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Unsuccessful PGCE applicants :( what will you do now?

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    (Original post by AgentJ87)
    Hi everyone

    Just wanted to talk to people in the same boat as me . I found out yesterday that I was unsuccessful in my interview for the PGCE primary at UWIC/cardiff met and i'm heartbroken! I know competition is tough and I was aware that my chances were low and thought I was well prepared for a knockback, but reading that 'unsuccessful' on gttr is just devastating! Ive wanted to teach since I was 16 and all of my work/uni decisions have been based on that! I have been working in a primary school as a teaching assistant for three years working in both foundation Phase and KS2 and I am SO ready to take the next step! I have tons of experience and ive learned so much about school life and how classrooms work. I put so much time and effort into my application/ interview!
    I will be reapplying next year and will be looking into the GTP route aswell but owch! It just hurts hopefully I will feel better soon. I keep thinking that im nearly 25 now, if this keeps happening I could be reeeeally old by the time I secure a place?! This is so important to me and I feel like somehow ive been rejected as a person I'm so unhappy right now. Is anyone else feeling as gloomy as me?

    Sorry for my rant, I know time will give me more perspective and I will feel better but still

    Agent J
    Oh so sorry to hear this!

    You sound like an excellent candidate and its such a shame this has happened. Obviously ask for feedback as you might be able to strengthen your application even more for next time.

    Can you only study in Cardiff? I know from the experience of a Welsh friend of mine that she found it particularly tough to get places in Welsh institutions. She managed in the end... going to Swansea and is now working in Wales though again, not quite in the subject and area she wanted... I think there is just a lot of demand all from excellent people of whom I'm sure you're one, and not enough places to go round.

    If you can move then that would give you more options. Another friend crossed the bridge and went to UWE for her training for instance. Did you apply for anywhere else? I went to St Luke's Exeter which is fantastic.

    Don't think you are too old myself. You're one year away in effect.... its worth still focussing on getting a place for that year as it is your dream and it is doable. You have a degree, you have relevant experience and you are committed. You can do it!!!

    Maybe ask someone to help you work on interview skills just in case. However it is probably just bad luck this time around.


    Big hug anyway
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    (Original post by mattmilton)
    You've got to remember though, that what you call "smooth talk for interviews" is, from the interviewer's point of view: cogency, articulacy, the ability to improvise and the fluency to keep things dynamic for a class.
    One of the reasons Leicester said they rejected me was because I say 'you know' and 'err...' quite a lot. They say this might transfer to the classroom as well and be of concern.

    My question is this:

    Can this ever really change? Say I managed to get enough courage to confidently pass my interview and they gave me an offer. Surely this means that, even though I'm on the course, who is to say that my 'you know' and stuttering won't still be present when I hit the classroom?

    Surely there are people who seem nervous at interviews who make great teachers?

    I understand they need to be rigorous but some of my favourite teachers at school were ones who weren't necessarily uber confident but had other qualities.
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    Looks like that's me in the same boat now...

    I was rejected by the University of Nottingham after an interview 2 weeks ago, and then on Friday I got a rejection from Nottingham Trent, without an interview. My application went on to Sheffield, but they're full, so it went to Sheffield Hallam today. I phoned them up and they said they're interviewing tomorrow for the last 2 places on the course, so it's unlikely I'll get an interview there.

    I'm waiting to hear back about the GTP, but I know it's massively oversubscribed so I don't rate my chances very highly on that...

    I'm just so frustrated at the prospect of killing time for another year. I didn't apply during my final year of university because I wasn't 100% sure it was what I wanted to do, so I only applied in December/January after I'd been working in a school for a few weeks. I'm 24, so even if I get on a course for 2013 entry, I'll be 26 by the time I start my NQT year.

    I'm doing agency work (currently a cover teacher of MFL based in one school until Easter, but normally I move around a bit more doing day-to-day cover, and have done a short stint as a TA in a Pupil Referral Unit too), and it's ever so unreliable. I don't earn anything during school holidays, and it's hit-and-miss even in term-time.

    It's fantastic experience and I've enjoyed a lot of the work I've done so far, but I might have to pack it in if I can get a full-time job doing something else. And then there's no guarantee I'll get in next year...

