plans, lessons I've experienced, teaching styles that I witnessed, some work the children have done for me, an overview of the school experience, behavious management, an explanation of read, Write, Inc. and a section on SEN and EAL that I witnessed. I hope this is all ok.

    I am absolutely pooing myself now - but in a way I can't wait to get in there.

    All you guys have been so helpful, I'm so grateful to know there are kind people - I hope I can repay the favour to someone this time next year!
  18. DA1


    It was really tough :( The interview was a bit of a grilling.

    Not holding out much hope
  19. DA1


    Think I made only one mistake (spelling) on the whole writing task which was 45 mins long. Half was looking for mistakes in some writing and the second half was a writing task. I added a letter where I shouldn't have in the first part - hopefully one small mistake won't destroy me though.
    It's all down to the interview I think
  20. skellig1182

    skellig1182 Senior commenter

    How did your interview go? I hope you are offered a place. So many people are and just cant cope and drop out! But you seem so committed:)

    I did my degree at Roehampton and it was a lovely place to learn.

    My Primary interview happens to be this Thursday at London Met:( Its my very first one. I am working at the moment as a TA which is wonderful and teaching the children is wonderfully addictive. The way i see it is, if its meant to be 'now' then it will be:) Goodluck! There is always clearing too. Im doing my Maths GCSE at the moment and I could fail it like many others do...so there will be places available.

    Let me know how you do!


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