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Does Discrimination Exist?

Discussion in 'Career clinic' started by dlambton, Jan 29, 2019.

  1. dlambton

    dlambton New commenter

    I’m a maths teacher of 18 years. Following 13 years in one school I made a mistake and left. Since then I’ve been a bit nomadic and have worked in 3 school in 5 years. Throughout these jobs I have taken on extra responsibilities in the school. My current contract expires in September so I’m applying for jobs for the next academic year.

    I have applied for 10 jobs so far and not been invited to interview. My wife thinks that my surname (which is Mauritian as I took her name when we married) is counting against me. I have told her that it’s probably that I’m too expensive (I’m at U2) but she insists that I should put in my application letters and supporting statements that I’m a Caucasian male.

    Surely schools can’t be using an Asian sounding name as a reason not to interview, can they?
  2. CarrieV

    CarrieV Lead commenter

    I wouldn't have thought so, more likely to be the "mistake" ( depending on what it was!) or the fact that you have had 3 posts in 5 years.
  3. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I agree, three schools in five years and expensive is far more likely to be the problem.
    Writing your race in your letter would give the impression you think it is a big deal, when actually it probably matters not a jot to whoever is reading your applications.

    Ensure your applications are amazing, and that you give a fabulous reason for the three schools in five years. Schools want excellent teachers and don't generally have enough applicants to bother with discrimination about a surname.
    agathamorse, Pomza and BYusuf like this.
  4. BYusuf

    BYusuf Occasional commenter TES Careers peer advisor

    Hi dlambton,

    In answer to the question in the title of your post, discrimination does exist yet one would have a hard time proving it.

    The equal opportunities / monitoring information part of your application form is where you would normally share your ethnicity details.

    As given in the first reply to your post, the mistake could be the main reason why you have not yet been invited to interview. It could also be the fact that you are too expensive or a possible number of other reasons.

    I would also suggest getting your application and supporting statements reviewed so that you can receive feedback to help you make an even stronger application.

    agathamorse likes this.
  5. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    Possibility one: the people who run 10 different schools are all racist and are discriminating against you because you have an Asian sounding surname.

    Possibility two: your applications have not been strong enough and you’re in need of some advice as to how to strengthen any future ones you make.

    Which is really more likely?
  6. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    To be honest, looking at your previous posts, some of the things you say would potentially be a concern to me if I were on the selection panel considering your application:

    That gives me the impression of more than one contract that was terminated 'by mutual agreement'. If that's the case that would also probably show up in your references.

    There were several suggestions to you in this thread on how to improve your applications. Did you review your applications in the light of that advice?

  7. dlambton

    dlambton New commenter

    Looking at the my first post I realise that I imply that I did something wrong when leaving my first school. My mistake was leaving in the first place to go to a "better" school when I hadn't done enough research on it.

    The mutual agreement was down to me asking the school to leave my contract and working an extra term to help them to get a replacement in post. Since I gained an 18 month contract that expired and was never going to be renewed due to colleagues returning from maternity leave and my current post will end because the school is being closed down.

    I agree that it is VERY unlikely to be a racial thing but I am happy that it is being confirmed by other posts.

    I have asked my current head to look at my application forms and letters (each is school specific) and she thinks that they are good.

    I just have to keep plugging away I guess.
    agathamorse and Rott Weiler like this.
  8. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Thanks for the clarification.

    You asked earlier whether you should put in your application letters and supporting statements that you are a Caucasian male. Bad idea in my opinion (except in any monitoring form you are sent). I would find it an odd thing for a candidate to write. Even worse, some schools might misinterpret it and read it that you thought they were racist and only wanted white staff!
    agathamorse and Pomza like this.
  9. EvaAeri

    EvaAeri New commenter

    There have been some studies which confirmed that candidates with foreign sounding names have to apply for longer and may get 60/70 percent less responses than familiar sounding names. I can’t list links in here but google the impact of a foreign name on job hunting and you will have a list of articles. Keep applying- there is always someone who thinks that you need to be a native speaker to be a language specialist, that it’s better to employ a bloke than a woman because she will have a child soon, that you should not be overqualified, or that you are not really a good teacher by the sound of your name. Make your application as strong as it can be and all the minor factors won’t matter.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2019
    agathamorse likes this.
  10. Oldfashioned

    Oldfashioned Senior commenter

    I'm sure there is lots of discrimination. In teaching it's more likely to be directed against experienced, expensive and likely to stand up for themselves applicants.
    agathamorse likes this.
  11. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    "Mutual agreement" seems a strange way of putting it if you worked an extra term to help the school. It usually means that the school wants somebody to leave and agrees with the employee that they will go with less than contractual notice. If you have used that term in job applications, I would change it.

    By the way, when did 'discrimination' lose its meaning 'the ability to judge the quality of something based on its difference from other, similar things' (Cambridge Dictionary)? At one time, we distinguished between the sort of discrimination involved in making any choice (e.g. the ability to discriminate between right and wrong) and things like racial discrimination. Now, the word seems only to be used in a negative context.
  12. dlambton

    dlambton New commenter

    For those who care I am happy to say that I am now getting interviews. No job yet though (I'm apparently always a strong candidate which must be a good sign.)

    A little story though. At an interview recently the feedback said that it came down to the lesson and as I had clearly used one from TES it wasn't personal to the school (I accept this as legitimate). The curious thing was that the successful candidate used the exact same resource as me (she went immediately before me so I was basically finishing off the lesson). It is worth also mentioning that it is a resource that I put on TES in the first place! Beaten by my own resource, typical!
    agathamorse likes this.

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