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What's going wrong with applying jobs in teaching

Discussion in 'Jobseekers' started by sonicthehedgehog, Jul 3, 2013.

  1. hairdo

    hairdo Occasional commenter

    My take on things based on experience (and talking honestly to heads)...Headteachers have different approaches to recruitment - some are fair. some are not, some play the game and get who they originally wanted, but are been seen to be advertising and interviewing fairly (...while wasting applicants' time). I personally think something has gone wrong in this country and we have trained too many teachers for jobs that aren't there - I trained in the 90's and have to say (at the expense of being shot down in flames) that I have met many teachers trained more recently who would not been up to scratch and would never have got a place on my PGCE (based on their ablity to teach rather than being experts at paperwork). NQTs are far cheaper than experienced teachers and usually ready to jump as high as told too, have the right jargon, will do any paperwork (no matter how pointless!) and not ask the questions. I also think that NQTs possibly across the last 10 years are used to the culture that seems to have developed of appointing for one year contracts or shorter, sometimes without pro-rated holiday entitlement, which is simply using teachers.

    In the last few years, after leaving my permanent contract to be a mum, I have been in many different contracted jobs so have had experience of many different heads who have been open and honest with me probably because I was on contract. I have been very lucky, falling into one job after another. A few years back I did a short stint of supply and was then asked if I could stay on permanently - the school advertised and interviewed, 4 other candidates were present but I was told not to worry the job was mine and that I just had to open my mouth and say anything in response to questions and things were apparently above board ---this was with a good head! The same thing has happened twice! I have turned up and asked heads for work in areas I have been interested and ended up with jobs on contract, without a formal interview - in fact, twice I have filled in the application form retrospectively. So. based on my experience, I am suspicious about the way teachers are appointed these days - maybe it has always been the same but not as noticeable as there seemed to be far less teacher trained and far less temporary contracts.

    Teachers have become very expendable, experience does not always count for anything and it does seem more important to be cheap.....I know of two schools that always 'seem' to appoint their NQTs (and know 2 of these NQTs are not very competent) and this is despite advertising, shortlisting and interviewing. I'm sure all heads do not do this, BUT I do think it is extremely common. Over the years I have noticed a pattern that many part time jobs, in particular are only advertised on the local governement job sites and have found out that schools in this area are obliged to do this - it is free so is really a formality for schools - I questioned a couple of heads about this and they confirmed that this did happen.

    So, I am in a position of returning to permanent work, almost wishing I had not given up my permanent position all those years back to be with my family more. The climate has changed significantly, there are far too many teachers about, and schools are more stretched than ever with budgets. On top of this, for my salary, I think the job has become more thankless, teachers are not respected by society, and schools are managed by many younger heads who have trained later than I did and therefore come from a different era of education which is guided by targets and value for money. I have always been considered a good teacher and years ago would have walked into a job. But not these days.....I sometimes wonder whether it is even worth remaining as a teacher.

    The impression I get is that many schools have handed over recruitment for long term temp contracts to supply agencies. I do know quite a few teachers who have then found permanent work via this route so this is the one I'm going down, so at least I am getting access to schools so that I can get myself known, and I can decide whether a particular place is for me.

    Anyway, this has turned into a bit of an essay. But, the general gist is that I do think that it is not unreasonable to be suspicious about teacher recruitment, based on my experience.
  2. agathamorse

    agathamorse Occasional commenter

    I also trained in the 90s, in the mid-90's to be precise, and took a long break to raise my daughter and then home-educate her for six years - whilst working part-time teaching French in a primary school. I have now returned to full-time teaching after being on supply since Feb. There ARE good heads out there who appreciate experienced, older teachers and are aware of life changes that can cause us to leave teaching for a while. Having said that, there are always going to be heads who only want the NQTs to save money. However, to get back into full-time teaching I had to do a LOT of CPD in my own time to get up to speed with the 'new' way of teaching that occurs in classrooms these days and to get my head around the new paperwork requirements. It has changed, but teaching has always been changing. I saw 3 changes to the way languages were 'meant' to be taught in the 8 year period I was teaching MFL before I took my career break. It does seem a different world to the one we trained in, but it is not that different, nor that scary once you get back into it. Keep your spirits up. It will happen.
    install likes this.
  3. hairdo

