The job advertisements for teaching roles often concentrate on a few key areas. Therefore if you highlight your related experience you will be helping a school or college to see how closely you match their vacancy. Key areas to focus on are:
If you have worked with students from diverse backgrounds or deprived communities you should definitely make this clear if the vacancy indicates it. Similarly, schools that are religious or have children with special needs or challenging behaviour will often have a preference for this type of experience. If you have it – say so!
Type of school
Independent, mainstream, comprehensive, public or grammar school. A school’s priorities can be shaped by the type of school it is and being familiar with this often means a quicker transition for a new teacher.
Foundation, GCSE, A Level. The more levels you have taught at the more you will have to offer a school or college.
Details of inspections, evaluations and improvement. How many inspections have you been involved with? Was your school in a challenging situation and did you have an impact on improving its official status? If you have played a part in improving the official grading it will demonstrate your effectiveness. If you ‘Wowed!’ the inspectors make sure this is clear.
Enhanced CRB check
If you have previously had a check done, state when this was completed. A new school or college will have a new CRB check completed but it can be useful to know if you have had one done recently.
As well as your principal area of expertise, include any additional teaching areas, such as ICT, religious studies, civics etc. Advertisements will sometimes indicate a preference for another area, but even if they don’t, schools and colleges often expect teachers to cover more than one subject. If you are a multi-tasking phenomenon that can demonstrate a range of teaching experience, a school will almost certainly be interested in knowing about it.
Include details of your approach to lesson planning, delivery and evaluation. How have you used student data to monitor areas of weakness or identify improvement? Do you use teaching aids, such as props? What media have you utilised – electronic whiteboards, laptops? Have you partnered with a school in Guatemala? Created word clouds from newspapers in media classes? Any innovative approaches will be interesting to the reader and can set you apart from other candidates.
Extra curricular activities
Include details of any school or voluntary involvement, such as with sports clubs, societies or voluntary activities. Here is the place to mention the charity cycle you organized with the local youth club. Schools usually encourage teachers to help out and it is well worth highlighting any previous experience.
Most schools are looking for strong, motivational leaders who can bring dynamism to the classroom and engage students to help them learn – a modern-day Mr. Chips. Keep this in mind when describing your experience and try to demonstrate a track record of raising standards and improving outcomes for students. Include details of how you have done this in your career, particularly with helping to raise students’ performance in or out of school. Have you mentored or helped any students to win recognition?
Most importantly, tailor your experience to the vacancy. Schools and colleges’ requirements will differ and your application should aim to highlight your most relevant experience. Help the reader to visualise you in the role already.