How to choose the right school when job hunting
As opposed to the vast majority of other job hunters, would-be teachers have got more factors to bear in mind when weighing up their options.
In addition to standard considerations like salary and location, you also have to think about the size of the school, its reputation, its culture, the behaviour of pupils and the personalities of staff. Therefore, striking the right balance isn’t easy and you may have to sacrifice one ideal for another.
However, here’s how you can make the most informed decision and find the right school to match to your requirements.
Do your research
It is important to conduct a little research about the schools you are considering, starting with their website. A regularly updated website with news about recent events or developments will give you an insight into the school’s values and culture.
Another good idea is finding the school’s most recent report from Ofsted. Although this will highlight any weaknesses or challenges, don’t be too concerned by a poor rating. Instead, read the text and see whether improvements are currently being implemented.
However, it is important to not be misguided by the school’s marketing materials and methods. First hand interaction with the staff and students is key to really knowing what the school is like.
Ask the right questions
During the interview process you should not only give details about your education and experience but also ask questions about the job and school.
Here are some questions you might want to ask:
- Why has this position become available?
- What is the average class size?
- How do you assess students?
- What benefits do staff enjoy?
Any information you couldn’t finding during your research should also be mentioned.
Try to meet the staff and students
Whenever you get the chance and if appropriate, try to speak with students about the school – what they like, what they dislike, and what they would change given the chance.
It may even be possible to arrange a convenient time to sit in on a lesson. This will give you a great insight in to how the school operates, and will also show you a little about the personalities of some of the children. This will also show your potential employer how enthusiastic you are about the teaching position.
Alex Thirkill, head of psychology and sociology at Glyn school in Epsom also has the following advice about meeting and talking to staff. “It’s very easy to chat to people in the staffroom. Have as many conversations as possible when you’re sitting there during the interview day”.
Finding the best teaching job for yourself can be a long and exhausting process. You may not find the most suitable school as quickly as you would like, but it is important to stay positive. This positivity is attractive to potential employers.
After all, a school that doesn’t tick all of the right boxes might turn out to be a truly eye-opening and rewarding experience, which offers greater career development than a ‘dream’ role ever could.