Very often I’m asked for advice from teachers applying for jobs, either colleagues or friends. Each person’s context is unique to them but the messages are usually the same so I thought I would share them. As a Headteacher, getting the right people into the right roles within my school is one of the most important things I do. Over the years I’ve conducted hundreds of interviews and probably read thousands of application forms. In my career I’ve also applied for plenty of jobs myself, both as an external and an internal candidate…with only partial success. I’ve had my share of rejections, been ‘pipped to the post’ a few times (so they said) and these knock-backs have always taught me something. So, taking what I’ve learned from both sides of the interview table, here is my guide to getting a job that you really want.
This time of year reminds me of my degree show, just as I was preparing for it I was called to the professors office as there was a phone call for me. I was being invited to a job interview which was two days away and this just coincided with the middle day of my degree show and examinations. My mind went mad what should I do first, how can I get both things done? Luckily on that particular day I only had one verbal test which the professor changed to the day before, so off I went…luckily I was chosen and my teaching career was started.
If you are in the same place here is some advice particularly for language interviews.
If you have any questions ring up or email to clarify the position
Where possible find out about prior learning
Are you co-ordinating languages as part of the position?
Know the up to date curriculum and where appropriate suggest exemplar lessons to support any changes.
Find out the year group you will be teaching and relate the curriculum to this group including, aims and objectives.
Think about objections e.g. some parents and teachers think teaching a child another language rather than English is the wrong thing to do so will do all they can to object…how can you over come this?
What is the heads view?
Know the benefits of MFL or EAL especially that: good practice for MFL/EAL is good practice for everything else. (Many benefits of bilingual learning are now to be found on this blog and the internet)
Most importantly enjoy what you are doing. If you enjoy it, your enthusiasm comes across and the children enjoy their learning.
This is probably one people will say you shouldnt say that, it is obvious, but having been in the position of interviewer, here goes. Wear appropriate clothing for the demonstration lesson you want to deliver thereby show your professional clothing choice. Some people plan e.g. a walk around the grounds in trousers that drag in the ground, shoes that are unsuitable for walking and then are uncomfortable throughout the rest of the interview. Both themselves and the interviewer do not feel they have got the best out of each other.
If part of the interview is the demonstration lesson, try to find out the normal expectations e.g. are the aims clearly shown, is the three-part lesson expected, the number in the class, the age group. What they would normally doing is a good place to start …if you have no ideas…because you could support current learning. Find out what they expect via lesson planning and if possible use their normal proforma – showing that you could fit right in helps. Know where what you are doing fits in the curriculum and what could come before or after it.
In some situations you may be starting off MFL or EAL in the school for the first time…unlikely but it has been known… in this case be aware that governors may want to ask questions re the curriculum and what you hope the MFL/EAL curriculum to look like in thats chool in say three-five years once you have embedded your ideas. As I said more likely for a full co-ordinators role or Head of Department role, but it aware it can happen. For example just because there was a member of staff in the school when the job was advertised who was to be the co-ordinator, it doesn’t mean they will be there when you take up position for all sorts of reasons.
Finally make sure you enter the primary language awards and show off all of your good work. www.languageawards.com or facebook primarylanguageawards.