Finding your ‘best fit’ as an Early Career Teacher

ECT Early Career Teacher

Finding your 'best fit' as an Early Career Teacher

Identifying the right starting point for your teaching career will set you up for the future, but beware, a misstep will make those first stages much tougher.

Finding your ‘best fit’ will always take a little work, there’s no avoiding it, but targeted research, and support from your Pertemps Education consultant will quickly set you on the right path.

First: it’s all about location

Narrowing down your preferred location is always a solid starting point. Proximity to family and friends could provide a support network for you as an Early Career Teacher (ECT). However, do consider a complete change in scenery: it might be just what you need for the next chapter in your life.

  • Whether you decide on the hustle and bustle of a big city or something a little quieter, bear in mind how that will effect the nature of the school community – particularly its demographic.
  • How far will you need to travel to school, who will you meet on your way, and your daily encounters. Consider your commute, where will you live, and which neighbourhood would suit you best.

Urban schools often hit the news –  beware of sensational headlines and urban myths! Besides, the current narrative is often about expert leadership, energetic staff members, and the diversity of the cultural experience. Often, schools which have not performed well in the past have been taken over by multi-academy trusts with rigorous behaviour policies and high expectations of their students. As a result, these institutions can provide enriching and structured learning environments, and a great start to a career for the right ECT.

Keep your ear to the ground!

A school’s local reputation speaks volumes about the way it’s perceived by the wider community. Begin your research with the most recent Ofsted report. It makes sense to focus on your preferred curriculum area, as well as wider points such as behaviour, leadership, and what it’s like to attend the school. Next, simply Google the name of the school. You never know what will come up. One of our teachers found that his prospective school had been caught up in a discussion about the quality of its catering. The headteacher had written to parents saying “if my own children’s school served this I would be exceptionally unhappy”. This may not  impact a teacher due to join the staff, but having a wider view of your prospective workplace will help with your decision making and being prepared for your new role.

Knowledge is power

Information gathering typically begins before you even walk through the school gates. These could be third-party views, but they are all good opportunities to find out more.

Make sure you have a list of questions ready for your interview, when you can cover the ‘soft’ subjects not dealt with by Ofsted. It’s your chance to enquire about workload, ECT support and mentorship programmes, assessment methods, and departmental marking policies. Understanding whether colleagues get together outside the working day can also offer glimpses into the school’s culture.

You’re not alone

The process of job hunting can feel overwhelming – especially when you’re finishing off your studies. It will definitely help to pause, take a deep breath, and tap into the self-awareness and expertise you take for granted every day. By conducting thorough research and applying common sense to filter out unsuitable positions, you can direct your attention towards the opportunities which offer the best outcomes – and that’s what it’s all about.

Remember, your Pertemps Education consultant is equipped with profound insights into schools and the commitment and support they provide ECTs. We’ll ensure you have everything you need to make informed decisions at this crucial stage in your career.

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Pertemps Education focuses on providing schools with agile, energetic and reliable teachers and support staff.