Creating a personal Web site can be a valuable component of job hunting and career development. Having your own site can increase your exposure and provide a single place to display your professional information. It also demonstrates comfort with technology, an increasingly important trait for teachers.
There are myriad ways to own your own plot in cyberspace. Most Internet service providers (such as AOL and EarthLink) offer free Web site space, as do prominent search engines. If you’re particularly ambitious, you can also pay a commercial hosting company for server space, an option that generally gives you greater freedom and capacity for your work.
Creating a Web page is not rocket science. As a ‘techtorial’ from Education World reassuringly proclaims, “Any teacher with a computer and Internet access can create a Web page.”
Web pages are generally created using Hyper Text Markup Language, but don’t worry if this sounds like a foreign language. Basic HTML is not hugely difficult to learn (given a little time), and there are plenty of helpful guides available on the Web. (See resources below.) Also, widely available Web “wizard” programs can basically write HTML for you based on your specifications. Such programs often give you less flexibility than hand coding, however. It’s often best, when possible, to use a combination.
Just as important as the mechanics behind a site are its presentation and design. The Yale “Web Style Guide” advises site designers to “identify the potential users of your site, so that you can structure the design to meet their needs and expectations.” District and school administrators aren’t likely to be impressed by a site that features flashing graphics, loud colors, cheesy music, and cute pictures. Aim for a simple, professional-looking page that clearly presents the information recruiters are looking for.
Prominently display your name and other contact information on the site, and provide clearly visible links to other pages. Your resume should be a key feature of the site. Consider also including lesson plans you’ve developed, writing samples, and a description of your teaching philosophy or goals. In addition, you may want to provide links to your college or current school’s site.
Finally, make sure you include the URL (Web address) of your site when you submit your print resume for a position. The site can make for an impressive supplement.