"Well, there is only one piece of advice I can give you," said the wisest of wise men. "The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon."

('The Alchemist' Paulo Coelho)

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Chasing jobs

I visited a local school this week with a view to applying for a job they had advertised. I've been doing a lot of this lately. If the advert says, 'Visits to the school are welcome' it's as well to comply, otherwise your application isn't even considered, but it all takes time.
This one, like the others, is a pleasant enough school. There were eleven of us on the tour. There had been a dozen more the day before. While we were waiting, the talk was of other jobs applied for.
"Did you hear anything from ******* school?"
"No, but I believe they had 63 applications."
Not unusual these days. In Wales particularly, the numbers of newly graduating teachers is far in excess of the jobs available, and that's before you consider the 'oldies' like me. So much for the government's much trumpeted assurances a couple of years ago about addressing the shortage of teachers. Seems someone did their sums wrong and didn't take the falling birthrate into account.
The tour concluded with the headteacher saying that the shortlisted candidates for this 12 month contract (not a permanent job) would be asked to come in and teach for an hour one day and then be recalled for interview the next. All well and good, except that at this time of year, any applicants are going to be newly qualified teachers who are doing a few weeks supply before the end of term or supply teachers per se, which means possibly turning down two days work for a job that only one of them is going to be offered.
Oh, and that's apart from the fact that the successful applicant will be joining her new colleagues in doing two lots of planning - one in keeping with the present curriculum and one for the way they are actually teaching, which follows the draft Foundation Stage. The reason for this is that the new Foundation Stage will not be fully established until 2008, so in the event of an inspection, the school will be expected to be planning and teaching in line with the present curriculum.
Nothing changes!


Wallo said...

Eck! You always seem to have such a struggle getting stuff! I'm hoping to be a teacher but it all sounds very complicated in terms of availability!

Jennyta said...

Too many teachers for the jobs available these days, Wallo. It's apparent mostly in primary schools because of the falling birthrate but it will filter through to secondary in the next few years, Wallo.

Michelle said...

How very interesting. I'm not too sure if that's the case here. Whilst our birth rate has fallen dramatically, teachers, especially male teachers, are very much wanted. Men don't appear to be going into the profession as often these days because the sexual harassment laws :(
My daughter is lucky to have a male teacher in grade 6. He is fantastic, as is the grade 7 male teacher too. It's wonderful when you can find teachers who are really dedicated to their jobs.

Jennyta said...

I think you're right, Michelle. Most men who go into teaching opt for secondary and those who do go into primary teaching often seem to be fast tracked to headship, although that is less of a problem now than it was a few years ago.

skint writer said...

Thanks for the link Jenny. Nice writing style you've got :)

Tom Tyler said...

My sister is a full-time primary school teacher, and my brother works in the admin dept of a secondary school. Judging from (a) the problems my sister has endured with stress-related illness brought on through her work, and (b) the stories my brother tells me about the pupils running riot like the monkey house at the zoo, I honestly don't know how you can do it! Hats off to you, it must take real dedication to be in that profession.

Jennyta said...

Thanks, SW. You too.

Tom, I have suffered from stress myself when working full time and ended up having a year out, which helped enormously. I feel very strongly that all teachers should have the opportunity of a sabbatical year at some stage of their career to recharge their batteries.

Jonathan said...

Well, um...at least you don't have to work at McDondald's to pay bills?

Jennyta said...

I've done the equivalent in my student days, Jonathan!

Ellee Seymour said...

I'm surprised, I thought it was hard recruiting teachers, but I am meeting more young people who are joining that profession. Or do you think they fancy working in Wales?

Jennyta said...

The government didn't take account of the falling birthrate when allocating training places a few years ago, Ellee, so there are now too many newly qualified teachers chasing too few jobs in the primary sector. This will, of course, be reflected in secondary schools in the next few years.


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