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I don't know what to do.

(61 Posts)
Oakmaiden Sat 07-May-16 20:04:11

It was always my dream to be a teacher. I came to teaching as a mature student, worked bloody hard with 3 small children to get a first class degree and PGCE. And I just can't get a job.

Other than a short period at an independent school, I have been supply teaching for 3 years now. This academic year I have been able to earn about £5,500 so far. That is with working full time in the same school for one term, and doing all the normal teacher stuff like after school clubs, parents evening etc. The pay around here is shit. I am lucky to take home £60 a day.

There are no "proper" teaching jobs - or rather, very few. Most schools laid off staff last summer, rather than taking on, and many are doing the same this year. Even without this situation the city I am in is notoriously difficult to find teaching work in - people just don't move around, and when they do Headteachers inevitably bring in "known" teachers, rather than random applicants. Often they don't even advertise. I have never even been offered an interview in the city I live in, despite applying for pretty much every job that is advertised. My only hope, I think, is that one of the schools I supply for and who know me well decide they need someone. But I do always seem to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I can't afford this any more. I can't afford the long holidays with no money coming in, and frankly I hate waking up in the morning and not knowing if I am going to be working, let alone where...

But I'm not sure what else to do. I am playing with the idea of keeping on at supply for a while, and trying to build a base of private tutoring students (I do have 2 GCSE maths students I tutor). But again, holidays are likely to be quiet with very little money coming in. Finding a "holiday job" seems a bit fruitless at the moment as I would be uncomfortable leaving my youngest two unsupervised for day after day at the moment - in a couple of years it might be OK, but at 11 and 12 I just feel they are still quite young for it to be a regular thing. So I would need to find some sort of childcare for them - which would almost certainly devour any wages I might be earning...

My other idea is to set up a sewing business, mostly making dance costumes, but also possibly fancy dress/LRP costumes and similar. I could fit this around the days I am working supply, and if I end up being particularly busy with sewing at any stage I can just take a week off supply... But I am anxious about the whole idea - it will take some finance to set up (not an enormous problem really, but an issue if I end up either not selling anything or not earning any money from it).

I just don't know what to do. I am just fed up of constantly bumping along the bottom of our bank balance...

Vaara Sat 07-May-16 20:22:43

Are you getting interviews? Is your CV professional?

Do you call for feedback after interview?

GinandJag Sat 07-May-16 20:25:10

What is you subject specialism.

IHeartKingThistle Sat 07-May-16 20:33:15

You write to every school you would be prepared to work in. You write a kick-ass letter and enclose a CV. Follow up by email or phone. That's how I got my last two teaching jobs - neither had been advertised. That was secondary.

Good luck! Apologies if you have already done this!

Oakmaiden Sat 07-May-16 20:34:43

I am a primary teacher. My personal statement has been read through by 3 different headteachers, who all said it was fab.

I have had interviews in a different city - the feedback is inevitably "it was a really hard choice, it was between you and another person, you said all the right things at interview, your teaching demo was outstanding, we decided to go with the person who a, already knows the school; b, has more experience in this year group, c, plays the piano better, d, lives closer."

Genuinely - this is feedback from 3 of the interviews. I have had other interviews where I have KNOWN that I messed up at some point, but sometimes it goes like that. I haven't had an interview at all this academic year - although I have kindof given up applying. My husband has started working away, and it is no longer really workable for me to work in another city as well. I have applied for what jobs there are in this city, but as I said in 3 years I have never had a response from a job in this city.

Oakmaiden Sat 07-May-16 20:35:33

4 of the interview - not 3...

Oakmaiden Sat 07-May-16 20:37:47

Schools round here just don't seem to be employing at the moment. And without sounding defeatist - I am absolutely certain that if I dropped a CV and letter round to every school in the borough then 99% of them would go straight in the bin. The other would lie under a pile of paperwork for several months before going in the bin.

Oakmaiden Sat 07-May-16 20:38:52

It doesn't help that after 3 years on supply (with no access to CPD) I am concerned myself that I am getting rusty and "out of date" with the "right" way to do things.

