Sunday, May 18, 2014

'Tis the Season: Job Hunting Tips for Teachers

The school year is wrapping up, which means that schools are beginning to assess their personnel needs for the 2014-2015 academic year.  One of the perks of being a brutally honest individual is that I have been tapped to serve on candidate screening committees.  This experience has taught me a lot about teacher candidates and I will dedicate this blog post to passing some of that wisdom on to you.  Please note that I am an ESOL ninja and not a human resources professional.
  • Dress the Part: Part of preparing for an interview is getting dressed.  I once sat in on an interview with a candidate that wore shorts and a pair of sandals.  Despite his credentials we had to ask ourselves, If this is how he dressed for an interview, how is he going to present himself in front of the students and parents?  We moved on to the next candidate.
  • Know the Lingo: Common Core, inclusion, data driven instruction and differentiation are more than terms that may have appeared on your Education 101 final, they are crucial to the daily work of an educator.  Be prepared to explain your experience with these items in a classroom setting.  As far as what else could possibly come up, here are some potential questions.
  • Use Your Portfolio Correctly: You've spent a lot of time putting together a portfolio for your Education 101 class.  Be familiar with it and use it during your interview.  If you have an artifact that pertains to an answer to a question, be sure to highlight it.  Many interviewers will acknowledge your portfolio, but will not take the time to go through and analyze it.
  • It's Not What the School Can Do For You, It's What You Can Do For the School: You'd be surprised by how many teacher candidates think that having a college degree or being creative (with no elaboration) makes them the ideal hire.  Research the school community and be prepared to explain at least one personal characteristic that makes you the best fit for the community. 
  • Be Open-Minded: Many teacher candidates pin their hearts on one particular school, district or area of the country.  Expand your horizons, you'll be surprised what you'll find.  For example, I work at a Title 1 middle school in an urban district several hundred miles from where I grew up.  On paper, it's the place that many people would shy away from, but is really a hidden gem with a supportive principal, polite students and very little staff turnover.  
  • It's a Two-Way Street: A job interview is not only a time for the interviewing committee to evaluate your potential, it's your opportunity to find out if a school is the right fit for you.  Don't be afraid to ask questions or even ask for a tour of the school building.  


No comments:

Post a Comment