5 tips to get you ready for a career move

It’s that time of year when all across Twitter teachers are celebrating getting their ‘dream’ jobs; you have NQTs who have secured their first teaching posts and experienced teacher who have landed that great promotion. It can sometimes leave you wondering whether it’s time you thought about moving onwards or upwards.

If that’s you, here are 5 tips for getting yourself ready for that next career move.

  1. Write a list of everything you’ve accomplished over the past academic year

What have you done that’s really made a difference in your school? It doesn’t have to be anything big, but it does have to have made an impact.

Perhaps there was a child in your class who in September, had no interest in reading but as a result of an initiative you implemented is now an avid bookworm and can’t wait to tell you about the book they’re currently reading.

Maybe you have a curriculum responsibility and during lockdown organised virtual activities which kept the subject in the spotlight and enabled classes to interact with each another.

Or did you introduce a new assessment system which has reduced teacher workload by half?

It could even be a personal accomplishment. Perhaps you’ve overcome your fear of public speaking and have delivered x number of staff meetings over the past year, whereas a year ago, you would have run a mile if anyone had asked you to speak.

Write down all the things that you have done and the impact they’ve had either on you as an individual or on your school.

2. Be honest with yourself – is this still the school that you want to work at?

Job satisfaction is important and if you’re not getting it from your current role, or at your current school, it may be time to think about moving on.

This may seem drastic, but there is nothing worse than being somewhere that doesn’t enthuse you or enable you to be the best that you can be. It’s understandable that sometimes we can feel obligated to the school we work at, especially if they’ve given you your first big break, or have supported you along the way. But as they saying goes in this life it’s ‘every person for themselves’.

The more you feel as if you ‘owe’ your school something, the more resentful you can become. If your school isn’t giving you the opportunities you desire, you either have to create them or move on.

However it’s important that you’re really clear on what it you want, which brings me on to number 3.

3. What do you want to accomplish in the next three years?

Be clear about the direction you want your career to go in.

If you want to go into leadership, you need to make sure you’re doing things to get yourself ready. Have you started taking on extra responsibility? Have you read the job descriptions for the leadership positions you’re interested in so that you know what will be expected of you? Are you meeting all of the Teachers’ Standards on a consistent basis? If the answer to any of these questions is ‘no’ then you need to start.

If your plan is to cross the threshold into the upper pay scale you need to find out what your school expects. In the first instance you need ensure you meet the following two criteria as a minimum:

  • you are highly competent in all elements of the relevant standards; and 
  • your achievements and contribution to the school are substantial and sustained. 

Exactly what these two criteria mean will be determined by the individual school, but you have to be prepared to have somehow made a difference and if you don’t think you’re able to do that at your current school, you need to consider if it’s something you could do elsewhere. (It’s worth noting that in most cases, to cross the threshold schools usually consider the two most recent appraisal reviews.)

4. Update your CV – even though you may never actually use it

Most applications clearly state ‘no CVs accepted’ however it’s still useful to update it as this will be a great help when it comes to completing an application form.

There’s nothing worse that having an application form in front of you and trying to remember all the courses you’ve attended and all the schools you’ve worked at. Having it already written out on a CV makes the application process a lot quicker and ensures you don’t miss anything out.

5. Think about what CPD would be beneficial to you in new academic year

This is the time when most school budgets are being set and even if the exact course you want to attend hasn’t been advertised yet, making your intentions known early can put you ahead of the game.

Don’t get too greedy though. The budget has to go around the whole school so putting in a list of 20 courses which each cost £100 a go, won’t go down well.

Think about how the CPD will benefit the school as well as your own professional development.

Make sure it fits in with the School Development Plan, or if you are due an Ofsted or SIAMS, enables you to help tick of one of the Next Steps that’s been listed in the report.

It also helps if you’ve thought about how your class will be covered whilst you’re on the course and also how you’ll share the information with colleagues.

Even though it’s ‘every person for themselves’ you don’t want to make it that obvious!

This half term, take some time to review, reflect and celebrate where you are in your career and what you want to do next. Be honest in your review and if there’s something you know hasn’t quite gone the way you wanted it to, think about what you need to do to get back on track.

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