GinandJag Sat 07-May-16 20:49:04

Have a look at the community forums on TES.

I don't really know what to suggest as I have completely the opposite experience (secondary science).

Your feedback isn't bad - just others have pipped you to the post - which suggests you just have to keep plugging away and widen your geographic area.

I don't think speculative CVs are going to give you any more than supply work. Schools are always wanting to get a range of applicants, and you just need to make sure you check websites and get TES alerts just like everyone else.

I don't think you should be selling yourself short by accepting £60 per day for the "full job". You need to be more forceful about getting what you are worth. For me that would be minimum £110 after tax and expenses.

SusanAndBinkyRideForth Sat 07-May-16 20:50:46

That does sound tough.
Well it seems to me you have a few options.
1. Continue what you are doing and hope you get a job in your city
2. Start applying for eg TA or PPA cover jobs in the hopes of getting a foot in the door and a regular wage (while still waiting/applying for that teacher role)
3. Retrain as secondary maths? Round here they are like gold dust and most schools don't even get a single application to a vacancy the first few times they advertise...

Oakmaiden Sat 07-May-16 20:52:07

That is what supply agencies offer around here. It is "officially" £75 a day from the LEA's recommended agency (the one they have told all the schools they want them to use), but after the deduct holiday pay and umbrella fees etc, it is only around £60. Tis shit.

Oakmaiden Sat 07-May-16 20:53:45

I am good at maths, but I didn't even do A level, let alone a degree. To be honest if I had A level maths I would probably apply for KS3/4 maths jobs, but they aren't really going to want someone who doesn't have an a level, are they?

If I sound defeated, it is because I feel that way...


Oakmaiden Sat 07-May-16 20:54:06

I was wondering about TA jobs.

GinandJag Sat 07-May-16 20:55:32

As a TA, you'd be earning even less.

You are being a patsy by accepting less than you are worth. Sorry.

Oakmaiden Sat 07-May-16 20:57:58

I really don't see what I can do about that? That is what supply teachers around here get paid. It is not a special rate for me.

The one time I was somewhere longer than a term it did go up a bit for the second term (because I asked). But then that came to an end, and I was back down to standard rate.

Oakmaiden Sat 07-May-16 20:58:51

Vaara Sat 07-May-16 21:00:23

Oh fuck off Gin, what do you want her to do about it? Go into the supply agency and kick off?

That'll help hmm

Scarydinosaurs Sat 07-May-16 21:05:11

That's awful. What are your A levels? Would you consider secondary in an a level or your degree subject?

GinandJag Sat 07-May-16 21:06:19

Actually, that's exactly what she should do.

Why should someone with an advanced degree accept £10 an hour?

Oakmaiden Sat 07-May-16 21:07:44

Honestly - I managed to skip A levels. I came into teaching through being a TA - I did a Foundation degree in Education Support, and then followed that with a degree in Education. then a PGCE. For my degree I specialised in SEN and drama. So no really useful secondary subject specialism there...

Oakmaiden Sat 07-May-16 21:09:11

GinandJag - and then I would get no work. I know this because the supply agency said to me - "We can raise your daily rate, but then we would have to inform all the schools that you were more expensive than our other supply teachers for them to employ."

They are able to do this because the market is saturated and they can. Simple as that.

GinandJag Sat 07-May-16 21:10:42

A career outside education seems to be the logical choice in that case.

SusanAndBinkyRideForth Sat 07-May-16 21:10:46

Ooh in that case go for doing some secondary SEN supply! Then go for that - again it is often shortage (well at least in my area - they are always asking me to supply in SEN schools but as I have no SEn experience beyond usual classroom stuff I'm too scared to smile )

SusanAndBinkyRideForth Sat 07-May-16 21:12:06

Sorry my phone skipped a bit - SEN supply for experience then go for a secondary SEN school post

Vaara Sat 07-May-16 21:12:07

Gin it's pretty easy to say that from the perspective of the reasonably employed.

It's of spectacularly little use on this thread.

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