20th July 2007 at 01:00
Q I've been a teacher for five years in the same school. Is it time for me to look for somewhere new and more responsibilities? A It is definitely time for you to seek a new challenge. The fact that you are asking the question means that you are already thinking about your future. This is the way to stay in charge of your career, rather than just reacting to events as they happen. Your generation should have lots of promotion opportunities as, depending on where you live, between 30 to 40 per cent of your colleagues could be in their 50s and retire within the next 10 years. However, you cannot expect just to walk into a new job. It is worth preparing yourself by taking a hard look at your CV. If you haven't applied for anything during the past five years, you may be a bit rusty, so think how you would respond to requests from potential employers as to what you have to offer. Check with others who know you and your teaching to make sure that you don't overlook something that they remember as a key contribution. Experience by itself may not be enough, however. Once you start taking on responsibility there are suddenly two aspects to the job. First, there is the content of the curriculum area, key stage, or other learning experience and then, second, there may well be responsibility for the work of others, directly or indirectly. This can be challenging, and you need to make sure you are prepared. Not everyone can go on a course before they take on their first responsibility at a middle management level, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be aware of what is involved. Leading a team of adults, even a team of two, isn't the same as managing a class of pupils. Do some research and read articles in The TES or its website. The summer is a good time to catch up. Any reading will, at least, help you understand some of the questions you might get asked at an interview and help with some of the answers as wel *

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

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