    The biggest problem is that my degree isn't in the subject I've applied for. TeachFirst and the University of Nottingham gave me interviews, but Nottingham Trent rejected me outright. If I'd applied to teach MFL I'm almost certain I'd have a place by now, but it's not what I want to do with my life...

    Sorry this is really long, I just needed to have a rant...
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    (Original post by Keziah)
    Looks like that's me in the same boat now...

    I was rejected by the University of Nottingham after an interview 2 weeks ago, and then on Friday I got a rejection from Nottingham Trent, without an interview. My application went on to Sheffield, but they're full, so it went to Sheffield Hallam today. I phoned them up and they said they're interviewing tomorrow for the last 2 places on the course, so it's unlikely I'll get an interview there.

    I'm waiting to hear back about the GTP, but I know it's massively oversubscribed so I don't rate my chances very highly on that...

    I'm just so frustrated at the prospect of killing time for another year. I didn't apply during my final year of university because I wasn't 100% sure it was what I wanted to do, so I only applied in December/January after I'd been working in a school for a few weeks. I'm 24, so even if I get on a course for 2013 entry, I'll be 26 by the time I start my NQT year.

    I'm doing agency work (currently a cover teacher of MFL based in one school until Easter, but normally I move around a bit more doing day-to-day cover, and have done a short stint as a TA in a Pupil Referral Unit too), and it's ever so unreliable. I don't earn anything during school holidays, and it's hit-and-miss even in term-time.

    It's fantastic experience and I've enjoyed a lot of the work I've done so far, but I might have to pack it in if I can get a full-time job doing something else. And then there's no guarantee I'll get in next year...

    The biggest problem is that my degree isn't in the subject I've applied for. TeachFirst and the University of Nottingham gave me interviews, but Nottingham Trent rejected me outright. If I'd applied to teach MFL I'm almost certain I'd have a place by now, but it's not what I want to do with my life...

    Sorry this is really long, I just needed to have a rant...
    Check GTTR daily. Providers often reopen places.
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    Thanks for the tip.

    I've decided to contact the GTTR tomorrow and ask if I can apply to one more place. Basically they wasted one of my choices by sending my application on to Sheffield when the course was already full (the person I spoke to at Sheffield said they've contacted the GTTR about it, it's an IT error, and that it should be resolved by the 17th, but that's not much good to me!). So I'm hoping they'll allow me one more application...

    I'm thinking of applying for MFL, even though I'd still ideally like to teach English. I'm currently working as a cover teacher of MFL (mostly French but a bit of German) from half-term to Easter, and I'm enjoying it a lot more than I expected. I'm not planning any lessons myself, but I'm working from lesson plans prepared by the head of department which require me to teach rather than just hand out work, and I'm teaching all year groups from 7 to 11. With this experience, and a 1st in French and History as well as AS German and GCSE Spanish, I probably have a lot more chance of getting onto an MFL PGCE!

    I'm realising that teaching is a lot less about me and my own interests than I'd thought. It's not English, or French, or History that I want to do, it's teaching, and so I need to just go with what I'm best qualified to teach.
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    (Original post by Keziah)
    Thanks for the tip.

    I've decided to contact the GTTR tomorrow and ask if I can apply to one more place. Basically they wasted one of my choices by sending my application on to Sheffield when the course was already full (the person I spoke to at Sheffield said they've contacted the GTTR about it, it's an IT error, and that it should be resolved by the 17th, but that's not much good to me!). So I'm hoping they'll allow me one more application...

    I'm thinking of applying for MFL, even though I'd still ideally like to teach English. I'm currently working as a cover teacher of MFL (mostly French but a bit of German) from half-term to Easter, and I'm enjoying it a lot more than I expected. I'm not planning any lessons myself, but I'm working from lesson plans prepared by the head of department which require me to teach rather than just hand out work, and I'm teaching all year groups from 7 to 11. With this experience, and a 1st in French and History as well as AS German and GCSE Spanish, I probably have a lot more chance of getting onto an MFL PGCE!

