I’ve just qualified… now what?

I’ve been receiving a huge amount of messages from soon to be qualified teachers wondering about what happens next. I remember the overwhelming feelings of applying for jobs, understanding the panel and the daunting task of being in charge of a class. It is all very different to teaching practice and it can be difficult to find the answers to all of these questions. I qualified in 2011 and it was very different then it is now – mainly in relation to jobs. Jobs were few and far between, many people had a few days subbing every month and some were lucky to get maternity leave or other short term contracts, very few got temporary positions at the time. That’s not to say that it is really easy to get a job now but there does seem to be more jobs available and a severe shortage of substitute teachers around the country at the moment. So here are some of the questions that have been asked;

Qualifications and Results

Does a B.Ed qualify you to teach in all Irish schools?

Yes all primary schools.

Do you have to include all placement grades in CV? Will these be checked with the college?

If the job description request placement grades then they should be included. There is also a section in the Standard Application Form where they need to be included. I wouldn’t suspect they will be checked with the college but you could be asked to prove them at a later stage. (In Mary I, we got our placement grades for each year on a headed piece of paper so I just photocopied that and included it)

Does getting a 2.1 or 2.2 degree make a difference towards getting a job?

No I don’t think it makes any difference.

Job Applications

There is a section here on the blog which has lots of blogposts on job applications, interviews etc. You can find everything you need here.

Should 4th years email schools now saying they’re available to sub and attach a CV?

I think it’s best to call into the schools, speak to the principal and hand in your CV with a little card with your key details (name, phone number, availability etc.) for subbing. Many principals prefer to meet with teachers before they work in the school. (However at the moment there is a severe shortage of subs so sending your CV by email could work.)

How to apply for jobs?

Jobs will be advertised on EducationPosts.ie or StaffRoom.ie usually. There will be a list of requirements for the jobs which can range from a passport sized photograph to copies of certificates, teaching placement grades etc. Some will ask for a CV but most will require a Standard Application Form which is available to download here.

How to apply for jobs in Gaelscoileanna and Gaeltacht schools

Exact same application process as above. You will need to use the Irish version of the standard application form.

What can we do over summer to try get a job sorted for September?

All you can really do is visit schools, try to do some subbing before the year is over and then apply for any posts advertised. (It is not advisable to visit schools if they have advertised a post as this could potentially be seen as canvassing and your application will not be accepted.)

When should be start applying to jobs? Do we have to wait to see jobs advertised on education posts

Yes, you must wait until the position is advertised. (Unless you are looking for day to day subbing – then you can go and have your CV into schools)

I don’t have my teaching council number yet – can I still apply for jobs?

Yes – you can just write pending in this section!

Struggling to fill in the essay question part of the standard application?

This is always the hardest part! Lots of tips here and here.

How to go about putting CV together? (What to include?)

  • CV should only be used if it is asked for. You can download a sample CV here. The majority of schools use the Standard Application Form.
  • There is no need to include day to day subbing as this can make the CV very long. I think it’s best to put
  • Subbing – Location – List of Schools – Dates (Month to Month e.g. February to June) – list of roles (SET/Mainstream etc.)

When should I start applying for jobs? (Final TP grade/final course grade)

Once jobs are advertised (usually from late May/early June) for September then you can apply and just put pending if you have not received final results.

Interviews

What to wear?

Dress smartly – usually a dress and tights (maybe add in a blazer where appropriate) or trousers and a shirt/blouse for women and a suit (with or without the jacket) and tie for men.

How to prepare?

I find brainstorms work best for me. Usually when you’re invited for interview you will receive a list of ‘criteria for interview’ which may include knowledge of curriculum, willingness to participate in extra curricular activities etc. there is usually a list of 4/5 things. Brainstorm what you have to offer for each of the topics. (What makes you stand out from the other candidates?)

What to expect at interviews?

Usually there will be 3 people interviewing; the principal, chairperson of the BOM (or their representative) and an external person (usually a principal from another school). Each person will ask a number of questions – usually the principal or chairperson of the BOM will take the lead. You could be asked about you as a teacher, your CV/qualifications/experience etc, your teaching style, how you would approach/deal with certain things in the classroom/with parents/staff room/school, your willingness to be involved etc. More sample questions here.

Moving to Dublin

Are all the teaching jobs in Dublin?

No but there are probably more jobs available in Dublin than in other counties.

Any tips for moving up to Dublin?

  • Get a job first before sorting accommodation.
  • When looking for accommodation – try to get close to your school (avoid the M50 if you can – I have commuted on the M50 since I moved to Dublin and it can be a nightmare.)
  • Don’t rely completely on public transport – if you can try to live close to your school.
  • Do your research – both on schools, areas where you plan on living etc.
  • Rent costs and living costs are very high in Dublin and some months it can be a stretch so personally I wouldn’t move to Dublin for day to day subbing (unless you have someone that you can live with/cheap accommodation)

Teach in Dublin or is it possible on a contract that will most likely not be permanent?

