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Struggling to find a job!

Discussion in 'Career clinic' started by Lianne_89, Jul 8, 2020.

  1. Lianne_89

    Lianne_89 New commenter

    I am an M6 main pay scale teacher with 10 years experience. I decided to hand in my notice pre covid so that i cpuld work closer to home! I have seen jobs and applied for many but just cannot get an interview! I've never had this issue before and have had support from my deputy with my letter.
    I obviously new the risk I was taking with handing in my notice without a job and am with agencies so will hopefully get some supply work. Just wondered if any senior leaders/heads can help me with where i'm going wrong!?! Is it likely to budget related?
  2. Skeoch

    Skeoch Star commenter

    Have you covered the reason why you have left your current school in your letter of application? Resigning without a job to go to can be a big warning light to some selectors: they wonder if there is fire to go with the smoke.
    agathamorse and TheoGriff like this.
  3. becky70

    becky70 Occasional commenter

    It could be budget related. Are you primary or secondary? I know that in primary, certainly where I live, heads are less likely to appoint an experienced teacher for a basic class teacher post when they can have an NQT for a lot less money. Resigning without a post to go to won't have helped either - not being judgemental, as I've done it myself.
  4. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Yes indeed, as @Skeoch says.

    Any non-standard element in your career progression, even something as apparently innocuous as a sideways move, needs to be addressed in your application, pre-emptying any wild imaginings on their part.

    Resigning without a job to go to most certainly comes into this category.

    * Jumped before was pushed.

    * Informal agreement to resign to avoid formal dismissal proceedings.

    * Informal agreement to leave school due to pending Police action.

    * Stolen money repaid and no action on condition you left

    * Being blackmailed by younger colleague who may claim harassment, so resignation to move away

    * Your exam groups did so badly in Mocks you are escaping fast

    And that’s just the ideas that came as I typed!

    I am pretty sure that none of these apply to you, but you see what I mean about imaginations running riot if there is no clear explanation about something slightly unusual!

    So start preparing the next application, go to the TES Resources, where I've put up a free template for an Executive Summary, to save you having to faf around with the formatting. I explain there how to use it, I'll just say a bit more now.

    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. 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 a series of disappointments. 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.

    Perhaps you've got out of the habit of Successful applications, and I bet also that like a 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. Because it is a selling job, you know! But I'm sure that you'll find a book that will help you with all that, E.S., USP and all the rest!

    So start work straight away on all this, there's not a moment to lose!

    And as soon as the application is in, start preparing the interview, including the all important succinct, truthful and reassuring answer again to the Why? You cannot leave this interview preparation until you know that you have definitely got an interview, it may be too late then, as some interviews are now called at very short notice.

    Hope this helps, best of luck!

    Twitter @Theo_Griff
    agathamorse likes this.
  5. Lianne_89

    Lianne_89 New commenter

    Thanks so much everyone! I'm a Primary teacher so I imagine it's a mixture of these things! I didn't even think that resigning without a job would cause warning lights-the reason is simply because I have moved so the travel is now too far! I have been having a look at some of your ideas @Theo_Griff-I did look at some of your articles as I was writing but the Executive Summary is completely new to me! I will certainly take these on board!
  6. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    Simple fact that a lot of schools are employing people they know..... especially in light of not being able to see you teach....

    If you are moving areas as well.... they may not be the local relationships of ‘ I know the head there, I trust they will be good working for them’

    are you And your schools simply an unknown quantity in this time?
    Lianne_89 likes this.
  7. edenhendry

    edenhendry New commenter

    I don't think resigning without a job raises any warning lights.

    Teaching has ridiculous resignation dates and marrying them up with a new move is difficult. It's even more difficult preparing for interviews and writing applications while also keeping up with the daily tasks of meing a classroom teacher.

    You've been responsible in leaving at the end of a school year, seeing your class through to the end and not wanting to leave mid way through next year, potentially affecting students progress.

    Yes I do think you're going to struggle when up against NQTs but this is where you should be looking for middle leadership or deputy jobs, where you have the experience. For a run of the mill class teacher role, schools will usually take the cheaper option.

    Having said that, sell yourself and promote all that wonderful experience you can bring to the school. You'll be the calm in the storm and a safe pair of hands.

    In the meantime, do some tutoring to tide you over. You could be part of the national tutoring programme and get known in local schools who may grab you for a permanent role in class when they see how fabulous you are.

  8. br0wnsugar

    br0wnsugar Occasional commenter

    Why would leaving a teaching job without another to go to be a warning light? I'm not sure how that is possible?
    agathamorse likes this.
  9. br0wnsugar

    br0wnsugar Occasional commenter

    I didn't realise there were so many suspicious heads in the profession. That's a worrying trend if all that you bullet pointed above as 'warning' thoughts are the things they would think first. I have left teaching without a job to go to so will follow the advice given here with reasons why and they do not fall into any of the categories listed. It was plain and simple. A break from teaching. Personal choice for current life more flexible work balance. Surely one is not penalised for such things? (I think they are fashionably called sabbaticals but of my own choosing). We are free subjects to decide our lives and by your details, braced to weather the storm that lies ahead IF applying for a teaching post again.
    edenhendry likes this.
  10. br0wnsugar

    br0wnsugar Occasional commenter

    Totally agree with everything said here. I am in the process of applying to tutor GCSE students and will not apply for teacher posts that also tick yes for 'NQTs.' I've not heard of the national tutoring programme - I'll have to check this out. Many thanks
  11. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    It's not a trend, it's an obligation.

    Safer Recruiting requires Heads to investigate anything non standard. And leaving without a job to go to is not standard.

    A failure then to explain it would ring warning bells.