    I'm realising that teaching is a lot less about me and my own interests than I'd thought. It's not English, or French, or History that I want to do, it's teaching, and so I need to just go with what I'm best qualified to teach.
    Once you're a qualified teacher then as long as the school thinks you have enough subject knowledge you can teach anything, so training in MFL doesn't mean you have to be stuck teaching that. Good luck anyway.
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    (Original post by Dagnabbit)
    One of the reasons Leicester said they rejected me was because I say 'you know' and 'err...' quite a lot. They say this might transfer to the classroom as well and be of concern.

    My question is this:

    Can this ever really change? Say I managed to get enough courage to confidently pass my interview and they gave me an offer. Surely this means that, even though I'm on the course, who is to say that my 'you know' and stuttering won't still be present when I hit the classroom?

    Surely there are people who seem nervous at interviews who make great teachers?

    I understand they need to be rigorous but some of my favourite teachers at school were ones who weren't necessarily uber confident but had other qualities.
    You do not have to be an extrovert to be a teacher by any means. Quieter people make great teachers too.

    It is true though that whatever your own style and approach you do need to be able to communicate calmly and confidently in the classroom.

    It's not something you are neccesarily just born with! Part of the point of teacher training is it gives you some space and time to develop and practice this. If you can work on getting more confidence and fluency in the interview skills part and succeed then it proves pretty much that you are the kind of person who can undergo the same process in teacher training and end up a great teacher.

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    (Original post by Dagnabbit)
    One of the reasons Leicester said they rejected me was because I say 'you know' and 'err...' quite a lot. They say this might transfer to the classroom as well and be of concern.

    My question is this:

    Can this ever really change? Say I managed to get enough courage to confidently pass my interview and they gave me an offer. Surely this means that, even though I'm on the course, who is to say that my 'you know' and stuttering won't still be present when I hit the classroom?

    Surely there are people who seem nervous at interviews who make great teachers?

    I understand they need to be rigorous but some of my favourite teachers at school were ones who weren't necessarily uber confident but had other qualities.
    Hi sorry but this makes me laugh(not you the explanation they've given you)....I got rejected a few days ago from a different uni....anyway, the interviewer/lecturer was repeating "consequently" like every 3-4 words and another teacher was so red while explaining things about the course, her voice trembled and she laugh at herself and at the comments she made, unfortunately no one found it funny, but i'm sure that they are great at what they do...so yeah i'm with you on that one and at the end of the day you are expected to be nervous...
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    (Original post by tsveti)
    Hi sorry but this makes me laugh(not you the explanation they've given you)....I got rejected a few days ago from a different uni....anyway, the interviewer/lecturer was repeating "consequently" like every 3-4 words and another teacher was so red while explaining things about the course, her voice trembled and she laugh at herself and at the comments she made, unfortunately no one found it funny, but i'm sure that they are great at what they do...so yeah i'm with you on that one and at the end of the day you are expected to be nervous...
    I heard of someone whose feedback was that their accent was wrong for teaching as they spoke with 'received pronunciation'. Weird stuff!

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    (Original post by Dagnabbit)
    One of the reasons Leicester said they rejected me was because I say 'you know' and 'err...' quite a lot. They say this might transfer to the classroom as well and be of concern.

    My question is this:

    Can this ever really change? Say I managed to get enough courage to confidently pass my interview and they gave me an offer. Surely this means that, even though I'm on the course, who is to say that my 'you know' and stuttering won't still be present when I hit the classroom?

    Surely there are people who seem nervous at interviews who make great teachers?

    I understand they need to be rigorous but some of my favourite teachers at school were ones who weren't necessarily uber confident but had other qualities.

    I'm quite appalled at this to be honest. Were there other, more substantial reasons for you being rejected?

    The process is competitive and they do have to be rigorous but this is a poor reason to reject you in my opinion. I have worked in schools for two years and have had time in many teachers' classrooms. Some teachers are natural born entertainers, full of confidence and never appear nervous or uncomfortable in any situation. These have been teachers who've been in the profession for many years, as well as newly qualified teachers. On the other hand, I have come across teachers who are naturally introverted, quiet and quite shy - again, both experienced and NQTs. I've seen fantastic 'shy' teachers, and not so good extroverted teachers... There's absolutely no correlation in my experience!