    hairdo Occasional commenter

    I agree agathamorse - there are good heads out there. But it is a bit of a gamble these days whether you are going to hit lucky and get one. I just really wanted to give my viewpoint and let people know that they are probably not going mad and imagining suspicious goings-on in recruitment because they do seem to happen. If there was not the need to advertise on the council websites around here things would be more clear-cut as the jobs which are already allocated would not be advertised therefor no time would be wasted applying and attending mediocre interviews put on for the sake of it.
  4. agathamorse

    agathamorse Occasional commenter

    Yes - You make a fair point there. We've all been to those sort of interviews. Several years ago (in the 90s) I actually left one just after the tour of the school. I withdrew because I knew it was a waste of time to continue when one of the other candidates, who was on supply there, began talking with the HoD about arrangements for the French exchange - which was due to run after the job was filled.
  5. hairdo

    hairdo Occasional commenter

    Think the pre-selection of candidates has always happened. in my first job the head wanted me in the school after I had a visit to look around and had made his mind up already (he told me this later)....I got the job despite a fairly rubbish interview.

    I really think the selection of candidates based on whether they are cheap is a newer thing and linked with a value for money attitude.
  6. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    So, you're claiming that Headteachers' don't always play fair by pre-selecting candidates...and then admitting that you yourself were pre-selected once?

    Yes, there is an over supply of teachers at present, and a shortage of jobs. But its better to spend your time being proactive about how to sharpen your skills/approach interviews, than to make out its a conspiracy by Heads.

    Oh, and permanent jobs do exist. My school appointed four teachers in July on perm contracts - and only one of them was a NQT. You either want to get a job or you don't.
  7. hairdo

    hairdo Occasional commenter

    I agree with what you have said in your postings CWadd, but it is wrong to assume that because I have an opinion of pre-selection, that I have not been proactive. I think it is possible to be proactive and work on sharpening skills, as you say ( and as I am doing, with a positive attitude!) but also be aware that some jobs may be advertised even though someone is already in mind.

    I would say that the majority of headteachers play fair, but some don't. I don't think everyone can assume that an advertised job is there and truly open to all. I have spoken to heads about this and i think the problem is that they are obliged to advertise by the local authority. I think it would be better if heads could just appoint who they want when they want without advertising everything - this way nobody's time is wasted applying when the job is not really available.

    This happens...not everywhere, but it does happen !!! This is an observation rather that a moan about not being able to find a job :) and supporting teachers who have made similar observations by letting them know they are not going bonkers :)

    Conspiracy by heads? ...Don't think I have implied that. But if I did, I am an excellent multi-tasker so doubtless could make out the conspiracy and be proactive at the same time : ) (....said in good humour, so please take as such)
  8. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    Yep, Heads do sometimes have people in mind - whether they're a supply, GTP, or PGCE trainee. And sometimes they get the job - and sometimes an external candidate turns up who is so impressive that Heads appoint them, rather than the internal. Last Summer, the GTP in my own department applied for a vacancy. They didn't get the job - an older, more experienced teacher came to interview and taught an excellent lesson, and also had a great deal to give the department. The Head couldn't argue with that - and much to the consternation of the GTP, and their training partnership, the external was appointed. There does seem to be a culture developing at present where GTPs/PGCEs think if they're at a school with a vacancy, they will get the job. Not on my patch. You need to prove yourself at the interview, just like everyone else.

    Good luck with your job hunt. It is not easy at present, but you seem to have a lot to offer the profession, and I wish you the best with it.

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