Tips and Tools
JobFeed 16 May 2018
Tips for applying for a job
As a long-standing school principal, Matthew Jacobson has convened many selection panels to hire classroom teachers and school executives. Matthew shares his experience and some important considerations for producing a great application.
Matthew advises, ‘Spend time thinking deeply about what the criteria are asking you to do. Key words such as ‘demonstrated’ will indicate how you should position your response. Then, wherever possible, tie to concrete experiences you’ve had.
‘People often ask, "How much should I write?" It’s important to keep your response concise and on track with what is being asked. I would advise keeping responses to less than 300 words for each selection criterion. I also feel it’s important to address the criteria in a narrative rather than a bullet-pointed list.
‘I find some of the most successful applicants use the STAR method. Specifically, what was the relevant situation, what was the task that needed to be addressed, what action you took and what was the result and/or outcome.’
Matthew continues, ‘A mentor also once told me about the 4Ps. This means, describe a relevant problem, what plan to you come up with to address this problem, what was the product of your intervention and, finally, project yourself into the role. The latter is an opportunity to show the panel that you have researched the school, what are the current opportunities in relation to the criteria and how your skill set can help improve the school.’
Keep an eye on JobFeed for more of Matthew’s tips!
In the meantime, if you are considering job opportunities, have a look at our rural and remote town profiles and explore the great range of benefits and incentives available across many locations. Remember, a number of key benefits are available to temporary teachers.
JobFeed 2 May 2018
Tips for applying for a temporary position
Matthew Jacobson is a principal whose many years of experience include working in rural and remote schools and in metropolitan Sydney schools. Matthew shares his experience in hiring temporary teachers and his top tips for placing your best foot forward when applying.
Matthew says, ‘Make sure you do your research before you apply. Have a look at the school website and Facebook page and even consider calling the school to introduce yourself. Many teachers ask me if contacting the school is acceptable. The answer is a simple yes. It would be more than appropriate to let your potential employer know who you are and that they can expect to receive an application from you.’
Matt continues, ‘It is always important to take the time to make sure your application is well-written and free from grammatical errors. Your referees should be familiar with the content of your CV and be aware of the particular positions for which you are applying.’
Temporary teaching appointments provide a great foundation for building a rich work history which demonstrates practical experience. ‘As the principal of numerous schools, in rural and remote NSW, I saw a significant number of teachers in temporary teaching employment. Most, if not all, of these teachers were successful in securing permanent teaching positions after gaining valuable experience in temporary employment.’
Are you currently considering applying for a temporary teaching position? Choose rural! Check out our rural and remote town profiles and explore the great range of benefits and incentives, including many available to temporary teachers.
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JobFeed 16 August 2017
Tips and tools for attending interviews for permanent teaching positions
So, you have checked out JobFeed and the I work for NSW site and found your ideal permanent teaching position. What happens next?
teach.NSW asked Tim Lloyd, Principal, Plumpton High School, for his thoughts, based on his extensive experience in schools and in recruitment.
Before the interview day
First, let’s assume you have already put in a great written application. You contacted the convenor and asked your pre-prepared questions about the job; you thoroughly researched the school; and your application succinctly but thoroughly addressed all the selection criteria (and of course, was carefully laid out and proofread).
Let’s also assume you have managed to secure an interview.
Great! You have a foot in the door. Let’s make the most of it.
The interview day
Personal presentation and first impressions
Tim has many great, detailed pointers for the interview day, right down to your attire and presentation.
`You have one opportunity to make a first impression. Remember, it is a competitive selection process for a professional role. Dress professionally. Men – wear a suit and tie, belt, clean, polished shoes, with neat hair and shaven or neatly trimmed facial hair. And women – try a jacket and skirt or pants.’
Arriving at the school
Tim advises to arrive at the school up to 30 minutes early to sign in and introduce yourself to the administration staff, explaining why you are there and who you have come to see. They will provide you direction on when and where to go next. Be polite – these people are helping you.
`Bring notes with you, or whatever your particular security blanket happens to be,’ advises Tim.
Some convenors offer you reading time to become familiar with the questions, perhaps ten minutes. In such cases read each question carefully and make notes on the sheet.
How you approach each question will depend on the nature of the specific question, but in many or even most cases it will be appropriate to discuss concrete classroom situations. In such instances, Tim suggests a structure such as:
- A brief philosophical statement relevant to the question
- An example of what you did
- Why you did it
- How you did it, that is, the process you undertook - a most important aspect as it tells a person about your metacognitive processes and teaching/learning capability.
- Results/outcomes – including both qualitative and quantitative data.
- What you would do next time, projecting yourself into the role you have applied for.
