Advice for qualified teachers who can’t get a job

I qualified as a teacher 2 years ago whilst my son was young, thinking this was a good move for when he was older and a career I love.  Problem – I have been looking for a job ever since and not stepped foot into a classroom as a teacher since.  I have registered with supply, I have applied for over 100 jobs, part time, full time, job share as a classroom helper – anything and everything including dinner lady. I now have the problem, not having been in a classroom for 2 years I am being overlooked and told I am not up to date, despite going into schools volunteering and being a private tutor. When I apply for non teaching posts such as a receptionist, cleaner and fruit packer, I am told I am overqualified and should be looking for teaching as this is what I am qualified in, but there are no jobs! I am going around in circles.  What should I do to get a job in any sector?

Ouch, what a horrible situation to be in!

When you say “you qualified as a teacher”, does that mean you’ve completed a year as a classroom teacher on finishing your academic studies?  If you have, it makes getting into teaching significantly easier than it would be otherwise.

I think it would be worthwhile checking why you’ve had so little success in getting any of the teaching jobs you’ve applied for.  Talk to your university tutors, friends / relatives in teaching posts at present and the LEA to find out how you need to present yourself to get shortlisted for interview and then offered the job.  Seek out examples of successful applications and talk to the individuals who prepared them.  Having seen some examples of applications for teaching posts, I know the standard is very high – probably higher than for many other types of professional job.

Then think about whether you’re applying to all the sources of teaching employment that are open to you.  Have you made contact with all the schools within commuting distance (state-funded and otherwise) to find out about their recruitment practices for selecting supply and permanent teachers?  Have you made contact with all the teacher recruitment agencies active in your region?

You are already trying to keep your teaching skills honed by private tutoring – if you put more oomph into this, you may well be able to expand this involvement, working for corporates (eg those working with dyslexic students, gifted children, providing mentoring services, etc).

On the face of it, it should be easier for you to get a job as a teacher than any other type of professional job (though still hard and getting more difficult as time passes).

If you have to look outside of teaching, then check out jobs where your teaching skills may be an advantage.  Possible roles include those teaching adults (literacy skills, confidence building, etc) as part of the various initiatives helping the unemployed and young parents back to work; preparing tourist materials for local attractions serving young visitors; and organising school visits, holidays etc to or from this country.

Possible employers include the following:-

– organisations selling into the education market (eg taking of school photographs, arranging school trips, etc)
– organisations selling to the parents of school children (eg coaching services, educational equipment / toys, tourist visits, etc)
– organisations providing literacy / personal development training for adults, young parents, job seekers, ethnic minorities, etc

Good luck!

Comments [12]

  • Kmi says:

    I think people complaining need to give more information. I qualified as a teacher means nothing. What subject? What area? What age group? There are 1000s of teaching jobs out there but not for secondary PE. I qualified this year and secured a job as an English teacher at the 1st place I applied and well before I officially qualified. There have been 100s of teaching jobs advertised up north. Yorkshire area.

  • SK says:

    I don’t know how everyone else got on with finding a position.
    I graduated in 2009 and I was applying for NQT positions for 3 years with just 1 interview and no luck in gaining any kind of teaching role. I then went into accounts and admin for 10 years. I have gone back into Education and now work as a SEN TA. I am having the same problem now when I apply for Teaching jobs I still get nowhere. All this time within training and working is that there is a lot of in-hire and word of mouth. I honestly regret undertaking a degree in Education it is the most useless degree I have. I should have in hindsight taken a course in accounts, science or maths. The sector is full and whatever they say in the papers is a lie there is no shortage.

  • Anonymous says:

    I finished my PGCE last year and have spent a year looking for a job I had offers of 2 interviews and that’s it. I don’t know what to do I’m currently working as a TA in an after school club but it’s not enough hours. Is there anyone else is the same boat?

  • Anonymous says:

    Anonymous says, I have 4 years voluntary teaching experience. 12 years qualified teaching experience across mainstream and special. Middle management experience can’t find work despite agencies saying they haven’t seen such a strong c v. BAFFLING

  • Stuart Roberts says:

    I qualified as a Level 3 Teaching Assistant in May 2016 and have been volunteering on and off since 1983 and have 20+ years classroom experience covering all classes between nursery and Y6. I also have an enhanced DBS certificate on the update service and have GCSE qualifications in English and Maths. I have delivered a couple of lessons and worked alongside the teacher as the class TA on numerous occasions.

    I have applied for nearly 100 jobs and have never even been interviewed plus have registered with several agencies who have not got me so much as a day in the classroom. I’m as we speak stuck at home as I’m not allowed to volunteer because of covid which is frustrating but understandable, but I’m totally bewildered why I cannot get a paid job. Volunteering is so rewarding but unfortunately doesn’t help pay the bills

  • Cath Tomms says:

    It is July 2017 and I have found this page – nothing has changed. The soapy lies about “WE NEED YOU” have been misleading me for the last 2 years. I – as a fully qualified teacher – was getting more and more qualifications. I was lucky to get only one interview and someone had mercy and offered me some classroom experience (unpaid). But the other 50 applications… trying to be a cover teacher, HLTA, agency teacher – they need someone with experience. I have ended up without a job as my current school (TA position) thought that I would get a teaching position somewhere and… my contract expired. I am changing sector.

  • Jumamji says:

    Just completing my music PGCE at the moment and haven’t had any luck landing an interview as off yet. getting really nervous about if I will ever find a job. A few people on my course have already got jobs in the school they were training at, i know my referees have been asked to write references for me, but still i have received nothing at all.
    will i ever find a job … 🙁

  • Duncan says:

    You should try to get a primary teaching job as a male; no chance. Qualified as a Science Primary teacher with a Ba, BSc, PhD and years of a Supply work and yet not a single interview. Feedback received has included ‘we don’t let men into our school’, ‘men are not suited to teaching’, ‘over qualified’, ‘expectations to high’, ‘ as a man I make mums feel uncomfortable’.

  • Rachael says:

    I work in education recruitment and we have a lot of jobs and not enough teachers! If you are looking for work in the Beds, Herts, Bucks, Berks areas, get in touch. We would love to hear from you and even if you haven’t completed your NQT year we have a lot of schools who are more than happy to do induction with you.
    Give us a call for a quick chat
    A+ Teachers
    01234 866 729

  • Anonymous says:

    Teaching is a very well paid job and lots want to do the job; in the end it is pure luck if you get a interview and then its down to 'if you fit in'.

  • Anonymous says:

    Get real – there are very few jobs and it's down to luck, it's that simple.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have a primary teaching degree since 2009, and have done some supply work. I had a few personal issues but now I want to complete my NQT. What can I say, it is very difficult to find a vacancy, filling in an application form takes a very long time, and on the plus side I get no interviews. but fear not, I am an optimist, and with patience I will bear the 'bad luck' and continue to apply to schools in my local borough. I have so much to give, but no one to accept my skills.

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