Teachers seeking to increase their job satisfaction often rely on the transfer process to find a teaching position which is suitable for them. While the STA looks upon transfers as a Collective Agreement right, the District has increasingly made it a system which facilitates principals choosing their ‘teams’. Often veteran teachers are surprised by the contents and conduct of interviews, and are disappointed when a junior candidate is awarded the position. Here are a number of tips which can help you succeed in obtaining the position you want.

Log In

The posting process itself is done electronically through the Internet or Employee Self Service on the First Class Desktop. A username and password are required. Read Online Transfers-A Guide for Teachers on the District website, click on Staff, then Human Resources, then Transfer Information. If you need assistance, phone the Help Desk at 604 595-6000. Phone early and avoid the rush.

Check the Posting

Click on the school name to view the school profile, including the principal, address, and activities at the school. Click on the posting number to see the details of each posting.

Fill out and Submit your Application

Make sure your application records the necessary qualifications, and any additional information which you believe makes you suitable for the position. Refer to the Threshold Agreement for classroom positions. Specialist positions require you to be listed in the book of Teachers Qualified for Specialist Positions. If you keep typing, the boxes will expand. Print out a copy of each application, and take it to the interview with you. Also print out a receipt with the postings you applied for and confirmation number. See Online Transfers-A Guide for Teachers for detailed instructions.

Accept the Interview Offer

Check your First Class e-mail every morning. The District wants you to respond to interview offers made before 8:00 a.m. by the same afternoon. If you can’t make the first interview time offered, ask if you can have an alternate time. If the District unreasonably refuses to give you an interview, contact the STA immediately. In your e-mail accepting the interview time, request that the selection criteria be e-mailed to you ahead of the interview. This will help you prepare for the interview, and you can ensure that your answers to vague questions address the selection criteria.

Study the Selection Criteria

In your e-mail accepting the interview time, request that the selection criteria be e-mailed to you ahead of the interview. This will help you prepare for the interview, and you can ensure that your answers to vague questions directly address the selection criteria. If you do not receive the selection criteria, you can check if the STA has a helpful example. The STA  has a collection of the selection criteria used at most schools for Round 1 last year.

    1. Study the posting. Brainstorm questions and answers.
    2. Prepare and rehearse answers to likely questions. Visualize success.
    3. From the start of your interview, show your enthusiasm for teaching, and the specific job.
    4. Take brief, orderly notes of interview questions and your answers.
    5. Pause to consider and formulate your answers. Clarify questions as needed.
    6. Provide real-life examples. Interviewers are trained to ask probing questions to elicit more information. Make sure you give it to them.
    7. Establish consideration of supporting material. For example, hand over a reference letter, or a sample of student work to help answer a specific point. If you have a helpful report, letter, project summary, or Master’s thesis, give a copy to the interviewer and ask them to consider it. Note what you give them.
    8. Ask for the selection criteria when you get the e-mailed interview offer. If the principal does not supply the selection criteria until the interview, note when you get it. Take time to compare the criteria to your brief interview notes, and expand your interview answers to address specific points. Also, refer to parts of your application which address parts of the criteria, especially training, workshops, and experience. If the principal gives you a paper copy of the criteria, take it with you. If the principal reads it out, ask him or her to read slowly so you can copy it down.
    9. Write complete notes after the interview, and compare your application form and what you said in the interview to the criteria.
    10. E-mail additional information if you find or think of information that meets the criteria which you didn’t provide at the interview, or if you would like to clarify how parts of your application or the materials you supplied meet the selection criteria.

Consider Grieving if you are not Awarded the Position

If you feel you were well qualified, but weren’t awarded the position, check the Closed Report, available online or in schools within two weeks of the positions being awarded, for the seniority date of the successful candidate. If you are the senior candidate, contact one of the Grievance Officers, Amrit Sanghe at grieve1@surreyteachers.org or Kelli O’Malley at grieve2@surreyteachers.org or call the STA office at (604) 594 5353 to discuss grieving. Contact the STA immediately if you feel there has been anything questionable about the interview or other parts of the selection process, such as being intimidated or rushed, being asked about extra-curricular activities, working outside of the regular school day, specific teaching strategies, or participation in scheduled collaboration such as PLCs or Grade Group meetings, experiencing a long delay between your interview and the job being awarded, or hearing rumours of the fix being in.