When Vanessa Page returned from working in the UK and Singapore with two young children she wanted a career change from the financial services industry that put her closer to her family. So, whilst completing her Graduate Diploma in Teaching she attended the 2017 Primary Teaching Recruitment Expo.
“I had originally studied education for two years at university before going down the commerce route. Teaching was something I always wanted to do as I believe every child deserves a great education,” Vanessa says.
“I had a clear idea of which schools I was interested in working with,” Vanessa says. “The event itself was a great opportunity to have an informal chat with the principals and staff from the schools, which gave me a better understanding of their culture and teaching philosophies.”
“By speaking to staff, I got a sense of what it would be like to be a beginning teacher there, which is something you might not be able to get from their website or in a more formal interview setting.”
Vanessa received offers of employment from both the schools she set out to meet at the expo, eventually accepting an offer from Remuera Primary School, where her daughter now attends as a student.
Since starting as a beginning teacher, she says her career has been “an incredible ride”.
“I won’t deny that it’s tough, some days more so than others, but the rewards far outweigh the challenges. I am incredibly lucky to work at a really supportive school and have the best mentor – I think both those things could make or break you as a beginning teacher.”
Principal of Remuera Primary School and Treasurer of the APPA Steve King says the Recruitment Expo was conceived of as a way for schools to reach out to recent graduates.
“I’ve worked internationally where recruitment fairs are more common, so it was interesting to see how well it worked here. I think one of the most exciting things about it was the way it turned the recruitment process on its head. I had a number of really exciting conversations with applicants and it wasn’t until the next day that I actually looked at CVs, so I got a sense of who they were before that.”
He says one of the reasons he was immediately drawn to Vanessa as an applicant was that she showcased herself well, giving him a sense that she was joining the profession for the right reasons.
“I liked the fact that she was well-travelled and was coming to teaching from another career that she had been successful at. She was clearly bringing a lot of life experience and we were really excited that she accepted our offer. We’ve been really thrilled at how she can reflect on her own practice and identify what her strengths are in progressing her career.”
This year’s event is expected to see roughly 40 schools have a presence and there’s pressure for schools to put their best foot forward, so Remuera Primary School will be bringing Vanessa along as part of their stall this year.
“Last year was really successful, which has brought more schools this year,” Mr King says. “It’s great but it means there’s a bit of friendly competition between schools and with the teacher shortage graduates know they hold the cards, so we’ve got to go the extra mile marketing ourselves on the day. Having someone there who has been through the process recently is a great way of authentically communicating what being a beginning teacher at Remuera Primary School is like.”
Vanessa’s top tips for those going to the Primary Teacher Recruitment Expo in 2018:
- Come prepared by doing your research ahead of time to get an understanding of the schools that you wish to talk to.
- Have some questions ready. Use this opportunity to learn more about schools so you can make an educated decision on whether that school is the right fit for you.
- Treat each conversation as an informal job interview. Research the schools you want meet on the day and ask them informed questions.
- Bring multiple copies of your prepared CV to give to principals.
Auckland Primary Teaching Recruitment Expo is for new and returning teachers who are looking to start working in primary and intermediate schools in Auckland at the start of Term One in 2019. Registration is free. Click here for more information and to register.