Applying for a new job? Benefit from 500 years of teacher experience?
Based on BBC II! Snog Marry Avoid I presented the responses from a minimum of 50 teachers, on a series of co-collaborated education based questions. Each response is the prefixed with an opening word stem, but instead of “snog, marry, avoid,” it is “always, sometimes, never.” For example;
What to do, when your colleague enters the staffroom at break time upset after a difficult lesson.
Always… ask permission, if you decide it is best to offer your thoughts on the matter.
Sometimes… say nothing and offer a listening ear instead.
Never… say, “Well – they were good for me period 1?”
Following each survey, I wrote a relatively short summary of the responses to each question.
Unsurprisingly, the topic that received the most attention was applying for a jobs. Importantly, during the co-collaboration of the questions, contributors broke the application process down into three parts. (Not my idea, though I wish it had been).
- Selecting the right school
- Writing the application
- Interviewing and contracting
If you are considering a new teaching job and wish to benefit from more than 500+ years of teaching experience – read on.
When selecting a school to apply to…
The prospect of seeking your first teaching post is daunting enough. Seeking your second post and every other post thereafter has the added complication of having to handle your relations with your current school and colleagues and the perceived view of your making an application. And we all know that governors, Headteachers, Heads of Departments and teachers generally are sensitive to change.
So what to always do, sometimes do and never do when selecting a school to apply to…
The overwhelming messages here were about “marriage / alignment of values” and “being informed.” Marriage / alignment of your professional values with the prospective school and marriage of your teaching values with your department. Second, somewhat ironically for teachers, to do their homework properly and well in advance.
“Make sure the school married with your professional values.”
Closely followed by – where to find information about the school and what information you can trust.
“Do your homework. Find out what you can about the school from their website e.g. their ethos, school day, curriculum…”
Quite a few responses suggested visiting or walking the school (if that is possible or practical). I quite liked the idea of seeing if the website held a staff list, as many do these days, to see if there was anyone working at the school you know.
I thought the advice to “Find out if it’s in a state of stabilise, repair, improve or sustain” which was also reflected in comments to NEVER rely on the Ofsted report.
Other insightful tips included finding out “about the professional development available,” and the “ pastoral support,” available. (This line of enquiry may have to wait until the interview stage.)
In SOMETIMES, responses moved from more static research to more active investigations. Visiting the school the main point of advice, followed by talking with teachers, parents and students at the school accounting for most of the responses. There was also some account for professional development.
“Read the Ofsted report (if it is recent) – but read with a cautious eye as you do not yet know the school context or what has happened since.”
“If possible visit the school when the students are there.”
“Speak to people who work there,” and “Meet parents or children if you know any.”
Then there is your professional development once in post.
“Offers career development and CPD opportunities.”
There was also the thought about talking with trusted colleagues about the process and cautious reminder that it is not all about the pay.
“Accept less money for the right place.”
Responses tended to be warnings, emphasising which information you should NEVER trust rather than actions you should take.
“Base your judgement solely on the Ofsted grading,” and “Make a decision based on an inspection report” and “…schools change!”
Teachers seem to be aware that Ofsted grades are too broad or too unreliable a reference point. As they were aware that one person’s view may be tainted.
“Speak to just one person about the school – they may have a jaded or overly positive experience. Talk to a range of colleagues to get a fairer measure of the school instead.”
There were one or two more interesting reponses.
“Never… Tell the headteacher I’m thinking of applying for other jobs.” When, where and how you tell your Headteacher is an important decision.
“Ask people who currently work there leading questions [my bold] if it compromises their position.”
A wise and thoughtful consideration. It is not just about asking questions, but giving some consideration to the people you ask. Perhaps this might include when, where and in whose company, do you ask your questions.
Put the wrong school name on your application!! (Check it…check it again).
Now that is sound advice.
ALWAYS – “One where I think I can make a difference to students.”
SOMETIME – “Stop and appreciate your current position”
NEVER – “Be too critical of the school you are looking to leave and your reasons for this – the world is a small place!”
Any thoughts and feedback? Do let me know – @krisianstill
(Corrections and typos welcome, – green pen teachers… be kind.)
If this summary has proven helpful, in return, kindly add your response to the question using the headings Always, Sometimes, Never. If there is sufficient interest, I will post the responses to the other ‘job-seeking’ questions in the series.
“If shortlisted and before interviewing for a new post or role…”