Creating Opportunities Outside The Classroom: Ideas, Tips and Websites
I have often met primary teachers who ask me how I got into working outside the classroom, and if I'm being perfectly honest I have met teachers who would be brilliant and maybe even better than me! Often they will ask, "where did you see that job," or "how did you get that job," or it might be at the suggestion of applying for something similar to what I am doing, that they say "they're not qualified" or they're not "experienced enough."
And this got me to thinking, why is it, that some (not all, I have met very confident ones too) primary teachers do not have confidence in their skills set, to try other things or even seek them out. It could be the nature of the teaching environment itself. We often work in isolation, can become demotivated by media portrayal, and reduced, often to single decisions by an irate parent when we make 1,000's of good ones. However, teachers are "the jack of all trades," and are as experienced and as qualified for many types of jobs, and as my grandmother used to say you just need "a little neck" to go for it.
I am going to detail here some places to keep an eye out for opportunities for teachers outside the classroom and some tips on how to get into different spaces within the educational system. This is just my humble opinion, and it might be useful or it might not.
1. Go to courses, conferences and events of interest to you. Here you will begin to meet regular faces, develop a network and will give you a more social element to going to CPD that interests you
2. Set yourself up on twitter to connect with educational organisations, engage with others! Because you never know if someone you follow, might be the link to an opportunity
3. Start an initiative in your school that involves skills such a project management and working with various stakeholders in the school community
4. Give or organise CPD for your staff in the areas of interest to you
5. Keep track of websites that I detail below for opportunities that may arise periodically.
1. The PDST are an organisation that provide CPD to teachers through a variety of means, which most teachers will be aware of. It would be a good idea to follow their twitter account, because when jobs are advertised, a tweet will go out. However, a weekly check of their website will also keep you in the loop. If you make checking their website a habit, you will also built up a sense of the resources and work they do, and it could have the dual benefit of supporting your classroom work and getting a job! They also have part-time opportunities that arise when there are particular needs, and these also offer teachers a great way to share their experience through delivery of courses while still working in their own schools. www.pdst.ie or Twitter @PDST_ireland
2. Hibernia College are an online Initial Teacher Education provider as well an expanding online college. There are many opportunities for primary teachers listed on their website, from working as a research supervisor to supporting students through tutoring. This is another place to check but instead of having to check back regularly you can fill in their expression of interest and experience form which they will keep on file, and contact you if there any relevant opportunities matching your experience
3. Activelinks.ie Is a website that details more community based employment opportunities, but now and again jobs pop up around education that might suit primary teachers. It would be a good idea to add this to your websites list to check regularly.
4. Contact your Local Education Centre, if you have a particular interest of idea for a course and often they will support you to put your course on if there is a need in that area for it.
5. Publicjobs.ie is another website where often educational jobs are advertised, whether for the Inspectorate, to be a SENO or for colleges of education, you never know if there is something up there that might suit you!
6. The INTO sometimes look for summer course tutors and again this is something to look out for at the beginning of January when they may issue submissions of experience. You can also write articles for their INTouch magazine
7. Scoilnet.ie allows teachers to sign up and share their resources for free - however it is a great way to support other teachers and an asset if you want to develop your own skills around resource creation
8. Twinkl.ie is another website that often are looking for teachers to work on resources for the Irish market, check their website as well for opportunities that may arise
9. Other National CPD agencies such as NCSE (National Council for Special Education) www.ncse.ie
Lastly DO NOT feel like you would not be experienced enough - PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE, thats what I did. As a result I have had some wonderful opportunities to work outside the classroom, and I have met so many teachers who would do a great job at it as well. So dust off the C.V and give it an update, you might be suprised by how employable you are!