Tuesday, 4 December 2007

My Soul, you has it.

Strangely enough, the whole process of applying for teaching jobs is at least two posts in itself. I'm torn about my angst with it: Victoria is the only Australian state to not run on an allocation model. That is, in other states and Victoria-of-old you would say "I want to work in the southern metro region" and you could get school anywhere from South Yarra to Seaford. But these days, state school must advertise their positions via Recruitment Online - the clunkiest piece o junk ever - using forms etc. and its all done that way.
My dilemma is choice versus effort.

On the upside, you get to nominate who notices you, and its not the lottery it once was. In theory schools get the most appropriate person for the job and people who are less adept end up doing CRT work or even changing careers (believe me, there are people from my course I'd never have teach my kids). You get to match personality and suitability with a school's needs and community.

However, in applying for a job you have to answer at least 5 "key selection criteria", with not more than a page per answer. As a graduate, particularly a post-graduate student, I had no idea what to put in these responses (they really leave post-grads to figure it out for themselves). They take a lot of work, and you tweak each one for each school. Some schools add a 6th, which is fine because a lot of them specialise in a particular area, or have specialist facilities or needs. Some schools have 14. >:( And unless its a freakin awesome school they can forget it from me. 5 or 6 KSCs should be plenty revealing. It may seem a little whingy to lean on this point, but think of how much time it takes to write a 2000wd essay; now imagine its 3500wds and about yourself; now imagine its the only impression someone get of you. Yeah, its tricky, and that's before you do it a gazzilion times.

Another aspect to this is the contradiction bw the process and the principles currently come from the system itself. As teachers we're encouraged to broaden our teaching style and assessment methods to capture all the ways knowledge can be acquired and demonstrated. For instance, some people get things better with diagrams rather than words, or through movement or song; similarly writers shouldn't be punished for not being particularly strong movers if they can demonstrate their comprehension through other means. I mean, develop the weakness, of course, but don't make life harder. In this application we're being asked to promote ourselves through a wholly written method. You can set up a webpage with animations etc and direct people to it, but they might not read it. At the end of the day it is, in essence, an application for an interview, not a job. And we are supposed to have completed a university degree, not a tafe degree, and so be able to do this sort of process. Then there are parties who stand by teaching as a profession and others proudly call it a trade/skill - this process smacks of 'profession', so I suppose I know where the State stands on that point.

All in all, its a bit spirit crushing, and its going to take a while of "I have a job" to balance out the week of effort and nerves spent getting the job.

On the upside, one 2-year degree later and I have a job. :D

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