I’ve written a number of blogposts about applying for jobs and interview questions. I’ve spoken to countless newly qualified teachers or teachers who don’t have a permanent job yet and will face the application process again this year so I’m writing this blogpost to share something I have used in the past to help me get through job applications and (if I was lucky enough) interviews.
Applying for jobs and hearing nothing or receiving rejection emails/ letters is disheartening in fact its awful and can be very stressful. I am fully aware of the stress and fear of not having a job for the following year and wondering what you will do. I know the feeling of hope when you get an email or letter from a school you’ve applied to thinking oh maybe its an interview and then the disappointment when it is just another NO!
I think its really important when you’re applying for jobs to remember how great you are as a teacher; to think back on the lightbulb moments when something finally clicked for a student, or that silence when you have captured all the children’s attention and they are listening to every single word, or the Christmas play when the parents erupted into applause and were so proud of their child and so delighted with the production, or the child who has made a breakthrough in their behaviour or has developed a love of reading or maths – something they had really struggled with before you had shown them and inspired them to keep trying. (When I think of these scenarios myself, I can picture individual children, small groups, parents and colleagues and I smile – delighted that I made a difference even if it was tiny!)
Use these key moments in your career so far (whether they were on teaching practice, subbing days, or in your own classroom) to inspire you when writing your application. Think of 5 things that make you proud of yourself, that you have experience in or that you have used in the past and use these 5 things to showcase your talents as a teacher. Each one of us have something brilliant to offer. Use the application process to sell yourself.
Brainstorm 5 talents that you have to offer. How can you use these talents in the classroom? Could you set up an extra- curricular activity? Could you combine your talents with something that might already be happening in the school and help to make it grow? Have you used these talents in previous positions?
Some options you could include are;
- Music – do you play an instrument/sing? Could you help with a choir/ band/ traditional group?
- Sport – do you play a sport? could you set up a sport and participate in matches with other schools?
- ICT – could you help run the school website/ blog/ twitter page? Could you help colleagues with using interactive whiteboards/ powerpoint/ digital resources?
- Working with children with additional needs – have you ever worked with children with additional needs? how will this experience help you to support these children in a mainstream classroom?
- Have you worked abroad? have you worked with children with English as an additional language? What has your experience in a different country taught you?
- Drama – are you in a drama club/group? could you set up a drama club in school? Could you co-ordinate Christmas plays/ summer productions?
- Art – are you creative? could you set up an art class?
- Gaeilge – do you have a love of Gaeilge that could be used to invigorate Gaeilge in the school? Would you be able to set up a Gaeilge club?
- Other subject – Did you study another subject to degree level? Did you complete a degree before you qualified as a teacher? Link prior experience to the classroom – how can you use this in the school?
- Language – can you speak German/French/Italian/Polish etc. Could you set up an extra curricular class to teach this language? Could you teach your class?
- Travel – have you spent a year travelling? how will that impact on your teaching? what did you learn when travelling?
These are the things that make you stand out from the crowd.
I know how tough the process is but just remember that you are great and you will find the perfect school soon!
Other blogposts that you might find useful
What do I need when applying for jobs?
What jobs can I apply for?
Applying for jobs
Preparing for an interview
Questions Take 2
Gaeilge Questions for Interview
Re-interviewing in a school you’ve worked in
Sample interview answers
Learning support/Resource Questions for interview