VIGNETTES SERIES 13
Vignettes 41 and 42: TAKING PROFESSIONAL CARE OF YOURSELF
Note: Vignette 42 relates to Northern Territory Government advertising time frames. Adapt this advice to align with the time frame within your own system.
BUILD YOUR CV
Building a curriculum vitae is a professional necessity that is too often overlooked. People tend to think ‘why bother’ or ‘I’ll remember’ when it comes to things they should be recording. Memory fades and with it the capacity to recall things that can help with job and promotion applications.
I would suggest considering buying an expanding file. Label each opening with one of the graduate standards suggested by AITSL. It would be wise to label them in order of the way the graduates standards are listed in documentation. Then as evidence of meeting graduate standards is provided, place a note about that in the relevant section of the file. Also include evidence confirming your meeting of those standards. Samples of student work from time to time may help, particularly if they verify teaching strategies and efforts. In addition it can be handy to keep a notebook into which you add jottings from time to time, for transfer to your CV.
Make sure you unload those jottings into the file possibly expanding them into a more detailed format before so doing.
As time goes on upgrade your file to consider standards for teachers gaining new understandings, proficiencies and experience. In that way your folder is of evidence is always up to date.
Make sure that as you update your expanded folder, to take out those things that are no longer relevant. They become secondary (aged) rather than primary (recent) evidence. When cleaning out the file my suggestion would be that rather than destroying documentation removed, you store it in some secondary way to be called on if necessary.
Photographic evidence confirming what you have done can be useful. With iPads and iPhones, taking supporting photographs becomes easy. My suggestion would be that you either print these photographs and add them to the folder or alternatively that you start an index on the device into which photographs can be added.
From time to time colleagues and superordinates, even parents might offer you written recommendations or references. Keeping these and adding them to your CV is important because those statements substantiate and validate what you have to say about yourself.
Developing sound methodology in relation to compiling evidence for CV purposes is a very good habit to establish and maintain.
WRITING APPLICATIONS FOR POSITIONS
Opportunities will arise enabling teachers to transfer to other schools or move into promotional and support positions. It is generally wise to consider staying in a particular position for a number of years in order to gain experience and consolidate as members of the teaching profession.
Building a CV as suggested (Vignette 41) will ensure that up to date information is available when it comes to preparing an application for a desired position that may be advertised. Having background material ready is especially useful because positions that are advertised generally require applications to be lodged within a fortnight of the advertisement appearing.
Most advertisements are listed on the government website rather than being advertised in newspapers. A regular check of the website will ensure teachers are aware of available positions.
Advertisements include details of obtaining job descriptions (JD’s). It is essential to have the JD to hand when completing applications because this enables applications to be written specifically to the job criteria. Follow and specified word limits and write applications tightly so they encompass the JD in a relevant and sensible manner. Evidence of capacity should be included to demonstrate suitability against each of the criteria.
Criteria are generally listed as ‘essential’ or ‘desirable’. The essential criteria are basic to the position and need to attract a sufficiently detailed response from applicants. All responses should be salient and based on evidence. Avoid getting off the point when preparing applications.
Primary evidence of capacity to fill a position is most important. Primary evidence is the recent (within the last three years) confirmation of experience and ability within a particular field. Secondary evidence can be useful but should only be included in a supplementary or supportive context.
I would strongly advise that applications be written on the basis of a certain amount each day. There is often a tendency to leave applications to the last minute, meaning they can be rushed and ill prepared. Such applications sell applicants short. Consider the following method of approach.
* Spend the first two days in reading the JD and writing key word points to be
expanded when you write the application.
* Write your CV which attaches to the application using headings suggested.
* Referring to your CV and considering other documentary evidence, write to each
point of the JD, setting yourself a goal of so much each day. Don’t over-write on
one day then leaving the task for two or three days before re-visiting.
* Periodically re-read the JD and requirements to make sure you keep on track and
don’t include extraneous detail.
* If the application is due by COB on a Friday, aim to finish it on the Tuesday
prior, including proof reading. It would be useful to have a colleague or spouse
then ready your documentation and offer feedback. Have this done so you can
spend time on the Thursday before lodgement is due, including final changes.
* Editing, including spelling and grammatical context is important.
* When lodging an application, ask for an email confirming its receipt.
* Make sure you keep a copy of your application, preferably a hard copy as well as
one that has been electronically saved.
Sometimes people defer from writing applications for positions because it all seems too hard. Remember, ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained.’