What to do if you didn’t get that teaching job…
“I’m sorry to inform you that you weren’t successful this time. Thank you for applying, we really enjoyed meeting you.”
If you’ve been on the receiving end of such a message, in person or over the phone, you know how devastating it can feel. After all, its likely that you’ve spent hours and hours crafting your application, redrafting covering letters and rehearsing answers to interview questions for that teaching job. Not only that, but you’ve bared your soul, both on the page and in person, when asked questions like “So, why are you a teacher?” and “Tell me about a time when you overcame a challenge”. The feeling of rejection can be powerful and paralysing.
So, where should you go from there?
Well, after a couple of days of naval-gazing, you could be forgiven for throwing in the towel and saying “Oh, stuff them. I didn’t want that job anyway!”
But, you did. And you will again, when you next see a similar opportunity. So how can you prepare yourself to bounce back and improve your chances?
Well, speaking as someone who has been “unsuccessful” on a number of occasions, I can tell you what works (and is working) for me. It might not be to everyone’s tastes and it takes time to put into place, time that you might not have if a teaching job pops up at short-notice. However, I have faith in my methods. It’s a long-game, this teaching malarkey, so I want to take the time to get it right. Otherwise, I could end up in a role that I don’t enjoy, just because I was too short-sighted to choose something that was truly worthwhile for me personally.
I wrote myself some rules…
10 Rules For Staying Sane
#1 Don’t take rejection personally
#2 Ask for feedback
#3 Respond to feedback
#4 No sudden movements
#5 Reflect on the journey more than the destination
#6 Decide what job you want
#7 Start accruing useful and interesting experiences
#8 Build your network
#9 Improve your knowledge and skills
#10 Do things that others aren’t doing
So, why am I writing this?
This list has kept me sane for the last couple of years.
There have been so many times when I’ve either been within touching distance of teaching jobs, or where I’ve been shortlisted against candidates whose qualifications and experience far surpass my own. But in both sets of cases, having a solid hold onto those ten rules has helped me deal with the pressure and the (inevitable) disappointment.
Some might say I should perhaps get some new rules. After all, I haven’t succeeded at an interview for a long time! But, in reality, I don’t need to.
Rather than looking for greener pastures elsewhere, I’ve instead worked on creating my own ideal role where I already work. It doesn’t come with a footballer’s salary, or a lighter timetable. But I’m good at it and, ultimately, it makes me happy. I now lead a small and successful Law Department, co-run the EPQ and I’ve recently been given the (huge) responsibility for taking our NQTs through their Induction Year. This combination of leading a department whilst developing new staff is exactly what I had always worked towards.
I’m not sure that such a teaching job even exists on the TES, or anywhere else for that matter. And if I have my way, it never will.
So, just take your time and enjoy your journey. If I can do it, so can you.