The end of the year can be a stressful time. It's the holiday period, which for many of us means buying presents, attending work Christmas parties, and organising trips to visit family. If you're a beginning teacher who hasn't yet found a role for Term 1 2015, this time of year can be even more anxiety-inducing. However, it's possible to stay sane during December while hunting for jobs. Here are some tips to help you with your job hunt in the last few weeks before the summer holidays begin.
1. Work your networks
The closer it gets to Christmas, the less likely schools are to advertise in the Education Gazette. The cutoff for the print copy is the 28th November, and the final copy is published on the 8th December (though the online version operates until Christmas). In a month where there are school reports to write, class lists to compile, and lots of sick and stressed teachers, Principals may choose not to go through an advertising process and fill any last minute vacancies through their networks instead. (Check out this blog post for more information.)
In the next few weeks, get in touch with your practicum schools, schools you've relieved at, and even schools where you've interviewed for a role but didn't win it. Let them know that you're looking for a teaching role at the moment and that you're available for anything that comes up, even if this is a CRT (classroom release time) role where you work one or two days a week. They may not have anything at that time, but if they have a last-minute resignation, you'll probably be near the top of their "to call" list.
2. Move quickly (but keep putting in good applications)
At this time of year, most schools are looking to fill their roles as soon as possible. If a job on the Education Gazette doesn't specify a closing date, get your application in sooner rather than later. That doesn't mean rush your application - take the time to make sure you have a well written, proofread and tailored cover letter - but make a priority.
Another thing to keep in mind is that this is an incredibly busy time for Principals and office managers! Make their lives easy by following the instructions for applications and making an appointment if you want to visit their school.
3. Sort your teacher registration
If you've finished your course, it's advisable to apply for your teacher registration as soon as you can. You don't need to have attended your graduation ceremony and got your teacher registration certificate to apply. All you need is a statement from your course provider saying you've passed your teaching qualification. It takes six weeks on average to process your registration, so the sooner you get it in, the better. If you do win a teaching role for Term 1 2015, you want to ensure you have your registration by 26th January so you can have it when you start teaching. Check out this blog post and the Teacher's Council website for more information.
4. Be prepared at all times
If you're on a school's radar and they want to have a last minute interview with you, you need to make yourself available! Make sure you are easy to contact over the holidays, and check your phone and email regularly. It's a good idea to ensure your referees can be contacted easily during the holiday period - include their cellphone and email details so your potential employers can get in contact with them if they need to.
5. Make a backup plan
Not all teachers will win a full time teaching position straight out of teacher's college, and if you don't, that's completely normal! Our advice is to keep applying for teaching roles throughout December, but also start putting together a plan on how you're going to support yourself in Term 1 2015.
There tends not to be much relief work available for primary & secondary teachers in Term 1, so you generally can't count on relief to support yourself until Term 2. If you have a non-teaching role, it's advisable not to quit it until you find a role for 2015 or are able to support yourself financially through other teaching work.
6. Enjoy a break
Enjoy your holidays! Whether you spend next year in a full time role or relief teaching, it's probably going to be one of the busiest years of your life. Make sure you get some rest and relaxation over the break.
Further reading: Check out this blog post on where you can find teaching vacancies other than the Education Gazette.