Finding career progression as a teacher can be tough. Becoming a principal is seen as the ultimate goal in terms of climbing the ranks, and finding ways to carve out your own niche can be difficult in very structured work environments. However, as with any line of work, it is important to demonstrate your commitment to progressing and developing. There are plenty of ways to show the principal or your heads of department that you have what it takes to become a leader.
Organize school trips
Organizing a school trip is most new teachers’ absolute nightmare, but at some point you will have to take the reins. Getting parent consent forms, making notes of allergies, dietary requirements and organizing packed lunches can be incredibly stressful. It’s not all bad, however. You will always have teachers on the trip with you to help get everyone on and off buses and get people into their pre-organized groups.
The next step above this is getting an international trip organized. Booking school trips to Europe, for example, will prove your capability as a teacher to get children safely to and from a foreign country. It will also show that you have an interest in multiple departments, as going on a history trip, for example, will also allow children to improve their language skills and maybe even see some arts events or exhibitions.
If there are no immediate leadership roles available in your school, then consider kick-starting your own development project. You could start a scheme for children who want to get into a university but don’t have the means, or you may want to create an after-school club for those with a specific skill set. You may even want to be the go-to person for official extra-curricular schemes; acting as the official representative for an institution on behalf of your school will show an eagerness to take the initiative and demonstrate leadership skills.
There are two main approaches you need to take when it comes to networking as a teacher:
- Reach out to those in your own school: make friends with senior colleagues, the principal and heads of department. Befriending the decision-makers in your school is certainly a tactical move, but it’s also a career-building one. You want to be at the forefront of someone’s mind when it comes to departmental changes or promotions.
- Reach out to teachers and senior department leaders in other schools: if you are currently unhappy in the school you are in, then you should be attending events that partner with other schools. You want to give other schools a good impression in the event that a position should open up.
Just because schools are often state-run and have a relatively linear progression in terms of how to get promoted, this doesn’t mean you should have a single-track approach. Reaching out to other schools, chatting to other teachers and taking the initiative will put you in a prime position to progress your career as a teacher beyond your current position.