It takes years of diligent studying to earn the master’s degree necessary to land most teaching jobs. You also need to go through a state certification process and complete a session of student teaching. For all of that hard work to pay off, it’s essential to follow the right steps when looking for your first full-time teaching position.
1. Present an Outstanding Resume
The resume you prepare to showcase yourself as a teacher should include:
• Degrees and certifications
• Relevant experience
• Professional development
• Pertinent skills
• Honors, awards and professional memberships
• Your objective for your teaching career
Proofread the entire resume before sending it out to ensure that there are no errors that would make you look unprofessional. If possible, have someone else look it over and help you polish up any weak areas. Present your resume with a solid cover letter to serve as an eye-catching introduction and increase your chances of being called for an interview.
2. Flesh Out Your Portfolio
A professional portfolio supports your resume with further proof of your eligibility as an educator. It brings together your transcripts, outstanding work done during college or student teaching, your personal teaching philosophy, sample lesson plans, articles or papers you’ve written and information about previous jobs in relevant fields. The point of a portfolio is to set yourself apart from other candidates by showing your knowledge, expertise, experience and strong work ethic. Include the best that you have to offer to demonstrate why you’re worth hiring.
3. Come Highly Recommended
Strengthen your application with solid letters of recommendation from multiple professionals, not personal friends or family members. Talk with your college professors, the person you did your student teaching with and anyone else who has seen you in action in the educational field. See if they’d be willing to write you a letter regarding their experience working with you. Make sure you choose people with strong writing skills and who will give you shining reviews that will make a potential employer want to have you on his or her team.
4. Get Experience Through Subbing
Substitute teaching in the district where you’d like to work is a great way to get started in the profession. Each job gives you a chance to get more comfortable working with different age groups, skill levels and behavioral patterns. While you’re subbing, you can get to know the other teachers and staff, and the administrators get to see you in action. Put forth your best effort and take time to network to show that you’re a good fit for the school culture and community.
5. Be Prepared for Interviews
When you get an interview, make sure that you know exactly what the hiring committee is looking for in a candidate. Tailor your cover letter, resume and portfolio to showcase the skills and experience that are most relevant to the job. Research the current hot topics in education so that you can give knowledgeable answers to every question. Having someone else give you a mock interview will help you to be calm and demonstrate that you can keep a clear head in a stressful situation. Be prepared to ask questions of you own that exhibit your interest in doing the best job you can.
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Every hour that you spend in front of students offers opportunities to learn more about the teaching profession, hone your skills and get better at what you do. Take advantage of every moment to enhance your abilities as a teacher, and you’ll find that new prospects will open up as you move on in your educational career.