Congratulations on making it to the end of this year’s first term. It seems to me like the Christmas holidays arrive faster every year!

But no matter what fun you have planned, it is worth using a little of this time to take a moment and plan your next few steps. The Christmas break is the perfect time to get your head down with your teaching job application. And with a bit of smart planning, you’ll have your feet up in front of the fire in no time.

So before you crack open that bottle of bubbly, here is some great advice to help you nail your teaching job application this Christmas.

Managing Your Time

Considering how busy we all get over Christmas, time management is crucial if you want to get your teaching job application done right, and done in time. To help you manage your time more wisely, here are a few points to consider:

  1. Aim to submit your application early. Christmas is a very busy period. If recruiters receive lots of applications, they may close the recruitment window earlier than stated. As such, it pays to get your application finished sooner, by starting on it as soon as possible.
  2. Split your application into small, manageable chunks. Rather than rushing your application, try approaching it with regular, smaller steps. This helps you get your application finished fast, while making sure you pay attention to important details.
  3. Set time aside to practice a few online psychometric tests. You may be asked to complete one of these tests as part of your application, so it pays to be familiar with the process. Practicing these tests will not “improve” your score, but it will help you learn what to expect, and reduce some of your anxieties.

Doing the Right Research

Your application will be sitting in a big pile of other applications. If you don’t make it stand out, it might not get the attention it deserves.

You can make your application stand out for the right reasons by doing a bit of clever research. Here are a few fact-finding tasks you should aim to complete:

  1. Visit the school. If possible, visit the school you’re applying to. This will help you get a feel for what it might be like working there, and could give you some information to use in your application to prove that you have gone the extra mile.
  2. Explore the school’s website. By doing this, you will learn about the school’s visions and values, and you will find out how they approach teaching. Use the information you find to support the development of a tailored application.
  3. Check Ofsted reports and achievement tables. Knowing how a school is performing is another way of finding out good information that will support your application.
  4. Read the application pack. This is possibly one of the most important steps of all. If you don’t thoroughly read the application pack, you might miss an important step that the school really wants you to take. Showing that you can follow instructions and that you pay attention to detail is important.

Remember, the research process is not only about finding information to help you prove your own worth – it is about finding out if the school is right for you, too. If you don’t like the school, then reconsider your application. Why would you take a job that you probably won’t enjoy?

Showing the Relevant Experience

One of the most important parts of your teaching applications is your references. By now, you should have completed a couple of work placements and gained some sort of experience. You should really go to town extracting every experience, challenge and success that you gained!

You might feel a bit uncomfortable boasting about yourself, but Forbes says that “bigging yourself up” in your application (and also in your interview) can really help you secure a place.

When writing about what you learned during your placement, you should think of the following questions:

  1. What challenges did I face and how did I overcome them?
  2. What successes did I achieve during my time at the school?
  3. What training was I exposed to during my placement?

As well as making sure you talk about everything you learned on your placement, make sure your placement schools are prepared to receive a reference request – it is good manners, and it gives them chance to prepare some nice comments about you.

A Few Final Thoughts

Christmas break is the perfect time to work on your application. But you should also remember to find time for yourself – if you burn yourself out, you’ll be no good to anybody.

Here are the key take-home points that you should remember:

  1. Plan your time wisely and aim to submit your application ahead of the closing date
  2. Research each school and tailor your applications accordingly
  3. Don’t be afraid to really “sell yourself” by drawing on all relevant experience

Good luck with your teaching application, and don’t forget to take some quality “me” time over the holidays.

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