The start of the interview
Follow the panel's directions on process
Sit where you are requested to sit and ask if it is all right for you to refer to your notes (Tim feels that most people will have no issue with this and you may not need the notes anyway - but it is best to check).
Set your notes in front of you. You should use a timer of some sort (a stop watch, your phone, or locate the clock in the room if there is one) to ensure you keep to time.
Form a relationship with the panel
Tim advises that during the interview it is crucial to form a relationship with the panel members.
`Make eye contact and firmly shake hands. They need to warm to you as someone who is credible, sincere, positive and open, someone they would want to teach their own child, to have as a member of their faculty or stage, or to have as a teacher in their school,’ advises Tim.
Show your emotional intelligence
`You need to display a level of emotional intelligence, not just the ability to deliver content. Being a teacher is also about your ability to develop and build intellectual capacity, relationships and strong self-concept in students and yourself.’
Answering the questions
Build the relationship
Now to the reason you are here – fielding questions from a job selection panel.
Tim strongly advises that you continue to build the rapport with individual panel members while answering questions. `Ensure you make eye contact with panel members. Remember, each panel member needs to respond well to you for you to secure the position. Smile where possible as this gives a sense of openness and connection.’
Speak clearly and stick to time limits
`Speak clearly and not too quickly. Remember to pause when you reach the spoken equivalent of full stops and commas.’
`Stick to the time allocated to each question as this can also be an indicator of your metacognitive skills such as your ability to follow a process and to be succinct. Typically you will have 5-6 minutes to respond to each question.’
Address each panel member's area of interest
Tim notes that typically each panel member will ask at least one question. The question they ask usually will relate to their specific focus – for example, if the parent representative on the panel asks a question, Tim advises you ensure that your response explicitly addresses the parental viewpoint.
Provide a structure for your responses
Use the same structure when answering the questions that Tim recommended under the `Notes’ section above, with your examples always indicating a clear underpinning rationale or philosophy and ensuring that the activity’s `what’, `why’ and `how’ and, importantly, its outcomes and lessons learned are clearly articulated.
If you are unclear about a question or require clarification on a specific point, make sure you ask for that clarification.
Approaching the end of the interview
Come prepared for open questions
Tim notes that there is often an open question at the end of the interview such as, `Is there anything else that you would like to add that would support your application?’
This is a very important opportunity that should not be missed.
Use this opportunity either to:
- highlight some of your achievements or qualities that could not be drawn out in the questions you were asked that would enhance your opportunity to gain the position, or
- provide additional information regarding a previously asked question that you either were not able to put in in the time or failed to mention, or
- take the opportunity to refer to each panel member to provide them a specific response regarding their particular area:
- For the parent - how you will engage with parents to support their child’s learning; For the Head Teacher/Assistant Principal - how you will work collaboratively as part of a faculty or stage team;
- For the Deputy or Principal – how you will contribute to the whole school as a collaborative team member;
- For the AECG Rep – how you will support Aboriginal students in their learning.
Closing the interview
Thank the panel
Remember to thank the panel members for their time and for considering your application.
Usually the panel convenor will walk you out – thank them for their time and the opportunity.
While there can be no single formula for job interview success, applying a structured, professional and common sense approach such as Tim has recommended above will help you put yourself forward in the best light and give yourself a stronger chance to compete for that coveted role.
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JobFeed 26 July 2017
The most common questions I get asked when speaking with new graduates are around tips for managing a classroom. Thankfully there is a wealth of literature available regarding effective classroom management strategies. I personally frequent the Australian Journal of Teacher Education for insightful research reports and journal articles focused on teaching.
Here are my top picks for the most beneficial reads, which offer unique and interesting research on behaviour management:
Classroom Management and National Professional Standards for Teachers: A Review of the Literature on Theory and Practice reviews the ‘conceptual and empirical’ research on classroom management and focuses on the evolution of beliefs and perspectives on classroom management. This article may be useful for reflecting on or building best practice for your current or future lessons.
Mindfully Teaching in the Classroom: a Literature Review is an interesting read that draws upon the practice of mindfulness in teachers’ everyday lives and how this can be reflected in an educational setting to improve ‘classroom management, teacher-student relationships, and instructional strategies’. This article makes some unique arguments which could be beneficial to current and future teachers’ personal and professional lives.
Investigation of Teachers’ Verbal and Non-verbal Strategies for Managing Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) Students’ Behaviours within a Classroom Environment investigates teachers’ verbal and non-verbal methods of managing behaviour in the classroom. The author reflects on the most successful strategies in managing a classroom and the importance of building strong teacher-student relationships.
Readings are a great way to update your pedagogy, enhance your current teaching skills and support yourself throughout your teaching degree. Happy reading!
