Before I go any further in this blog post, I should say that I have never been successful in a second in faculty interview. I have had many though, and of those I have come close.
I think that the second in faculty is a difficult position. You are trying to forge your own path with respect to the area you are responsible for, yet you have to stick closely to the vision set by the head of faculty and stay loyal for the sake of the cohesion of the faculty.
That begs the question "what would you do if you disagreed with the head of faculty?" I have had this experience twice now. Once I had a major and very public strop (I got into trouble but I got my own way, and it was for the best of the students). The second time I supported what was decided and just had to be there to pick up the pieces when it did fall apart. I think I made the wrong choice, I should have fought more. Any other decisions I have either gone along with and things have been fine or gone along with and what was decided has been forgotten about anyway. So my answer: You have to pick your battles. Knowing what I know now, I would always fight for what I believe is right and I promise to never let something happen again that will have a detrimental affect on the students and school. But this approach in interview is honest, yet would it get me employed?
I believe that the role of the second in faculty is to be supportive of the other members of the faculty. Mentoring people and supporting those who are struggling with certain students or topics. "How would you support a colleague that is struggling?" In most of the schools I have been to interview in this question is about showing you have empathy and can be sensitive. The most important thing is that colleagues want to go to you for support. How do you build up that kind of relationship? Not be being a know-it-all, not by making out you are superior to others.
The job of the second in faculty is often to bring enthusiasm to the faculty. Bring in and lead on innovative and new ideas, organise trip and clubs. Do the things that the head of department struggles to do as they are bogged down in paper work and the demands of senior management. So a question may involve enrichment activities.
Every department I have worked in has had issues with a member of staff. Someone seems to be the "worst". What do you do if it is you that the parents/students/LSAs/other staff complain to? In these situations I don't like to work alone, but seek support. You need to see a the any issue from all angles and an alternative voice helps that. But how do you phrase that in an interview without looking weak and indecisive?
Other questions I have been asked involve my role as a form tutor; why I want to be a teacher; describe yourself in 3 words; describe your strengths and weaknesses; give an example of something you have lead on; how do you use afl in your teaching; how does ICT impact on your work as a teacher; how can you best utilise a VLE; how do you get over your passion for science to your students; should science be compulsory at key stage 4?
A classic question is describe an outstanding lesson you have taught. But a less familiar question is describe a less that didn't go well and what you would do about it.
The big question though is why do you want to work at this school? Can you engage with the staff and students enough to show you would fit in?
Remember that being a second in faculty is about fitting in, and it is probably for the best if you get the job if you wouldn't fit in.
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