Earlier this month I attended the really informative and fascinating Education Careers Day at the University of Glasgow.
It was a day-long conference with keynote speeches, panel discussions and workshops aimed at student teachers, current probationary teachers and early career teachers. Presenters represented primary and secondary teaching and senior management staff, academics, local authority and professional body staff, and career guidance professionals.
Some of the key topics included: the probationary year – making the most of and navigating it; engaging in masters level study; interview skills, application writing and alternative careers/career mapping.
This is an overview of what I learned:
- When you are on your probationary year placement, the interview (for your first teaching post) starts at the beginning of the August term.
The school want you to be proactive in working with your mentor, take responsibility for your learning, develop relationships, be visible, get yourself know and have a positive impact. Doing so will give you both a more meaningful, quality interview dialogue and a positive Head Teacher reference, which is taken into account in the interview process.
- When on placements and probation engage with the bigger picture.
First and foremost, you have to do your job well and build credibility. That doesn’t stop you from thinking about: the impact you are having on the learning and development of your pupils; observing other colleagues; policies such as GIRFEC; how you manage classrooms and resources; interdisciplinary learning; engaging the wider community; communicating with parents, guardians and children; how you’ve addressed barriers to learning; worked with Experiences and Outcomes; how well you work with others; balancing extracurricular activities within the school and your own workload; the values and vision of the school and the local authority; your discipline and your profession. These are the sort of topics you could be asked about.
- Broaden your horizon: there are a variety of jobs in Scottish education both within and outwith the classroom.
Think school (subject/principle/faculty/depute/head teacher), sector (early years/primary/secondary/additional support needs/college/university), local authority (areas teachers/specialist services/development officer/education officer/quality improvement officer/head of service-sector or director), national bodies (GTC/SQA/Education Scotland/SCEL/professional associations), other bodies (such as third sector organisations and other educational outreach – such as museums/galleries sector).
Unquestionably, many of these roles relate to career progression and require teaching experience first. However, one of the key messages was get a horizon and think where you want to be: short, medium and long term.
You could also look at the AGCAS Education Alternatives (2013) publication which references lots of other related roles and professions.
- Bring or develop an additional specialism which can give you that competitive edge.
This could be primary (foreign language/science/art/music/maths) secondary (within subject/school club/interdisciplinary learning/dual subject qualification), or general (IT/aspects of ASN/enterprise). Either way, there are plenty of ways in which to add to what you’ve already studied.
Hopefully this will give you plenty to think about. We also have relevant and current information on education, teaching and lecturing occupations on our website.