QA

8th June 2007 at 01:00
Q How do I find a job teaching citizenship? After a degree in politics, I spent several years as a researcher and parliamentary lobbyist for a charity before deciding to switch to teaching. As I am reaching the end of my training, I haven't been able to find a teaching job that suits my needs. What should I do?

A I am tempted to say that with your previous career experiences you should already know the answer to your question. But, faced with the imminent end of your training period and no job in sight, you are undoubtedly concerned for the future. I can sympathise, having been in a similar jobless position 20 years ago.

Although the Government set the target for citizenship teachers completing training this summer based upon assumptions made in 2005 about teacher numbers, the model it uses can never be totally accurate.

From the point of view of schools, overshooting is better than being faced with a shortage of teachers. That said, citizenship is something of a special case: data on the number of qualified teachers is still in short supply.

The position is further complicated by the fact that, like some other smaller subjects, posts are often either advertised as part-time or linked to another subject, often history. This means you need to refine your online TES search (www.jobs.tes.co.uk) to cover all possible combinations of citizenship and other subjects, such as humanities and geography.

Similarly, when looking through the paper version of The TES, don't just look in the citizenship section, but spread your net wider across the whole of the secondary pages, looking for both combination posts and schools that have lumped together several different posts in a composite advert.

Although your training is in citizenship, and you may feel less than equipped to teach a second subject, a school may not see it in the same way.

At this time of year, some schools are also willing to compromise on the exact balance of qualifications and expertise they will accept for posts requiring expertise in more than one subject area.

Look at the composition of your degree and include what subject knowledge you have that might fit. You have general teaching expertise, what you will lack is subject application, and others in the department may be able to help you develop that expertise.

It is probably better to find a job than to wait for an ideal one. Starting your induction year teaching something is better than not having a teaching job at all

John Howson is a recruitment analyst and visiting professor of education at Oxford Brookes University. To ask him a question, email him at askjohnhowson@tes.co.uk.

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