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Advice needed - 4th year teacher handing notice in with no job to go to = mad?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Temperance, May 8, 2011.

  1. Temperance

    Temperance New commenter

    Okay, not sure if this is the right place to post this but any thoughts would be most welcome.
    I've been teaching English for 4 years now, 2 years in Bath and 2 years now in London. I want to become an AST - I am not interested in becoming HOD or the pastoral side I just want to be a really excellent teacher. My current school is not awful but I feel I have been pigeon-holed into teaching bottom sets. I have been given set 6 GCSE (which is bottom set) both this year and last - with the comments of 'you are so good with them'. My HOD has promised that it will be better next year but I don't really trust them. I have bottom sets in years 7 and 8 and a middle ability year 9. I teach one period of Year 12 Literature (which is understandably the highlight of my timetable). I don't really get on with my HOD which I think has made things difficult for me this year. They are unwilling to listen or take on board ideas - insisting that the way they have done things in the past has got the C-grades so there is no reason to change it. We entered Year 10 for early entry exams this year and the results were low, I suggested that my set should be entered next year when their writing style had developed but this was shot down.
    To summarise it has reached the point where I don't really want to work there next year, however I have been applying for jobs (over 10 applications now) and I have not even been short-listed. This was not a problem two years ago as I was shortlisted for pretty much every application I made. Is this because I am too expensive now? Are schools not looking for experience?
    Am I foolish to hand my notice in on the 28th May without a job to go to?
    Will I be considered amongst the NQTs or will this look odd?
    Also if this fails, could I do something else for a year and come back to teaching? Will this also look odd? I want to teach - I love teaching the students, it's just the adults that I think have ground me down.
    Great work if you have read this far! Any advice is gratefully received.

  2. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    Then you need to accept that someone else runs the department within which you work and the way they want things set up. Also AST's are expected to be able to teach across the board so this would not be a way to avoid those bottom sets you struggle with.
    In the current climate - yes. Long gone are the years where teachers could walk out of one job and trot to another easily. It's not likely to be because you are 'expensive' - you aren't yet....
    If you can find something else to do for a year then perhaps a good idea, but be aware that you will be competing as hard next year to find a job given that you have put 10 applications in and heard nothing this year.
  3. Temperance

    Temperance New commenter

    I don't struggle with bottom sets - I would just like some variety.
    I'd like to work with a HOD that is open to seeing things from another
    perspective - especially one who knows their students wel, rather than just caring about C grades and C grades only.
    But thanks for your words of encouragment! [​IMG]

  4. Crowbob

    Crowbob Lead commenter

    There is a huge pressure placed on Heads of Department. Even more so (I would argue) in English, Maths and Science. Not a justification, but maybe an explanation.
  5. Starstellar77

    Starstellar77 New commenter

    Hi Temperance,
    I don't message very often, but your post struck a cord with me as two years ago I was in a similar situation except M6 and second in faculty.
    What you choose to do will depend on what you value and how much of a risk taker you are. It can of course also depend on how your job is affecting you on a daily basis. Mine was.
    I thought long and hard and I saved hard so that I would be ok for a while if I couldn't get another job. I 'jumped' and it came good, I made a move overseas. But that isn't possible for everyone and it is also far from being an easy choice. However next time I 'jump' I will have savings in the bank which gives me some security.
    How much do you value security?
    My advice would be to save, do some research and think about your options, maybe hang onto your job for one more year. Then make a more informed, planned move next year.
    One thing I will say is that by making dramatic choices we can open ourselves up to more interesting experiences. (But always have a back-up plan!)
    PM me if you want more advice.
  6. Hi,

    My advice would be tread carefully I'm afraid! Depends of course on how much you value financial security and your career path. I was in a similar situation but M6 and decided to hand in my notice thinking surely I could get something! I did eventually, but it was a hard lesson learnt - all of a sudden, like you, I found it was much harder to get shortlisted once you're a few rungs up the pay scale. And jobs are really scarce at the moment. Yes, you could just do supply / maternity covers I suppose but having done this seems to put employers off. Sorry to put a dampner on it!

    On the other hand, I did feel really liberated when I handed my notice in without a job to go to - like I was flying off into the unknown! But many, many job applications later the worry did set in. Totally depends on what kind of person you are I guess.

    Hope you make the right decision. Now I've got a permanent position again I'll be hanging onto it.

  7. Like ChangingHair, I am always pleased to get applications from teachers who have experience. As long as you can explain your choices in a positve way then we would be more than happy to give you a chance. I would be suspicious if you had jumped schools on a yearly basis or were very negative about past experiences.
    We currently have a vacany and are desperate to employ someone who is expericenced but doesn't just want to leap frog into Middle Management. With the chaos that are the new GCSE English Specs another experienced voice is valuable. However, unlike lots of others, I am lucky that my Head isn't put off my applicants who are further up the pay scale and actually values candidates who want to be excellent classroom practitioners.
    Making the decision to leave when you don't have a new job to go to is not an easy or straightforward one. Even in London the number of English vacancies is definitely down this year compared to others. My fabulous second in department has found it incredibly difficult to secure a HOD job and at her last interview was told that they had had double the number of applications than they were expecting. We are a London school so maybe I'll come across your application when I'm shortlisting this week!
    Keep applying but think carefully about jumping into the first thing that comes along (frying pan and fire!)
  8. References good be the problem. Have you seen the reports that have been sent with applications?

