personal statement and the relevance of my experiences to teaching. More general, common sense type questions were, for example, about behavioural issues and discipline within the classroom environment. I don’t think they were looking for specific answers, but rather a general awareness that showed I had thought about issues involved with teaching. The following questions are my attempts to remember what I was grilled on:
What skills are needed to be a good teacher?
Who was your favourite teacher and why were they good at their job?
Why do you want to be a teacher?
What makes you think you’d be any good at it?
How can you adapt your advanced subject knowledge to the classroom?
Are you any good with grammar and spelling?!
What are the needs of a pupil?
What would you do if faced with a child who does not share your love of English/a child who is disruptive?
How would you go about teaching a poem to a mixed ability class?
What is your dissertation about? (I hadn’t started it and couldn’t remember the title, and the interviewer then proceeded to dwell on the merits of Seamus Heaney, expecting me to expound on the reasons for his existence on both the GCSE and A level syllabus…oh dear.)
Why is Shakespeare so important to the National Curriculum?
What would you teach and why?
What was the last book you read?
What did your Children’s Fiction module involve?
On the train down to X I had finished the children’s book Holes, by Louis Sachar. I mentioned this and then wished I hadn’t, as the interviewer wanted to know more and I hadn’t really had time to think about it. I was asked for suggestions on how I would teach it to a class, and so I rapidly summoned up a mental Children’s Fiction seminar in an attempt to think of themes and pretty diagrams. I somehow managed to steer the conversation round to the authors in my special topic essays (Alan Garner, Gillian Cross) and we actually spent about 10 minutes talking about this module! Apparently, on the X University PGCE they recommend reading one CF book a week and on receiving my reading list, I have discovered that I have to complete several pre-induction tasks involving children’s and teenage fiction, poetry and media. What a hard life it is.
2. Secondary English. University of Y