October is a strange time to search for teacher jobs. You have not long come back to school after the summer holidays and you are still getting to know your new class or classes. There is a strange kind of shame in abandoning your school midway through the year but you have just seen your perfect English teacher job or a job as a primary teacher in the school that you always dreamed would be the school for your career.
Teaching is a unique profession for this form of guilt. Do you think an accountant considers if March is a good time to leave his company because the tax year doesn’t finish for a month? Or, what about journalist for a quarterly magazine – shouldn’t leave now because she has only just put the last magazine to bed? Of course they don’t. This is their career – if a dream job comes up it is not their concern what disruption the change in personnel will cause their employer.
There was a time when a line manager showed me a bowl of water. I had been in the school for nearly 10 years and didn’t want to leave my current Year 10 class when they were half way through the GCSE course. He put his hand in and said this is what the school is with you as a teacher. He withdrew his hand and pointed to how the water filled the space. This is what happens when you leave. The truth is: we are dispensable.
So, you are allowed to apply for that physics teacher job – when all you are given is biology in your current school. You want to move into being an A level teacher for English Language – and there is an opportunity available – go for it! If you are not careful you can get sucked into a yearly cycle, where you never go for any job because there is always this child, or this class, or this change that you feel responsible for managing.
The protocol is the same in October that it is in February through to May: speak to your head teacher and alert them to your wishes; write your letter and speak to your referees and prepare for the interview process. Try not to alert your closest colleagues or your students that you are applying – it is important that they stay convinced of your commitment to them and their needs right up to the time that you leave. And, with all this advice: good luck – go get your dream job!