Freshly graduated and certified teachers often have a nervous time trying to find their first permanent position as a teacher. The following 20 tips on how to get hired as a teacher will encourage newly qualified educators and help them in their quest to find the perfect teaching position.
There is Hope after Hiring Season
It is not uncommon for schools to hire the bulk of their new teachers a month or two (sometimes just a week or two) before the start of the new school year. Even if you aren’t hired right before school starts, don’t be discouraged – schools will continue to hire after the year has started. Broaden your horizons, extend your search, and think a bit out of the box – there are many options for young, qualified teachers to get hired. (Here is an example of websites with teaching jobs.)
Keep the Resume Short and the Cover Letter Sweet
For a new teacher, a good resume should never be more than one or two pages. In the case of experienced teachers with lots of publications or professional development, it can be three pages. Don’t ramble – make sure each section contains information you find pertinent to the job that you are applying for. Readjust your resume for every application. (Remember – when applying for professional university positions, the resume’s title technically should change to a Curriculum Vitae.)
Equally important than a short but bright resume is a sweet cover letter: Read more about how to write a great cover letter here.
“A good cover letter is the key to opening the door to a job interview and the start of your career.”Eric O. Wesch – Etacude
Show an Eagerness for Continued Learning
Principals value teachers who learn new teaching techniques, keep current on technology changes, continue their university coursework, and develop better communication skills. The most effective teachers are those who understand their own behavior and are willing to improve.
With the average teacher interview being less than an hour in duration, it is important to fill the application and portfolio with selling points. You need to sell yourself as the best candidate, so this is not the time for modesty. Getting a teaching job starts with thorough preparation years before your first actual interview. Developing a strong resume starts when you decide to become a teacher, starting with voluntary work. Every bit of experience counts.
Have some Good References
Education systems differ regarding interview procedures, but a good resume must have a few persons in authority as references. In order to comply with the standard of keeping children safe in education, references must be checked before the candidate attends the interview. Make sure that your referents are available to be contacted and that their details haven’t changed.
Practice Example Questions
Be knowledgeable. The last thing you want to happen during an interview is to not have an answer to a question. Practice lots of examples of interview questions and answers. Practice makes perfect and will give you confidence for the interview.
Know New Teaching Terminology
Research the latest educational buzzwords. The educational world has its own unique set of words. Terms such as differentiated instruction, data-driven instruction, problem-based learning, flipped classrooms, student-centered, and digital literacy have become old buzzwords. What is the latest education terminology, especially in your country?
Have Clear Career Goals
Get clear about your career goals. Take some time to brainstorm what your career goals are for the next five years. Find connections between your goals and the job description.
Present Evidence of Success
Describe a very successful lesson you have taught in a class. Explain why it worked so well. Provide a specific example of a lesson that worked really well. Support your resume with quotations of praise from students and phrases colleagues have used to describe you as a teacher. Include such colleagues in your list of references.
Prepare to Share your Enthusiasm
Share your enthusiasm for teaching, working with students, and examples of how you would teach your class. Be prepared to answer questions about why you are interested in the job, how you teach different types of learners within the same class, and how you handle challenges in the classroom.
Know what Salary Range to Set
When asked what salary you expect, rather provide the potential employer with a reasonable range than a single number. Know what the going rate for new teachers in similar positions in that area are. Keep the range tight and think of what benefits they may offer.
Overcome the Fear of Inadequacy
A common fear in all professions, not just in teaching, is that of inadequacy. Everyone has moments of doubt. The only way, especially for new teachers, to avoid the fear of not being prepared, is to prepare well. Then look back at what you have already managed to accomplish. Remember that even the most accomplished and successful people all had to start somewhere. See it as the first rung of a ladder – nobody is scared of getting on the first rung, or the second.
Give Focused Replies
When preparing for an interview, think of examples of workplace frustrations and consider how to explain best practice ways of solving them. Find a good example and prepare a concise, focused answer. Connect your model answer to the position you are applying for.
Know What Policy to Follow
‘Best Practice’ methods of teaching imply existing practices. Methods that have already achieved a high level of widely agreed on effectiveness, but within that, is a great deal of variation. Strategies that suit one teacher may sit uncomfortably with another. Find out what the school policy regarding best practice is and adapt your interview answers not to be conflicting.
Use Active Tone
Describe your teaching philosophy in an active tone. Use phrases like “I believe a teacher should” or “I use strategies that” rather than referring to your beliefs and skills in the past tense, such as “I have learned it’s best to,” or “I helped students achieve.” And don’t refer to yourself in the “royal plural,” or speak about yourself in the third person. Do so in private if you think it helps you, but not when answering questions.
Provide Examples of Effectiveness
Discuss your Teacher Effectiveness with concrete examples of principal evaluations, teaching portfolios, and teacher reports of practice, which may include surveys, teaching logs, and student ratings.
Know Your Key Performance Indicators
Be ready to discuss and justify your Key Performance Indicators. What success have you had in designing learning experiences for children? What level of knowledge and understanding of the subject do you have? Be ready to answer questions regarding strategies for facilitating learning, interpersonal relationships, professional development, school development, and teacher attendance are all key indicators that you should discuss.
Convey Motivator Skills
Motivation is the most important factor in education. It is the most important factor influencing the learner. If students have no motivation to learn, any amount of effort will be futile. Make sure you convey your prowess, knowledge and skills as a motivator.
Education is not limited to the four walls of the classroom. It is a lifelong process that includes the modification of behavior to change as one’s methods as your experience grows. It helps one to cope and adjust to a changing environment. Show your adaptive nature and be ready to provide examples for the interview.
Give a Summary
Be ready to summarize what you’ve presented in the interview before you ask your final question. This gives the interviewer an opportunity to ask you something they may have missed, or for you to clarify answers you could have done better on.