Dear John: I have a new baby - and want a TLR. Should I stay or should I go?
I am a secondary science teacher in a large comprehensive in my fourth year. I will soon be returning after six months maternity leave and want to move up to a TLR position by September 2009. I was determined to be in a TLR post by Sept 2008, however, having a baby in Oct ‘08 thought it a bad move to try and get a new job only to go on maternity leave soon after starting.
I have got the impression that if you don’t go for TLR in your first four years it is unlikely you will be considered as you are not seen as being serious about your career progression. How true is this and how can I make my application impressive as I am a bit out of practice? Do I need to have done extra TLR-type stuff within the department before hand?
Much depends upon how old you are. Careers can have a variety of faster and slower periods within them, depending upon circumstances, but there are key ages after which heads and governors start to be less enthusiastic about applicants and you will need to work harder to gain an appointment. By all means apply for a post with a TLR, but you will be juggling a work life balance with a young child and you’ll need support at home if you are not going to become very tired and possibly stressed. Obviously, a TLR2 in your present school would be the ideal solution, as you know the pupils and the routine. It might be worth discussing the possibilities with your head of science. You might have a better chance if you are a physicist or a chemist than a biologist: supply and demand can play a part, even though it should not.
If you have to change schools that will be an added pressure and you might want to wait a bit longer and perhaps apply for a post at Christmas when fewer candidates are looking for jobs. So long as you can demonstrate competence and have something to offer that meet the job specification, you should have a good chance of making an interview.
After that, it will be up to you.
John Howson worked as a secondary school teacher in London for seven years before moving into teacher training and consultancy, including a brief period as a chief government advisor. John is now a recruitment analyst, visiting professor of education at Oxford Brookes University and hosts our Career Clinic where you can post questions to him.