How on earth can I get back into teaching?

(14 Posts)
Janek Mon 16-Sep-13 11:03:09

I really hope someone can give me some advice here - I trained as a German teacher in 2003/4. I worked as maternity cover for two terms (German and French), then a term in another school (French and Maths) and then went on maternity leave in January 2006. Having had a second baby and completed my family I returned to a 0.5 two-term post teaching Maths in January 2010. I have not worked since August 2010.

I was applying for jobs from February in order to return to work this September and at the start of July secured a post teaching Maths in a local school. However, my offer of employment was withdrawn when they took up my reference from my previous school. My previous school essentially left me to get on with it. I started in the middle of a term. I don't deny that in my eagerness to get on with teaching I didn't set the ground rules firmly enough, but there was no new staff support, let alone NQT support (I still have a term of my NQT year left to complete). I made no secret of the fact I was struggling, but help was just not forthcoming. Various colleagues pointed me in the direction of detention slips when it became apparent I knew nothing about them, I was given no staff handbook, I finally got a copy of the Behaviour for Learning policy from the office when I realised it existed. Let us assume for the purposes of this thread that I worked really hard and did my best, despite no one else really seeming to care what went on in my classroom.

But my issue is what to do now. My confidence has been severely knocked by being offered a job and then having it withdrawn. I feel very strongly that my current reference is someone who knows absolutely nothing about the real me and has a very negative image of me, based on the snapshot they do have. I just don't know what to do next. Do I give up on teaching, even though I don't feel I have given it (been given?) a fair chance? Do I do supply in the hope of obtaining a better reference? Is it likely I will even get supply work? Or do I just return to my previous life as an office worker and hope I don't die of boredom?

I am paralysed with fear at the moment and am finding it very hard to snap out of it. I am just so frustrated. In real life I am confident, competent and resilient. But I have no idea how to sort this out.

I would really appreciate any advice.

cuggles Mon 16-Sep-13 13:44:44

I would suggest, if you dont desperately need an income right now, that you get into a school for a time, observing teachers, asking if you can teach small groups, etc...gaining work experience almost and even some useful contacts and potential referees! Almost put yourself through a self taught, mini PGCE without the essays perhaps. Unless you do long term supply I am not sure it would be a useful reference. Or, what about applying for any literacy/numeracy style support jobs that are about for now. I did some whilst at home with little ones, small group teaching to boost yr 7s, teacher salary? Not sure what is about in the current climate though!?

manyhands Mon 16-Sep-13 15:17:14

How about doing supply then seeing if you are eligable to apply for your local NQT pool, some authourities have these where you are interviewed by a panel of local head, school advisers etc, then you are graded and your details and grade is passed on to the local school who then choose who to call for interview, you could use your supply agency as your first reference and if needed your head would be your second reference.

Fragglewump Mon 16-Sep-13 18:24:15

I tried to get on a return to teaching course after a big gap between qualifying and being able to teach after having children and moving abroad etc. But these courses don't seem to exist due to funding cuts. So I asked my local school if I could volunteer there to brush up on current practice (and boost my confidence). The head said yes and pretty quickly started using me for supply work....now I have a reference!!

magichamster Mon 16-Sep-13 18:34:36

I had a bit of a gap like you have. I volunteered at a local school, before moving onto the supply register. I've done loads of supply work, and will shortly be starting a maternity cover. It's given me confidence and decent references.

Small steps are the way to go smile

sheridand Tue 17-Sep-13 17:57:39

I am returning after 6 years out as a HLTA. It's giving me a solid return to levelling, classroom technique and so on. Plus the small group work is invaluable experience.

Janek Sat 21-Sep-13 07:43:39

It's good to hear some heartening stories, thank you! I think i have to bite the supply bullet. I will consider what you're doing too sheridand.

sheridand Sat 21-Sep-13 10:22:02

It's rubbish pay, but you do get to cover classes. I covered a double maths yesterday, and a PSHE. The first time i've been in charge of a class for 6 years! There was no riot. It's very helpful for my confidence, I don't think I could just plunge straight back in, there's been so much change.

ColdFusion Sat 28-Sep-13 10:03:01

I recommend Supply too.

Your reference won't have such an impact on opportunities as they won't be stuck with you if you are not good enough.

With supply, you can reinvent yourself and try out new teaching skills. You will get fantastic experience of how different schools and different subjects work. If you can get a maternity post, you will be able to do the full job and get a new reference.

Janek Thu 27-Feb-14 10:54:48

So, after months of avoidance/excuses i have finally sorted out my cv (friends dh is a careers advisor so he helped me with it) and yesterday i uploaded it to an agency's website.

It would appear that as an nqt you can only do short term supply work for five years after you qualify. So the day to day supply i was imagining to ease me back into it is not going to happen. The government website actually says 'five years before commencing induction period'. Now i have commenced it, i just haven't finished it, so this might be a loophole, but more likely is just semantics!

I can still do long-term supply (i think!). Just wondered if anyone had any experience/advice/heartening words. It just seems so hopeless at the moment, every time i overcome one hurdle, another replaces it. I can teach a shortage subject, for goodness sake.

Technoprisoners Thu 27-Feb-14 11:07:32

I can't vouch for the supply route, not having done it, but it strikes me that it might not be great for your confidence, being thrown in at the deep end. I think you need some resilience built up for supply! I would recommend volunteering for TA type work with a languages dept. Perhaps make some calls and see if you can speak to a HOD direct about offering a few hours a week? Once you're in, and can build a rapport and good working relationship, it will only be a matter of time before they book you for supply for the dept, hopefully, then you will be away! Schools prefer to use known supply and it will be less stressful for you. What are the schools like near you that you could manage to get to easily etc? Look carefully at what their needs are and form a plan for how you can help.

I had a very long break due to children (nearly 10 years) and despaired of getting back in. After two terms of TA work, I secured a full teaching salaried role. Be prepared to do some spade work and you will be fine. Good luck!

Janek Thu 27-Feb-14 11:17:29

You are right of course, i kind of knew that, but had forgotten about the confidence-sapping aspect of supply in amongst all my other insecurities. Thanks for the response, do you work part-time? And are you primary or secondary?

Around here there are very few schools offering German (it has got worse since i trained), I was wondering about the new primary languages curriculum and possibly a job doing ppa cover, so perhaps some (more, more specific) primary volunteering is the way to go.

Technoprisoners Thu 27-Feb-14 13:15:48

I am .6 - secondary English. One of our colleagues had trained for primary but didn't even get as far as starting her NQT - she has been taken on as a cover supervisor and apparently it will count towards her QT status.

As a linguist, could you offer French at KS3, just to get started somewhere?

Janek Tue 11-Mar-14 13:06:04

I just read in an article on the TES website that employers have to speak to your last head for child protection. so how on earth do i ever escape this bad reference, when I can't get another job because I don't have a reference and I can't do supply?

I was looking on reed.co.uk for other jobs this morning, just seeing what else i could do, and saw a little advert at the bottom suggesting i should consider being a german teacher. apparently it is a shortage subject. apparently you can do subject knowledge enhancement courses to become a german teacher. i am so pissed off and demoralised.

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