<font size="2">Hello,</font><font size="2">I am a secondary music teacher, currently seeking permanent teaching employment. My situation is a little different. I was torn between a careers doing freelance work and teaching, I have now since decided that I want to re-start my career in teaching. I am currently in my 5th year of teaching (MPS4). </font><font size="2">I am trying to decide how honest I should be with my applications, bearing in mind I am up against cheaper NQTs with less “baggage.” I am not talking about lying but perhaps covering things up (or at least smudging them), I have never ever done anything wrong but my CV is a little stop and start concerning careers and it concerns me that employers may be put off by this - I am fully aware that you have to be honest in applications, I have never been dishonest but there is honest and then really honest. I shall try to explain in more detail:</font><font size="2">I failed at secondary school, my highest grade was an F and my lowest a U. I had to work very hard to get to where I have - I got into college, spent three years doing a GNVQ and BTEC and then just managed to squeeze into University, I then followed this up with an MA (2002-2003) and THREE years later started a PGCE (2006). During the three years I also had to re-take GCSE maths (B) and English (A) so I could start my teacher training. I did a little freelance work but it was hard to come by and to be honest I was not sure what I wanted to do. I was actually due to start my PGCE in 2005 but to tempt fate I got a commission in October (a month before), bloody typical, I had to choose. I chose the commission, one month after the course leaders had very nicely allowed me to defer for a year the commission was cancelled. I was gutted! SO, I went to Greece, completed a TEFL in Nov 05 – Dec 05 and landed a job for six months teaching on mainland Greece. This was a positive from a negative, but I still might think it makes me look “flakey” due to the lack of other long-term working experience. </font><font size="2">HANG ON THOUGH as the worst is yet to come... In September 2006 I began my PGCE, it all went very well, I enjoyed it AND I got a job!! Starting in 2007. It was a tricky job, I had a Year 13 tutor, wrote UCAS statements and was in sole charge of a particular subject with little but very unconstructive advice, it was not until February that I found out what a horrible man my mentor was – from October he had been complaining about me behind my back - really. I think there was a clash of personalities. The short story is that the Union were called in and I was paid up until the end of the year to leave early – part of the agreement being that my reference would avoid any of what happened, there was a lot of guilt on their part as I was an NQT in a new job surrounded by people that wanted me out (the only person I actually trusted was the Head Teacher and my Union Rep). My teaching ability was very much attacked. I almost didn’t go back into teaching but luckily it got better, I found a part-time job and managed to complete my NQT in a school that was very understanding and supportive, this was a part-time maternity contract and I was there for 1 year and 4 months. I never got an observation rated less than good, and even OFSTED rated me as having taught a “Good” lesson – I was actually never unsatisfactory in any lessons at the first school either!? Anyway, this is more about what I do when applying for jobs.</font><font size="2">When I was teaching part-time in the second teaching post I worked in a recording studio, and did more freelance work. In between I was supply teaching (I am currently supply teaching in a short/long term cover), and other temp work to make up the hours. I feel that much of my freelance work is beneficial to my teaching. </font><font size="2">Anyway, the main thing is this. How do I explain that I am committed, I am a good teacher and will make an excellent addition to a school without sounding like someone who is not any of the latter things. Explaining this in an application is difficult, so I have felt it better to explain that in between I may have been doing more freelance work than I actually have (I have actually done quite a bit – but nowhere near full-time) and HOW do I explain my grades without sounding similar. For example some schools ask for the grades in secondary education should I put “8 GCSEs including Maths B and Eng A” so that it will give the impression I gained this during school and not long after? I also feel that for a lot of the time I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, I do now though! But I first need to prove this in an application to get shortlisted. I think I am strong, and have been made stronger, for ending up where I am and this would make me a good role model as I know how hard life is after school without good grades? You get rejected a lot! </font> <font size="2">I have had 3 interviews recently (so I am doing something right – although I have made at least 15 applications in total), one I didn’t really want, another I did but it was a Head of Year and a little out of my league in terms of experience so did not get that, and I have another next week (but it’s another maternity contract). There is a job that I have my eye on though and it’s this one that I really want and I want an interview! Of course I will follow your advice but how would you explain my past experiences in a letter and application.</font> Thanks very much in advance for any advice offered!