Saturday, January 7, 2017

Graduate Teacher Tips Series: 1. Getting Work

2017! It's here!
This can be a very anxious time for graduate teachers. Some have been given permanent positions, some have been given contracts and some have not been offered anything at all. This was me when I graduated. I was heartbroken. However, I had my cry and then got straight into getting my name out there! Within a year I had gone from having no work to having done relief work, short contracts, long contracts with my own class and then was lucky enough to be offered a permanent position.
If you haven't been given a class yet - don't give up! I wasn't given a position straight out of University either and had to work very hard to secure a contract :)
Here are some tips:
Do up a clear, professional CV that has been proofed by as many eyes as you can get. Poor grammar and spelling does not make for a great first impression. Include some of your hobbies or interests, as they may be a part of the school community that you aren't aware of.

Call schools before students go back. Staff will be there the week before students return. Make some phone calls to local schools and ask to speak to whoever is in charge of employment. Don't forget to mention your name! After you've made some calls, dress professionally and physically go to your local schools and hand in a hard copy of your CV. Mention your name again (hopefully they remember from your phone call). It's scary and will push you out of your comfort zone but it shows initiative and puts a face and name out there.
 Now that you've put your name and CV out there, it's time to get back in contact with some of those people you connected with over your practical experiences. Email and/or call them! I was offered by a school to return to do some training on PM benchmarks, as I hadn't had any experience at that stage. I decided to do just that and while I was there the principal put my name down for relief straight away.

Do you have family or friends who are also teachers? Speak to them and see if you can volunteer at the school.
 Make sure your name is down with a relief pool or company. Don't assume you won't get work during the first week of school. I got plenty of single days that turned into short contracts.

Say YES! Try not to turn down any work. If you visit a school and make a good impression, they will ask to have you back again!

HUGE tip: If you take a relief class, PLEASE write a short note about how the day went and what work you did/did not complete. It is very much appreciated - trust me!
 Dress professional. Speak professional. Be professional. Yes, you might see other teachers in schools you visit wearing short shorts and thongs and joking with their colleagues. However, don't assume that means you can/should. Remember, first impressions count. Be polite to anyone you come in contact with (including librarians, cleaners, other teachers, parents, families and students) and thank them for any assistance they provide.
There is no such thing as too many questions. Don't be proud. ASK. Always ask.

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