Careers clinic: Ask John and Sarah

31st October 2008 at 00:00
If you have a question, turn to John Howson or Sara Bubb, our experts who offer advice every week

I am teaching in Kenya but would like to return to the UK next September. Will employers accept emailed CVs and will they interview over the phone? When should I start applying? Also, will there be opportunities for my wife, who has six years' teaching experience but has only a Montessori degree gained in Kenya?

I am sure most good employers will accept emailed CVs these days, especially in your case. There may well be posts for September by December and certainly posts for Easter, where you might convince the school to wait for you until September. Much depends upon where you want to work and your subject: a maths post in London might be easier to obtain than a history post in Newcastle.

You will need to check whether your wife's degree is recognised in the UK. If so, she could do the on-the-job training through the Graduate Training Programme if she can find a school willing to employ her.

My school has five Teaching and Learning Responsibility posts advertised and to my knowledge, three of the assistant heads (on the leadership scale) have applied. Am I correct in thinking that TLRs were meant for teachers on the mainupper pay scale?

According to the School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Document 2008 that governs these matters in maintained schools, but not necessarily academies, the following definitions apply: "TLR means a teaching and learning responsibility payment awarded to a classroom teacher in accordance with paragraph 23"; "Classroom teacher means a qualified teacher who is not a member of the leadership group, an Excellent Teacher or an Advanced Skills Teacher."

This would clearly imply that assistant heads paid on the leadership scale cannot also be paid a TLR. If you think this is likely to happen you should raise the matter with your professional association and consider alerting the governing body through your representative.

I started teaching two years ago in my early 40s and am now head of department and head of year in a small school overseas. I want to advance quickly so I'm looking at doing an MA, but I'm fed up with exams. Is there a course you can suggest?

Since you are intending to continue working overseas, why not look at an MA for teachers in such schools. Universities such as Bath and Oxford Brookes run such courses and there are others offered in situ in popular areas such as the Gulf. Some of these courses also don't have examinations

John Howson worked as a secondary school teacher in London for seven years before moving into teacher training. He is now a recruitment analyst and visiting professor of education at Oxford Brookes University.

I'm an NQT but would love to teach abroad at some point and wonder if it is better to go next September as I will have completed my induction year but not have gained any real responsibility and therefore will not need to look for a higher position when I return. Can you offer me advice on this? I am in a fantastic school at the moment and will be sorry to leave, but I feel this is something I should do while I'm in my early 20s and not looking to settle down.

This is a decision that can only made by you. For what it's worth, I would advise you to do another year in the school you're in. It's good to consolidate all that you've learnt in your first year by staying in the same context - and you'll reap all the rewards of your hard labour in your second year.

If your school is fantastic you're lucky, so why not stay and learn even more? This fantastic school needs stable staffing so don't just grab all its support and leave after they've invested so well in you. You will be more attractive to any employer with more experience, and this is important because the competition for good jobs in European schools is tough. And lastly, what about your pupils? By the end of this year, even contemplating leaving them will be hard. They need you.

I've got my review with the induction tutor coming up. What should I expect?

All new teachers should have a review of progress at half-term so it's perfectly normal. It's your formal chance to find out how you're doing. Start off by discussing what's going well. There'll be plenty of things that are better now than when you started and celebrating them will boost your spirits.

What about the areas that need to get better? Most people benefit from a thorough analysis in order to get the help they need, that hits the spot. What is going to be the priority - and what are you going to do about making things better? Your induction tutor will have lots of ideas.

Remember that this review is your opportunity to say how induction is working for you. Even if all your skills of diplomacy are tested, you must raise concerns - your pupils deserve it

Sara Bubb was a primary teacher before becoming a teacher trainer. She is now an education consultant, lectures at the Institute of Education in London and has written extensively on induction and professional development.

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