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Dear Theo- Too Spanish, too old and too many kids !!!

Discussion in 'Jobseekers' started by Curae, Apr 11, 2012.

  1. Curae

    Curae Star commenter

    Dear Theo .
    Apologies for my dramatic subject title but this is the way I am currently feeling. Athough I obviously love my children and being Spanish I have been applying for a Maths teaching positions since Sep 11 and I have only been asked to one interview which I failed to get. I have made at least 10 applications and they have not even bothered to respond. I have very good qualifications, grades, excellent work experience in Spain ( I managed my fathers tax consultancy for 10 years)s an excellent PGCE report and my application was written to a high standard but still nothing.I have been living in London for 12 years with my British born husband.
    I am 45 years old and during my PGCE I was told that I have a strong Spanish accent. I was actually quite shocked to be told that as the dept were I worked had several people with stronger accents than myself. I am also a mother of 3 children under 9 years of age. My husband is an experienced teacher and although really supportive can't work out why I am not being selected- ofcourse he is my husband.. We now think that it might be because I left my two previous employers due to maternity reasons ( application forms clearly ask for reason for leaving your last employer). When I was working in a non teaching role my salary was low and I had twins so i could not afford to work as childcare for two infants is very expensive in London so I regretably had to leave.
    I would be really gratefulif you or anyone out there could give me ideas to get around this 'maternity 'problem -
    My accent -I'm pround of it but recognise that A British one may be more attractive to employers and I have attended accent reduction classes
    My age - sorry but I believe my experience as a mother , and graduate tax consultant over the last 20 years is actually a very positive thing.
    Anyway without trying to sound like a character from Almodovar's film .. please help !
    Thank you
  2. Hi Cristina,

    Not really much useful to say but I wanted to say something. My husband is Spanish and has been here in the UK for 4 years. After we relocate (assuming I get a job) I am anticipating the same problem we had when he first started job hunting here. That is, his accent. Basically, his nerves brings out his accent. Normally, he is perfectly fluent and very easy to understand, but the second he feels under pressure to be understood he starts speaking like a foreigner!! The amount of times I've bit my lip while someone we were talking to suddenly starts speaking to him in fragmented sentences to help him understand when I know he understands perfectly... Anyway, my point is, perhaps it is nerves making your accent more noticeable? Not that you can do much about it but maybe if you are aware of it you could make an effort to speak to them the same way you would to your husband (assuming you speak to him in English).

    As for the spanish accent in the maths classroom, I teach maths and last year we had a South American (I know it isn't the same - don't shout at me) PGCE trainee and the only real problems the language posed was that he would occasionally use the Spanish word for something rather than the English one - I assume you aren't doing that so I wouldn't worry too much about the children understanding you. Kids love accents. They still love and mock mine - I'm a Northerner living in the South.

    Good luck, I'm sure someone with more useful advice will pop along in the morning!
  3. Curae

    Curae Star commenter

    Hi Catherine,
    Your husband is very lucky to have such a lovely wife and you have a lovely baby too.
    I think we have similar lives I am exactly like your husband. I think we put unecessary pressure on ourselves and our accents. I really appreciate your response it has already given me moral support. It is ironic that this has happened to me in London which is so multicultural. We have incidently found that it is those people whom themselves come from multicultural non English speaking back grounds that are the most critical. Strange !!
    Good luck to bot of you and thank you you have already helped.
    Un abrazo muy fuerte !
  4. You have written 10 or so applications, had one interview and didn't get the job. Many jobseeking teachers have written ten times as many applications, and have been to many more interviews where they weren't appointed! Please bear that in mind - it just is really really difficult at the moment. At the age of 45 and after 3 children, I don't really think that the maternity issue is a still a problem for you - at any rate, many young women do manage to get jobs even though they may yet want to have children. As for the accent, the employers don't know about this until they meet you at interview, which has only happened once. You just need to keep on trying - I did, and finally got a maternity leave cover. I am 54, have raised three children, and English is my second language. Good luck!
  5. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    I thought that you meant me, Cristina, when I read your heading!
    I am just about to go and teach Infantil de 4 años (too many of them in the class!) and will reply when I get back.
    5 hours of class - I'm going to bed.
    Good luck!
    TheoGriff. Member of the TES Careers Advice Service.
    I do Application and Interview one-to-ones, and also contribute to the Job Application Workshops. We look at application letters, executive summaries and interviews, with practical exercises that people really appreciate.
  6. Curae

    Curae Star commenter

    Thank you for your contribution.
    Yes darling I know what you say is true and ofcourse I am doing all of what you state I just wanted some helpfu/further advice.
  7. Try Catholic schools. You will presumably have an advantage there and there are lots of Spanish/Italian/South American teachers in Catholic schools in London.
  8. Curae

    Curae Star commenter

    Thanks for the advice but most of the most of the schools I have applied for are Catholic as I am actually a practising Catholic doing Catecism classes and regularily help out in my church at least once a week. It is these schools that are not even acknowleging my application. It is a strange world we live in.
    I will probably have to use Theo's consultancy.
    I actually appreciate you advice though . Thank you so much.
  9. Curae

    Curae Star commenter

    Hi Theo,
    Are you in Valencia- this is my home town- saw the oranges, made me v envious. Hope you have enjoyed it.. I hope to here from you as soon as you have recovered from the excellent weather wonderful food and people !
  10. Curae

    Curae Star commenter

    I know' hear' - I am paranoid now !!!!!!!!
  11. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Right, have now recovered from my morning teaching the 4 year-olds . . . although I am looking longingly at the sofa!
    Good gracious!
    I hope that message is not for me - Mrs TG gets very hot under the collar about flirting on this Forum!
    Well, actually 10 applications is not many. And no, if you are a rejected candidate, they usually do not reply to tell you so, I'm afraid. They used to, but nowadays with so very many applicants, they no longer do.
    Well, actually, your work experience in Spain as a manager of a tax consultancy is totally irrelevant to any application for a post teaching Mathematics. It should not be mentioned in your letter or statement at all.
    It is illegal to discriminate against candidates on the ground of age.
    An accent - whether Spanish, Devonian or Glaswegian - is only a disadvantage if it impedes communication. If they felt that it was very strong, then the PGCE course leader should not have accepted you on the course. Since you were accepted, and passed the course, it may not be quite as bad as you fear.
    However, your accent is not heard by someone reading your application, so cannot be cosnidered a reason for failing to get interviews.
    Since only women leave for maternity leave, to discriminate against a candidate on these grounds is illegal. And, to be quite honest, most teachers are women. Most women have babies. Having had several babies already, you are less likely to have many more.
    So I am not sure that those are the reasons for non-selection.
    My suggestions are:
    1) Are you following all my advice to the letter? Here is a summary: Dear Theo: Cover Letter..
    2) Have you signed up for this Saturday's seminar on how to get a job?
    www.tesweekendworkshop97.eventbrite.co.uk There might be a place left!
    If you want to book me via the lovely Julia, then I would be happy to give your application a thorough MOT. Or ITV as you would say.
    Mucho mas al sur . . . mucho. Y pasando calor en este momento.
    Best wishes
    TheoGriff. Member of the TES Careers Advice Service.
    I do Application and Interview one-to-ones, and also contribute to the Job Application Workshops. We look at application letters, executive summaries and interviews, with practical exercises that people really appreciate.

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