  9. <h3>bad reference</h3>might be worth a read. If you are doing a good job where you are, then it is reasonably likely that your boss in making it difficult for you to get out. What they say to you is likely not to be what they say to others. Its an excellent bullying tactic, and often the target never realises what is going on. It can be rather nasty.

    Remember, with some people, what they say with a lot of apparent sincerity, is often not what they believe but what they want their audience to think they believe.
  10. Xericist

    Xericist New commenter

    Have you looked up "Excellent Teacher Scheme" on Teachernet?
  11. leadlearner

    leadlearner New commenter

    It is always easier to get a job when you are already in one. Do you have flexbility to travel far? You are definitely ready for a change, but personally I wouldn't advise chucking it in without one to go to....
    All best, are you able to re-locate??
  12. Hi,
    I've just done exactly that. I'm a single mum which perhaps makes it even more scary. The truth is that however I look at it, my current job is making me ill, I hardly see my children and I am not happy with the way the school ia changing.

    I've only applied for one job so far, and even if they had offered it to me i dont think I would have accepted it as it wasn't for me.

    I dont know what i'm going to do next but its kind of exciting. I'm happy to do anything, so if a teaching job doesnt come up I would be fine stacking shelves or doing a bit of bar work. I will make sure I have enough money to feed/clothe the kids but I know this is the best decision for me and my family. My decision is to focus on my career again when my children are a bit older and more self sufficient.

    I cant give you any advice other than you have to do what feels right for you. For me, making that decision was a weight off my shoulders, but not everyone feels the same. I'm just excited to find out what happens next.

  13. Hi
    I feel the same as you. I am also a single mum and my children actually told me to leave as I was always tired and bad-tempered!!!
    I am looking forward to the future whatever it holds once this is sorted out - there has to be more to life than being run down by other people. I shall choose my next job carefully too!
  14. Temperance

    Temperance New commenter

    Thanks for all your advice - I have an interview on Wednesday so fingers crossed.
    Also think I am going to hand notice in regardless - my current school have changed my timetable again. My year 11 release time has now been replaced with teaching bottom set year 7 and 8. Pretty sure this is not right, but it has made the decision to hand my notice in even easier.

  15. Starstellar77

    Starstellar77 New commenter

    Hi Temperance,
    I am sorry to hear that things haven't improved. It seems unfair to be given teaching from another's timetable just because you have been given some 'free' (ha, ha - it's never free, maybe it just enables us to do other work better/plan for next year/give our KS3 classes a bit more attention) time. Why have you been given these other classes? Has a teacher gone sick? Left early? Are there no cover supervisors (again I don't agree with the use of CS supervison but if schools will employ them then FT teachers should reap the benefits.) Have others in the dept been given extra classes or is it just you? I imagine there were more than one year 11 teacher 'freed up'? It sounds as if you are being put on somewhat. It may be that this is the extra thing that makes you make that decision. Good luck with your interview.
  16. baitranger

    baitranger Senior commenter

    My random thoughts on this:
    It's easy for others to give advice but only you know your financial circumstances well enough to know how you would manage with no income.
    Jobs are very hard to find at present and there's a lot of competition out there.
    Life is too short to waste it being resentful and miserable in a job you are you aren't happy in.
    However, no job is going to be perfect and as others have said, beware of unwittingly taking something worse when you are under financial pressure to pay your bills.
    It's just a job and it's not worth it if it makes you ill.

    best wishes, whatever you chose to do.
  17. Hi Temperance
    I don't know if you took the plunge or not .... but your post really resonated with me. A few years ago I was utterly fed up in my teaching post and decided to leave. I didn't work for a while, which was fine because I had a couple of young children at home and my partner could support me. When I decided to return to teaching, it was early 2009 and unemployment was beginning to rise - I had the most awful shock. I'd assumed I could just do supply at will and wait to be snapped up - I'd never had any difficulty in getting a job before. I did get some long-term supply, which I detested, because (in my experience) the kids always mess about with temporary staff. Eventually I got a permanent post, some distance from home and getting that was the biggest struggle I've ever endured in my professional life. I can tell you, I really value my position now.
    This may be academic, as you may have taken the plunge and if so, I admire your decisiveness and courage.
    But I'm very much hoping you haven't ... the fact you were not short-listed for any of the jobs you applied for, speaks volumes: there are very few jobs about. I know any number of PGCE graduates from last summer, still casting about for jobs and are now competing with a fresh flood of those about to finish their courses.
    If you have jumped, my advice is to find something else to do for a bit and then return, bolstered by the experience of having done whatever it was. I think this can enrich a CV. On the other hand, in my opinion, odd bits of supply and nothing else makes you look less attractive than a new trainee, or a 'returner', and is a thoroughly demoralising option in itself - or was for me.
  18. Starstellar77

    Starstellar77 New commenter

    Good luck Temperance. I am sure it will come good in the end!
  19. Temperance

    Temperance New commenter

    Wow - so. I have two interviews tomorrow - one as HOD of a very small department - I think this is slightly insane but, nothing ventured nothing gained right? Thanks to everyone who has listened and imparted advice. One question now - What HOD questions could they ask..?

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