If you've got a problem, you know who to call - our experts. John Howson and Sara Bubb offer advice every week
Q: I am a head of history and last year started looking for head of humanities posts. However, I lack confidence and was turned down three times after interviews. Are there courses I could take to build my confidence? Alternatively, what are my options outside of teaching? I'm 33 and want to be sure I'm on the right path before time runs away from me.
A: You raise two important issues: how to convince an interview panel and whether to look for a post outside teaching.
The first is relatively easy. You can go into any bookshop and find lots of books on boosting self-confidence and similarly on the web. I don't know of any courses specifically for teachers, but you might look at the National College for School Leadership website (www.ncsl.org.uk) to see whether there are any middle management programmes that have personal development as part of the course.
First impressions are vital. Ask a friend to tell you frankly about how you would appear to a stranger. Try to analyse why you lack confidence in certain situations. I assume you cope well in the classroom - you have become a head of history after all. You might look for an evening class in personal development and confidence building.
Why do you think leaving teaching would help? If you want a career in any field rather than a subordinate role you will need to address your self- confidence.
Since you can stand in front of a class every day and perform as a teacher, what is it that inhibits you with other adults? Can you think yourself into a role of a more self-confident person for an interview?
By thinking about a career outside teaching are you giving up? After all, you have had interviews for head of humanities jobs; some who applied for those three jobs won't even have got that far. Might you just be going thorough a low patch, as you haven't been successful so far?
There's not much more advice I can give, except to say remember Robert the Bruce and his spider - even if it isn't your period in history.
Q: What pay scale should Advanced Skills Teachers (ASTs) be on?
A: Broadly, ASTs have an 18-point pay spine that ranges from pound;35,794 to pound;54,417 (pound;42,559 to pound;61,188 in inner London). Check out the following link for the pay leaflet issued by the Department for Children, Schools and Families. There is a section on AST pay with a link to a more detailed document. Visit www.teachernet.gov.uk_doc128332008%20STPCD.pdf
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