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JobFeed 28 June 2017
So you’ve completed the Graduate Recruitment Program and you want to secure a casual or temporary job in a NSW public school. How do you go about it?
We got in touch with Simon Paterson, one of our wonderful public school principals for his advice on applying for casual and temporary work in a NSW public school:
‘For casual work keep your CV brief (two pages is plenty) and be sure to include your approved area of teaching, but also indicate if you are willing to teach in other subject areas as this will greatly increase your chances of being employed. Also include your approval to teach number (Department of Education) and your Working with Children Check number.
'All temporary job advertisements will contain criteria for the position. Ensure that you address these explicitly in your application, citing your experience relating to each criterion and the outcomes you have achieved for students.
'If you are shortlisted for a temporary position, you will be called to an interview. Answer questions directly, providing examples and evidence to support your responses. Dress, speak and present yourself professionally for the interview.
'Check out the school’s website and their school plan to identify information which can be used as part of your application and interview. Comment on how your personal skills and experience can contribute to the school’s broader directions and goals.'
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JobFeed 14 June 2017
So you’ve achieved Provisional or Conditional Accreditation after receiving your approval to teach. You are now responsible for actively working towards Proficient Accreditation. This process will involve you collecting evidence to demonstrate that you can competently teach to the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APST) at a proficient level.
Teachers working towards becoming a proficient teacher should familiarise themselves with the NESA website. This will inform you of how the accreditation process works, the types of evidence you should be collecting and sample annotations.
We have done some research and collated a list of top tips to help you through the accreditation process:
- Understand the accreditation process and your role as the teacher and the requirements of your employer
- Read the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers and know exactly what you should be able to do, to teach effectively at a proficient teacher level
- Know your accreditation due dates, this will be determined by your employment status. Check the NESA website to find out how long you have to complete yours
- Start collecting evidence from your first day of teaching. You can use evidence from working as a casual, temporary or permanent staff member, across numerous schools, subjects and grades
- Approach the Principal of your school and ask them to support you through the accreditation process. Often schools have an accreditation guru, find this person and see what information and resources they can provide you
- Seek some continuity or block of employment. If this is not possible, plan ahead and speak to the teacher you will be relieving and ask if you could assist with the planning and write a lesson plan. Save this as evidence!
There are various information sessions available to help with your accreditation. Using My PL@Edu you can search and enrol in a course organised by the NSW Department of Education. Additionally, you can enrol in an information session run by NESA or the NSW Teachers Federation. If you are casual teacher, there are free sessions available to you through NESA.
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JobFeed 05 April 2017
Tips and resources for the classroom
As the holidays draw to a close teachers across NSW will be preparing for their first week back at school. Whether you are interested in a career in teaching, stepping into the classroom for the first time, or already teaching, take some time to read these tips and resources for starting a school year:
Be prepared - finish preparing your programs, gather resources, and organise your classroom to ensure a smooth start to term one. Consider incorporating interactive activities into your teaching programs to engage and enhance student learning. Familiarise yourself with the NSW Department of Education learning tools selector to utilise Office 365, Kidblog, Filmpond, and a range of other digital tools in your classroom.
Look out for your wellbeing - in between the lesson planning and program building it is essential that you take time for yourself to ensure a healthy work-life balance. NSW Department of Education teachers can access the Staff Wellbeing resource which provides information on how to achieve a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle.
Network - build your professional learning and support networks. Networking is a great way to develop your resource bank, collaborate, and talk everything teaching. Join a Yammer group and connect with teach.NSW to collaborate with other educators, get the latest teacher news, and receive information on scholarship opportunities.
Laura, Senior Education Officer, Employment Events and Promotions at the NSW Department of Education and classroom teacher at Elizabeth Macarthur High School.
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JobFeed 15 March 2017
After a career in law, Mark Sutton had a change in vocation to pursue more ‘intrinsically fulfilling’ work. He became a legal studies and history teacher and is currently the Principal at Cecil Hills High School.
Mark is one of the few teachers to enter NSW public schools at an executive level. He has worked in a number of executive roles in geographical areas of demand including rural and remote NSW and western and south western Sydney.
For Mark, ‘teaching is an extremely rewarding profession, it doesn’t seem like a job’. He is a proud advocate for public education and says ‘being a teacher in a NSW public school is such an important role to help shape future generations’.
Mark fast tracked his teaching career with his first appointment in a rural and remote NSW public school as Head Teacher – Teaching & Learning at Menindee Central School. He says ‘I encourage teachers to have their own outback adventure as the experience is invaluable’.
Mark says there is ‘something fascinating and unique about teaching in a remote area- the school was the central hub in town, the school newsletter became the local newspaper, and I became more than a classroom teacher - I was a sports coach, a mentor, and a member of the community.’
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