Ups and downs

I haven’t written on here in a while because I’ve been waiting for the past 2 and a bit weeks to find out about a job I had an interview for.

The interview was for the Sixth Form Politics teaching job at an independent school which I mentioned in a previous post. The interview went very well and the next day they asked for my references and told me that HR would be in touch to get my documents of proof that I can work in the UK. The email was worded in such a way as to sound as though they were offering me the job subject to good references. I was excited and I told my immediate family but I did say that it wasn’t definite as I was yet to receive a formal offer.

I then spent the next two weeks waiting. I found out from my referees that my references had been asked for by the school and still I didn’t hear anything. So I emailed the HR manager to check she had received my references and to find out if she needed my passport and other documents. By the end of the day I had received a generic email response from her:

Thank you, for applying for the post of Politics and History Teacher at Mount St Marys College and attending the recent assessment day. The panel have reviewed the applications for the post and unfortunately on this occasion have chosen not to proceed with your application any further.

I would like to thank you for the interest you have shown and wish you all the best in your future job searches.

No explanation as to why they had led me to believe they would be offering me the job and then changed their mind. No offer of feedback. I was gutted. I simultaneously felt like I had been messed around and that I was useless. I knew all along that this could happen, as I didn’t have a firm offer, but it was still a blow.

But then I picked myself up and decided I wasn’t going to let this setback drag me down. I hadn’t expected to get as far as I had done and I realised that teaching was something I was pretty keen on doing. The next day I submitted an application for a Student Support Tutor role at a local university and at the weekend I went to a Train to Teach roadshow at the other local university. There I met the course leader for a Post-16 PGCE  (post-graduate certificate in education) and the Head of the Faculty. Having discussed my academic background with them and my interest in teaching, they were very enthusiastic in telling me to apply for the course. They said that with a PGCE, the ability to teach 3 different A Level subjects and a PhD I could afford to be picky about what college I worked at after completing the course. They also felt certain that my academic credentials would lead me to being fast-tracked up the career ladder.

I went away from that event feeling positive and heartened that my PhD could be worth something outside of higher education. In higher education, everyone has a PhD but in further education, PhDs are unusual and therefore make you stand out as a candidate. If I do the PGCE, it will be a hard year, both emotionally and financially, but I will stand a good chance of getting a fulfilling job at the end of it and that’s got to be worth something.

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