UKEdMag: Following the Path to your Dream Job, by @digicoled

The thought of moving school as a child can be traumatic! This is also true as a teacher, wishing to pursue career aspirations at a new setting – it can be a daunting thought. Time can move pretty fast, and before you know you realise you’ve been in your current school for longer than you wish to remember. Are you really going to be in the same school all your teaching career? For some people, this is their choice, and they are happy with it. Others would like to move school, but it may have been years since you applied for a job and a fearful of upsetting the apple-cart by showing some desire to move schools – indeed, some leaders may see this as an insult to their style, but their insecurities should not prevent anyone wanting to further their career. Through the UKEdChat communities, we have compiled these tips in helping you pursue a job in a different school…

1. Do your homework…

[pullquote]Don’t rely on traditional forms of job advertising[/pullquote]Don’t rely on traditional forms of job advertising. Many schools/colleges/universities are now advertising positions online, completely missing out on the expensive national newspaper options, so explore online postings; social media; and websites. Explore the UKEdChat Jobs page, which lists jobs based on location and is very easy to use (Click here to view).

2. Visit the school…

Most schools will invite people to ‘look around’, which can be a challenge for practising teachers. Schools will be flexible, so ask to visit after-school or, if you have the luxury, go during your PPA time, so you can see the school in action. These visits are crucial, and you can get various clues about the position you are considering, such as: could you work with the leaders of the school; the feel you get about the school (listen to your gut feeling…it’s important and mostly reliable); is it a genuine position? One teacher told UKEdChat, “I was fed up applying for jobs which were clearly intended for internal applicants, but the school went through the process for ‘equal opportunity’ reasons. Visiting schools helped me, as you would usually pick up a clue whether there was an internal applicant likely to apply, and how the head-teacher spoke about them”.

Find out basic information about the school you are visiting, so you can discuss various aspects of the school during the tour. For example, “I noticed on your website you mentioned that you have a vibrant after-school activity list…what do you currently offer?” and so on.

Although not part of the formal application process, considerations are being made even at this stage, so be your normal charming self so you will stick in the mind when all the applications drop onto the desks of the selection committee.

3. The Application

GROAN! It’s not the most exciting prospect, but the application will mainly compile of two elements: the application form; and the letter of application. Be very careful with your spelling and get a close friend / family member to closely read through your final version, checking for grammatical or daft errors. It’s no good applying for a primary teacher, or English Teaching job if you get these basics wrong. The Letter of Application supports your form, and is your chance to demonstrate why they should interview you. These need personalising for each position you go for, so it is best to start off with a blank sheet of paper, rather than copy/pasting from previous applications.

[pullquote]Read, re-read, and re-visit the job specifications[/pullquote]Read, re-read, and re-visit the job specifications, and tailor your letter of application to what the school is looking for. You could write the letter of application in the same order of the requirements they are looking for, therefore making it easier for the reader to confirm that you meet the requirements in the order listed. Make your story interesting, sharing real-life examples of your amazing teaching; how you have supported pupils learning and development; the innovations evident in your teaching; how well you are a team player; personalising education for all the students under your care; and so on. Glenn Malcolm suggests starting sentences with adverbs or adverbial phrases – gets your meaning moving!

4. The Interview

Well done for getting this far. No matter what, use this as an experience to behold. You may suddenly find out there are internal applicants for the position, but don’t let this put you off. You need to shine and get your message across about how you can make the school even better than it currently is. Consider these questions before you attend: Who will you be meeting? Will it be a small group interview, or are all the governors going to attend? Knowing this will help you prepare and consider how you will deal with the audience; Is there anything you should know about the format of the interview?

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