    Also, when I first started working in a school I was terrified! I went red walking into the class (as a TA), found it incredibly difficult to confront children who were being disruptive/not working (this was in secondary school), and dreaded the thought of having to address a group of more than three or four kids. This nervousness lasted all of a few days. Now I'm more than happy to confront children I don't know, shout at a whole class (regular occurrence ) and I feel confident and comfortable in any classroom.

    What I am trying to say is please, please don't let this 'reason' put you off or make you think you can't be a good teacher. I am not a natural extrovert by any means, and I don't exude confidence at all! But once you've been in the environment for just a short amount of time, you become comfortable and less nervous. Don't get me wrong, the thought of being responsible for a whole class is scary but it should be - it's a massive responsibility and we have to take it seriously.

    I don't know how much experience you have, but if you're planning to reapply I'd strongly advise getting as much experience in schools as you can. If nothing else, it will concrete your decision and you can learn so much, even if it's just a voluntary couple of days a month type thing.
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    (Original post by Dagnabbit)
    I'll copy in a bit of what I wrote in another thread:


    "This is familiar ground for me now.

    A bit of background:

    I've taught abroad, done 2 teaching placements and I am predicted a first in BSc Mathematics.


    I have applied for:

    TeachFirst - Got rejected straight away, no interview. Rude.
    Reading - Thought I got in but got given rejection 2 weeks later in November. No feedback given other than 'wasn't prepared'.
    Leicester - Got interview in January. Rejection. Seemed to be completely based on how I did in the interview and my experience seems not to have been taken into account.
    Nottingham Trent - Went on Wednesday and got my rejection the day after. The main reason for rejection was monotone voice, lack of confidence.
    "

    I'm gutted because I know I have enough experience and my grades are good enough it's just I haven't managed to master body language and smooth talk for interviews.

    I'm thinking of doing SCITT but I'm taking a year out after I graduate and, God willing, I can get in a school and do teaching assistant work.

    Sorry to hear about your bad luck
    Monotone voice - crazy reason!!! I feel like they're throwing lame reasons at people.. obviously they are oversubscribed and they need a reason to reject people but it's difficult for applicants because you simply can't help being nervous at an interview.

    Don't lose hope though, you've not finished your undergrad yet so you're still a few years behind lots of us.

    I'd definitely suggest working in a school next year. From my experience, lots of schools are crying out for male teaching assistants as they are so rare but offer lots of advantages that female TAs don't have - for instance, helping out male disabled students (particularly in secondary schools). Also, lots of naughty boys (generally younger) respond better to men than women! Most schools like a young TA or two, since many are quite a bit older than their 20s but it's good for the kids to have a mix of adults around them... So definitely get applying, and just get as much experience as you can. A year of poor wages will pay off if it helps you secure a place. I was confident on my interview day because I knew my subject knowledge was sound due to my school experience.
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    (Original post by Sugar_Puff_Fairy)
    I'm quite appalled at this to be honest. Were there other, more substantial reasons for you being rejected?

    The process is competitive and they do have to be rigorous but this is a poor reason to reject you in my opinion. I have worked in schools for two years and have had time in many teachers' classrooms. Some teachers are natural born entertainers, full of confidence and never appear nervous or uncomfortable in any situation. These have been teachers who've been in the profession for many years, as well as newly qualified teachers. On the other hand, I have come across teachers who are naturally introverted, quiet and quite shy - again, both experienced and NQTs. I've seen fantastic 'shy' teachers, and not so good extroverted teachers... There's absolutely no correlation in my experience!

    Also, when I first started working in a school I was terrified! I went red walking into the class (as a TA), found it incredibly difficult to confront children who were being disruptive/not working (this was in secondary school), and dreaded the thought of having to address a group of more than three or four kids. This nervousness lasted all of a few days. Now I'm more than happy to confront children I don't know, shout at a whole class (regular occurrence ) and I feel confident and comfortable in any classroom.

