If you are a newly graduated primary and secondary teacher and spent the latter half of 2014 searching for a full time teaching position and haven't yet secured one, you might be feeling discouraged. While that's completely understandable, it can also be helpful to get a different, more positive perspective on your situation. Here are five reasons to feel encouraged about teaching going into 2015:
1. There are a lot of others in the same boat as you
If you're a beginning teacher, you're statistically more likely to not to win a full time teaching role right out of teacher training than you are to win one. Remembering this will help you keep your situation in perspective (especially if it seems like all your classmates have won jobs).
2. It's not because you're a bad teacher
It's no reflection of your quality as a teacher if you haven't been able to win a role for next year. Typically, at the end of the year beginning teachers are competing with experienced teachers for roles. Schools tend to go for experienced teachers for lots of reasons, but mainly because they are known quantities.
If they are specifically looking for a beginning teacher, they often go for ones who have strengths in particular areas they are looking for (e.g. literacy, Te Reo). Sometimes it's for completely random reasons. When one of our team members was fresh out of teacher's college, he applied for more than 80 roles around the country, and ended up winning a role in the North Island - and the reason he got the job over the other shortlisted candidate was because he was from the South Island!
The point is, there are lots of reasons you might not have won a role straight out of teacher training and many of these reasons are out of your control. All you can do is put in the absolute best application that you can.
3. It's not the end of your teaching career
While it can feel demoralising to not secure a teaching role, the worst thing you can do is give up. You've paid your fees, gone through an intense and stressful teaching programme and spent 1-4 years of your life working towards the goal of being a teacher. Don't let this setback discourage you from pursuing this career.
We know of several new graduates who, after being unsuccessful in winning a full time teaching role straight out of teacher's college, went back to their old jobs, with no immediate plans to teach. While this approach is fine for the short term (we usually encourage teachers to secure non-teaching work to support themselves in Term 1, and then support themselves with relief work from Term 2 onwards), the problem was that these teachers simply went back into their old patterns of work and in the end, essentially left the teaching profession.
Conversely, we know many teachers who struggled securing a role initially, but persevered and are now in the teaching positions of their dreams.
If you are passionate about being a teacher, don't give up. Just because you haven't won a role in this round of hiring doesn't mean you won't win a role in the future.
4. Relief teaching can be a rewarding experience
For many teachers, relieving is their first experience teaching outside the classroom, and it can actually be a lot of fun. We've talked to many teachers who feel that relieving was a great experience for them as a teacher, and taught them a lot.
Relief teaching allows you to practice teaching - sole charge - in a wide variety of schools. You can get to know schools that are high decile, low decile, have different philosophies of teaching, have big classes, small classes, are state funded or independent. You can teach students from all backgrounds, abilities and year levels. Not only will you learn where your strengths are, you can figure out what kind of school you want to start your teaching career in.
5. There's more than one way to win a permanent teaching role
The truth is, many teachers don't win a permanent full time teaching role straight away. Often the road to the position of your dreams can be a little twisty. For an example of a teacher's journey into full time teaching, check out this account by Jenna, who finished her teaching qualification at the end of 2014 and is now a fully registered teacher.
If you build your networks through daily relieving, this can lead to a classroom release time (CRT) or job share position, or even a long term relief (LTR) role. Most of the time LTRs can be counted towards your full teacher registration and the experience you gain from these LTRs can support your application for a full time role. It may take a while, but you will learn a lot about yourself as a teacher.
Are you planning on relieving in 2015?
On Monday 23rd February, the team at Education Personnel will be hosting a webinar for beginning teachers on how to become a superstar relief teacher!
It'll be presented by our relief team leader Scott King, who, in addition to being an experienced former teacher, has worked at one of the UK's top relief agencies.