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Stuck in a rut - which path should I take?

Discussion in 'Career clinic' started by charlottedayus13, Aug 5, 2019.

  1. charlottedayus13

    charlottedayus13 New commenter

    I've been qualified to teach primary for 3 years now and I'm worried that I'm damaging my record by not taking permanent jobs and "working up the ladder".
    During my degree, and researching for my thesis the reasons for teachers leaving the profession en masse, I decided that I wouldn't go into any school and any job just for experience, I wanted to find a place where I can put all of the theory properly into practice.
    However - here's the issue .. amongst the thousands of 'outstanding' schools around the UK, I've found it near impossible to find one that I believe in. Moreover, I've spoken to so many more experienced teachers who have completely given up on the search and have the mindset that we all just have to deal with what we get.
    So, in my hopes to find an inspiring workplace I decided to supply for a while and avoid forcing myself into an uncomfortable position. I had in mind that I would branch out from the UK where politics and beuraceacy quickly stamps out the spark in new teachers and decided to look overseas to find alternative curricula in international schools.
    As expected perhaps, not everything was solved just by moving away and I happened to have the worst experience yet in an international school in Italy, so I left for the sake of my principles, my development and mostly, my mental health and took a long term supply position back home. The school was fine but scattered with all the same downsides as I wanted to avoid so although offered a permanent role, I left at the end of the contract.
    Skip a little of the same and I get to now: I have 3 years of sporadic experience in different cities and countries alongside summer work teaching English with language schools abroad and a strong conviction for holistic learning.
    I've decided to look for schools teaching the IB curriculum because it's close to my philosophy but without much luck. Is it due to my track record of spending so little time in schools? Am I giving off the wrong impression?
    A recent interview for an international school felt more like an interrogation on why I'm fickle and naive, the HT didn't hold back on telling me what he thought of my pesky 3 months in the last international school. I'm worried that I'm approaching everything in the wrong way and I'm going to fall into a cycle of having to move back to my hometown and struggle financially in supply teaching. Is there a more efficient way of doing this or has anyone found themselves a way out of a similar rut?
  2. ViolaClef

    ViolaClef Lead commenter

    First of all, I don’t believe there is such a thing as a perfect school - a school which completely matches your philosophy and way of working.

    Every post in teaching involves flexibility and compromise, the ability to work with others (some whom you will respect and some whom you won’t) and the willingness to follow policies you may not fully agree with. That is the reality of a working life.

    A prospective employer is looking for someone who will blend with the team, bring something positive to the school - and they will hope that the person appointed will stay for a reasonable length of time. Quitting because your philosophy did not match perfectly with the school’s or because you disagreed with something would not be well looked upon.

    To gain a permanent position and be successful in teaching, I think you will have to swallow (some of?) your principles, be flexible, accommodating and willing to listen and learn. The Head at the recent interview you had must have had a reason for saying what he did.
  3. SCAW12

    SCAW12 Occasional commenter

    In my opinion, there is no such thing as the perfect job which matches 100% of your beliefs and values, in any industry, 100% of the time?Even being self employed and loving it, must sometimes go against personal ideals I would have thought?
  4. Marshall

    Marshall Star commenter

  5. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

    Saddle up the horse, polish the armour and get out on the quest - the Holy Grail must be around somewhere!
  6. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Why on earth do you need to 'believe in' a school? All you need to do is turn up each day, teach your class and go home.
    That's called being a grown up.
    Not exactly a shock to those of us living in the real world!
    Yes and yes.
    Reasonable enough give this and your other posts.
    As are all of us reading this thread.
    Yes. Stop looking for the perfect life that social media tells you is out there and get on with earning a living like everyone else.
    Shedman and (deleted member) like this.
  7. SparkMaths

    SparkMaths Occasional commenter

    If in doubt bet on yourself.

    Sounds like you have some strong views so why not do tutoring and work towards developing your own teaching materials and methods?

