Saturday, October 10, 2009

Back in Employment

Well, after months of uncertainty I finally received a job offer. Not a job in teaching, but almost back to what I was doing two years ago, before the deeply demoralising experience of teacher training and its aftermath. The process of writing a teaching job application is lengthy. I like tailor each application to the school in question so first of all I do my research, using online profiles, OFSTED reports and school websites, all of which is fairly time consuming. Apart from an application form there is also a supporting letter of up to 2 sides of A4, addressing the specific criteria of the individual person specification. So I would say that each application demands, at least, between 2 and 3 hours work fitted into the rest of life. I stopped counting my actual job applications after 75, most of which were condensed into the period between April and July. Having had no success by the end of term, I decided to apply for any job I could. As a family, we got to the stage where we were dipping into our savings to subsidise our income on a monthly basis and I figured it was better to have income than status. Also, if I remained in schools-based work, there was always the possibility of getting into a teaching job via the back door.

This ploy has proved more successful and I had invitations to 6 interviews in the month of September. I was accepted to the waiting list for an 18-month contract working in Job Centre Plus (a growth market, it seems!) I was a bit miffed about my lack of success in interviews for support roles in schools, given the breadth of my experience. However, I felt some of the panels may have been a bit intimidated by the thought of a 'receptionist' or whatever with corporate vision and an educational philosophy! Sadly, official unemployment rates do not reflect the number of people who are, in reality, seeking employment. People like myself, with a partner in employment, do not qualify for job seeker's allowance and so tend not to be registered as unemployed. Teachers usually register with supply agencies but I found that during the whole of September I only managed to get half a day's work, grossing me £47.50. Teaching jobs I applied for seemed to trawl, on average, 70 applicants for each individual post and support worker posts barely fared any better.

I initially applied for a job as a Teaching Assistant at my school but was unsuccessful; however, they called me back to interview for the post of Cover Supervisor which I was subsequently offered. The money is fairly crap, to be honest, but at 30 hours per week and term time only, it has its compensations. Of course, I am back in secondary schools work so at the moment I am not entirely sure what the future holds for me in vocational terms. I would like to improve my earning capacity, but frankly, teaching requires a lot more than 9 to 5 commitment and that is rapidly losing its appeal. Maybe it is down to the fact that I feel a bit burnt out by the whole process at the mo, I don't know. Certainly I am in need of respite. Being skint and incomeless is lousy but I figure that you can substantially improve your quality of life with a relatively small increase in your cash flow. Right now, investing in my relationships is more important to me.


Pat said...

Hi Carole, applying for teaching jobs sounds like it's been a completely thankless and demoralising process for you; and I find it deeply depressing that one can put all the hard work into training and aquiring the necessary skills and qualifications for something and then still be unable to get anywhere. How do you stay so cheerful? Anyway, I hope this post works out ok as a measure for now.

Really sorry I missed meeting you at GB09 but I do come over to your side of the country sometimes, so maybe we'll manage to meet before GB10 - we could swap favourite Camus quotes over coffee!

I really do like the idea of doing the Camino de Santiago de Compostela someday btw!

Holy Famoley said...

Thanks for your post, Pat. I am very angry with the government of this country because I do feel they've led me a merry dance. But I always hear my dear old mum's words ringing in my ears when I begin to overdo the self-pity... "There's always somebody worse off," she would say. And she would be very right. My job situation is frustrating, but I have so many wonderful things in my life, it would be churlish of me to continue to complain. Fresh start now. Life is far too short, we have to enjoy it!

Email me on chawkins[at] if you are ever in my neck of the woods. It would be good to catch up.

Anonymous said...

Hi Carol, just to say congrats on landing this job, and all the best with your work. I so know the whole demoralising application process - it's a humoungus effort filling in an application.

very much hope this is going well, and look forward to reading your comments on Sanctuary and Asbo.

all the best

Holy Famoley said...

Thanks Subo - so far so good. I am beginning to find my way around and feel like part of the set up now. And hey, 3 weeks in and it's half term so all is good!