  • It is possible – but I wouldn’t rely on day to day subbing. (This year you would probably be fine as there is a shortage of subs but that isn’t the case every month/every year.)

Contracts vs. Subbing

Freelance subbing

This is a good way to get to know schools, principals, staff rooms etc. It gives you a chance to see if the school is the right fit for you. It also gives you the chance to see different ways of doing things.

I see so many teachers subbing for 3+ years it scares me. What are the chances of getting dip in September?

It depends on so many factors – availability of jobs in your area, other candidates and their experience, luck, connections etc. For some people it does take longer to get a temporary or permanent  job but this isn’t the case in all parts of the country.

Should I sub first and then apply for jobs?

It depends entirely on your circumstances. I subbed for the first few months when I qualified because there were very few jobs. I personally disliked not knowing where I would be every day and what to expect etc. At the same time, I did learn a lot about different schools and picked up tips and ideas in each school I went to. For me though I would prefer to be in the same school every day, building up a relationship with staff, the children etc.

Dip and Droichead

Is it best to get the Dip done as soon as you finish college? Or would it be better sub for a while

You have 3 years to get your dip done. (You can apply for an extension if you don’t get it done in this time). If you have a job and can get your dip/droichead completed then I would advise to do it.

What is the Dip/Droichead?

Dip – traditional route of induction. An inspector from the Department of Education will come to visit you unannounced twice (at least) in the duration of your contract – to observe your lesson, check your plans, assessments, classroom displays etc.

Droichead – some members of the staff in your school will be part of a Professional Support Team (PST) who will support you during your induction. This is done through regular chats, workshops, observations (NQT observes experienced teachers) and (PST observes NQT – announced observation at a time, subject of the NQT’s choice). The aim of Droichead is to be supportive and not evaluative.

How long is the dip in total?

The dip is now being replaced by Droichead which is a minimum of 60 days. However, this doesn’t mean that after 60 days you will finish Droichead. The guidelines are that the Professional Support Team continue to support the NQT for the duration of their contract so you may not be signed off until the end of the year.

Will all schools be Droichead?

This is the Droichead Growth Phase. It should be the route of induction for the majority of schools by September 2019 and for all schools by September 2020. However, if schools have not had training or if staff are not willing to become members of the Professional Support Team then the school may not be able to complete Droichead.

Panels

How do you get on a panel? How do you apply and how long does it take? Are there separate panels?

Panel areas – these are usually based around the diocese where you are teaching.

Main panel – if you have a permanent job or C.I.D. and your school loses a teacher (and you are last in) then you go on the main panel and you will then get a job in a school within 45km of their current school within the panel area.(This has to clear (all teachers on the panel must have jobs) before the supplementary panel can come into effect)

Supplementary panel – every qualified day that is paid by the Department of Education counts towards supplementary panel rights. (There are other criteria – how much you have earned in the year, point on the scale etc.) but generally if you have worked 183 days x3 then you will get on the supplementary panel. Once the main panel clears – permanent positions are then opened to teachers on the supplementary panels.

Further information here.

Planning

What plans do you have to have each year and their format?

  • Weekly plans for each subject
  • Termly plans (one for each subject.) or Yearly plans
  • Cuntas míosúil – handed to principal at the end of every month. (Overview of what has been covered)

All information on required plans and sample formats is available from NIPT here.

Is it ok to ask staff in your new school for help with planning?

Yes – many schools will have school plans which will have an overview of the topics to cover for each year. Some schools will have an arrangement (especially if there is more than 1 of each year group) and they will plan together. It is likely that you will have a mentor or a professional support team (Droichead) in your school to ask for help/advice in relation to planning.

EPV days

Can you do courses to get EPV days for your first year teaching?

There are mixed views on this – and it can vary greatly from school to school. Teachers are allowed to take EPV days during the first year teaching but all EPV days are subject to BOM approval so if you are covering a maternity leave for example and the principal says you can’t take EPV days then unfortunately you can’t take the days.

Feeling unprepared

It’s completely natural to feel unprepared and a bit clueless and terrified about your first teaching position. It is very different to go from teaching placement to being the teacher in charge of the class as a whole. Many schools have supports in place (mentors/ droichead PST members) to support you during your first year. The first few weeks are generally overwhelming but you do get into the swing of things very quickly!

These are the questions that were sent to me by student teachers who will be graduating in the coming weeks. If you have any other questions please email niamh@irishprimaryteacher.ie and I’ll add them here too!