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Returning after 10 years

Discussion in 'Career clinic' started by Nh383, Sep 23, 2020.

  1. Nh383

    Nh383 New commenter

    Hi all,

    I am hoping to return to the classroom after a 10 year break to bring up my children. I am considering applying for a teaching assistant role that I have seen advertised in order to gain up to date classroom experience with a view to potentially returning to teaching in time. I just wondered if anyone had any advice for me or has experience of returning after such a long break or returning as a TA instead of a teacher?

    Many thanks!
  2. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Make sure that you understand your role. You are not a supplementary teacher, you are reporting to the teacher and follow his/her instructions. A tescher, a school, could be slightly reluctant to take you on if they think you're going to be overstepping the line, so make this clear in your application and interview.

    A big plus for you is that being in a classroom with a trained and up-to-date teacher, you are getting great professional development all day long. My advice is to buy an exercise book and every day write down tips things you've learnt, and dedicate specific time at the weekend to ho back through it and take it all in.

    And tell them in interview that youre going to be doing that!

    Also be up front about wanting to be part of a school.community, supporying colleagues and pupils, but that you're hoping that after a year you could move on to actual teaching. But make surethat you show your enthusiasm for TA role, supporting the teacher and pupils under her/his direction.

    Now for how to write an application. You'll need to learn this all over again, because as well as forgetting, some things have changed. No cv's, for example.

    Now for the general application advice. I'll start with some questions. They are really rhetorical, you know the answers, I don't need to be told them, you need to answer them to yourself and then act on them.

    Q1 How good is your application?

    Is it fulfilling its main aim: to show the school that you should be shortlisted and interviewed as the preferred candidate already, going into the interview with this big advantage?

    Q2 So how can you improve it?

    Q3 How good is your interview, is it fulfilling their expectation of you as the preferred candidate, allowing you to demonstrate why they need you, and making you the obvious choice?

    Q4 See Q2

    So, your applications may not be doing you justice, not showcasing effectively your strengths and skills, and what you have to offer a school. And then the interview (oh how we all hate interviews!) may not be helping you clinch that job either.

    Because above all, you need to show how what you have to offer fits EXACTLY with what the specific school is looking for, in your application and then in the interview. Each school is different, you can't have a One-Size-Fits-All application, you know.

    The easiest way to do this, of course, is to do a nice neat Executive Summary.

    Go to TES Resources, where I've put up a free template for an E.S. for you to download, to save you having to faff around with the formatting. There are some notes there for how to use it, but here it is even more briefly.

    In the LH column you put what the school is looking for, taken from their person specification. You'll have to prioritise, select the main things, condense it a little, of course.

    Then in the RH you put in neat note form exactly how you meet their requirements. Simple as that!

    So that would be your starting point for an effective application.

    You would use this E.S. also as the starting point for your Mind Map for interview preparation, of course.

    For further support if you feel that you need it, I suggest that you have a look on Amazon for a book to download straight away to the free Kindle app on your phone, tablet or laptop, that will give you more tips and help with application writing, the support to just push that application into the Must-Have category.

    Search on Amazon for books called "Applying for a teaching job" or similar, there will be quite a few books to consider. Choose one that is not American (you're not applying for a job in Los Angeles!), and have a look at the reviews to select one that seems to be helpful. Ditto for Interview for a teaching job.

    I bet also that like any well-brought-up Britisher, you are slightly uncomfortable about blowing your own trumpet. :) But in a subtle way, that's what you need to do! You need to define what are your USPs - your unique selling points, what's so special about you that you can "sell" to the school. And how and when to use them, especially in the interview, is quite important.

    Because it is a selling job, you know, both in the application and the interview. But I'm sure that you'll find a book that will help you with all that, E.S., USP and all the rest!

    I am not as pessimistic as some posters about there being no jobs advertised until the Spring. I think that, sadly, some teachers may find the new conditions in schools just too much, so may be resigning bt 31 October.

    So make sure that you've got TES Alerts set up for jobs, and look regularly at your LA jobs page.

    Very best of luck to you

    Twitter @Theo_Griff
    agathamorse likes this.
  3. becky70

    becky70 Occasional commenter

    @TheoGriff , there are lots of jobs being advertised in my local area, especially TA posts. Lots of maternity cover posts for teachers, too.
    TheoGriff likes this.
  4. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    As I said, it's pessimistic to say there will be nothing until Easter!

    Best of luck

    Twitter @Theo_Griff
  5. Litsplint

    Litsplint New commenter

    I have just returned after 10 years out, I went straight back as a teacher. There are frustrations such as not starting back where I left on the pay scale and I feel that sometimes my skills and experience are overlooked. But if you find the right school and the right role, it makes it worth it.
    TheoGriff and agathamorse like this.

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