Deon and Jenna run Thames Teachers after several years teaching and recruiting in London. They are well known for their fresh approach to an established industry. In this post, they share their advice on registering with teaching agencies – from creating good first impressions to nailing your application and charming an interview panel into wanting you to join their school.
Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start!
There are many teaching agencies across the UK and shortlisting them can be a mammoth task. When making your first call to an agency, you need to make a good first impression. Be clear on what you wish to discuss with the agent before making the call. When speaking with your agent, be clear about how you would like the agency to help you – remember that they are there to provide you with good service and guidance.
Meeting your agent face-to-face is an excellent opportunity to ‘sell’ your skills as a teacher. This is the first opportunity you have to give them an idea of your personality, work-ethic and professionalism in your field. You should be given the opportunity to ask your consultant questions – make sure you have prepared a few good questions so that you can go away with all the information you need as well as making a good impression.
MAKE SURE YOUR AGENT IS EXCITED ABOUT FINDING YOU THE PERFECT ROLE – REMEMBER THEY NEED TO REPRESENT YOU TO THE SCHOOLS THEY DEAL WITH!
Ensure you walk away from the meeting having understood the agency’s process, eg: when the busy periods are, when they will start presenting you with permanent/long-term opportunities and what documentation is still outstanding so that you can start working as soon as possible.
When your agent presents you with specific permanent/long-term contract opportunities, always tailor your application to the school or agency you are targeting. Too many CVs and application forms end up being thrown out due to lazy errors, so at least get the school and the contacts’ names right! Make it hard for them NOT to shortlist you and in addition to your supporting statement/letter make sure your CV is well laid out with bullet points with the key responsibilities you had in your various placements. Our CV guidance page on our website will help!
When your agency confirms your interview or trial day you will generally be expected to prepare an observation lesson as well as attend an interview. Keep your observed lessons as simple as possible so there’s no margin for error focusing on doing a few things well rather than many things half-heartedly. Have an ‘emergency’ plan in in case the technology doesn’t work. We have had many people call us after their interviews saying it all went wrong due to technology issues! Make sure you engage the students and your observer instantly by using the names of some of the students or a fun starter activity.
If you deliver an above satisfactory lesson, you will be interviewed, usually by a panel, however, remember you’re on interview the minute you arrive at the school. Every person you encounter may well be asked for their opinion on you, so be charming and polite to everyone you meet.
Spend time getting to know the school and ask your agent to give you as much information as possible on the school and the role you are being interviewed for. See an interview as a chance to network and for you to test the school, as much as how they are testing you. Could this be the right school to start your career with or could it be the school for the next 10 years?
Prepare yourself to answer unusual questions, such as ‘why do you want this job?’ be sensible but positive in your response to these questions. Unreasonable expectations like telling the school you want to make bucket loads of cash with a 5 minute journey will not impress them! Always ensure you have had a good night’s sleep so that you look your best on your interview day – ensure you are presented smartly.
Always end your interview in a positive manner. Thank them for the opportunity, ask any questions about the school and their ethos, pass a compliment or two and ask what the next step will be. If you have been introduced to the school by an agency, they will probably call the agency as the next step so give them a call and provide your feedback – good or bad – so the agency can represent you well.
Thames Teachers welcomes Teachers, from NQT’s to Senior Management, both UK and Overseas Trained. We are an agency run by Teachers and will guide you all the way through the recruitment cycle. Visit our website – its full of useful information and has a large selection of jobs to choose from!