5 tips when applying for your dream teaching job

Make sure you know what you're getting into before you take the plunge into a new job, says Adam Black

Adam Black

5 tips when looking for your dream teaching job

This is the time of year that our probationer teachers in Scotland are thinking about applying for a job. Here are my tips for getting that job – and ensuring it's somewhere you’d actually like to work.


This is something I didn’t think about in my last job – I was just excited about working in a specialist school and jumped at the opportunity. Slowly though, the 60-minute journey each way and even more if there was a late night meeting meant it started to be a part I dreaded about my day. All the podcasts or current affairs radio shows couldn’t take away from the fact that I just wanted to be home with my two children much sooner than I was able. It was the biggest reason for leaving that school as I liked most other things about it. So make sure to think about the commute that awaits you.


Check out the school website and get a flavour of what they are doing in this particular establishment. My current school is really good at updating departmental pages and Twitter is used well (not excessively) to show pupil achievement or update parents with important administrative details.

If you like what you see from the website then it'll certainly make you more excited about applying for the job – and give you something to mention in an interview. Another tip: if you see from the website that everything is old and out of date, maybe you need to ask yourself why.

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Do some research on the school and see if they offer things you're interested in. For example, if you’ve helped run the Duke of Edinburgh's Award in the past then see if they offer it in the school. If so, then great, you can talk about how you’d add to the team. If not, think about how you could bring it to the school – that initiative can really make you stand out in interviews.

Speak to friends

Teaching is a really small profession and you can normally find someone who knows someone who works in a school you're looking at – certainly in Scotland. I’d always encourage you to ask around and get the lowdown from a teacher who knows the inside scoop. This could work both ways: it might scare you or it might make you really excited. If the former, then don't write off that job just yet; instead, use that fear to spark ideas about how you'd make things better.

Do a recce

I’d definitely advise taking a visit before you even apply. You want to get a feel for the local community and see what's on offer around about you. If you see opportunities for partnership working, then mention that in your application form. If there's a vast outside space, make sure to mention outdoor learning. You get the idea: interviewers don’t want to read generic applications, so tailor yours to the school in question.

If you're a probationer or newly-qualified teacher and looking at jobs for next year, then please consider these points. I’ve ended up in a school I absolutely love. Doing all the things above certainly made me really excited to apply – I reckon that came across in interview and helped me get the job.

Adam Black is a teacher in Scotland. In 2019, he received the British Empire Medal for raising awareness of stammering. He tweets @adam_black23

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