How to get your first teaching job: Applying

When and where to start looking

The “where” part is easy. Search for a job on google.

On google is easy to find a lot of job portals. This makes it easier for you to find the jobs that you are looking for.  Its one-stop, nonstop service offers a quick and simple route to the best jobs. Visit some Jobs related sites to take advantage of the following key features:

-searching and browsing: a quick and simple route to the best jobs
-jobs by email: a facility for you to receive notification of relevant vacancies by email as soon as they are posted on Schoolsnet Jobs
-schools guide: our unique guide to every school in the country. When you have found a vacancy that you think may be suitable for you, take a few minutes to read Schoolsnet’s profile of the school. Here you will find background details, examination results, inspection reports and much more to help you decide if it is the right school for you
-career guidance: professional advice to help you get the most from your teaching career

The “when” part depends slightly on your subject area. For oversubscribed PGCE subject areas, such as English and history, you should probably start seriously scouring the job listings and getting your CV and covering letter up to scratch in about February or March.

In shortage subjects such as modern foreign languages and mathematics many people don’t get their first post until after May half term, and this is by no means at bad schools.

Teachers who are currently in a post need to give their school at least half a term’s notice before they can leave, so if you’re taking up a new post in September you must resign by the Friday before the May half term. This means that teachers with jobs can’t take up any posts advertised after May half term, so later advertisements are generally aimed at beginning teachers or those who are currently not working.

Before applying

It’s an excellent idea to get a multi-purpose covering letter or personal statement together (depending on what is required) before you even start applying for any specific posts. This statement ought to include paragraphs on your strengths, why you want to teach and how much you’ve enjoyed your teaching practice and the PGCE.
Also include details of what you’ve done during your PGCE, for example:

-the types of school you’ve taught in
-the age and ability groups you’ve had experience with
-what trips you’ve gone on or even organised
-whether you’ve attended parents’ evenings
-attachment to a form and any PSHE lessons you’ve taught
-staff / departmental meetings and INSET days you have taken part in
-interest areas such as research you have undertaken for projects
-what you could bring to the post
-how IT literate you are – this is a big selling point
-your past (work) experiences and positions of responsibilities
-outside interests – schools are particularly keen to hear if, for example, you could coach tennis or would be happy to organise trips abroad

The most important thing to remember is to sell yourself. Also remember to amend each letter/statement to make it relevant for each application. Don’t forget to mention why you want to teach at this particular school.

Teacher jobs

Get someone else to read your application through. Maybe two people – someone who knows you well and who could comment on any strengths or areas of experience you have missed out, and someone who knows you less well, who could tell you whether they would be impressed by your application. If possible, ask your mentor or another teacher at your placement school to take a look – they may remember some meeting you went to, or worksheets you prepared that are worth mentioning. It should be about a side of typed A4 paper, in a reasonably good-sized font, like 12.

Also dig out your GCSE and A-level grades at this early stage, to save you panicking the day before the application form is due in, as well as your National Insurance number and General Teaching Council number if you have one yet. Another very important point is to find two people you can use as referees and make sure that you have their permission to use them as such.

How to apply

The first thing is to ring up for an application form. It sounds ludicrous, but do be polite and coherent – first impressions do count and the last thing you want is for the school secretary to mention to the head that you were rude or incomprehensible.

Before you fill in your first application form, or even if it’s a later one for a job you’re really keen on, it’s a good idea to photocopy it and have a practice run at filling it in.

It’s also good to get someone else to check it over, just to catch those obvious mistakes like forgetting to include your surname (yes, that does happen). Don’t forget to use black ink as the form will probably be copied and circulated to quite a few people and you want them to be able to read what you’ve written. If you’ve had to put a personal statement in with the application, just write a brief covering letter stating the post you are applying for, when and where it was advertised and any other special circumstances (for example if you will be moving from one address or telephone number to another in the near future).

If you’re sending a simple CV, then you need to sell yourself in the accompanying letter, including all the stuff you’d put in a personal statement. When it comes to attaching your covering letter or supporting statement, make sure you’ve got the name of the school right, use the “find and replace” option to get rid of the name of any previous school you’ve applied for. In every batch of application forms there is always at least one person who discounts him or herself immediately because they’ve mentioned that they’re desperate to work for School X when in fact they are applying for a post at School Y.

Send the form in a white A4 envelope and make sure it will get there on time; hand deliver it if necessary, although this can make you look disorganised so it is better to post it a few days before the deadline. Don’t forget to keep a copy of everything you’ve sent in, so that you can remember exactly what you wrote, should you be called for interview.


Categories: Teaching Jobs

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