Passion, resilience, enthusiasm and skills such as reflectiveness are elements which are less tangible and more challenging to convey in an application. How can you stand out from the crowd? Whilst we require the statutory qualifications and a work experience placement, appealing applications stand out because they demonstrate who the candidate is and what motivates them.
From experience, we know that each applicant, depending on their life and education experiences, will demonstrate this in different ways. There is not a blueprint for this. We sit up and notice the applicants who show us that they are passionate, enthusiastic, team players etc. through other experiences outside of education. This may be:
- a hurdle that they have overcome
- a set of experiences such as travelling
- an experience volunteering or running clubs or projects.
We want to see your learning, your reflections and your character stand out.
Seize the opportunity to show evidence of your resilience rather than just stating that that you work hard and are not afraid of challenge. We don’t want you to tell us that you are a team player; we want you to demonstrate that from an experience that you have had. Don’t tell us you have a good sense of humour; relay a story which shows us this to be true (appropriately of course!).
However, one of the key non-negotiable traits that any great teacher possesses is the ability to reflect. Excellent teachers are able to reflect upon their practice, mistakes, and achievements. No single person is perfect and applicants often exhibit a list of accomplishments that have achieved — to perfection! Tell us when things didn’t go well; what did you learn from that experience?
Stand out applicants demonstrate that they have some interest in education beyond excellent relationships with children.
You may be surprised to know that many applicants and interviewees are unable to talk about a significant piece of education-based news or research that has sparked an interest or made them sit up and notice. On interview it is highly likely that you will be asked about this.
- Are you interested in the theory behind education?
- Do you know about any recent developments in education?
There is a fine line with balancing a professional opinion with personal, political views but if something has resonated with you and led you to choose teaching as a career, then demonstrate this in your application and at interview.
Teaching is the best job in the world and we truly believe that! However, it is a career choice that applicants need to select carefully.
All potential applicants should try to gain as much in school experience as possible. Many applicants have completed extensive work experience placements but the applicants who stand out are those who have immersed themselves in school life. Take the opportunity to talk to teachers, support staff, subject leaders and the head and find out as much as you can about the profession and what it is like to become a teacher.
You are about to embark on a fantastic career path and ITE providers have a responsibility to recruit the best candidates for the training places. If you live in the South Devon or are considering training to teach in South Devon we offer a highly successful School Direct programme.
Tracey Cleverly is Director of Education at the Learning Academy Partnership, which is a Multi-Academy Trust consisting of seven schools based in Torbay and South Devon. Tracey also leads All Saints Teaching School Alliance, which runs a highly successful School Direct programme in partnership with Plymouth Marjon University.