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Feelings rekindled

Your job and career questions answered

A year ago I passed my NQT year and went on to teach science at another secondary school. It was not a good experience; I became confused about where my career was going and left teaching in April 2005 after a period of stress-related absence. I find this embarrassing and am not sure how this reflects when applying for new teaching positions. I've now relocated and am missing being involved in teaching so much. My questions are: 1. As a secondary science teacher am I allowed to do supply teaching in primary schools?

2. Are there any roles that I would be eligible for in a school that wouldn't involve teaching science 100 per cent of the time? I'd like to take a more pastoral route as this is definitely my forte, but am not sure If I have to "do more time" as a science teacher before I can move on to a role like this.

3. What non-teaching roles are available for which you first need to have a teaching qualification in order to qualify?

I believe I was a good, caring, understanding, motivating influence while I was teaching (in a very difficult school) and that the science teacher in me became less important and the pastoral side was the part that I felt drawn to and found to be a more useful way to use my skills. I really want to get involved again but I don't want to be thrown into another demanding timetable, which destroyed me last time... and surely relaying these feelings to a potential employer would put them off me anyway? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

You pose an interesting question. Those entering teaching do so with a multitude of different talents and strengths. It is not clear whether you finished your induction year as you say you left at Easter. If you didn't do so, then completing that would be a priority as it provides the basis for you to move on. However, moving to a new part of the country may not make this easy. Nevertheless, don't assume because you had a bad experience in a tough school that all schools or departments are the same. It might be worth contacting the local authority to see if there is a science adviser with whom you could discuss possible vacancies.

I do not think that doing supply work in a primary school would be a good idea. In most parts of the country there are now enough trained primary teachers looking for supply work that you might find that you were only employed in the most difficult schools and that might engender more stress.

Yes, do consider other pastoral type posts. However, most schools would expect basic competence as a teacher as you would be helping other teachers with problem youngsters. I suggest that you might like to undertake some career analysis to see what type of work really suits you and then consider whether some form of additional training might be necessary. In the meantime, you could consider tutoring on a one to one basis as a means of earning some income and working with young people preparing for examinations. On a more formal basis, some local authorities employ staff to teach children who are out of school for whatever reason.

Good luck with whatever options you decide to pursue.

If you have a question for John Howson, please email

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