Five years on and still no job

14th July 2000 at 01:00
IN 1995 you published a letter in which I (a 50-year-old, ex-services engineer and newly-qualified teacher) described my lack of progress in getting a job teaching secondary school maths.

Five years down the line and many job applications (and just two interviews) later I am still without a permanent secondary post. Meanwhile, I have found employment with engineering schools at home and abroad and I have worked as a supply teacher (teaching science!) for some months at a mixed comprehensive and a girls' grammar school.

When I began teacher-training I was assured that schools would welcome teachers who had experience in the wider world; I have found it to be otherwise.

The worst part of the experience has been the fact that so few schools even bother to reply to applications. After spendng two or more hours filling in a form, or writing out a CV to suit the post, it just disappears.

I only got my two interviews because I visited the schools and asked the head of maths if it was worth my while filling in the forms. I have applied for posts, heard nothing and then seen the position re-advertised weeks later!

Unfortunately my experience is not unique. We expect good manners from our children yet those who should set the standards lack common civility. I have found that four out of five comprehensive schools do not reply while nine out of 10 grammar and private schools do.

It reflects badly on the teaching profession that senior members display so little respect or sensitivity to colleagues.

Brian Farmer

Burgin Close

Foston Grantham, Lincolnshire

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