Whether you’re a career changer, thinking about starting a BEd or you’re planning on taking the PGCE route you’ll find lots of advice here. Charlie Taylor will answer new topics containing "Dear Charlie" in the subject.
I've been denied places at three universities (Warwick, Oxford Brookes, and Oxford) for PGCE Secondary English courses this year. In the feedback letters from Warwick and Oxford, they said (respectively) that I "offered few insights into the realities of the classroom and the practicalities of the course would prove unreasonably challenging to me" and that I "needed to develop a clearer understanding of the multiple demands of teaching in a UK secondary comprehensive school and the nature of the challenge which it might present to me." Oxford also said that further classroom experience would "help me to clarify my reasons for wanting to teach at this level."
What I'm hearing here is that my answer to the question of why I want to teach secondary school is somehow inadequate or not what they want to hear. I want to teach because I like working with kids, because I see their potential and want to help them realize it, and because it matters to me that they have the opportunity to appreciate language and reading as I do. If that's the wrong answer, can anyone who teaches or has been on a PGCE course give me some insight into what the right answer is?
I read your letter and felt your frustration and disappointment in the decision. I , also have the aspiration to become a teacher. I have applied a few times and didn't get through. I feel they have a standard letter which they send to everyone who they want to eliminate in the process. I had never experienced failuer to this extend. I , too, am feeling frustrated and infact disheartened. Your answer as to why you want to become a teacher, seems genuine and right. I feel , at this economic climate, being a teacher is an extremely competitive job. Although being in the right place at the right time, seem to be a good idea.
I have a diploma from abroad and a degree. I came to Uk and went for an access course to start university again and got my 2nd degree in science. When I applied to become a secondary school teacher, they told me that I don't show breadth of knowlwge at a level, so I appled for primary but still can't get through. I feel I am becoming statistic for their processes!!! I am very determined and committed to any job tthat I take on, however, am getting very frustarted and demotivated. But, you are young and have lots of certificates, spend some time at schools as voluntary or paid job, hopefully you will go through, best of luck,
Keep trying and good luck for next time.
MissMinton I "offered few insights into the realities of the classroom and the practicalities of the course would prove unreasonably challenging to me"
This basically means you need more experience in the field. What they're saying is they think you haven't witnessed/experienced the practicalities of this course.
MissMinton"needed to develop a clearer understanding of the multiple demands of teaching in a UK secondary comprehensive school and the nature of the challenge which it might present to me.
Again, all to do with experience and make sure you get some information on the news/events occuring in secondary education at the moment.
MissMintonhelp me to clarify my reasons for wanting to teach at this level."
Exactly as you said, they want to know WHY you want to be a teacher and RELATE it to your experience that you have had. I've had two interviews (successful in my second), and realised that attempting to relate every single question to something you have experienced/done really helps secure the place.
However, it's not HOW MUCH experience you have, it's HOW you USE that experience. Like I say, try and relate it to every question and next time you should nail it. :)
Also, think about why you want to be a teacher. I can't give you reasons - everyone's different! But I said it's because I want to return the gift of education I recieved to children and lay the foundations of education in their lives (I'm doing primary btw!) then I related my answer to experience.
There are no right or wrong answers - just use your experience more and you should get it next time :)
Best of luck to you!
Thanks, djaye, that's really helpful. I have some volunteering experience--three terms with the student tutoring project at my uni where students go into schools once a week and work with small groups or act as basically classroom assistant--but now that I think about it I probably don't bring it up enough in interviews. I feel awkward putting it forward, like I'm showing off or making a meal out of it, but I just need to get over that and put myself out there. I'll work on that, and on getting some more experience, for next year. Thanks!
Thanks, castiel! I hear what you're saying--you have to be a memorable candidate and show that your goals have a basis in experience and reality. I'll work on that.
One thing that I said in my interview was that I wasn't going into it with 'rose-tinted glasses'. I said that I'd seen first hand that teaching is a difficult job and that some days are going to be really hard but there's absolutely nothing that could put me off it. Maybe you should say something like that alongside the reasons why you want to teach. Then your interviewers will be confident that you have an idea of the reality of teaching rather than just the good bits :) Good luck for your next interview.
When my group interview started the interviewers told us that anyone who had rose-tinted visions of changing the world of education overnight would instantly be 'sniffed out' and would not go any further in the process. In my answer to this question I talked about my passion for my subject and how I intended to try and bring the past to life as I have witnessed first hand how history teaching is currently becoming stagnant. I also discussed how teaching of the subject needs to be revised, especially if it becomes a core subject in the national curriculum review for 2014.
I would definitley encourage you to take on the advice of the above posters, be confident in your answer and reflect on what you have seen in the classroom, commenting on how this has shaped your view of what a teacher is, and how you fit that. Good Luck in your future applications.
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