Application forms

I have often said that if there was one thing that the department for education could do for newly qualified teachers it would be to bring in a centralised application form for all job seeking teachers to use. I have completed many, many application forms over the past few years in my hunt for a permanent job, and they are all different, yet all require identical information. Cvs are not accepted, so you are supposed to spend your time typing up your employment and education history again and again. Copy and paste won’t work as each require slightly different formatting. The forms are frustrating. Today’s effort has been winding me up, as every time I type and press return the existing text in the box vanishes! I’d be much happier putting my effort and brain processes into writing a stellar, personalised cover letter, but instead I constantly bang my head against a brick wall trying to complete these ridiculous application forms!

Bah humbug!

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Back to school.

Still in my maternity cover job. I’m finding it difficult, especially as the job hunting has to start in earnest again soon as she’ll be wanting her job back at some point before January. Still, I’m pleased to be going back, delighted to have had a paid summer holiday for the first time in 4 years, and satisfied to be going back as M2. That’s right, NQT year is finally over.

I know I don’t update this blog much. It’s not that I don’t have much to say, it’s just that I’m busy and don’t really have the time to keep up the posting. I will drop a line from time to time,though.

Happy back to school everyone x

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Good news! A maternity cover. Starting next week. I will no longer be an NQT! Hooray!

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I have nothing to add and nothing to say, but I thought I should just drop a line as it has been months since I wrote anything.

I’m job hunting as much as ever. I’ve had one job interview (an unsuccessful one) and supply hasn’t just been quiet this half term, it’s been dead. On the up side I have now moved home (now a home owner – how terrifyingly adult). I’ll be back – when there’s something to say…

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With exam results time upon us, a lot of newspaper inches has been given up to the news that girls have pulled ahead of boys in their GCSE results.

See the TES, the Independent, the Guardian and the BBC for examples.

Everyone seems very interested to theorise about this phenomenon. Girls are more mature at 16, the coursework (even the new ‘controlled coursework’) caters to how girls learn, some more extreme theories explain that the education system is systematically biased towards boys because teachers are overwhelmingly female.

It’s true that girls do better at school. In my humble opinion, the reasons are simple. Girls are allowed to work hard, do their homework, pay attention, sit still and show interest in class. For a boy to do this would be ‘girly’, ‘gay’ or ‘geeky’. The culture of masculinity bans studiousness. We need to change this culture, not the exams.

In the TES an expert says that even the new coursework caters to girls better than boys and that boys prefer last minute revision. This implies that because girls are achieving higher we need to change the system – make all exams end of course cram sessions or set ‘boy friendly’ reading books for the English exams (like Kestrel for a knave or of Mice and Men perhaps…. Oh, right). The books on the syllabus are classics – important books that deserve to be read, the coursework requirement mimics an important element of work – projects with a deadline, editing, proofreading – these are skills that both boys and girls need.

We need to stop making excuses for boys, we don’t do them any favours. We need to expect them to do the work, to try their best. We need to change the dominant culture that says learning isn’t cool, academic achievement is for girls (and whatever is for girls is naturally inferior) and homework is irrelevant.

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Feeling blue…

Well, the summer holidays are upon me and I still don’t have a sniff of work for September. To make matters worse, there also doesn’t seem to be any other sort of work around. I’m applying for JSA, but I don’t think I’ll get it, and I feel a bit pathetic.

Don’t get me wrong, there are up sides to unemployment. I’m currently watching my way through my (rather extensive) collection of old, cheesy and soppy films, almost on a mission to make myself cry. This morning Sense and Sensibility and the Boy in Striped Pyjamas. It’s almost masochistic.

The thing it, my emotions have been all over the place recently. I often burst into tears whenever I allow myself to brood on the situation, and sometimes things just set me off. It’s like my emotions are closer to the surface than usual. Usually, though, I can manage my emotions with a veil of cynicism and detachment. After all, there’s nothing I can do about it. That’s what I tell myself anyway.

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Just in case you were wondering, I didn’t get the job.

I think it was the right job but not quite at the right time for me. Never mind – just keep swimming.

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Now for something a little different.

Did you know that for every female character in a children’s film there are three male? How about that in group scenes this ratio becomes 5 males to every female? No? Me neither. Well I had an inkling, but the numbers are startling. I came across this while indulging my other blogging interest, feminist blogs, in an interview with Geena Davis (of Thelma and Louise and A League of Their Own fame). In a fascinating and funny speech to the National Conference for Media Reform she explains how she chooses her parts to have the maximum impact on the women watching. How she and her friend pretended to be male characters as children, because there were no interesting female characters for them to play. How motherhood changed her perceptions of kids TV and films.

Some interesting quotes:

“I started mentioning it around Hollywood. If I had a meeting with a studio executive or a producer, I’d say, “Hey, have you ever noticed how few female characters there seem to be in G-rated movies and things for kids?” And they pretty much across the board would say, “No. No, that’s not true anymore. That’s been fixed.”


What we found was that in G-rated movies, for every one female character, there were three male characters. If it was a group scene, it would change to five to one, male to female.

Of the female characters that existed, the majority are highly stereotyped and/or hypersexualized. To me, the most disturbing thing was that the female characters in G-rated movies wear the same amount of sexually revealing clothing as the female characters in R-rated movies.

And then we looked at aspirations and occupations and things like that. Pretty much the only aspiration for female characters was finding romance, whereas there are practically no male characters whose ultimate goal is finding romance. The No. 1 occupation was royalty. Nice gig, if you can get it. And we found that the majority of female characters in animated movies have a body type that can’t exist in real life. So, the question you can think of from all this is: What message are we sending to kids?

and the kicker

The fascinating thing that we found from the beginning was that they were absolutely shocked.

The fact that, in general, all of their movies are so lacking in a female presence is stunning to them.

This is interesting to me, as a teacher of children, as a (possibly) future parent, and as a woman. For a long time I have commented on the pathetic under-representation of girls in children’s films. Girls are princesses (any disney film), or maybe sidekicks (Dory, Jessie) or mums (Mrs Incredible) or even seductresses (Bo Peep) or dead (UP!). Each film, taken by itself, and you can say it’s no big deal. But where are the girls going on adventures? Where are the girls with a quest? Where are the girls whose story arc doesn’t involve finding a husband? Why does the media drip feed our children with the message that girls aren’t worth representing. Their stories aren’t interesting enough to be told. That only boys have adventures and that girls are only interested in romance.

Haven’t we come a bit further than that by now?

I’ll leave you with one further finding from the research Geena’s fundraising paid for;

the more hours of television a girl watches, the fewer options she believes she has in life. And the more hours a boy watches, the more sexist his views become.

And that’s something we should all care about.

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An interview at last! Woop woop!

Hooray! I was starting to believe that my application technique was seriously flawed and that I would never get a job! Seems I was wrong. Thank goodness! Especially as this is a job I never thought I’d even be considered for.

Fingers crossed 🙂

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Feeling disheartened

I’ve just had a job interview for a supply job postponed (this is the second time) and found out that a job I REALLY wanted was incorrectly advertised and I now no longer fit the job description. I’m registered with 5 agencies, I’m planning to register with 2 more, and there’s little to no work. Nothing. One agency found me a few days at one school, then nothing. Another agency (my main one) has found me work at PRUs only since half term. So the choice is accept the work and spend my time being sworn at (not all prus are like that, but the ones I’ve been to last week tend to be), or sit at home and be broke and bored.

It’s disheartening.

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