    You just need a short, clear sentence to tell us why you took this unusual step, so that we can fulfill our obligations.

    Good luck

    Twitter @Theo_Griff
    agathamorse likes this.
  12. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Leaving without a job to go to also leaves a gap in your employment record. Unexplained gaps always gets HR people curious (I'll use that word rather than 'suspicious') They like to know what people have been doing. Few recruiters would be in the slightest bit concerned if the reason for the gap was what you describe. As an employer I would have no problem at all with what you describe and you wouldn't be penalised.

    HR have reason to ask questions. People sometimes skim over gaps in their employment record to cover up things they'd rather new employers didn't know about. We had a TA with a 6 month gap apply once and we eventually found out she had been in prison! (That was before DBS would have eventually revealed it anyway).

    I agree with Theo. It's not the leaving without a job or taking a break that is the problem in itself. The problem can arise if your application gives no hint of why there is a gap in your employment history.
  13. br0wnsugar

    br0wnsugar Occasional commenter

    I think the point I was making is that why think the worst when references can also clear up any concerns and just to add - would headteachers also be concerned if a teacher decided that they do not wish to be part of the rat race of working and just simply do not want to work? That to me is a valid option. What is perhaps missing is a way of proving what you have been doing by not working out of choice. So simply put - 'I chose to leave teaching because I did not want to continue on the treadmill of an imbalanced work life existence..' It's the truth. Something like this I suppose would suffice, depending on the HT interviewing, I suppose?
  14. br0wnsugar

    br0wnsugar Occasional commenter

    Point taken but one's rights to not work (not retirement), I think is valid reason enough. The impression given above suggests that to leave teaching is a no, no and if you do woe betide. It may be a tough road to walk when the decision comes to apply for jobs in the future, but it seems a shame that individuals must feel pressured to continue to work non stop unless the 'right' explanation for absence is given. It is a given that gaps in employment should be declared and explained and agree that this is an obligation of one's job role and working around young children but interpreting the list of possible reasons a HT could conclude is highly extreme.
    edenhendry likes this.
  15. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    I'm afraid I haven't been clear.

    The point I was trying to make is that if you leave a job without another to go to, a reason should be given.

    And of course, the reason should be one that would inspire confidence in you as a potential employee.

    "I decided that at age 38 I would have that gap year I hadn't had aged 18"

    Would be fine by me.

    "I had a 6-month prison sentence"

    Would involve a request for further details!

    If you do have a criminal record, by the way, you aren't necessarily unemployable. It all depends. Check the school's Policy on employing ex-offenders.

    Best wishes
    agathamorse likes this.
  16. install

    install Star commenter

    Some would see see it as irresponsible and it may thus ring alarm bells. Others may wrongly read something into it - as in the teacher left before they had a breakdown or couldn’t cope. Indeed would you employ someone who appears to have just left their job with nothing to go to?

    Teachers applying for jobs are in a stronger position if they are not currently ‘unemployed’ in my experience. The more a teacher is out of the classroom the more difficult it might be to get back in.
  17. install

    install Star commenter

    Have you thought about asking your old school if you can go back? (Maybe you may an error of judgement - we all do). The school may be too far away but having a job is better than no job at all.
  18. br0wnsugar

    br0wnsugar Occasional commenter

    It is not irresponsible to decide to take a break from teaching if one so wishes. I question the fact that this appears to be a valid point of reference that may justify getting back into teaching will be more difficult as a result. If others read wrongly, how is that the person, seeking a job in the future, fault? There should be nothing wrong, in our world, to admit if teaching is something one wants to take a break from - does that automatically mean there are mental health issues? Maybe there are and the person leaving is doing the right thing rather than staying and working around children with the wrong frame of mind, for fear of not being taken seriously in the future, if looking to move on to another job in teaching? I know which decision would be more respected by me. I wouldn't be happy to have my children taught by a teacher who has lost the passion for teaching, and it happens to the best of us, just because they (the teacher) fears what a future employer may think, so they continue the charade. That troubles me greatly.
    We are supposed to be living in a world that has more tolerance of mental health issues, of varying kinds, and offer a semblance of empathy to not be judged, unfairly and perhaps wrongly. The options on offer should not only be 'work' or 'retire' and that's it. Another option should be that one chooses not to work in its traditional sense, and can support themselves and be worthy individuals to society in another way; by creating a more flexible teaching schedule, maybe work as a sole trader and contract time to volunteering and supporting students in their literacy in the local primary school - give back to the community, without pay, and know that, this will not be judged as 'unemployed - be wary.' Too many of us are so institutionalised that the ability to think outside the box of what can allow us a better life purpose gets lost in what is deemed the norm. If one is in a position to stop working, not take from the state coffers and contribute positively to their society, should be seen as a commendable route. More of us should do it, if we can afford it financially.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2020
    edenhendry and agathamorse like this.
  19. install

    install Star commenter

    I agree it isn’t ‘irresponsible’ but it’s not me the applicant wants a job off. Some schools, I’m sad to say, will see it as irresponsible even if it isn’t.

    So the applicant might consider how it looks and comes across (whatever your personal moral stance on ‘taking a break from teaching’ is). I’d change the written approach and try and word this all differently because I’m sorry to say alarm bells will ring at selection.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2020
  20. br0wnsugar

    br0wnsugar Occasional commenter

    Okay I understand the logic and I am relieved that there is a sense of obligation to fulfill and dispel what appears to be a justified jump to conclusion of the worst scenario. Hopefully, the explanation will be good enough and believed. Will have to see.

    Just a quick question - Have you ever heard of schools giving staff a year's sabbatical, where the job is open until the following academic year begins - are head teacher's obliged to agree this?

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