This time last year I was a 22-year-old panicking about getting my first ever teaching post and ‘real job’. Here are some of my pearls of wisdom (or ramblings!) to guide you to start thinking about applications.
Where do I even start?
1) Bullet all of the things you have done so far in training.
Application forms always ask for CPD and experiences you have. I made a list of experiences I had, what happened and how they have helped me in my professional development. Taking that further, how could they help me develop more as a practitioner with the stabilisers taken off? If you do this fully, you will end up with a mini novel that you could sell, so keep it brief with bullet points and key dates. This can be fluffed out when you write a personal statement or when you come to be interviewed.
2) Struggling to thing what sector/type of school you’d like to work in? Look over the aforementioned bullet points!
Your experience may lead you to realise what kind of school you would like to work in. I knew all along that I wanted to work in a suburban state school. Some people may want to pursue a career in the SEN sector. Sometimes bullet pointed lists can help things fit into place!
3) Sign up to www.tes.co.uk for job alerts.
Most institutions will advertise on their own website or on TES (Times Education Supplement). The lovely job elves will send you out a daily email detailing what new posts are available and where. You can refine searches to look for somewhere near to you; somewhere further away or for a specific sector - such as SEN schools.
4) Market yourself fashionably!
Have a look over your social networking sites. Make sure they are on private settings unless they are for professional development. Twitter is a great site for linking up with fellow practitioners and can be a great source of getting into teaching and learning circles. I use this as a way to find ideas, make ‘friends’ with fellow teachers and engage in educational conversation. It’s fair to say that those who market themselves right can become very big on Twitter and I know a lot of people by their Twitter handle rather than their actual name (ashamed!) but it’s a way to really get to know what’s developing in the teaching and learning world and to keep up to date with policy - something very important when applying for jobs.
I’m a prospective NQT, surely that means I cannot be picky when choosing my first post?
Wrong, wrong, wrong; with the correct experience, you most definitely can be choosy. I held off applying to several schools because I didn’t think I would be suited enough to them. As teaching is my first ever ‘real job’ - I wanted to work for a school who would be willing to invest in me. My aim is to become a teaching and learning coach (if I ever get good enough at what I do to do that!) so I had to play tactically and make sure the school I was applying to would possibly open up such pathways in the future. The first two didn’t so I decided not to apply. Some of you may want to put the classroom teaching experience at the forefront of your vocation, and let’s face it, it’s the primary reason were are all teachers. I would definitely consider:
1) Where do you want to be in five years time?
2) What kind of demographic of student do you want to work with?
3) Will the school cater for your professional development needs?
4) Do you fit in with their bigger picture?
Following this, I would enquire to see if you can have a tour of the school. A school may have pearly gates outside and the prettiest logo a marketing company could create, but it’s what goes on inside that can either make teaching the best job you’ve ever had, or it can make it difficult.
Very best of luck.
Adam, NQT and Shotton Hall SCITT graduate