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How to find a better situation

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by ld7675, Dec 27, 2015.

  1. ld7675

    ld7675 Occasional commenter


    I'm in my second year of teaching, am in a fairly challenging primary school and would ideally like to find something else for September. I'm getting frustrated with the very prescriptive style of my school (eg classrooms have to be set up the same, behaviour management has to be done in a certain way, down to seating arrangements in groups of 4, schemes being followed to the nth degree with no deviation even if the methods dont always work etc etc etc). I feel confident enough to be able to make my own judgements in most things now, however, am worried about going from the frying pan to the fire. I have done well and had positive feedback at a "good/outstanding" school, so am not worried about interviews etc. I just don't want to find myself in a situation where the workload is unworkable (at the moment I am able to maintain a work/life balance just about), or where I have to provide a ridiculous amount of paperwork for every second taught.

    Does anyone have any tips as to how to find a teaching post that offers what I might want and how to spot the warning signs of a nightmare situation? I know of schools in the area that I wouldn't want to teach at due to supply teachers and other teachers' stories, but am aware that the show round by a head teacher won't show me what really goes on.

    I have family commitments so don't want to do the supply/long term contract thing as need regular money at the moment. Thanks and Happy New Year !!!
  2. Twinklefoottoe

    Twinklefoottoe Senior commenter

    "Does anyone have any tips as to how to find a teaching post that offers what I might want and how to spot the warning signs of a nightmare situation?"

    Start looking now but don't rush things. Ask to visit schools before applying. Ask to speak to individual class teachers. Make a plan - what exactly do you want to know from the teachers when you talk to them? You need to be direct and ask about the workload issues you are rightly very concerned about.
  3. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

  4. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    When you visit ask for the head to show you around. Note how teachers respond when the head walks in. If they smile and say hello, it's a good place to be. If some of them shy away and look concerned then don't go near it.

    If the head talks a lot about making improvements, getting everyone on board, sorting out problems then don't bother applying.

    Ask how the vacancy has arisen and see what the answer is,
    If there a multiple vacancies then definitely ask questions.

    Always visit when school is in progress, ask your head if you can use PPA time, and go with your gut feeling.
  5. ld7675

    ld7675 Occasional commenter

    Belated thanks for your replies - I am starting to look and listen to local teacher gossip/info about what situations other schools are in, and I think the advice to go very slowly is very good, it is very early days and I have until the end of May after all! Will keep you posted.
  6. Jolly_Roger1

    Jolly_Roger1 Star commenter

    If the school has 'inspirational aphorisms' plastered all over the walls, walk away!
    Mrsmumbles likes this.
  7. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Or insanely contradictory oxymorons, like 'cooperation without compromise' and 'we are a customer-facing College.' Uugh.
  8. Jolly_Roger1

    Jolly_Roger1 Star commenter

    @Mrsmumbles: On such we had was 'constantly improving on perfection'. Mad!

    @caterpillartobutterfly: Spot on about the reaction of staff to the Head's appearance in the classroom. Years ago, a class would automatically become quieter when a member of the SMT entered the room. In my last school, the opposite often happened, as the students had learned that it was the teacher who would get into trouble, not them, so they played up.
    Mrsmumbles likes this.
  9. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    "Ask for the head to show you round". Secondary heads rarely (if ever) show people round when they come to view the school pre-application. They tend to prefer sending visitors round with children as escorts, which is a good thing, imo.

    Just for information lest prospective applicants think they can 'request' the head to show them round.
    Resolve likes this.
  10. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    When it comes to schools, conditions for the people at the chalkface are arguably at an all time low for several reasons:-

    1. Ofsted grading leading to graded lesson obs followed by SEF which has led to SLT being proxy OFSTED in many schools
    2. Tightening budgets and schools being allowed to with-hold progression up the scale and indeed getting rid of more experienced staff for cheaper NQTs
    3. As a result of 2, schools now largely staffed by Millennials (Generation Y) who do not know the concept of unions, strike action and the workers standing up for themselves like we did in the 1970s
    4. The marking workload is worse than ever due to 'student dialogue' etc.

    So as not to be an all out dampener on your hopes, some positives do exist, such as the fact that so many are now disillusioned with the profession ones ability to get a teaching post is probably the best it has been in almost a decade!

    Decent Heads, schools and manageable workloads DO exist, its just that you may have to kiss a few frogs before you find the prince.............
    Mrsmumbles likes this.
  11. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    LOL My memory of teaching in secondary (okay it is 17 years since I saw the light and moved) is that the head is pretty much on a par with God...And once I left a school after 15 months never having set eyes on the head apart from when he took staff briefing once a month!

    But the op did say primary... :)

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