What to avoid when looking for a new teaching role

Paul Boyd

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

When it’s time to move on to a new job, it’s important to weigh up the personal and professional motives pushing you in that direction.

If it’s first teaching job you’re looking for, you’ll no doubt be searching for that ideal position to set you off on a long and rewarding career. If you’ve been teaching for a while, you’ll want to ensure that what you move onto next is the right level of challenge for you.

Avoid rushing

At the start of the job-hunting process, remember to be patient– you may not find your ideal job straight away. It may take weeks or months of researching, applying (and possibly rejection too). I have a friend who wanted to return home to Ireland to teach.

Teaching is very competitive there and securing a teaching job is very difficult. He applied to 80 schools over the course of a year before securing the most suitable job for him!

jobs looking

Avoid over-promising

Often, when we see a golden opportunity, we can get over excited and jump at it. At the interview phase, we can run the risk of over-committing to things that we may not actually be capable of delivering. “Sure, I can be head of English, and run the pastoral team and be the whole school literacy lead.

And I’m sure I can squeeze in a Christmas concert or three as well!” If anything, err on the side of caution; only commit to those things you know you will be able to do. If you can add more to your plate once you’ve started the job, great, but you don’t want to over promise and then under deliver.

Avoid the limitations

If you do get offered the job, you don’t have to accept the T&C’s at face value. It’s important to remember that teachers are in the fortunate position these days where schools are fighting to get the best staff possible, and this means you can negotiate the terms of any role before you begin, hopefully making adjustments that make the job more ‘you’.

overseeing builder

Avoid settling for less

If you accept a job, don’t settle for less than what you expect. Be clear about any assurances or commitments that are offered to you in advance of starting. Be sure to have a review date already set-up with your line manager within the first term so that you can challenge any expectations that have not been met.

Avoid a ‘let’s just see what happens’ mentally. Perhaps you have some questions or concerns about your new role or how it might develop over time – have some sort outline of what you expect or hope to have happened over the course of the next few years. Otherwise, time can race past and chances will go unused.

And finally; ‘If you don’t learn from history you’re doomed to repeat it’ If you’re leaving your current role for a negative reason, you must be very clear about the context of that problem – is it something you can do something about? What it an issue with an individual or a process?

Were you avoiding an issue or a responsibility? We must always be open-minded when reviewing negative experiences and ask ourselves what, if anything, did we do that contributed to the existence of that problem.

If we don’t, we run the risk of having it follow us into our next role, and we’ll be suffering the same unhappiness, just in a different building.


About our Community Expert


Paul BPaul Boyd
Community Expert

Paul is an actor and English teacher from Northern Ireland. Alongside his acting career working in theatre, film and television across the UK, he also teaches in primary and secondary schools throughout London.

Paul provides performance coaching to both individual clients and businesses.


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