    It's what I'm doing though it's not paid off yet, I've pretty much just started.
  8. charlottedayus13

    charlottedayus13 New commenter

    It surprises me that on a platform that's supposed to be full of educated professionals(?), replies seem to be full of negativity, sarcasm and by the looks of it useless trolling.

    Thanks to anyone who has tried to give a genuine response - though I've not ever mentioned the need for a "perfect" job or school and I'm very aware that it will never be perfect. I have enjoyed a challenge in the past, this however, doesn't mean you have to daily go against basic teacher standards just to get the job done, nor does it mean ignoring all educational research and just going along with whatever you're told.

    I was expecting more responses about the reality of finding the right setting/struggling and compromise but I see that talking to colleagues and those who have inspired me is undoubtedly more helpful. Believe it or not, there are people out there who enjoy their work, who believe in what they do, and have higher hopes for learners than being shoved into a test room while they bite the bullet and hide in their office under piles of data analysis.

    *Caterpillartobutterfly - your pessimism and pateonising claim of superiority is completely unhelpful, pointless and catty .. I'm unsure why you decided to be so bitter but perhaps if you found a rewarding job you would be spending more time spreading more time encouraging rather than tearing people down?

    *Sparkmaths - I think this is the direction I'm leaning, I've considered taking some professional development courses in leading education providers (such as IB) next year if I can find a good balance of work and study. Good luck with yours!
  9. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Pretty much every teacher I've ever worked with fits in to this category. Certainly there have been the odd one or two who didn't really like teaching, but very, very few.
    I have a very, very rewarding job thank you. Makes a nice change for me to be criticised on TES for something other than being too positive about teaching the state of education today. Usually I'm lambasted for not 'telling it how it is'. :rolleyes:

    Looking back through the first post, I honestly think I am way, way more positive and optimistic about schools, curriculum and teaching than the OP. But maybe yesterday's post was a bit harsh, I was having a grumpy day...apologies.

    @charlottedayus13 Maybe look for a post in a more alternative type of school than an 'Ofsted outstanding' one? Montessori, Reggio Emilia, Steiner, etc might be more your thing.
    Or move to EYFS, where the curriculum is far more about child development.
  10. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    If you want to teach IB overseas your problem is twofold:
    - For countries that require a visa (which may include Europe post-Brexit), recruitment is an expensive process for schools, so they want to employ someone who will last the entire contract at least, and if possible beyond the initial contract. Outside of Europe contracts are generally 2 years, inside Europe it varies. If your entire teaching career is bitty, schools will doubt your commitment to stay for a 1 or 2 year contract. Even if no visa is required, they will see you as being too much of a risk, as it is expensive and difficult to replace staff mid-year.
    - IB schools are hard to get into. They want IB experience in the first instance. But how do you get that? You need someone to take a chance on you. If you are willing to pay, you can take IB courses online, which may (or may not) help. Look on Google.

    Also, international schools are big on extra-curricular activities. If all you've ever done is supply, you probably have nothing to say on your CV and cover letter about your extra-curricular contributions. This is a problem. International schools can charge big fees to parents, so you need to be able to offer something to help them justify that.

    If you truly want to teach IB overseas then you need to address the above issues by getting yourself a job somewhere and sticking with it. Within that job, do some things that would make you desirable for an international school, such as extra-curricular involvement.

    Alternatively you might be interested in teaching in SEN or a PRU or a non-standard environment in the UK. Or an independent, but again they like extra-curricular.
  11. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    I'm sorry things are not working out at present.

    Outstanding schools- and I've taught in one - tend to be system driven and result focused. They suck the life out of you. International schools have their own downsides.i did not believe in my outstanding school. I'm happier, believe it or not, in an RI.

    The key problem at present is your scattershot CV. You do need to spend a couple of terms in a school to show you have staying power. This may be hard, but it's an end to justify the means.

    SEBREGIS Lead commenter

    Nothing is perfect until you make it so. Find a school which has a set of beliefs you can agree with, then work to shape it. You will have to put up with a lot you don't like on the way, and it will take years of effort and commitment, but if you keep metaphorically kissing frogs you will never have a career and never be in a position to implement your ideas.

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