How to Get Your First Teaching Job: Advice from Our Successful Teacher Trainees
Find out what it takes to secure your first teaching job from two of our trainees that have done just that, before they've even completed their teacher training!
We caught up with Clair and Rosanna, two of our awesome SCITT students, to find out how they managed to secure their first teaching jobs while they're still on the course. They share their own stories and offer some helpful advice and tips to other trainees looking to secure their first teaching jobs.
What traits do you think employers are looking for in teachers and trainees they want to hire?
Rosanna: I think employers are looking for enthusiastic, knowledgeable and keen teacher trainees to employ for their school. But, they’re also looking at what else you have to offer outside of the classroom -- what your passion is and what makes you stand out from others.
You have to bear in mind that you will likely be up against a lot of other candidates, so you need to leave a good impression and stand out for all the right reasons.
Clair: I think employers are looking for passionate, creative and reflective teachers. Show potential employers that you not only enjoy what you do, but also that you can learn from mistakes and take on feedback. Employers will also be thinking about how you will fit into their existing team and what new teachers can bring to their school, so make sure you show them what you can bring to the table!
What specific factors do you think contributed to you securing a job?
Rosanna: I wasn’t actually given feedback after securing my job, but I feel that being prepared, showing good knowledge and being confident at my interview were all really important. Being able to answer all of the questions I was asked and showing enthusiasm for wanting to work at that particular school definitely contributed to helping me secure the job.
I also think the fact that I am interested in sport, and showed interest in wanting to eventually lead PE as a subject, helped me as this is an area schools want staff to be keen and knowledgeable in. It also showed them that I’m willing to offer something else and that I’ve got a bit of ambition, as opposed to just being a class teacher.
Clair: I secured a job within one of my placement schools, so my employer already knowing how I teach and my work ethic has been a significant factor in securing the job for my NQT year.
I’ve also been able to show how I work within the existing staff team and already started to build relationships with children and families.
What level of knowledge and experience do you think is required and/or expected for a trainee teacher to be considered for a position? Do you think it is enough to just do well on your course/at placements?
Rosanna: I think having previous knowledge before gaining a place on a teacher training course definitely stands you in good stead. It makes you aware of the expectations and the level of commitment that a teacher training course, and teaching itself, requires.
But, I do think that you learn a lot during your time on the course and I think that the course itself does give you enough knowledge and understanding that you require to become a teacher -- your placements obviously help a lot with that too.
Clair: When applying for positions, I believe it’s important to show not only that you can do well on the course and in your placement schools, but also how your previous experiences and knowledge has influenced your values and approaches to teaching.
What advice would you offer to trainees wanting to secure their employment whilst training?
Rosanna: Always be on the lookout for jobs! Make sure you take the time to look around a school if you’re thinking about applying there because you will always get a vibe as to whether you could see yourself working there.
Try and secure something as early as possible as it takes the pressure off slightly and you can focus on completing the course to the best of your ability.
Clair: My advice for trainees wanting to secure employment whilst training is to use your placements to not only show others what you are capable of, but also to gain an idea of your ethos as a teacher and where you would like to work. This will help focus your job search when it comes to applying for jobs.
Do you have any tips for being successful in an interview?
Rosanna: My tips for interview would be: - Make sure you’re prepared – preparation is key - Be confident - Be willing - Smile