Since I started working as a Career Counselor with student teachers three years ago, I knew I was in my element. As I began developing specific programming to help student teachers prepare for their first teaching position, it occurred to me that finding a teaching position can be competitive and for some student teachers a rude awaking once it comes time to start their job search. So what can students do to be better prepared and approach their job search with confidence and competence?
Preparation - Developing a well-organized resume, preparing a professional portfolio and practicing interview questions are a good start. In addition, identifying unique qualities that one can bring to the teaching profession such as, a study abroad, volunteering, fluency in a language, school involvement and real-life work experiences can help you stand out among other candidates.
Research - Selecting the area or schools that you would like to work for and exploring why you would be the best candidate for that school. Visit the school/districts website, talk with people you may know in the district and be sure that what they are looking for in a teaching candidate match with what you can bring to the profession.
Networking - Do you know an “insider” that you know who is teaching in a school/district that you are considering? Making connections, attending events related to the field, and letting everyone know you are looking for a job. Tapping into your network can assist in finding a teaching position. One word of CAUTION, do not ask people for a job, rather let people know that you have started your job search. You will be surprised of others that might have a lead or know someone who might be looking to hire teachers.
Professionalism - Dressing and acting like those you aspire to be is important. If you have not invested in a “power suit,” it will be important in helping you feel confident and prepared. Think conservative and remember you can always visit your Career Center for tips on dress.
Patience - Finding a teaching position takes time, and developing an action plan is important. If you do not find yourself teaching right away, make it a point to look for positions that will keep you connected and working with children in some way is recommended. Substitute teaching is a good idea! Having patience and staying positive are key elements in searching for your teaching position.
Eric A. Arellano
University of Texas at San Antonio
The opinions expressed in Career Corner are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.