    What I am trying to say is please, please don't let this 'reason' put you off or make you think you can't be a good teacher. I am not a natural extrovert by any means, and I don't exude confidence at all! But once you've been in the environment for just a short amount of time, you become comfortable and less nervous. Don't get me wrong, the thought of being responsible for a whole class is scary but it should be - it's a massive responsibility and we have to take it seriously.

    I don't know how much experience you have, but if you're planning to reapply I'd strongly advise getting as much experience in schools as you can. If nothing else, it will concrete your decision and you can learn so much, even if it's just a voluntary couple of days a month type thing.
    They also said that I didn't reflect adequately on my experience and just generally gave the impression I was nervous.

    Somewhat unusually, when I've been doing teaching assistant work and occasionally led a small group of students, I don't consider myself to be that shy or nervous anyway! I taught in a boy's school for 3 weeks as part of a placement and after a couple of days I was absolutely fine and really enjoyed trying out different methods with different kids. I got along with the naughtier students just fine (although getting them to do the work was a bit tougher ).

    A lot of people around me, including careers advisors, are saying I should look at other options but, frankly, I can't see what else I'd enjoy! I can work in sectors like retail, engineering, business, research etc. but none are as appealing to me as teaching! Also, all my experience is in teaching so it's not as if I wouldn't need to take a year out anyway if I decided to switch to accountancy or whatever because they require specific experience in that area.

    Btw where are you atm in the teaching process? Are you a full-time teacher?
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    (Original post by Dagnabbit)
    They also said that I didn't reflect adequately on my experience and just generally gave the impression I was nervous.

    Somewhat unusually, when I've been doing teaching assistant work and occasionally led a small group of students, I don't consider myself to be that shy or nervous anyway! I taught in a boy's school for 3 weeks as part of a placement and after a couple of days I was absolutely fine and really enjoyed trying out different methods with different kids. I got along with the naughtier students just fine (although getting them to do the work was a bit tougher ).

    A lot of people around me, including careers advisors, are saying I should look at other options but, frankly, I can't see what else I'd enjoy! I can work in sectors like retail, engineering, business, research etc. but none are as appealing to me as teaching! Also, all my experience is in teaching so it's not as if I wouldn't need to take a year out anyway if I decided to switch to accountancy or whatever because they require specific experience in that area.

    Btw where are you atm in the teaching process? Are you a full-time teacher?

    No I'm starting my PGCE in September (primary). I have been a teaching assistant for two years.

    Obviously you were nervous!! This infuriates me - would they prefer us to go in thinking we know it all already??

    If you truly believe you want to teach then don't give up yet. It's not as if you have no experience - it sounds like you've done your research and spent a fair amount of time in schools. The advice of career advisors sounds quite poor to me. If you know what you're letting yourself in for then I wouldn't listen to what they have to say. Teaching is a vocation and I feel the same as you - I wouldn't enjoy working anywhere but a school or with children. Some people are born to teach, and if you believe you were then please don't give up.

    When I first graduated I applied for PGCE History and was unsuccessful. I then worked in a secondary school for a year and realised that it wasn't where I wanted to be, so I got a job in a primary school and after about two days I knew that was what I wanted.

    Are you still a student at the moment? What are you studying?
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    (Original post by Sugar_Puff_Fairy)
    Are you still a student at the moment? What are you studying?

    Yeah I'm in 3rd year of Mathematics BSc and, of course, I want to teach maths (mainly because it's what I know most about at KS3/KS4 not necessarily what I enjoy most). I'm predicted a first and I'm (just!) on the right side of the border between first and 2:1.
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    (Original post by Dagnabbit)
    Yeah I'm in 3rd year of Mathematics BSc and, of course, I want to teach maths (mainly because it's what I know most about at KS3/KS4 not necessarily what I enjoy most). I'm predicted a first and I'm (just!) on the right side of the border between first and 2:1.
    Well good luck with the rest of final year! I think there are a lot of maths applicants at the moment because of the financial incentives offered (not saying that's why you, or lots of others, applied). If it's not what you enjoy the most, maybe you should look at teaching something else/primary? The point of a PGCE is that you learn to teach - including subject knowledge. Just something to think about.
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    (Original post by Sugar_Puff_Fairy)
    Well good luck with the rest of final year! I think there are a lot of maths applicants at the moment because of the financial incentives offered (not saying that's why you, or lots of others, applied). If it's not what you enjoy the most, maybe you should look at teaching something else/primary? The point of a PGCE is that you learn to teach - including subject knowledge. Just something to think about.
    If I am to do a year of work as a TA it's more likely to be in a primary school (looking at the vacancies published by my local council). This is another reason for me to do this year of experience and if I really enjoy it I'll definitely consider the primary PGCE.

