Q&A With School Recruiters

March 10, 2006 2 min read
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Questions and responses excerpted from our recent live Web chat with guests Carolina Pavia, administrator of certificated employment in Los Angeles Unified School District, and Darlene Larson, associate superintendent for human resources in Illinois Township High School District 214.

Question: What are your thoughts on people becoming teachers as a second career?

Carolina Pavia: We have found that mid-career individuals have much to offer the teaching profession. They understand the essential components of the workplace and also know what skills their students will need in order to be successful after both high school and college. The principals are eager to hire such persons in light of what they bring to their new career. The key to their success in the classroom is the preparation and support that they receive, coupled with the content knowledge that they bring with them.

Question: I am interested in moving into education, but have found the process difficult, impossible, and aggravating. I am thinking it is not worth the hassle.

Darlene Larson: Do not give up. If you truly like kids and believe that teaching is your passion, there will be a job for you. You need to make a plan that consists of targeting individual school districts by learning as much as possible about them and their potential job openings. Determine where you might have versatility in teacher licensure, and be prepared to teach in more than one area. At the high school level, co-curricular involvement is a necessity. Plan to contribute to such programs as a coach or activity sponsor. Most importantly, maintain a positive attitude so that any school district would welcome your enthusiasm, intelligence, altruism, and potential to make a valuable contribution. Most districts welcome the diversity of hiring individuals who have had experiences in other fields as it enriches their schools.

Question: What would you tell young teachers with excellent credentials as they look for a teaching position for the fall of 2006?

Darlene Larson: Candidates must first decide if they can be geographically mobile or if they are “place bound.” I suggest targeting an area and then pursuing job opportunities in that region. There are always many positions in most urban districts due to the large number of schools and positions. Likewise, there may be shortages in rural areas. I suggest that candidates develop a detailed search plan. Components should include a thorough investigation of a region and the school districts. Keep in mind that there will be many opportunities in 2006 due to the plethora of retirements expected nationally. Of course, there will be more opportunities in some content areas than others.

Question: I will be attending a teacher job fair soon. What do you think is the single most important idea or concept an interviewing language arts elementary student should try to convey to the school district interviewer?

Darlene Larson: It is most important that you consider why you are a teacher. Hopefully, this will cause you to focus on being “student centered” in your presentation. Student centered is more than a love for kids. It involves an indefatigable quest to advance student learning.


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