    Best wishes for you in your future too!

    Dag
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    (Original post by Dagnabbit)
    If I am to do a year of work as a TA it's more likely to be in a primary school (looking at the vacancies published by my local council). This is another reason for me to do this year of experience and if I really enjoy it I'll definitely consider the primary PGCE.

    Best wishes for you in your future too!

    Dag
    Well I was convinced I'd hate primary school but I've never looked back! It's so much fun and you teach the kids so much more than just their schoolwork - it's really rewarding every single day.

    Best of luck!
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    aargh, so just got rejected from London Met. That would be, counting last year, interview and rejection number 5.
    I have Roehampton on the list too now, which just might possibly offer me an interview.

    Blimey, I'm starting to wonder if these places are offering me interviews just to get some sadistic pleasure out of knocking me back. If there's such a wealth of amazing candidates applying, can't they just weed me out and strike me off the list from my statement and experience, and save me a lot of bother...
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    (Original post by mattmilton)
    aargh, so just got rejected from London Met. That would be, counting last year, interview and rejection number 5.
    I have Roehampton on the list too now, which just might possibly offer me an interview.

    Blimey, I'm starting to wonder if these places are offering me interviews just to get some sadistic pleasure out of knocking me back. If there's such a wealth of amazing candidates applying, can't they just weed me out and strike me off the list from my statement and experience, and save me a lot of bother...
    If you are getting interviews then clearly your problem is interview technique, which is far easier to sort out than if you were not receiving interviews.
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    (Original post by mattmilton)
    aargh, so just got rejected from London Met. That would be, counting last year, interview and rejection number 5.
    I have Roehampton on the list too now, which just might possibly offer me an interview.

    Blimey, I'm starting to wonder if these places are offering me interviews just to get some sadistic pleasure out of knocking me back. If there's such a wealth of amazing candidates applying, can't they just weed me out and strike me off the list from my statement and experience, and save me a lot of bother...
    I'd have to agree with evantej, Matt.

    You've clearly got the right skills, qualifications and experience for teaching as you're getting interviews, and plenty of them.

    Therefore your problem has to be how you come across in person at interview. Speaking as someone who interviews people for jobs all the time, my major concern at an interview is not really assessing someone's knowledge and qualifications, it's about their personality. Will they get on with my team? Will they be easy to manage? Will they take direction well? Do they have initiative? Do they have a sense of humour?

    The most off putting characteristic in anyone at interview is arrogance. The know it all is always going to be a nightmare in any work environment, be that an office, a classroom or a staffroom. The second most off putting characteristic is low self confidence. Someone who doesn't speak up for themselves, is afraid to offer ideas or who will offer no personality or dynamic to the team will also never make the cut.

    I'd encourage you to really think about the interviews you've had, and how you have behaved in them. What sort of language did you use - were you overconfident? cocky? negative? too quiet? disparaging of others? What was your body language like? How did you respond to questions? Did you listen to others or talk over them? Did you show self awareness?

    I know it's not easy to self analyse but this is a key aspect of being a teacher and you need to develop this skill if you're serious about a teaching career so I'd start working on it now. Ask family and friends for some honest feedback about your communication skills. Think about how your interviewers reacted to you when you were at the PGCE interviews - did they warm to you or did you fail to establish a rapport? If it was the latter then your communication and relationship building skills definitely need some work.

    If you're walking into the interview room thinking you're entitled to a place then that could be part of your problem - no offence, but it sounds like this is your attitude from what you've written! You may not feel that way, but the tone of what you've written comes across as highly arrogant to someone who doesn't know you - so you could be coming across this way at interview without realising or intending to. Just something to think about.

    Good luck at your last interview - I hope you get a place!

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